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Re: acquiring sand/gravel

>From: Janina <paaschjc at miamiu_acs.muohio.edu>

Can anybody share where they
>acquire coarse sand/gravel for a planted tank. I live in southern Ohio, if
>that is relevant.

I get my coarse sand from a Sand and Gravel place. I found one place that
gets it stuff from local rivers. It is not as dark as I would prefer, but
is better than the light quartz that used to be available from aquarium
shops. It seems that now the only "natural" gravel we now see in the shops
in Raleigh comes in 10 lb bags, is coated and is too coarse for my taste.
Each area of the country generally sells what is locally available. The
most common gravel we still see is the ugly white quartz. It was the first
gravel that I ever used....not knowing that I could find safe to use gravel
at the sand and gravel place. The bottom was so bright that I had to give
my fish sun glasses and that was with one bulb over the tank!  By the way,
I used to buy my rocks in the pet shop too. Imagine... paying 25 or 50
cents a pound for rocks!! It wasnit until bob Goldstein told me aroung 1980
that he got his from the back yard that I started to doubt much of the
traditional wisdom and realized you can put most things in the tank without
creating problems for the fauna and flora.

We also used to see a nice gravel in 50 lb sacks called red flint. It had a
nice blend of reds and brown grains and was a perfect 1-2 mm in diameter
for planted tanks. Some of the grains were magnetic, so who knows, maybe it
was also a source of iron. Because it does not originate from the mid
Atlantic States, rising freight costs no longer make it profitable for the
shops. Around 1990, I tried to get some shipped in ... I discovered a
dealer in the midwest -- Ohio, I think -- who would sell me a 50 lb bag for
$3 ea. However, I  would need to buy a pallet to make the shipped price per
bag to be affordable! At the time, no one here besides me was
interested..there were very few people interested in growing plants... but
now, I think I can easily convice our local shops to carry it. A retail
price of $15 per bag would be very fair.
Since you are from Ohio, I bet you can find some for less than $4. Contact
the buiding supply places and ask for coarse sand or sandblasting sand.  If
you do find it, please email me off line with an address. I want to provide
the local shops with a supplier.