Coal ???? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-16-2006, 01:40 AM Thread Starter
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Question Coal ????

I read that Coal can be added to an aquarium. Has anybody tried this? I burn coal for heat and was thinking of useing some.

10 gallon hospital tank.
29 & 50 gallon - High Tech C02 enriched.
50 gallon Pond - Natural.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-16-2006, 02:57 AM
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I don't think I would ever use coal for a substrate. It is an organic "rock", that can even have volatile compounds in it. I have heard of it being used before though. (Or were you planning to add it for the fish to burn in their little fireplaces???)

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-17-2006, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Hello Hoppy, Hey I like the little fire place thing... LOL

Well I have an aquarium book that says it can be used. I did put in a large chunk of Coal for about a month. But it didn't look right all buy itself so I took it back out. Didn't notice anything from it being in there.

But after noticing that nice black substrate looks good, and noticing all the small pieces left behind in my coal room I thought it might look real good in the tank. I haven't added any yet until I hear from more on here.

Thanks again for all your help and advice.

Joe

10 gallon hospital tank.
29 & 50 gallon - High Tech C02 enriched.
50 gallon Pond - Natural.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-17-2006, 01:04 AM
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I have a book that says it's ok to keep other people as slaves. That doesn't make it right. And yes book is pretty old.

There are some forms of coal that have been used the past. But they were very soft forms of coal not normally found in the US. If you want a black substrate I suggest you look at Eco-Complete.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-18-2006, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Yea Thanks Rex. I was just wondering anyway. I saw some Eco-Complete in an aquarium in a shop in Spokane Washington. It looked like a very small sandy substrate. Is this right? I was thinking it was more like Flourite in size.

10 gallon hospital tank.
29 & 50 gallon - High Tech C02 enriched.
50 gallon Pond - Natural.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-18-2006, 02:22 AM
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Seachem Onyx Sand looks like black sand, maybe that is what you saw. I don't think Eco-Complete is as big as flourite, but it is not as small as sand.

Any nice fish stores in the Spokane area? I will be visiting the area next week.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-18-2006, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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I saw it at a LFS and the person working there told me that is what it was. Hmmm I wonder if he knew what it was.
Thanks

10 gallon hospital tank.
29 & 50 gallon - High Tech C02 enriched.
50 gallon Pond - Natural.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-18-2006, 04:45 AM
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i always see onyx referred to as a "black" sand... i've never ever seen black "onyx" sand. it's a medium gray color at best... under high lighting it looks grayish-blue. if you want "black" go with eco complete, or 3m colorquartz. if you want gray, go with onyx or gray coast calcite (exactly the same product in different packaging... buy whichever is cheaper). i've read the same book that refers to using coal in an aquarium, and it was a shock to me as well. but then again, lots of people use fine ground slag as a substrate with differing results (black beauty, blasting sand). i'm not a geologist, so I can't speak to the different "forms" of coal, but it's not something that's used very often at all in aquariums, and as for planted aquariums... i doubt that a single member of this forum uses coal as a substrate. best of luck with your substrate search.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-25-2006, 12:06 AM
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why not just get the $10 10 gallon at wally world and give it a go, use trimmings from your tank to try it out. Dont be afraid of trying new things, just be prepared for failure.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-25-2006, 03:50 PM
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"The Complete Aquarium" by Peter W. Scott has a chapter on creating an Amazon River Acid Backwater Pool biotope. It recommends mixing coal dust with medium-dark colored pea gravel. Aside from washing the coal dust, it doesn't note anything else about its use. For fish in this biotope, it recommends several kinds of Apistogramma, neons, cardinals, and some other luminescent tetras. Also Corydoras catfish. For decor, bogwood, and for plants, swords, Cabomba, and Myriophyllum.

I'd say it would be safe to use, in moderation. Being from Western PA, I of course can tell you that coal mining results in acid mine drainage. But if the intent is to create an Amazon Acid Backwater, then it would seem to be alright in moderation.

Personally, I really like the look of medium dark gravel mixed with black substrate. But I used Eco-Complete when I did it.

If you go this route, I'd say be prudent. Start off with some hardy, cheap fish and be sure that nothing bad happens to them.
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