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Substrates for loaches, revisited

Posted By: Iris <Iris6@aol.com>
Date: Tuesday, 2 May 2000, at 11:27 p.m.

Hello all!

As some of you know, I was considering sand as all or part of the substrate for the big loach tank. I understand that play sand, while clean, sterilized, and soft, is too fine and gets into the water easily when the fish stir it up - and it looks like the devil to vacuum, too.

Builder's sand was recommended as being clean, cheap, and not so fine that it would cause problems. Well, I checked out builder's sand the other day, and it seems so sharp that I wonder if it is suitable for loaches (or other "barbelled" fish) - small-size gravel seems much more smooth and easy on barbels. Any comments? Am I checking out the wrong stuff?

I also have been looking at fluorite (to mix with gravel) because it is supposed to be good for plants. I usually use laterite, but don't want to put laterite in a loach tank because I figure the loaches will just dig it out and stir it up. I have never used fluorite before. The description claims it does not affect pH - although I seem to have read (here?) that some people think it makes their pH more acid. Now, I don't mind this, because all the fish I keep enjoy slightly acid water (loaches, discus, tetras, etc.) Any experiences people want to share?

The BIG TANK did arrive a couple of weeks ago, I've just been so busy I haven't had the chance to start playing with it, but soon I will...



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