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Another EI PMDD QUESTION

Discussion in 'Aquatic Plant Fertilization' started by Noxtreme, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. Noxtreme

    Noxtreme Junior Poster

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    I'm planning on starting EI or PMDD in the next month or so. I have never mixed my own ferts but i have been keeping planted tanks for about 6 years and i am tired of paying for liquid ferts as well as manual dosing. I am new to these methods of fertilizing so please be bear with me if my questions seem noobish.


    Questions:
    1. Are EI and PMDD two completely different things or are they basically the same thing just different schedules? Is EI PMDD a mixture of the two??
    I'm looking at these links
    Want-daily-PMDD-style-EI-dosing
    AND
    http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/PMDD.htm

    2. Since i have what i consider a high tech tank (roughly 3.5 wpg and pressurized co2) would EI or PMDD serve me better? I can not consistently devote the same day to water changes so i think PMDD is what i need right?

    3. I plan on rigging up an automatic doser using this Variable Flow Peristaltic Pump. So i will have to do daily dosing with a timer. Is PMDD my only option or can EI be done daily? (this may be a repetitive question)

    4. I see that in this thread you say to use
    60 grams of KN03
    15 grams of KH2P04
    25 grams of GH booster or (12.5 g of K2S04 + 12.5 g of MGs04 You didn't have weight so i just split it)
    per liter of DI/RO water

    then dose 12ml of macro
    and 2.5ml of trace
    PER DAY

    while this page translates into
    (PO4 Modified PMDD Formula)
    50 grams of KN03
    5.6 grams of KH2P04
    22 grams of K2S04
    40 grams of MGS04
    per liter of DI/RO water

    then dose 2ml of macro
    and 1ml of trace
    PER DAY

    These are quite different. would it be safe to start with his mixture then dose your dose to create a middle ground? I realize you are saying that what your suggesting in your tread is overkill but its better to start high. I guess i'm worried this could be too high. I ALSO WANT TO ADD I HAVE DISCUS SO I NEED TO STAY ON THE CAUTIOUS SIDE.

    5. can i mix CSM+B Plantex and Iron Chelate 13% together to make a super iron rich trace? How much should i mix of each and how much should i dose? Is this even a good idea? I have a lot of red plants.
    I fount these here

    Please help Tom.
    Thanks in advance
     
    #1 Noxtreme, Feb 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2010
  2. Darkblade48

    Darkblade48 Guru Class Expert

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    No, PMDD and EI are two completely different things. PMDD is a fertilizing regimen from many years ago. It is based on the (mistaken) belief that restricting phosphates would be good for plants. Unfortunately, phosphates are required by plants, so starving them of this essential nutrients is not a good idea. EI remedies this by including phosphate in the dosing regime.

    EI can be dosed PMDD style; what this means is rather than adding the dry powder to a small amount of water and then dumping that in, you can make a big batch of the liquid fertilizer and dose as you normally would (i.e. 5 mL a day, or 10 mL, etc)

    As mentioned above, PMDD is not a good fertilizing regimen, and you should only consider EI. How large is your tank, and what kind of lighting are you using. 3.5 WPG does not mean much, as 3.5 WPG of T12 lighting is very different from (say) 3.5 WPG of T5HO lighting.

    See above. You can dose following the EI regimen, but PMDD style (i.e. daily liquid doses).

    Do note that the dosings that you listed are for different sized tanks. The first one for EI was designed for a 20 gallon tank, and the second (the modified PMDD) dosing was for a 10 gallon tank. However, even so, just from looking at the dosing, one can see that the PMDD does not provide excess nutrients for the plants. If anything, it is providing just the bare minimum for the plants (much like the PPS-Pro dosing regimen).

    I have not kept Discus and dosed EI at the same time; perhaps someone else has and can chime in. I have kept shrimp while dosing EI, however, and they seem to be fine.

    I am not sure about this. I usually only dose CSM+B and not even the iron mix. I have not noticed any iron deficiency in any of my plants either.
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    EI dosing with breeding Angels and discus in the same, albiet, massive tank:

    [​IMG]

    All those angels are F1's from this tank.
    Discus had fry on the skin when this picture was taken, this tank only has become even better with time.
    EI dosing is not going to cause any issue for discus or any other fish for that matter.

    EI goes very well with standard operating methods for keeping discus, you could say the large frequent water changes idea comes from Discus keepers in many respects.
    Dosing after the water change and in between, over feeding the fish or providing non limiting food supplies to maxmized growth rates, etc is very similar.

    No one has EVER harmed their discus with dosing ferts like KNO3.
    Never once have I heard of any such thing in well over 15 years.

    I would say the risk are extremely small.
    CO2? Now here's the real killer of fish in planted tanks, not the ferts.

    Discus can go to about 45ppm of CO2, then they start turning dark, this assumes you have high O2 as well and good feeding, they are happy otherwise.
    Respiration/fish stress with CO2 is 2 part: O2 and CO2, with good O2, you have much more wiggle room with CO2 addition, likewise, with lower light itnesity, the demand for CO2 is also reduced, so you can easily target a good CO2 level using less light.

    So good O2, flow, filtration, wet drys etc, surface skimmers, good stocking levels, good feeding, not wasteful etc............then you have lower light.....then adding CO2 is much easier and more room to work with, without harm coming to fish.

    Plenty of folks have killed their fish and shrimp with CO2 and over doing Excel(one almost weekly on at least say 10 forums).
    I know of no one since I've been on the web that's killed their fish/shrimp with KNO3 etc.

    Where's the risk?
    CO2........but no one poo poos CO2 curiously.
    Or high light..........which drives folks to add more and more CO2.

    Got to wonder why.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. Noxtreme

    Noxtreme Junior Poster

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    Thank you guys for the info guys. I'm going to do a EI pmdd just like you suggest tom. GH booster and all.

    1 more question on that. Will i still need to add ro rite after water changes? Can i use my ro rite as the gh booster (i want to get rid of all these ferts i have around lol)? Would 25g still be the appropriate amount if i use ro rite?

    I have 130 watts of CF and 36 of T5 (NOT HO) over a 54 gal corner bowfront. I figure 3.5 because i have A LOT of substrate in the tank (at least 5 total bags of eco and florite black as well as a bunch of play sand). I've got a valley with sheer cliffs made of shale. so i probably have about 45 gal of water. When i do water changes 20 gallons looks to be a little more then half a tank. if you go by the empty volume of my tank i have 3.1 wpg.

    My co2 is up at around 40 ppm right now since i am trying to get rid of a BBA outbreak while dosing excel. Its working well but not as quickly as hydrogen peroxide. Also the BBA is turning a blueish light gray, even slightly purple, as it is dieing with the excel. This is much different then the red/pink it turns with hydrogen peroxide. I'm dosing a 25ml per day spot treatment.

    so just to be clear:
    EI dosing on pmdd daily schedule would look like this for my tank (I'll consider it to be 50 since tom says its better to over shoot then cut back as needed and if i understood his last response correctly its hard to kill fish with to much nutrients.

    Mix
    60 grams of KN03
    15 grams of KH2P04
    25 grams of GH booster or (12.5 g of K2S04 + 12.5 g of MGs04

    per liter of DI/RO water

    Then dose 30ml daily

    OR
    i could double up up on all the chemical weights and dose
    15ml daily to get close to the 12 week supply

    Am i getting it here?
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think it's wise to keep PMDD and EI separated and other "modifications" to PMDD.
    EI style PMDD might be part of the issue.

    I guess I could claim I invented something totally "new" as far as dosing and something "more accurate, better, more advanced, blending art and science".

    Horse crap.

    So rather than do that, I chose to simply use something that someone had already done, modify it a little, not that much really, and use the water changes as before, and leave out the test kits.
    You can reduce water changes, use test kits, PMDD and some other methods I suggested over a decade ago suggest this.........but the simplicity of a water change + dosing seemed easier for the general plant hobbyist.

    I knew the folks that came up with all these dosing methods and why they suggested what they did.
    So I have to give them most of the credit for that.
    So the name is a little confusing, perhaps misleading to some, but I chose to not leave Paul/Kevin out of this. I just upped the ppm's and dosing, added more CO2 and then added PO4.
    The general idea, using DIY ferts, even the math used for EI etc are all from PMDD.

    Some things where wrong with PMDD, but most of it, I'd say 90% was correct, which is a still an "A" in my grade book.

    As you can see, you can double up the concentration of the solution, mix and match whatever you want, it's arbitrary.
    What is not so arbitrary is what you want to add(total amount in the tank itself over some time frame), how you get there is really sort of up to you.

    I suggest a good non limiting range in EI articles.
    These will not limit growth under most all typical aquarium situations.

    So then you can spend more time focused on good CO2 and minimization of light to control rates of growth or reduce work/labor involvement, reduced % water changes or frequencies.

    These are just starting points. You can adjust to suit as things are more comfortable to you.
    Be careful in your analysis however, when you start to limit nutrients, you also have indirect effects on CO2/light, it's lowers the fficiency that plants can use CO2/light when you limit nutrients.

    This glaring oversight is missed by many in this hobby and leads to many assuming less nutrient dosing/limiting nutrients is somehow "better". But how can reducing growth be better?
    This makes no sense to me. If reduced growth is the goal, it's far easier and makes every facet easier if you use less light, reduce that, not nutrients.
    You get far more from that approach than with limiting nutrients.
    Better energy use, better CO2 use, less labor, less algae and better algae "cures", less heat, few water changes etc etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. Noxtreme

    Noxtreme Junior Poster

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    Any word on RO right???

    Thank you tom i really appriciate your help. I understand your humble attitude about claiming the EI style pmdd as you own. However, I do believe that names such as PMDD and EI and EI with pmdd style dose and ppmd + PO4 etc etc make it very difficult for a person to figure out. The name variations which are actually referring to compltly different things create a wall to get over before you can even begin jumping the hurdles of fine tuning the solution for your tank. It took me a few hours to figure out that pmdd was Poor Man's Dupla Drops and I still dont know what dupla is. Then i literally had to ask in order to figure out if EI (estimative idex) and PMDD + PO4 were different things other then their schedule. I still believe that EI with PMDD dose schedule is very similar to PMDD + P04 just with a higher dose.

    My thought is that Paul/Kevin would be thrilled that you used their method to creat a "new one." I dont think they would be angry or dissopointed if you gave it its own name but still gave them due credit. Kevin, Paul and you seem to have the ultimate goal of helping everyone understand and create the best planted tank possible which you all can say you are doing better then anyone. In the case of DIY fetilazation i think it is becoming necessary to re name and re outline the mothods so that people can make sence of and choose the best mthod to start with. The chemistry involved is already daunting to jump into and when it is difficult to figure out what is what i can say from experience it seems easier to just pay for another batch of liquids. It has taken me a few days to fully grasp the different methods and what chems go into each in what ammounts. This is ok because it does take some research to understand anything with planted tank ESPECIALLY the chemistry involved. But, only now can i begin experamenting to see if it actually works for me. Where if i spend 10 min i can find a liquid ferts dose purpose and success. I guess DIY is for the person willing to put in the extra effort but i guess the point i'm trying to make is i could not find a resource that named, outlined, explained, and talked about each DIY fertilazation method.

    If their is one please point it out to me.
     
  7. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    I've used R/O Right as a GH booster in my 10 gallon for the past few weeks. I guess, like you, I got stuck with it a while back so decided to use it. Hasn't made my aquarium implode, so that's a good start. Here's what I was told about it when I asked:

     
  8. Neil Frank

    Neil Frank Lifetime Charter Member
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    Reducing Growth

    Reduced growth can be better with some plants in certain situations. For example, with Echinodorus horemannii in a relatively small tank.

    These are the best pics i can show for now (from 1999): Stunted horemannii

    I intentionally limited nutrients to keep the plant from taking over the 70gallon tank.
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    If the goal is really about reduced rates of growth, then what is better than using the most stable and most costly parameter in a typical aquarium? Light.......as it drives the management of the CO2 and nutrients, making their management even that much easier, more resilient.

    Why would limiting nutrient be better as far as management to that goal compared to limiting light?
    Which is a much easier, simpler, less algae, more stable method to get to that goal?

    What about selectivity of the limiting method chosen? Say light vs nutrients?
    Will all species you keep be equal there? While it works for the sword, it may not for many other species.
    Light is fairly universal however and much easier once set, to manage.

    Some suggest coloration, but I get dramatic colors even with low light.
    I do not get really high rates of growth, but that's not my goal.
    I want nice looking growth that grows well, but not hard to manage and keep up with/do.
    That starts where growth of all algae and plants start.

    Everything downstream is going to be that much easier, you also get more growth per unit energy/watts added since light is the only limiting factor with respect to growth. Plants will maximize and make the highest use efficiency of every available micromol of light.

    Non CO2/Excel are the next options. Nutrients are likely the last options if we look at the many ways to limit growth in a planted aquarium. While popular in the past, they offer little in the way of a holistic approach to plant growth and management. Light is our most stable and consistent parameter, so it logically makes the best option to control growth rates with.

    With lower light, swords like the amazons I have in a client's tank, are not an issue. I also have access, as do most aquarist, to more suitable plants these days(400 species or so by last count) that stay the right size for a particularly location. Plenty of alternatives there.

    I do not know, some have argued that they cannot adjust their lighting. But are willing to spend a lot of time and effort trying to do the razor edge dosing only to crash their other plants that are less resistent to limitations. I think anyone can easily adjust their light, from open top with wire adjusters, to multiple bulb set ups with different cords for each, something as simple as using metal window screening to layer several to achieve any desired 10% reduction, just like nurseries do with shade cloth.
    Pretty easy really.

    I've long seen the warnings of woe and pain, death of fish etc if you over dose, algae plagues on the 5 th level of Hell etc.....yet I've seen no evidence that's the case. Where is this same fear mongering and passion, or control of growth management with respect to light? If slowed rates of growth are the real reason to use it since those old myths have been struck down, then it's seems to be simply grasping at the wind. Trying to find a reason, rather than some well considered rational for usage.

    If the rational of how a plant grows and what we can do to control that growth is considered, then light would be the easiest variable and offers the best management for most everyone's goal set.

    I can understand the trade offs with CO2/Excel(some species do not do well without CO2, excel is costly for some at larger tank sizes, needs dosed often etc). Gloss grew at 1" per week or so, instead of per day 1-2" without CO2, took awhile, some patience, but if slower growth is warranted, less light is still better. Some species just will not do well, some plants are very competitive for CO2, others are not, so mix and matching plant choices is very limited in non CO2 systems.

    See The Biology of water plants with light/CO2 allocation matrices by Claus, Ole and Troels. They offer a good analysis and test run using Riccia and their conclusion.

    It's not different than what I have suggested and while I hate to say it, George Booth was right about light back many years(decades now). I suspect his light was rather low.I chose high light because I wanted to explore the higher rates of uptake and growth. If that worked well, then I knew anything lower would be okay and easier to manage. But that was more a test for exploring upper ranges of growth/nutrients/CO2/light, not a method to mange growth rates specifically or what produces a nice resilient system that provides a good general goal set for the typical aqurist wanting a nice garden for their aquarium.

    I like swords as much as anyone, but they do get massive quick.
    You can uproot them, trim the root back and outer older leaves, then replant about once every 3-6 months also, that is a more gardener's approach. Nutrient limitation is still an option, PO4 would be the best nutrient to limit growth without outward signs of issues/aesthetics for the plants in general. I just do not think it's a good one over time and there's going to be selectivity in the relative abilities of certain species to handle the stress of limiting nutrients. This is not the case near as I can tell with light until you get way down near the LCP for most species, +10-20 micromols above those ranges is plenty it seems but still offers nice slowed growth for virtually any species of aquatic weed.

    Adding another 20-30micmols, then another, then another, gives a fairly good unit of growth difference, and increased nutrient/CO2 demand over a range. After about 200, you get little growth for most species, a few weedy species will keep growing more to about 500 or so, but most top out at 150-200 even with non limiting nutrients/CO2 etc.

    Once set, the light is easy as it gets.
    No issues, less energy and cost, no testing, no bottoming out of a nutrients, more species choices that do well etc.
    In short, better management.

    ADA does the same thing.
    Use a light meter and measure them.

    Measure the total nutrients available(they are quite high if you add the sediment sources).
    I use both the water and the sediments.

    Makes the most sense to me.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. Neil Frank

    Neil Frank Lifetime Charter Member
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    i forgot to mention, my light levels were already low... 160w (4 Triton T12's) over 4'x18" surface of the 70 (or 75g) 18" deep tank. Using one light metric, that is a little over 2wpg with those relatively photo-inefficient bulbs compared to bulbs in use today.

    That said, i dont disagree with Tom that it is generally easier to limit light. That is what i mostly do now. I prefer to have sufficient nutrient in water column and or substrate. In the late 90s, the above tank was the brightest tank i kept at that time. Other similar size tanks had 1/2 the light. However, they did not look as pleasing to my eye. So, another reason to not limit light.

    Just making the point that there is not just one way or reason to do things. :)
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yes, agreed.

    What is too little light?
    Our perception plays a role there in "appearances"???

    This tank looks pretty bright:

    [​IMG]

    More so than this:
    [​IMG]

    But this one has less than both:

    60cubefeb15th.jpg

    These tanks are 2w/gal or less, and the highest PAR is the darkest tank to the eyes.
    Color temp, spectral output of the bulbs plays some role here I think. PAR alone does not correlate with expectations based on appearances, at least here and in several other aquariums where it looked bright, but really was not.

    You can also do this with rooms in buildings with a PAR meter, some seem bright, really often are not.
    We did this for a class once, the prof asked us to estimate the light in various rooms in the buildings, we where way off.
    Less intense light often brings out coloration in many species of fish, that often get pale or washed out under more intense light. Most have their own set of Trade offs they are willing to address and deal with. Just because we can do something a certain way, does not mean it's a wise alternative. Sometimes, it's just the way it goes for us as we try and manage things.

    We get use to it. And then it's tolerable....but it does not imply it's the best management or in general, the easier path to management. Even if it's an "alternative", that alone does not warrant merit in and of itself. Worth exploring, but comparatively? I think that's the key. Where would it be the best method? Under what trade sets will it be a good method to chose?

    If it's all you got, then there's no choice. Nothing to compare to, no reference. If it works for you, and you do not want to disturb the pattern of success you now have or improve upon it, then that's the trade off you have accepted. But, back to the comparative approach, if other folks have found another way that's seemingly easier, more manageable, and consensus amongst several show it's a good method comparatively, then we can get somewhere and improve. Many are resistant to changes because they have a safe mode, suggesting to them to try something different is often met with defiance.

    This is a human factor, and has nothing to do with plants. Still, more comparative experiences help our own brain reason through it and think about it. We should be able to convince our skeptical self but that requires trying something new and setting up a test that's fair.

    Is low brightness in the tank an issue comparatively?
    Could the brighter lights be added for viewing only?
    Then growth management uses low lights when not viewing?

    I could see several combos there.

    Also, different plants responses to different nutrient limitations also plays a role. We have a number of traces than we could use, K+, P, N, Mg etc.

    How would we really know if we where limiting for a specific nutrient without taking samples of the plants to tissue analysis? I guess just look and watch and hope we are really limiting the plant, but many simply do not know. Without knowing the critical concentrations in the plant tissues, hard to say what we are really doing, it might be moderate limitation or none we are seeing.
    More work and variables to check such things, I think that is more elusive, particularly if you try and confirm things. I think light is much less daunting.

    I think a good limitation test would be better if folks used the phytometer type test method.
    This works well for terrestrial and since most aquatics have a terrestrial form, it could be used for those as well.

    Then we could get a lot of specific answers to such limitation questions, what they look like etc under much more controlled independent test.

    Be nice to document 100 common aquatic plant species, and then the hardest to culture species, say 50 species and do the full tissue analysis and pictures of the various deficiency and intensities for each nutrient.

    Then do one for CO2 limitation and light limitation/compensation points.

    5 reps X 150 plant species x say 10 nutrients = 7500 pots

    Quite a large number, but they'd not need to be large either, 250mls flask are fine for most, the test would also only be over 8-10 weeks.

    Or you could do 5 species and the numbers would be 250, or 50 per plant.
    Something folks could do. After drying and weighing, the tissues can be stored and sent to a lab for the tissue analysis.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I'd like to do more with nutrients and do a nice deficiency test for limiting various individual nutrients.
    But I do not think that will occur anytime soon.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. Noxtreme

    Noxtreme Junior Poster

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    I've got a few quick questions not relating to this topic at all and I'm dieing for to find someone who has tried this. I am in Vietnam right now, Nha Trang to be specific. The last 2 days i have stumbled on a few fish stores, 3 of which had very very nice discus as well as 1 with very nice plants. Now my question is; how can i get these back to California? The discus were $13 usd but i'm sure i could get them down to 10 at least. These fish were HUGE some over 6 in and FAT. Very nice colors and selection. Basically i will buy like 15 if i can figure out how to get them back. I will also buy some plants if i can find out how to get them back. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    I saw a post office while i was out the other day so i know I can send them. But my main question is: would i be able to send them quick enough for them to survive and how much would it be?
    Thank you for any info you can provide.
    Dylan
     
    #13 Noxtreme, Feb 26, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 26, 2010
  14. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Insulated box. Ship overnite or at least next day and probably have them throw in a heat pack. Bag no more than two or three but ideally individually. Breather bags would be best but as long as they aren't in there long they should be ok. Plants on the two day would probably be fine as well. Just insulate well with newsprint. I'd be far more concerned with the fish. CUSTOMS on the otherhand are probably going to be your bigger issue vs. The actual shipping process.

    For much better advice contact one of the better discus breeders in the state and see what they do. Customs is still the big question here.

    -
    S

     
  15. Noxtreme

    Noxtreme Junior Poster

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    I found some info saying the fastest method of shipping from here to cali is less then 5 days soooo...... Not looking good. if it said 2 or 3 then maybe, but less then 5..... I think I'll save the fish :) bummer for me but i would hate to bring harm to any of these discus. SO, Unless someone can give me some facts that could change my mind I'm going to have to let these guys go. DARN

    I also stumbled on 2 shops with something i have never seen before. Sand Waterfalls!!!! they had created a waterfall/slide then they had rigged some kind of pump/tube system that was able to pump a small amount of sand from the bottom to the top of the waterfall. It was SICK. I took a bunch of pictures of it. You can view them here.
    http://s31.photobucket.com/albums/c390/Noxtreme/Vietnam/


    sorry you'll have to find them in this growing album of my trip. Just look for the planted tanks.

    I am going to buy some of this super white super fine sand they have here. Not sure if it will be good for the tank but they all have it in their tanks which look great. If anyone wants some let me know how much and how much you'll pay. Keep in mind i will have to carry it home from here to cali so be reasonable. its the finest whitest sand i have ever seen in my life.
     
    #15 Noxtreme, Feb 27, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2010
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