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silica sand

Andrew Knechtel wrote:
> Morning Bill
> The links worked perfectly,  and I've shown a few friends of mine what a
> tank with non-plastic plants looks like!
> I got home last night and discovered that my plants were alive, but the
> fish had developed a bad case of ICK.  It's amazing at how fast it set
> in, as they were fine in the morning.
> I am also trying to figure out where it came from, as I haven't added any
> fish to the tank in close to a month.  Anyway, I am using Tetra
> Contra-Ich, which I am told works well, and won't harm the plants, or
> biological filter, as it contains no anti-biotics.  I've removed the
> carbon insert from the Aqua-Clear for the time being, and am just waiting
> it out now.
> On another subject, is the silica sand that you used in your tank, the
> same sand used in swimming pool filters?  If it works out for you, I may
> try the same type of setup in a third tank I want to set up, I am just a
> little worried about seepage from the topsoil under it.  (I'll let you be
> the guinea pig!)
> see you later
> Andy

Ick is a real problem because it can remain dormant in a tank for years.
It can also be present in the water that comes with plants. The only
true way around this is to quarantine plants and fish for an extended
period of time. It's weird stuff I've had outbreaks that affect certain
fish species and not others in the same tank. I have noticed that after
outbreaks if I pay very close attention to water quality and nutrition,
the fish seem to develop an immunity and the outbreak stops. I have no
scientific data just observations for this.
The silica sand is from Menard's (our local discount superwarehouse, we
carry everything lumberyard.) It was $3-4 per 100lb. bag and one bag was
more than enough for a 70gal to a depth of about two inches.
I'll tell you right now with two inches of silica sand there is
absolutely no leakage. Even when I plant the plants the sand fall downs
around my finger as I push them in and no soil is realeased. It works
100% better than I expected! Another caution though, I would experiment
with a minimum amount of sand to seal in the dirt. Some crown plants can
not be buried to deep and won't reach the soil. There roots may
eventually grow down to it but you may wnat to use less than two inches
of sand. I'm pretty sure 1 to 1.5 inches will work just as well.