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shells in gravel

In my opinion, there is far too much concern regarding
shells (calcium carbonate) found in the aquarium
gravel often found for sale, at least in the west.

When I last set up a new tank, I looked long and hard
for shell-less gravel to no avail.  I gave up and am
using the 2-3mm gravel available at the LFS that has
shells in it with no ill effects with R/O water and CO2

My carbonate hardness (KH), which I test regularly,
tests at between 2-4ppm; I sometimes need to add
sodium bicarbonate, but not often.  GH is pretty
steady at 3ppm, which is really soft, so I add R/O
Right and sometimes epsom salts and calcium

If I had shell-less gravel, I would find it necessary to
add more baking soda or other carbonate compound
to buffer the system.
It's just not the big headache it's made out to be.  The
only caveat is that maybe the amount of shells in the
gravel offered for sale varies from place to place.

Roxanne Bittman

Please note new email address:

Roxanne Bittman, Botanist
Natural Diversity Database
CA Dept. of Fish and Game
1220 S Street
Sacramento, CA  95814
Phone:  (916) 323-8970
Fax:       (916) 324-0475
Internet:  rbittman at hq_dfg.ca.gov