Deadly Substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-30-2012, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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Deadly Substrate?

Considering my current financial position, I decided that the $120 it would have cost to buy gravel for my 100 gallon aquarium was a bit beyond my budget. I live in the Mojave desert, and we have sand laying around everywhere, so I decided to sift out the larger grains and us them as a substrate.

What could go wrong?

Well, now that it's in the tank, I'm seeing that some of the pebbles have little gold specks in them that I'm fairly sure is iron pyrite; of which I've heard nothing good.

Here are some pictures:





I don't know what to do. I love the way the gravel looks, and I've had difficulty finding anything as good at the pet store that didn't cost nearly $30 a bag. Is this a situation where I'm going to have to pull up the entire substrate and start over?


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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-30-2012, 01:43 AM
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Take it out find a pool shop and buy pool filter sand like $20 a 50lb bag

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-30-2012, 02:46 AM
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It could also be mica a more common "sparkly" object in pebbles. you could let your water sit for a while and then see what a pet store says about your water sample (should be free). Its worth testing first or asking a local geologist maybe.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-30-2012, 03:36 AM
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I would go ahead and use it, assuming you washed it well before using it. Iron pyrite is insoluble in water, so it shouldn't leach out anyway. But, I doubt it being iron pyrite. More likely it is mica. Mica, a silicate, is also non soluble in water, so it too shouldn't be harmful.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-30-2012, 04:11 AM
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Another option is turface pro league stuff looks amazing underwater and two 50 pound bags would fill your tank and have a little left over for only 20-24 bucks


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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-30-2012, 04:18 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stewardwildcat View Post
It could also be mica a more common "sparkly" object in pebbles. you could let your water sit for a while and then see what a pet store says about your water sample (should be free). Its worth testing first or asking a local geologist maybe.
Cool. I did a Google search and discovered that mica tends to flake and is much softer than pyrite. That seems to be the case with what I have here. It's soft and flakes easily.

What would I be testing the water for, exactly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
I would go ahead and use it, assuming you washed it well before using it. Iron pyrite is insoluble in water, so it shouldn't leach out anyway. But, I doubt it being iron pyrite. More likely it is mica. Mica, a silicate, is also non soluble in water, so it too shouldn't be harmful.
Sounds good.

Thanks for the insight, guys. Saved me tearing apart my whole tank.


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