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RE: limestone sand

Bill Hamlin recently asked:

>I have read the comment, "test the sand by dropping it in vinegar", many
>times in many locations.  Wouldn't this just indicate the presence of
>limestone?  And if so, with so many people adding calcium supplements,
>would this not be one way of achieving this?  The "test" and the
>comments that surround it, seem to be a blanket prohibition on 'fizzy'

There is a vast difference between an entire substrate made of limestone
bearing gravel and the addition of the occassional CaCO3 tablet. The latter
leaves the aquarist in control of the water hardness, the former can lead to
"liquid rock". I grew up in eastern Nova Scotia, where there is a lot of
limestone, chalk and gypsum. Before I knew any different, I used the
limestone rocks in a lot of my aquariums (they can be very beautifully
coloured). Very few plants did really well in these tanks, although there
were some which thrived. (Sagittaria sp., Elodea sp., Ceratopteris sp.,
Cryptocoryne cordata are the ones which I remember as growing best for me.)

James Purchase