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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the planning stage for my first cichlid tank (75 gal)
I have been pricing fish and they add up quick, so I am looking to reduce the price of setup, but still do it in a way that will be healthy for the fish.
I want a white substrate, but am afraid it will eventually not be white and look bad. I thought about mixing in 5 lbs. of black sand.
Here is what I am thinking about.
50 lbs. white pool sand for $6.00
50 lbs. crushed Oyster Shell for $11.00

The Oyster Shell is not pure white and varied in shade, so if I mix it with sand it should hide being dingy between cleaning.
Also, Oyster Shell should help raise my pH (I think)
Has anybody tried this?
 

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Pool filter sand is not pure white...it is "sand" colored or beige. If your filters are strong enough and you have algae under control, there should not be debris or discoloration. I would not mix material with a different grain size as the sizes separate over time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That was a concern of mine also. The fines tend to work their way to the bottom and the larger agrigate will remaim on the surface. I don't see that as a problem. I could just get two 50 lb. bags of crushed oyster shells. The source for the oyster shells is Tractor Supply, by the way. I buy it for my chickens to scratch through. It makes harder egg shells.
Anybody have positive feedback for what I an thinking about doing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Any comments on using crushed oyster shells as substrate?
$22 for 100 lbs. is a good price to help me start it up.
 

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johnnymax said:
Any comments on using crushed oyster shells as substrate?
$22 for 100 lbs. is a good price to help me start it up.
I used it at first in my 180gal and thought it was a terrible substrate and managed to get most of it out and replaced it with sand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Okay, I want it to help with the pH. I am building a sponge filter that will go through bio media. I was thinking I could run it through oyster shells, bio media and charcoal.
Why exactly did you not like the crushed oyster shells, where did you purchase it and how fine was it crushed? Do you have any pictures of it in your tank?
 

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I do not find substrate helps with pH although I originally bought my aragonite with that goal. 10 years with the aragonite and pH is the same from tap and in tank.

If you want it just in case it might help, put it in the media baskets of your filters where at least the constant flow of water has a chance to dissolve it fast enough to make an impact.

Also the fish like to filter the sand through their gills, so a finer substrate allows you to observe more natural behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
DJRansome said:
Also the fish like to filter the sand through their gills, so a finer substrate allows you to observe more natural behavior.
Thanks
 

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johnnymax said:
Okay, I want it to help with the pH. I am building a sponge filter that will go through bio media. I was thinking I could run it through oyster shells, bio media and charcoal.
Why exactly did you not like the crushed oyster shells, where did you purchase it and how fine was it crushed? Do you have any pictures of it in your tank?
It really doesn't help with increasing the water pH. Also, loads of food and fish waste sunk down and became trapped in it instead of going into the filter where it should go. I purchased it from my local pet store. No pics, sorry.

Sand is the best since the excess food and waste stays on top until breaking down enough to go into the filter. Africans also love it and either sift for food or play with it/move it around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
ken31cay said:
...It really doesn't help with increasing the water pH. Also, loads of food and fish waste sunk down and became trapped in it instead of going into the filter where it should go. I purchased it from my local pet store. ...
I have a question about the crushed oyster shells you used. How fine were they crushed?
I ask this, because crushed oyster shell for chickens it crushed fine to about the size of aquarium gravel.
It would require a lot of rinsing to get the fines out.
 

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johnnymax said:
ken31cay said:
...It really doesn't help with increasing the water pH. Also, loads of food and fish waste sunk down and became trapped in it instead of going into the filter where it should go. I purchased it from my local pet store. ...
I have a question about the crushed oyster shells you used. How fine were they crushed?
I ask this, because crushed oyster shell for chickens it crushed fine to about the size of aquarium gravel.
It would require a lot of rinsing to get the fines out.
IIRC the average was around 1/16", with the smallest being like a large sand grain and the largest being 1/2".
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I found a pool place that has pool filter sand. $12 for 50 lbs. I think that will be the best choice to start. Now I am hunting for simple stuff to hardscape it. There are no natural rocks available to just pick up, so I either need to drive a long way, or buy them. I found small flag stone pavers at home depot $6 and clay pots of course. I was going to put wood in it, but the fish I have decided to start with will mess everything up, so I will start with rocks and pots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I decided to go with the crushed pellet size oyster shell. It was $21 for 100 lbs. The size is consistent. I figured since I am getting Mozambisque Tilapia, they would blow the sand everywhere and they would slowly eat it and I would eventually need more sand. I did not like the pool sand at all. I may use it in a grow out tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I ended up using 50 lbs of crushed oyster shell and coral I bout from Tractor Supply for $11
I am putting together a sock filter to day, but the water id pretty clear considering. I rinsed and rinsed.

20190618_055437-1024x576.jpg
 

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DJRansome said:
Pool filter sand is not pure white...it is "sand" colored or beige. If your filters are strong enough and you have algae under control, there should not be debris or discoloration. I would not mix material with a different grain size as the sizes separate over time.
Some pool filter sand is pure white, some isn't.
 

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Cool, I have never seen any that is pure white. Thanks!

In your area, do you have a variety to choose from?

Here IME they give you a bag of pool filter sand and no color choices.
 
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