>From: Eric Schoville <schovill at expert_cc.purdue.edu>
>Date: Mon, 17 Apr 1995 22:09:16 -0500 (EST)
>Which type of sand should I use for my aquarium. There are three
>types that I know of, Silica sand, Crushed coral or beach sand, and
>the Play sand that they sell at hardware stores. Alternatively I
>collect some form a local creek.
>Also, which fertilizers should I use in the substrate. Is there an
>inexpensive source for Laterite, or do people recommend that I put
>a layer of potting soil beneath the sand.
>All responses are arppreciated,
If you can collect from local creeks, that may be a good source, but
sterilizing it is a triple pain.
The Medium Aquarium gravel we get around here from Monterey Sand (Lone
Star Brand) is a real problem in plant tanks. It's loaded with shell,
and will drive your pH up and hardness to 300+ppm in no time. Use it
only in SW tanks! It's $30 a bag at one local pet shop, too!
In Reno, last week, I went to a builders supply (actually in Sparks)
and found that a Sacramento company, Basalite, sells a water-washed
Medium Aquarium gravel that is beautiful, and passes the acid test for
limestone or shells. I believe it is produced by Silica Products, and I
know Home Depot carries some Basalite products. It was nicely rounded,
good color mix, and CHEAP ($2+ for 50 lbs).
I have made the Lone Star stuff suitable for one plant tank by soaking
it in straight pool acid, but that is a hazardous and nuisance task,
compared to getting the right stuff in the first place.
Let's all go to the closest Home Depot and request that they get the
Basalite Medium Aquarium gravel in stock. It's basically a finer
version of the decorative Basalite pea-gravel-size stuff they already
I have used the finer (30 mesh) silica, sand-blasting sand with good
results over UGF plates by purchasing some of the fiberglass cloth used
to make boats or pools, and putting it over the UGF plates so the sand
wouldn't fall thru. It seems to work, and the plants are growing like
mad in it. I put down sand, a thin layer of boiled peat, more sand, and
a surface layer of treated gravel for appearance.
One mistake I made was adding a tiny bit of regular plant food to the
substrate. It took weeks and lots of (mostly RO at that) water changes
to get the ammonia down to safe levels. The forms of nitrogen in
regular plant foods are MOST unsuitable for aquaria. We live and learn.
What if the Church and the State are the mob that howls at the door?
-- William Butler Yeats