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Re: Vermiculite **and a new question about lighting**

I have used vermiculite in my 25g tank - and it's worked perfectly. 
About an inch and a half of vermiculite under 2ish inches of flourite, 
and any mess comes from all the mulm of a 5yr old tank. None of the 
vermiculite has ever escaped. I'm going to be setting up a 75 gallon 
tank and I plan on putting a 2 inch layer of vermiculite under a 2 inch 
layer of flourite (probably helps that aquarium center in baltimore had 
flourite for $11/bag a week ago). I feel that the vermiculite has helped 
with the stability of the tank.

I have a question about lighting on a 75. On my 25 i have 4x20w T12 
tubes... on my 75 I'm trying to decide what to use. I could stay with 
normal flourescent tubes.. but i was contemplating using CF from 
ahsupply. Either using 96w tubes or pairs of 55w. I like the fact that 2 
55w are 4ft across, covering the entire tank, unlike the 96w tubes which 
are like 3 feet long leaving 6" on each side over a 4' tank. So i'm 
really thinking about 2 or 4 55w tubes. Anybody have a reccomendations 
or comments? Would 220w be too much? too little? Since I also keep a 
reef tank, where there is no such thing as too much lighting (ie i have 
72w CF ove rmy 10g reef and I wish I had more....) it's strange to tone 
it down for freshwater.

>Date: Sat, 2 Nov 2002 08:07:02 -0500
>From: "James Purchase" <jppurchase at rogers_com>
>Subject: Re: Vermiculite
>Madran asked about vermiculite.
>Rock popcorn. Put it in the soil of your houseplants but keep it away from
>your aquarium. The stuff is messy, it floats. In order to fully saturate it
>you've got to literally break it apart (easy to do) and it forms a flour
>fine dust which becomes a slurry/mud when wet. In a tank its like everything
>has been covered by "pixie dust" as the superfine particles settle over the
>gravel, plants, everything else. And you can't keep it out of the water
>column by putting it under the substrate - eventually it will surface. I
>don't even want to think of what it does to the gills of the fish. As you
>can tell, I used it (once). Never again......
>James Purchase