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Page 2 about
Aquarium Gravel
     
This page contains Customer Comments and our Replies about Aquarium Gravel. Click here to go back to the previous page in this discussion about Aquarium Gravel.
 
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Click here to hear a Special Interview on Pet Fish Talk about the EcoBio-Block Family of Products, which are very effective at keeping aquarium water clear.
 
     

Customer Comments

 
Hi, this is a question about cultured gravel. In your website, it says that cultured gravel is in any well-established aquarium, does that mean that cultured gravel is just normal gravel that has been in a healthy tank a long time, or do you have to buy cultured gravel from the start?
 
Also, do you know a web site where I can order cultured gravel without having to buy an entire fish bowl kit?
 
Thanks.
Anonymous
 
P.S. Perhaps you should post this on your website in the gravel section, because I assume others are thinking the same ... also in the past week I have read about every page of your web site and it's the best site on the net, and it would be cool to have contributed to it.
 
 
 
Reply. Hello. Yes that's right. Cultured Gravel is normal Aquarium Gravel that has been in a healthy well-established aquarium, fish bowl, or pond long enough for the beneficial bacteria to grow and become established on the pieces of gravel.

You should buy gravel that is specifically labeled for use in aquariums, fish bowls, and ponds. Put a layer of gravel about 1/4" deep on the bottom of your fish bowl. Beneficial bacteria will grow and eventually cover these pieces of gravel. But it will take from three weeks to several months for your new gravel to become cultured gravel.

It is much better to get cultured gravel that is already covered with beneficial bacteria rather than waiting weeks for new gravel to become cultured gravel.

 
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I don't know where you can buy cultured gravel. I have often seen good fish stores put a handful of cultured gravel from a healthy aquarium into a bag and give it to a customer. You might ask a local store for a handful of gravel from one of their aquariums. If that doesn't work, offer to pay for it.

Thank you for your complimentary comment. We are glad to know that you are making good use of the information in this web site.

 
 

Customer Comments

 
How can I keep the plants in my aquarium from floating to the top, if I only have 1/4" of gravel.
 
 
 
Reply. There are two ways. First, for a long time live plants have been sold with a metallic lead band around the bottom of each plant. These heavy lead bands weigh the plants down and cause the plants to sink. You may be able to buy these lead bands in a pet store.

But lead is a heavy metal and can be poisonous. This is especially a problem in an aquarium with water that has a very low pH. Most aquariums in the U.S. have water with a high pH, so I'm told that the lead will not dissolve and cause problems. But lead kind of worries me, so I try to avoid it.

The second method is to put each plant in a small pot and carefully fill the pot with gravel. This method works well with both plastic plants and with live plants. When you need to  move a live plant, you don't have to uproot it.

 
 
Terra Cotta Pot containing gravel and four young aponogeton plants in Tom's Aquarium.  

This Terra Cotta Pot
contains aquarium gravel and four young Aponogeton plants. A 3" Black Moor Goldfish swims just above the pot. This aquarium has no gravel on the bottom. Just gravel in the pot for the plant.

 
 
But you must be cautious about where you get the pots. Generally, I recommend that you buy items that are labeled for use in aquariums. Otherwise, you may contaminate the water in your aquarium. But I haven't seen pots for sale that are labeled for use in aquariums.

I recommend you buy new small terra cotta or plastic pots. Examine them carefully to be sure they don't have anything stuck on them, then take the pots home and rinse them thoroughly with hot water before you use them in your aquarium.

We have been using pots like these for many years, and so far we haven't had any problems with them contaminating our aquariums, but still I'd rather use pots that are labeled for use in aquariums. I just can't find them, but I have heard that there are commercial items made and labeled to contain aquarium plants.

 
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Customer Comments

 
Gentlemen:
 
I am starting up a new 40 gallon acrylic tank. As you recommend, I am
adding only 1/4" of gravel. My question is...how to I get the live
plants anchored in so little gravel? I read your ideas about anchoring
plastic plants, but that won't work for live plants. How do I do this?
If I use small pots, the pots will be exposed and will look unnatural.
HELP!!!
 
Thanks,
Bruce R.
 
 
 
Reply. Hello Bruce. I recommend that you get some ornaments that are labeled for use in aquarium, and stack those ornaments around the pots.
 
The ornaments could be real rocks or plastic ornaments in the shape of rocks or driftwood. 
 
 

Customer Comments

 
Hi its me again. I just wanted to know how to get the fish bowl kits. I would like some cultered gravel for my Aquarium instead of the fish bowl. It says on your web site that the cultered gravel clears cloudy water. It would be great to get this.
 
Thanks
Jordan
 
 
 
Reply. Hello again Jordan. The best way to get cultured gravel is from an aquarium that's been running for a while with gravel and healthy fish. Maybe from another one of your aquariums, or from a friend's aquarium, or from an aquarium in a fish store.

Cultured gravel is very important in a fish bowl that does not have a filter, but an aquarium with a BIO-Wheel filter does not need gravel. In fact fish in aquariums without any gravel are usually healthier than fish in aquariums with gravel. Click here for more information about BIO-Wheels.

Cloudy water in your aquarium is a very serious threat to your fish's health. Click here for information about how to eliminate Cloudy Water from your aquarium.

Click here for information about how to clean gravel with a gravel cleaner.

 
 

Customer Comments

 
I enjoy your web page and have learned alot about fish. I am setting up my aquarium and have used sand instead of gravel on the bottom. I let it sit now for two weeks with the filter and the heater running (with no fish). I noticed that the water is a little cloudy. Is this because there is sand in the bottom or another reason? It is not near a window or any direct sunlight.
 
Thanks for your help
Kathy
St. Paul, MN
 
 
 
Reply. Hello Kathy. We would strongly recommend against using sand in your aquarium instead of gravel.

The first clue is that I've never seen sand for sale in a fish store. Since they don't sell it, you probably should not use it.

Why not? Because the sand is too small and traps lots particles of fish waste and uneaten food. Sand will be much more difficult to keep clean and will probably contaminate the water in your aquarium.

 
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Customer Comments

 
I am establishing a Malawi Cichlid tank and have hit upon an appealing way to anchor silk and/or plastic plants in the thin gravel layer.
 
I don't know if it is an original idea or not but it looks great. I first remove them from the usually ugly bases they come on. On wax paper, put down a layer of silicone about an eighth inch thick and about 1 1/2 square.
 
On this place three or four strips of the metal plant weights and cover with another layer of silicone. When set you can punch holes in the silicone and inset and arrange the plant any way you want.
 
If you carefully put another layer of silicone on top around the plant stalks it will anchor the plants and allow you to cover the whole thing with the gravel you are using which will stick to the silicone.
 
Snip off the protruding stalks underneath and seal with silicone and you are all set.
 
I commend and thank you for a fantastic web site---
 
Peter
 
 
Reply. Hello Peter. Thank you for the details about your idea, and thank you for your complimentary comment.
 
 
Links to more information about Aquarium Equipment on other pages in this web site.

     Aquariums, Aquarium Stands, and Covers
  
  Aquarium Heaters and Thermometers
  
  Aquarium Filters and BIO-Wheels
  
  Gravel Washers and Cleaning Gravel
  
  Aquarium Ornaments
  
  Aquarium Air Pumps and Accessories
  
  Aquarium Lights and Lighting Fixtures
  
  Where to Buy Aquarium Supplies?

 
 
Click here to go on to another page in this web site with Customer Comments and our Replies about Aquarium Gravel.
 
5 Important Aquarium Products

For excellent health, pet fish need very good food and very good water conditions. These five products are very important.

 
Premium Fish Food Flakes
Premium Fish Food Pellets
DrTim's Water Conditioner
DrTim's WasteAway
Denitrifying Lava Rocks
 
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