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Re- sand or gravel

>Hi all,
>        I have a question concerning a new tank set up.  Should I cover my
>laterite substrate (Thiel Aqua Tech) with sand (#16 sandblasting grit) or
>just aquarium gravel?  I have heard that gravel may aid in preventing
>compaction, but I've also heard others reccommend sand.  Any ideas?  >Thanks
in advance!!
>B.J. Smith

I used TAT (Thiel Aqua Tech) laterite in a 50 gal. tank that I set up
recently. I used aquarium store uncoated fine natural gravel of about 2 mm
particle size, at a depth of about 3.5 inches, with the laterite mixed in the
lower third of the gravel. This gravel size has worked quite well. One
recommendation that I have seen for the use of finer sand in the upper level
is to "seal" in the substrate additives that one may be using, such as soil,
peat, etc., so that they are less likely to enter the water column. With the
TAT laterite and the 2 mm gravel, I had almost no clouding of the water after
initial setup and planting, and whatever clouding there was disappeared by the
next day.

BTW: wear a latex glove while mixing in the laterite or you'll be wearing a
red hand for a few days :)