if it is the same black gravel that i used to have then it may be buffering it higher. I used to have it in my 4ft tank and it looked really good but after a while i began to notice the pH going up and the phosphate levels through the roof. after some experimentation with some distilled water I found that the gravel had gone from being rather inert to both buffering the pH higher and dumping phosphate into the water. Not what I wanted!
So I swapped it over for silica sand. Never looked back. I use it in all my tanks! Completely inert and looks good too.
Don't worry so much about the dad on the eggs, its only once they hatch you have to be careful. if he hasnt booted the eggs by now then i doubt he will. I can carry my males from room to room with eggs no worries as long as the eggs dont hit the air...fungus city!
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