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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am planning on using a gravel mixture for my Malawi tank, so I want to stay away from sand if I can, but what should I use? I have a 70 gal tank and was thinking about using black or a darker colored medium, but with so many products out there, i do not know what direction to go. Any suggestions? How much would I need to buy? Thanks for helping this noob...
 

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How come you don't want to use sand? Cichlids like to dig, and Haps and Peacocks like to sift through it for food.

For how much you should buy, you need about 1-2 inches of substrate. For normal sized aquariums (not extra tall ones), that works out to close to a pound per gallon. There's a calculator in our library that will tell you how much you need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I guess i am not opposed to sand, just thought it was more prominent in other lakes rather than Malawi. Any product or gravel/sand type suggestions? Thanks
 

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the cichlid sand works out well. the stuff with small tiny shells and such in it. itll buffer the water still provide the sifting action thats so interesting to watch and still will have some chunk to it to appease ur gravel need.. lolz most stores will carry it. could call ur lfs and ask what substrates they carry (if they dont have the specific brand u like u could ask em to order it)
 

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I use crushed coral in my 55g. My labs move it all over. While I agree, the sand looks more natural (and I might eventually switch to it), it won't prevent them from molding the bottom :) Of course, you'd probably get more interesting shapes with sand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
After looking more into it, I think I will use pool filter sand mixed with some Aragonite. What would the mixture ratio be? I was leaning towards a CaribSea black mixture at first, just recently changed my mind. Good idea or not?
 

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The choice is up to you. What do you want it to look like? I'd start with a cup of each and see what proportion you liked better.

Personally, I'd ditch the argonite and go straight PFS. I love the way it looks in my 75. It will save you some money too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I thought that the Aragonite would help keep my water slightly harder? I do have hard water where I live, will measure tonight, but also was under the impression that the Aragonite would promote healthy bacterial growth better than just PFS. Wrong?
 

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It will keep it harder, but it's effects are strongly overrated and not required. If you're worried about keeping your hardness up, look at the buffer recipe in the library. 50lb of PFS won't be more than $10 while aragonite could be close to $20 for 20lb. That would be liken $80 savings.

Another little tip for you when buying stuff- anything whose equilivant can be bought somewhere other than a pet store (vinyl tubing for filter intakes and returns namely), will always be cheaper. Pot scrubbers for mechanical/bio filtration are a dime a dozen compared to bioballs. Nylon based pillow stuffing at walmart is like $4 for 50 square feet and makes great media as well.

Good luck and I can't wait to see the finished product!
 
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