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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #655

Wright wrote: 

You are right about the Lapis Lustre, Eric. I go ahead and use it, just 
making water changes more often for the first few months. The shell 
chips seem to "coat" or something and drop in solubility after a while. 
Pool acid treatment accelerates that process. I avoid using it in very 
soft acid tanks. It is about $8 for a 100lb bag at Lyngso in Redwood 

Basalite, in Sacramento, distributes truly inert gravels (water-washed
granite) from Silica Resources, Inc. in Yuba City. I know Home Depot
gets other products from them, so maybe they could special order a few
hundred pounds. I doubt if they could afford to for small amounts...


Well, we have group buys of SAEs...<grin>. I'll have to talk to the 
gardening people at Home Depot, though they've never been able to 
special order anything for me. Much thanks to all for the responses 
(both off and on list) to my query. RMC Lonestar seems to have a 
stranglehold on the 1-3mm sandblasting sand in the greater Bay Area! 
Every major rock quarry I've been to carries Lonestar's shell-ridden 
Lapis Lustre. Of course, many LFS sell the stuff by the pound, despite 
the fact that it isn't inert. I noticed this years ago, but now I know 
who's supplying the stuff.  

I do have a question on the grain sizes however. For those of you who 
have seen the #4 Lapis Lustre, I grabbed a sample of their #3 
Lapis...imho it is still large enough to be used effectively in planted 
aquaria. It seems to be an excellent size for use with smaller 
"foregrounders"...particularly glosso, though not so fine that it has 
the potential to compact (rising hardness aside, as recent observations 
from APD posters seems to suggest that the plant often flourishes in 
soft water). Any opinions on this smaller grain size? The small white 
fragments of shell are still evident. 

Wright, you noted that the shell fragments seem to lose buffering 
effectiveness after a time...I haven't been so lucky. A ten gallon tank 
which contains #4 Lapis--shell and all--has been up for a year and 
unfortunately the hardness and pH (minus CO2 injection) still rise. I 
wonder if perhaps the smaller grained #3 shell particles would erode 
away or "weather" more quickly than the #4? Erm, maybe I'll continue my 
search <grin>. I'd really prefer not to use the Lapis with my discus 
pair if at all possible, but I have to admit it is *somewhat* 
do-able--the very frequent water changing would alleviate the rising 
hardness to some extent (and with the hopes that the stuff would cease 
to buffer after awhile). CO2 injection would control the rising pH. 
There don't seem to be many alternatives though when it comes to these 
gravel sizes. One of the (few) downsides to living in the Bay Area I 
suppose. Even the ultra-expensive epoxy-coated gravel sold for the hobby 
is not small enough. I wonder what Steve Dixon used in his 60" tank? 

Erik Leung
Wandering aimlessly in search of an inert, fine substrate in S.F. 

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