First I'd like to thank everyone for the quick responses to my question yesterday.
I was amazed at the speed and quality of the replies.
In fact a reply from Neale Monks (thanks) has me asking more question.
A quick overview of the setup I plan:
Approx. 55 gal tank (48 in long 18 in deep and 16 in high I think).
2-3 in gravel with something else like laterite, vermiculite or plain old dirt.
4 - 40watt fl. tubes
External canister filter (narrowed down to fluval or ehiem leaning toward fluval 103 or 203)
with the spraybar towards the bottom of the tank.
They "gravel" I got was something I read some time ago about getting a good deal by
getting the stuff from a sand blasting outfit. Well I did this, I got 200lbs for $16 a
wonderful deal I felt. Well I pH tested with 2 cups of water (straight from Utah tap) and
1 cup gravel. The pH went from 7.5 to 8.0 after a day. Not to bad I thought but....
Neale pointed out that the gravel might contain some lime which would also raise the
hardness and I could do a simple vinegar test to find out. Well I went home for
lunch and did the vinegar test and sure enough I got bubbles.
OK now the questions.
Is it possible (and worth the effort) to remove the lime somehow?
More about my setup. I have a "water conditioner" (resin kind flushed with saltwater
I haven't tested to see if the hardness changes much and will do so tonight
(with tap and "soft" water).
I plan on doing some sort of DIY CO2 but have a hard time paying $270 for a pH
controller when a pH monitor is only $100. I was thinking of just buying the
monitor and gutting it to make a controller. Has anyone done this?
(I'm not a EE but can use a logic probe and so on to find what I need, I think. I'm
guessing I'll find an op amp or such that corresponds to the pH in a pretty flat
Anyway I can somewhat adjust the hardness of my water (going into the tank)
within the 2-18 DH (maybe kh) range so with the CO2 I could lower my pH to
a reasonable range. So again is the lime considered bad?
Last 2 questions I promise (for today at least).
I'll be needed to order most of the plants since local stores don't carry many.
I've received some suggesting for plants but would like names and phone numbers
of a good place to get plants from. The ideal situation for me would be if I could
call someone and tell them I have 48" x 18" to plant and have them tell me what
will be good for a new tank (and new plant owner) and how many of each I need
and they could knock me out if they shipped an "arrangement plan" included.
Does any place like this exists?
If not where is a good place to get a decent quantity of plants?
I know you're thinking I'll soon ask if someone can come to my place
and make my tanks look like Takashi Amano owned it. Well the 2002
Olympics are coming here do you think Takashi will come? :)
Thanks all again,
dgriffes at coresoft_com