We use a lot of 'Connecticut Blue' stone all the way out here in California for landscaping. We have also used 'Texas Cream Cobblefield', other rock from Montana and slate from India. 'Arizona Flagstone' is very popular, too. 'Mexican Beach Pebbles' are so expensive I could not immagine anyone buying them here in bulk. They are very expensive even in bags.
Rock and gravel can be shipped long distance, and is more economical in large volumes (Truckloads instead of bags). Best of all is a local source, though. The rock that is quarried locally is not very pretty, though, for aquariums. I have several different gravels from landscape jobs in my tanks, but I am switching over to better substrates for the plants.
Those gravels look really nice. Good, rich colors!
I'd be curious to know which stone they're calling "Connecticut Blue" - perhaps a variety of basalt? Some of the basalt formations here have an interesting blue-grey coloration to them... as for the "Mexican beach pebbles" I suspect have the cost there is coming from the name, lol.
If I made a few more grand a year than I do right now, I bet it would be fun to buy huge tanks and try out truckloads of gravel - as it is, though, I'm kinda on a college budget and prefer to test little bags and boxes here and there... for which fellow hobbyists across the country are a great resource
Thanks for the input
How about some of that intensely red iron-bearing sandstone? That sounds like an awesome substrate if you could crush it to a suitable size.
It actually would look pretty cool as a substrate on its own - if the weather weren't so icky outside I'd go out and get a nice photo of a sample in sand form to share - but I don't have the time (or available effort) to crush it up. Sometimes one can find a "rock" that's really more a conglomerate of coarse sand particles, and that's easy enough to break up once it's been soaked, but more common is a finer-particle, large-ish stone that I could whack with a hammer all day long and get nowhere.
There's also iron ore that looks kind of shiny and metallic black if you take off the layer of rust (literally) on the outside... not easy to break that, either, though.
In the quantities available to me (it's about a 40-min drive to the iron ore/sandstone localities), I prefer to use it as an additive to my other substrates - at the moment, a lot of turface and locally-collected river sand.
The sand and gravel in my backyard stream actually doesn't make a bad substrate on its own...it's mostly a blend of granite/granitic pegmatites (with quartz, feldspar, mica, etc.) some of which also take on a rusty coloration due to iron content (nothing like that sandstone, though...). It just gets boring to have that in every single tank after awhile, so I'm looking to collect some alternative substrates.
I will probably get back up there this weekend. I will let you know later this week though.
Thanks a bunch!
I look forward to hearing from you