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Does anyone use a small ammount of gravel mixed in with sand substrate? I'm building a 120 gallon mbuna tank and I'm going to be using crushed aragonite sand substrate along with a lot of local Dolomite rock harvested from the banks of a lake at my work. The rock is light to medium gray and I will have a black painted background. Just wondering how mixing some of the same grey colored gravel into the sand would look, and if the cichlids would enjoy having the gravel to pick up and move around as they please.
 

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I've mixed gravel and sand at times and found it suited me for what I wanted at the time. It's pretty rare for sand to occur without other rocks nearby. Special places like beaches. Keeping it where you put it may be more challenge than you expect if you do get some folks who dig and carry it around. The gravel they may not move much but when they dig, they tend to spit it just anywhere. They won't mind a bit but you might object to their efforts!
 

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What normaly happens over time, is that the sand ends up at the bottom with the gravel on top. Not necessarily a problem.
 

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BillD said:
What normaly happens over time, is that the sand ends up at the bottom with the gravel on top. Not necessarily a problem.
Yup, one of our kids tossed in a handful of old gravel from the 55g we had. Every couple days or so there is still some popping up to the surface.
 

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When I mixed sand and gravel in the same tank, it was due to wanting some plants. I had a 29 as a first planted tank and went with Fluorite on the bottom for the plants with small gravel to hold it in place as well as make setting plants easier. I used small oblong rocks to make a retaining type wall across the tank and used sand at the end. I still have that tank and have rotated several kinds of fish through without major trouble. Some did more sifting than others but apparently the sand does sift to the bottom when they move it over onto the gravel end as it does not show there and I know there were some who picked it up and carried it all over.
 

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I like the look of gravel scattered around the base of larger river rocks, it looks more natural to me and I've tried it in a couple of tanks. But in my yellow lab tank someone disagreed- I noticed the other day that the fish had moved all the loose gravel to the edges of the tank, lined up. I guess they didn't want anything on their sand!

In my angelfish tank I have a flourite area where the plants are and the rest of the substrate is sand. So far the flourite is sitting on top of the sand at the edges but the cories might mix it up more eventually. At first I wasn't crazy about the color difference with the flourite and sand but it's growing on me.
 

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I put about 20#'s of black gravel from a prior tank with my 150#'s of PFS in my new 125 gallon. At first I wasn't sure if I had made the right decision because it doesn't look as "clean" as just sand.

I do think it looks more natural and I am sure the majority of it will all eventually be siphoned out as I don't mind it getting sucked up when cleaning my sand. What I find neat is that wherever new piles of gravel appear, it makes if far easier to see where my fish have been digging/rooting around.

I like it!
 
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