Aquarium sand or play sand?
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Aquarium sand or play sand?

This is a discussion on Aquarium sand or play sand? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I went to the store to grab a few bags of play sand today. The employee over heard me talking to my friend about ...

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Aquarium sand or play sand?
Old 01-16-2013, 06:08 PM   #1
 
Aquarium sand or play sand?

I went to the store to grab a few bags of play sand today. The employee over heard me talking to my friend about my plans for the sand and he stated that play sand is not suggested for fish tanks because it releases a chemical that will harm the fish as well as dirt. He said his 80 gallon freshwater tank was all killed off shortly after adding sand to his.

So, this scared me enough to hold off buying any before asking this question here. So, can I use play sand or is there a special kind? Its $7 a 20kg bag of play sand vs $25 for 9kg bag of "Aquarium sand" at petsmart. I cant afford to do sand in all my tanks unless I can use play sand...
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:20 PM   #2
 
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What store was this, and what was the brand of play sand?

I use Quikrete Play Sand which is available in Canada from Home Depot and Lowe's [maybe other places too, haven't looked]. It is safe. One of our members even contacted the company about using it in an aquarium and the reply left no doubt about the purity of this product. I have it in five of my tanks.

Byron.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:31 PM   #3
 
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I've used both play sand and dirt in different tanks over long periods of time and never saw any adverse effects from using them. I believe most people prefer pool filter sand though because it looks better, but I've never personally used it so I can't say anything else about that. I do recall the play sand being a hassle to clean, but not overwhelming.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:48 PM   #4
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As long as you rinse it well before using it, it would be fine. You even have to rinse "aquarium" sand a certain amount to get rid of the dust so it's no stretch to rinse the playsand more. $5 for 18kg at home hardware locally.

Check the "sand, bacteria, gravel" thread, (sorry, the link fairy in on break right now so you'll have to go look it up) there is a close up picture of some of the sand there, all it ends up being is little rocks. The aquarium sand is probably more uniform in colour and perhaps in grain sizes.t, it's in such small quan

Oh, the Quickrete rep sent an outline of the process they go through to clean the equipment before running playsand for sale through it and the testing that they do to make sure it is clean.

Jeff.

Last edited by JDM; 01-16-2013 at 06:50 PM..
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:14 PM   #5
 
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I also want to add that even if a certain substrate is completely clean, it may still be a problem for certain fish such as corydoras if they particles are too sharp because they'll eventually sand down the barbels (or something like that, been a long time since I looked into that stuff). I don't believe play sand had that problem, but like I said, I don't really recollect.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:32 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funkman262 View Post
I also want to add that even if a certain substrate is completely clean, it may still be a problem for certain fish such as corydoras if they particles are too sharp because they'll eventually sand down the barbels (or something like that, been a long time since I looked into that stuff). I don't believe play sand had that problem, but like I said, I don't really recollect.
This is a very important point. The Quikrete Play Sand is fine, my wild-caught corys have no issues. I had to move some corys from another tank with Flourite substrate because of the sharpness, and they have recovered nicely with the sand.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funkman262 View Post
I also want to add that even if a certain substrate is completely clean, it may still be a problem for certain fish such as corydoras if they particles are too sharp because they'll eventually sand down the barbels (or something like that, been a long time since I looked into that stuff). I don't believe play sand had that problem, but like I said, I don't really recollect.
This is apparently an issue with new pool filter sand vs old filter sand. The new is supposed to be sharp and the old not so much. In magnified views of the two you really can't see the difference so I don't know if old sand is just not worn down or new sand isn't as sharp as they suggest, or you can't see the "sharpness" even under some reasonable magnification. I don't think that running water through sand even for 10 years is really going to make much of a difference so I would perhaps not go that route if you are planning bottom feeders. Same thing with sand meant for sand blasting (can't recall the term used for that sand offhand).

Jeff.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:29 PM   #8
 
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+1 to all the comments. I use Lowes play sand and have had zero problems., other than showing the "poo" a little too well on the light surface! Going to use my old pool filter sand too once I finally change it out.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:41 PM   #9
 
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Same thing with sand meant for sand blasting (can't recall the term used for that sand offhand).
It's just called blasting sand, blasting media or blasting abrasive (nice and simple lol). I have 50lbs of Black Diamond blasting abrasive on top of 80lbs Ecocomplete in my 90g planted tank, but I also don't have (nor intend to keep) any bottom feeders.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:03 PM   #10
 
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I have used Quikrete Play Sand myself in 2 FW tanks(ty Byron for that tip again lol) not only did it save me money but is safe for fish and plants alike. i run 65lb in my 60g and 25lb in my 20g as said ALWAYS clean it.... i put it in a 5g homedpot bucket and let water slowly run through it for a hour :)
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