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Gravel for Clowns

Posted By: Mr Leadfoot <leadfoot@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Friday, 26 April 2002, at 3:43 p.m.

Unkowingly, I used the standard (if there is such a thing) gravel when initially setting up my tank. You know, the smaller size colored gravel that can be had at Wal-Mart. This type of gravel seems quite rough in texture.

Since then, I've heard that clowns and other bottom feeders like a smoother substrate, and do better with rounded rocks because of their skin and barbels. Is this true?

The reason for my concern is that my fish don't seem to do much burrowing or digging, even to get at the food that sometimes goes into the gravel, and I'm wondering if it's because the texture is too rough on them and their barbels. I've also noticed that the local LFSes keep a smoother textured gravel in their tanks, and I've seen fish burrowing; even the ones I got burrowed at the LFS, but don't do any burrowing in my tank.

While I can see that the rougher texture and small size of the gravel I have is probably better for filtering (since small and rough probably catches the debris better, and probably is a better nesting ground for bacteria), should I add a top layer of a more rounded gravel? Or, am I wrong in my filtering/bacetria theory, and should I replace the gravel altogether? (Of course, I'd do this one section at a time so as not to upset the bacteria colonies.)

If so, would it be better to have small gravel, or medium sized? In other words, would a larger size make it more difficult for them to dig up?

Also, does color matter? I have "striped" my tank gravel in thirds, using 3 different colors, purple, blue and mint green, because my kids liked the colors, and this tank was originally acquired for them (can any of you relate?). Now, I noticed that that I can see debris and algae quire easily with these colors. But, I've seen some really cool colors at these LFSes I;ve been going to. Black, smooth, rounded gravel, blues, naturals, dark reds, etc. Over time, will it be better to have a darker color that camouflages the debris and algae, or is better for me to be able to see the stuff?

Thanks, again...and again! :-)


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