Play sand substrate???? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-20-2010, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Play sand substrate????

Some people on this forum have said that play sand is a good cheap substrate for a tank. Is it really ok for a planted tank? should you do more than just rinse it? Are there any bad things in it? Sorry if this is a retorrical question just really want to know.
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-20-2010, 02:34 AM
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I would think there could be alot of calcuim in play sand depending on where it is from. If you had a little bit and were so inclined you could test it with HCl.
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-20-2010, 06:42 AM
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Well play sand works fine for planted tanks except it compacts a bit. I think to combat this you can get malaysian trumpet snails or poke with a stick in the gravel every once in a while to loose it up.

It won't have the nutrients in the gravel like other substrates but I think if you get root tabs it would be fine. ^_^

You don't have to do anything except wash it really good. (It's a pain to wash).

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post #4 of 6 Old 05-20-2010, 06:48 AM
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I used playsand PLENTY times over & over for yrs now, I just buy it at Lowes, rinse it 2-3x in the yard and add it to my tank, never had issues. I do however use MT Snails in my sand tanks.

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post #5 of 6 Old 05-20-2010, 07:57 AM
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is white play sand safe?
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-20-2010, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by scalar View Post
is white play sand safe?
Depends what it is comprised of; some sands contain calcareous substances that will raise hardness and pH. Some may contain other substances or additives that hopefully would be stated on the bag. Of course it all contains dirt which has to be washed/rinsed out (very tedious).

I would just caution on using white or light sand: it reflects light, and most fish come from habitats with dark substrates and many species actually feel insecure over a light substrate because it is, frankly, un-natural to them. I can get dark gray play sand here, and it looks fine; I'm intending to experiment with it in a 10g, but I have so far not managed to wash it sufficiently. I personally would never use white sand. Fish and plants also show much better colour over a dark substrate; in the case of plants it is aesthetic (just looks better), but with fish they are deliberately darkening their cell pigments naturally because it is their instinct, and their colours darken accordingly and sparkle and shine beautifully with a dark substrate and dark background.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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