gravel for a new tank


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Dear All

If this (or similar) post appears twice then my apologies. I managed to mess up my first post, not a great start.

After a break of 25 years or so I have taken the plunge and set up a tropical freshwater aquarium. I am about to start “cycle”-ing the tank. That wasn’t done when I previously kept fish was it? I think we had just stopped using whisky to “perk up” ailing fish by then, but only just…

I have a 15G tank with an internal Fluval 3 pump. When I had a tank in the old century I used an under gravel filter and so remember some need to have slightly larger gravel so the debris could be pulled down through it. As I don’t have this constraint now, what are the considerations for gravel size, texture etc? I have some standard Dorset gravel at 1/8 inch size in a bag. Its colour is OK, is it sensible to use this size? I intend planting the tank with real plants if that matters.

TIA, I may end up asking lots more daft questions…



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First and foremost welcome to fishlore!! there are some amazing people with some brilliant advice,knowledge and good know how on this here forum.
when it come to gravel it seems to be personal preference. I have seen tanks with sand and tanks with a glass bottom(no gravel). I myself have pebbles, bigger pebbles, gravel and also coloured gravel smaller than most standard gravel. and it all works fine!! the fish love it!!!

it seems to up to you! but other people can lead on with more info


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I agree with dazza, its completely a personal preferance.

However, it depends on what plants your getting, for example, some need to be actually planted, with roots under the gravel, and some, like the Java Fern, need to be tied and floated. My java fern is tied to a peice of drift wood and its doing great.

If you are doing a color theme, say you are doing warm colored fish, oranges, reds, pinks, ect., you might go with a deep red, or orange that in a way reflects their color. Do you get what I am saying or am I just going on and on again? 

My color theme is blue, and green.

The color of your gravel may give your water a slight hue. It woun't actually color your gravel, it just seems like it.


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5 to 10 years
The only real constraint on gravel size is if you plan to have Cories or Loaches...if so, they need smaller, smoother gravel, or even better sand, to keep their barbels from being damaged (Cories) and to allow them to burrow around without scraping themselves (Loaches). As far as color just don't get something overly bright which would upset the fish (such as hot pink or lime green).

Did you have any questions about the cycling process, in particular cycling fishless? If you have not done so I'd read the article about cycling under the "Fishlore Articles for Beginners" stickied post.

What is this Fluval thing you have? Is it a water pump or an internal filter? If it's a filter what is the gph?

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