Aquarium Rock For Ballast?

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by Cannonball, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I'm thinking I might lay down some ballast on the layout. Right now it's just the plain tracks and it looks like it "needs" something. Would aquarium rock work for O gauge ballast or are there cheaper options. It seems about the right size to me which is why I thought it would work well.
  2. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    It would probably work OK if you find the right size. Another cheap option is "chicken grit". It comes in several sizes and can be bought by the pound at feed and pet stores. It is granite rock, ground to a specific size. My experience with Aquarium sand and rock is that they want a premium price for it.
  3. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    hhhmmmm...... I don't think I've ever bought chicken grit before. sign1
  4. Renovo PPR

    Renovo PPR Just a Farmer

    Kitty Liter ;)

    I don't know but if I was going to go through all the work to lay ballast I would use something good.
  5. Geno

    Geno Member

    Ah, yes- the chicken grit ballast debate. The two main schools of thought on this are, of course, pro and anti-chichen grit. The view against is that it's rock (not too good on the gears or motor) and the case for is that it's very cost effective and realistic when weathered.

    Chicken grit can be used with good results, but it has to be washed, dried and thouroughly glued down before you can run trains over it. Available at agricultural supply, feed , and some hardware stores, it's a popular choice for O gauge ballast.

  6. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I could get the scented kind so every time the trains run over it, a fresh clean scent fills the room. :D
  7. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Isn't most ballast rock? :confused:
  8. Geno

    Geno Member

    There's actually a few different kinds of ballast that's made from foam rubber or some other non-abrasive material that won't damage gears if it got into them.

    As far as kitty litter goes, it also is a popular choice- provided the cats don't use your layout as an alternate litter box.

  9. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    I dont like cat litter, it swells if you get it wet with glue and has perfume in it.

    I have used both aquarium rock and charcol for coal, a grey shade should do OK for ballast and you are right, hobby shop ballast is expensive on a large layout.
  10. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Another pet store item that looks good to me is the sand/gravel they sell for aquariums that house lizards or tarantulas. I've heard about cats using kitty litter on layouts, kitty litter swelling and causing problems with track and getting into gears. Since we've been adopted by a cat, I've found it to be a dusty nuisance outside the box. :D Let us know what you decide on. :)

  11. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Yeah, our cat was a pain in the *** as well.
    Oh, you were talking about the litter. :D

    I will when I decided on anything.
    The layout it's self underwent some major reconstuction tonight so I'm glad nothing weas fastened down yet.
  12. Philinbos

    Philinbos Member

    I've used chicken grit as ballast for several years now with good results on G gauge modules. I purchase it at Agway in 40 lb bags for around 10 cents a pound. After spreading it where desired, I apply a diluted solution of Elmers white glue. It takes a couple of days to dry. Just be sure they give you chicken grit not "chicken crumbles" which is a feed.

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