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FW: Turface MVP Grey (dark)


-----Original Message-----
From: Johnston, Jack--G3(Contractor) 
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2003 11:15 AM
To: 'Aquatic-Plants-Owner at actwin_com'
Subject: Turface MVP Grey (dark)

Hello All,  Loooong time lurker, first time poster with a question (of
I recently got a hold of some Turface MVP in the 'grey' color from a local
I'd like to use this in at least one of the two planted tanks I'm currently
setting up.  
Probably to mix with black gravel or sand.  The idea is to get a large
amount of substrate
as close to black as possible without paying to ship eco-complete to me
(none of the 
LFS's carry it and have said they can't order, either).  I thought that this
would be a 
better alternative than Onyx because my water is already moderately hard (kh
~8, gh 8)
and I'd like to keep south american soft water dwarf cichlids and tetras in
the tank.  
 I was referring to the article in PAM and thought that the Turface dark or
'grey' wouldn't 
harden my water and seemed to have a slightly acidic pH based on your study.

However, I stumbled on this post to APD by the author of the PAM article
Jamie S.
Johnson recently and I am wondering if I made a mistake.
"  I'd go with the Flourite since you've already invested good money 
on a tank and supplies. It won't let you down, plus I think it's a lot 
more attractive than the Schultz's products. It's a lot heavier, too. 
My experience with Turface is that it raises the alk and hardness 
through CaCO3 I believe. My Ca levels jump from <10ppm to over 
50 after a few days in the tank with Turface. The pH stays around 
7.4-7.6. After several months of water changes, the conditions are 
still the same. My Flourite tanks settle into inertness after a week 
or two. There's plenty of Fe, you'll never keep it long enough to use 
it up."
As I searched the archives I ran across this earlier post of Mr. Johnson's 
that seemed to reflect more of the data presented in the article in PAM.
"Reported values (Profile = 7.0, Turface = 6.2). I took
~10g of 
substrate, no rinsing (natural state), and added
10-15ml DI water. 
No rinsing because the majority of the stuff I tested
would wash 
away with rinsing; so everything got treated equally.
The DI water 
we use at work is run through 5
resin/carbon/post/pre-filtered units 
and has nothing but H2O in it. There is no initial pH
value for DI 
water. It takes on a pH after mixing with a soil or
solution with a 
pH. What my test told was the pH of the substrate
only. I'm afraid 
your's measured the water + the substrate. You
confirmed the fact 
that neither change the pH at all, especially if the
water's slightly 
alkaline. Your water started with a pH value because
it has a 
descent amount of alkalinity. That alkalinity will
keep your pH 
stable at about the values you posted. It's best to
experiment with 
DI water. RO water will suffice, but sometimes RO
water's not as 
pure as DI. 

If you fill your tank (w/ a Turface substrate) with DI
water, the pH 
should fall to ~6.2 after a day or two of acclimating,
especially if 
the Turface is disturbed during filling. It seems that
the Turface may 
have added a slight amount of alkalinity to your
tests, but for a pH 
of 6.2, I would think the amount is real small. Since
it has little dK, 
the pH will bomb out after a few fish are added and
some waste is 

This is a little confusing to me and is further compounded by other posts 
by those who stated that they tested various types of profile and turface
and found that it hardened their water, didn't harden their water, or 
hardened their water initially but, not after rinsing.  I'm not sure how
these products compare chemically to the Turface MVP grey that I was
sold but, I am concerned that it might not be the solution I thought
I had found.  I would really like your feedback on this as some of you 
have tested this and related potential substrates and done so in what
to be a scientific manner.  What are the implications of using this product?

I do not have access to R/O or DI water.  I can buy gallons of distilled
at the grocery store but, this is not the same so, I don't feel confident in
ability to conduct my own tests.  I would appreciate any help you can give
me with this and thank you for your time.
Also, I have recently heard of a product that is black beach sand with iron 
for planted tanks.  Does anyone here have any experience with this product?
Thanks again.
Oh, and my goals in reading this digest and in planted aquaria as a whole,
are to be somewhere that I can read and learn from Tom Barr and George
Booth while I drink my morning coffee!!  
Jack Johnston
In suddenly rainy and almost pleasant Central Texas.

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