I like to use crushed Coral/Argonite because it makes life a lot easier on PH I have a 90 gallon tank I put in 4 bags of argonite 2 bags of super fine white sand I havent checked my PH since
(J/K but everytime I have it has been 7.8 - 8.0 right where I want it for my africans). Coral acts as a buffer so you dont have to worry about always adding PHup
This really depends on what your PH out of the tap is I would say. If your tap is at the the level that your fish need, then I wouldn't really see a need for the coral bottom, but if you have a low PH, I can see the need for it. I just personally like the look of sand more and my PH out of the tap is 7.5, but with the Holey rock, that ups it to where it needs to be.
Don't worry , sometimes it takes two days before it's completely clear.
Little by little that silt will come out when you do a gravel cleaning.
If you must have it clear as soon as possible, go to the store and get one of those plastic bushel baskets . (which you can use for other things when you are done.)
Then put your crushed coral out of the bag,into the basket. (do this outside)
Then turn on your garden hose, and dig the end down to the bottom of the basket in a number of places for a minute at a time.
You will see the water run over the top of the basket looking like milk.
When the water runs clear in all places around the basket, spill out as much extra water as you can, and scoop the crushed coral into your tank.
You will now have almost clear water after you fill your tank, and whats not clear will be after only a few hours.
I have crushed coral in my 180 gal. IMO it looks alot better and is alot easier to clean. I don't ever have to worry about my PH level also. Crushed coral has alot more advantages than sand IMO. :thumb:
I spent way too much time looking for sand just a few weeks ago. I actually bought sand, cleaned it, put it in the tank then decided I didn't like it , took it out, bought new sand and started all over again. One problem I discovered is that sand supply is different depending on what region you live in. So if someone bought sand A and you go and buy sand A it may not be the same. Also, sand has its own terminology that can be confusing at first. What I ended up doing was going to a landscaping center and they actually had sample bags of their different sand. That really helped because its hard to know what you want when you don't have anything to compare it too. I don't have any pictures yet, but the sand I first bought was a quickrete 30mesh sand (I got it at lowes). Sand mesh refers to the grain size - the larger the mesh the finer the sane. This was the sand I ended up removing because it was so fine. In the past I have used the quickrete play sand (also at lowes) and I like that but it does not have a uniform grain size, and the color of the sand is more variable (it tends to look a little darker than most). The sand I ended up with was sand blasting sand which is 16mesh sand. That grain size is a good size for a tank with pumps and filters. It is not easy to stir up and when it does it falls right down.
I poured my crushed coral into a big rubbermaid 1 bag at a time after learning how heavy wet sand gets. I put the rubbermaid into the bath and cranked the hot water, then i stired it with my hand untill it was cloudy white i led the water keep running untill it overflowed then i just stired it occationally for about 60 mins or untill the water is cloudy but you can see the coral at the bottom and stiring it didnt make it cloudier. Then moved on to the next bag I put it all in and my eheim 2217 had my 90 gallon crystal clear in around 24 hours. Just for water flows sake I changed my blue and white filters about a week later No problems. IMO Crushed Coral/Argonite is the way to go and if you want you could always add in a different white sand to cut down on cost
I must have gotten really good crushed coral as my water was crystal clear within an hour of putting it in and that was with my water and fish still in the tank and I poured it straight from the bag into the tank.