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Gravel + milky water

I've had this problem a couple of times, using "Island" brand epoxy-coated
gravel (and one other brand I can't remember).  Put it in the tank after a 
few good rinses, and an hour or two later returned to find the whole tank 
milky-white, with the power filter churning up foamy bubbles in large 
quantities on the surface.  Lost a golden angelfish.  :-(

Solution: break down entire tank and clean very well, then set up with
different gravel.

Maybe some gravel gets contaminated w/ lime or soap during the 
manufacture process.  Just because one bag of brand X is fine, doesn't
mean the next won't be contaminated.  If I'd known what to look for
while washing the gravel, I could have avoided the problem: small bubbles
of foam floating on the surface of the water after rinsing, that don't
disappear after a few seconds.  I didn't get many bubbles while washing,
but once the stuff was in my tank the filter action made it really 
obvious.  It looked like someone had poured in dishwashing detergent.
The pH also shot up through the roof.  

Don't bother trying to get rid of the stuff w/ water changes - I ended
up washing the gravel about 10 times, using tons of water, but it 
never stopped producing the foam.

I now buy my gravel in smaller quantities (10 lb bags) and test each
bag separately.   I'd be interested to know if anyone else has run into
this gunk, because when it happened to me I searched all over the web
and Dejanews but found no similar stories.

Incidentally, one of my tanks still uses Island brand gravel (not the
foamy batch) and has been fine for months.  So they're not all bad...


> Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 09:38:26 -0700
> From: "G.Tong" <gtong at sirius_com>
> Subject: Seachem Fluorite gravel

> A friend's aquatic plant tanks developed milky white water, slick too
> overnight. He's trying to track down the cause and can't find anything
> unusual--that is nothing that others on the list haven't done--except for
> his use of Seachem Fluorite gravel.