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Hello Friends,

I'm Setting up a New Tank for Cichlids ( Malawi ). I prefer to use Aragonite Sand as Bottom.
Have any of you used Seachem Pearl Beach or any other Branded Aragonite. Kindly Advice

Thank You
 

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Nope.
And, though people use the stuff and swear by it. I personally believe it is over-rated.
Why?
Because in the traditional, Mbuna-based African Cichlid (over) stocked aquarium, Undesirable Nitrates will build up much faster than any of the desirable, dissolved solids from your substrate. That is, the water turnover (Nitrate dilution)in required, high-percentage water changes will just simply eliminate most (if not all) of the supposed water hardening benefits produced by the slowly dissolving Aragonite substrate.
And get this.... it gets worse. This happens when bio-slime eventually coats the grains of your substrate, greatly reducing the substrate sand grain's chemical interaction with the water of your aquarium. This reduces the supposed water hardening effects of your (rather expensive?) Aragonite-based substrate even further.
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My recommendation?
Just use Pool Filtration Sand for the substrate in your aquarium. It looks natural. Won't pack down too hard over time, and helps to keep things clean in the aquarium by keeping waste products above the substrate where they can be easily removed. :)
 

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Auballagh, thank you for including your reasoning! I find that there are some things which will get you a dogmatic response around here with very little by way of backup explanation or logic. The PFS vs. Aragonite question is one of those. About a year ago, I asked, basically, all else being equal, and cost not being a factor, why would you use PFS over aragonite. Frankly the answer I got was dogmatic, terse, and in no way helpful. I then ordered $400 worth of aragonite, primarily as a flex. Like building a diamond beacon in survival...

But because I haven't written a diatribe in a while, here goes.

1. On aragonite's buffering capacity: As Auballagh says, if you're doing any type of significant water changes, like 50% weekly, you're going to never get the benefit out of the aragonite. That is, you will not see major changes to the water chemistry much different than the water you're putting in. If you need to buffer, use salts, and make your own. However, it's almost certain that you do not need to unless you've got crazy atypical tap water.
2. Bio-slime is an interesting idea I had not thought of, though I question whether a significant amount would be able to build up due to the fish constantly sifting the sand.
3. size - PFS is going to get your fish to gill-sift more. My sand it slightly larger so it doesn't blow around in high flow, and the fish mostly pick it up and spit it out and do not gill sift.
4. because they do this, it stays clean, so I find that argument that many people use against aragonite to be moot.
5. Abrasion - pool filter sand is almost always silica. It is very hard and will be way more abrasive on pumps and equipment if it blows around in the water column. Aragonite is very soft and won't damage pumps as much.
6. What do you like? We liked the creamy white color of aragonite.
 

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Auballagh said:
Nope.
Why?
Because in the traditional, Mbuna-based African Cichlid (over) stocked aquarium, Undesirable Nitrates will build up much faster than any of the desirable, dissolved solids from your substrate. That is, the water turnover (Nitrate dilution)in required, high-percentage water changes will just simply eliminate most (if not all) of the supposed water hardening benefits produced by the slowly dissolving Aragonite substrate.
Amen, and thank you!
 

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I change 50%-60% water weekly and I have about 80 lbs of Caribsea aragonite special grade in my 75 gallons. My natural PH is 7.0 and the aragonite keeps it to about 7.6

I used to use Seachem Cichlid salt and Seachem buffer to raise my PH to 8.0-8.2 but I stopped after testing what the PH would be without it. My set-up is only 7 months old but so far so good.
 
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