This is a discussion on How accurate is the "vinegar test" really? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; -->
How is everyone? Well, I hope!
Do you consider this test accurate? How long must the vinegar be left on the sample? Is it ...
I was hoping there was a chance of a false positive with my substrate, silly as that is. I'm just upset because this tank has seemed to go wrong at every turn. I'm sure in hindsight I'll be thankful that I've learned a lot. But its still frustrating right now. =)
I had purchased what I thought was the same kind of coarse sand I had read others used (namely Byron, love the look of his)... and didn't think to test it until I had spent 3 hours washing 75 pounds of it. I could have slapped myself! Ha, ha!
What type of sand, was it play sand, or some other type? I have not ventured in using sand yet for my tanks, but it may help other members in recommending if this can be used or not depending on the type of sand. Also some people do use certain sands to help raise the ph level in their tanks, such as if doing an African cichlid tank and their ph is below what is needed for the fish.
It was made by Quickrete, their "earthessentials" line. It was the "paver base sand" type. I purchased it from Lowe's in the garden section for about $3.50/50# bag. After it was washed well (typical sand/fluorite washing method), it was a nice medium brown with different partical sizes. It totally looked like the type of sand you see on lake or river beaches. It was fantastic, aside from the small part about being terrible for a S.A. tank. But, you're right, African cichlids, livebearers, would love it!
I don't want to settle for tan colored sand (play sand/pool filter sand), and I don't want to shell out the bucks for aquarium sand. But it looks like those are my choices!
Looking for some additional information on this sand looks like it is a polymeric sand. After looking to see what polymeric sand is, I would say that it is not suitable for aquarium use. For doing sand in the aquarium I would suggest using playsand if looking for an inexpensive alternative to buying aquarium sand sold at LFS.
AbbeysDad, yes it fizzed. I put a bit of store bought gravel in a dish next to it and put vinegar on that, for comparison. The gravel did nothing, the paver sand fizzed. Now keep in mind, the stuff I bought is different than Quickrete or King "play sand" BUT both the Quickrete "earthessentials" paver sand and Quickrete regular paver sand say they can be used as play sand. Obviously, paver sand is not entirely silica. Found out the hard way!
The hunt for CHEAP dark sand (that is also suitable for corydoras) continues!
Hey, it just occurred to me- a cheapER (but not cheap) way might be to cut regular play sand with brown aquarium sand. Has anyone tried this? Does anyone have pictures?