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Re: pool filter sand = out of luck???

> Date: Mon, 6 Dec 1999 16:50:00 -0800 (PST)
> From: samm <wmaster26 at yahoo_com>
> Subject: pool filter sand = out of luck???
> In my failure to locate any 2-3mm gravel (not for the
> LFS price of $2.50/5lb) I have moved down (not to
> offend anyone using this setup) to my next choice
> which seems to be sand.  The sand that I have located
> so far (is silica sand) and is about 1-2mm (#16) but I
> would prefer larger which I have been led to believe
> can be achieved by pool filter sand???  I would like
> to get peoples experinces/views/recommendations
> regarding the pool filter sand.

It is usually finer, I think. More like #30 (30 wires-holes/inch) as I

> can it be found at the local hardware store (eg. Home
> Depot)?

No. Pool Supply stores.

> what brands have people had success with/are happy
> with? (please be specific)
> doesn't it tend to compact and not allow mulm to go
> through?  will it cause rotting roots?  This
> compaction issue is one of my MAIN concerns!

If you use fine sand, it *will* compact unless you have trumpet snails or
burrowing catfish, like Banjoes. If used in a regular UGF setup it will also
fall through the slots and pack up underneath, too, unless you cover the
plates with filter pads or fiberglass matting of some kind. The object of
the filter is to trap, not pass, the "mulm" so it can be organically altered
and used up by the plants.

> This sand is also silica sand? and so would it still
> contribute to an algae bloom?

What, pray tell, does silica have to do with algae bloom? Silica is about
the *most* inert substance you are likely to put in an aquarium. It
dissolves even less than the glass!

> is there a # system to be concerned with? or pretty
> much standard?

Mesh numbers were explained above.

> any other recommendation/advice/info is greately
> appreciated!

Ideal aquarium gravel, IMHO, has two numbers. Everything above the larger
mesh and everything smaller than the finer mesh (larger number) has been
> samm
> Los Angeles

Thanks for including your location. You can't get Tex-Blast there, probably,
but you can easily get RMC Lonestar "Lapis Lustre" SAND (sic), Coarse
Aquarium Gravel. It comes in 100 lb bags for about $8 at any
landscape/builder's supply center. [That's the stuff your lfs is getting
$2.50/5lb for. (^_^)] It doesn't have a mesh marking, but I think it is
about 16-12 or so.

It's pretty, but does contain enough beach-shell fragments to harden the
water a bit if yours is soft and acid. If it does, it's a boon to your
plants, who need the extra calcium. It will be no problem in the LA basin
unless you try to use RO or de-ionized water. It defeats the purpose of
doing them.

Farther north (but not the bay area :-( ) and in Reno, one can get the
less-pretty, but more inert, gravel from Silica Resources, Inc. Same places
and about the same prices. Ask for SRI aquarium gravel.


Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679  huntleyone at home dot com

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