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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; --> Originally Posted by redchigh Regular exposure to Silica dust can cause a disease like asbestosis (silicosis I think), so some companies make silica-free sand... ...

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Aquarium sand or play sand?
Old 01-17-2013, 09:04 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by redchigh View Post
Regular exposure to Silica dust can cause a disease like asbestosis (silicosis I think), so some companies make silica-free sand... which also means they can take off the "California says this causes cancer" label.
Regular exposure to any fine inert dust can do the same thing to varying degrees. When we wash the sand we are effectively removing all (or most of) the fine particulate and the sand is rendered, more or less, dust free. It's still silica as it is quartz, at least most of what will be out there for playsand is quartz, other than the sea shell stuff.

Around here, or anywhere that is not dry, the dust issue in a sandbox is a non-issue as only the top layer is dry, everything else is at least slightly damp which holds the dust in the sand.

Jeff.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:11 PM   #32
 
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regardless of whether it is valid or not, the warning labels will be present on quartz sand; parents would be concerned if they see that a product their kids are playing in is said to cause cancer, hence the silica free alternative without the warning
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:26 PM   #33
 
Okay, now im even more confused on what sand to buy. My only option pretty much is Quickrete Play Sand
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:32 PM   #34
 
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the Quickcrete Play Sand is what you want
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:45 PM   #35
 
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the Quickcrete Play Sand is what you want
Okay then I will grab a few bags saturday :)
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:12 PM   #36
 
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not necessarily, all quartz is silica, but not all silica is quartz

there is a specific reason that the silica free sand is used as playsand in sandboxes
Quartz and silica are synonyms. Pure quartz is 100% silica, SiO2. Most of the time, however, there are impurities. Common ions such as iron, magnesium, copper, free Silicon ions, and many others squeeze into the crystal lattice. This is what creates causes some quartz to have colors or patterns.

What you would refer to as "silica that is not quartz" (paraphrasing from "not all silica is quartz) are probably other silicate minerals. These minerals have different ratios of Silicon to Oxygen, so they are not "silica." I hope that this did not seem argumentative. As a geologist, I felt it was necessary to clear up the misconception that silica was anything but quartz.

--

As for the issue of "quartz-free" sand, it is often undesirable for applications involving humans (i.e. play sand or the sand used for sandpaper) most likely because of the nature of quartz fracturing. Quartz fractures by way of what is called conchoidal fracturing. In a grain of quartz that has fractured conchoidally the surface of the grain or hand specimen will be concave. If this process occurs on two adjacent surfaces of a grain or hand specimen, some very sharp edges can be created. This is the same reason obsidian was used by early humans to make arrow heads and other sharp utensils. Obsidian is a type of volcanic glass and is nearly pure silica, so it fractures in the same way. It is only called obsidian because of the different process of formation.

If these sharp edged particulates are breathed in, as mentioned by redchigh and JDM, they can cause serious respiratory harm. Though, this can happen with any fine particulate matter, it is just particularly harmful in this case.

Play sand is sourced and processed differently than other types of sand for the aforementioned reasons. This is why quartz rich play sands exist, and are consequently ideal for aquarium substrates.
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:43 PM   #37
 
How do I wash the sand inside? Its freezing cold out side right now and my outside water source is turned off so the pipes dont freeze. Can I do it in a laundry tub and just pour down the drain?

Also when adding water to my tank how do I keep the sand from getting stirred up to much?
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:13 AM   #38
 
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Clean it inside......open your door,walk outside, pour out
Better off not putting it in your drain...you dont want to clog it etc.

To prevent stirring......do it SLOWLY. I used an eheim water pump that i put on its lowest setting and literally just trickled the water in slowly. if you aren't lazy like me and didnt buy a pump, well, i'd go with the old pour it onto a plate method. The key here again though is SLOWLY. Basically, the slower the better, if you rush this at all, as with the cleaning, you are going to end up with a messy tank. Take your time and you'll be a happy puppy.
(Like me - cos its snowing outside, in the UK, where i live..never happens!)
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:38 AM   #39
 
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Clean it inside......open your door,walk outside, pour out
Better off not putting it in your drain...you dont want to clog it etc.

To prevent stirring......do it SLOWLY. I used an eheim water pump that i put on its lowest setting and literally just trickled the water in slowly. if you aren't lazy like me and didnt buy a pump, well, i'd go with the old pour it onto a plate method. The key here again though is SLOWLY. Basically, the slower the better, if you rush this at all, as with the cleaning, you are going to end up with a messy tank. Take your time and you'll be a happy puppy.
(Like me - cos its snowing outside, in the UK, where i live..never happens!)
There is really no way of me doing this outside.....even dumping the pale outside. I have to go up a huge flight of tile stairs to get outside. I may just try to do it inside and see how it goes if not ill see about hooking the hoses up outside for a couple hours and stand out there like a moron in -10 weather so all my neighbours can laugh

ETA- Brilliant idea! Im going to unhook the outside hose from the wheel thing that winds it up and feed it through the basement laundry room window and hook it up to that faucet and run warm water through while I stand outside like a moron rinsing the sand on the back grass in a bucket while my neighbours watch from the comfort of their heated house lol. I will also refill the tanks like that as well.

Last edited by Homer16; 01-18-2013 at 06:51 AM..
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:39 AM   #40
 
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Quartz and silica are synonyms. Pure quartz is 100% silica, SiO2. Most of the time, however, there are impurities. Common ions such as iron, magnesium, copper, free Silicon ions, and many others squeeze into the crystal lattice. This is what creates causes some quartz to have colors or patterns.

What you would refer to as "silica that is not quartz" (paraphrasing from "not all silica is quartz) are probably other silicate minerals. These minerals have different ratios of Silicon to Oxygen, so they are not "silica." I hope that this did not seem argumentative. As a geologist, I felt it was necessary to clear up the misconception that silica was anything but quartz.

--

As for the issue of "quartz-free" sand, it is often undesirable for applications involving humans (i.e. play sand or the sand used for sandpaper) most likely because of the nature of quartz fracturing. Quartz fractures by way of what is called conchoidal fracturing. In a grain of quartz that has fractured conchoidally the surface of the grain or hand specimen will be concave. If this process occurs on two adjacent surfaces of a grain or hand specimen, some very sharp edges can be created. This is the same reason obsidian was used by early humans to make arrow heads and other sharp utensils. Obsidian is a type of volcanic glass and is nearly pure silica, so it fractures in the same way. It is only called obsidian because of the different process of formation.

If these sharp edged particulates are breathed in, as mentioned by redchigh and JDM, they can cause serious respiratory harm. Though, this can happen with any fine particulate matter, it is just particularly harmful in this case.

Play sand is sourced and processed differently than other types of sand for the aforementioned reasons. This is why quartz rich play sands exist, and are consequently ideal for aquarium substrates.
if we define silica as silicon dioxide, quartz is SiO2 so it is silica

get out your mineralogy book and look up: tridymite, cristobalite, coesite; all silica polymorphs of quartz

and what about opal and silica glass? SiO2 and not quartz

no one said anything about 'quartz free' sand, what is marketed is 'silica free' and it is sometimes calcium carbonate based and when so will usually say on the label that it is not intended for use in aquariums

any quartz sand (most are 99-100%) whether all-purpose or play or whatever as well as other cement and mortar mixes that contain quartz sand will have the inhalation warning

silicosis is a result of the sand grains entering the lungs and staying there, being inert in that environment, it does not break down and eventually causes scar tissue to form around the grains which then causes breathing problems

Last edited by Quantum; 01-18-2013 at 06:56 AM..
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