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iheartmypitbull 09-02-2010 08:33 AM

Calcium Carbonate as a Substrate?
I'm posting this in both the saltwater and freshwater sections because I don't know who would be more likely to know an answer.

So there's substrate out there for reptile tanks that's called calci-sand and it's calcium carbonate. I found a page online about the dangers of over exposure harming reptiles and humans, but what about fish? I mean, there's lots of things we put in tanks that can be dangerous to us (the first that came to mind is just about every ich medication that's known to the state of california to cause cancer). So would calcium carbonate in your tank hurt your fish? Here's the link to the page on the dangers:

Calcium Sand - Dangers

So, assuming all of this is null and void because it's in a fish tank (which doesn't make a lot of sense but also wouldn't surprise me), what effect would this have on the water chemistry? Does anyone know if it would affect the amount of calcium or the pH or something in the tank?

I asked my friend and she said she had no idea about the water chemistry but when this stuff gets wet it hardens almost to a cement. If THAT is also true, what would happen if you used it like sand in your tank, stuck some plastic plants in it, and then filled it with water? Would it give you a solid substrate to hold plants in place and you wouldn't have to clean it? I know a lot of beneficial bacteria lives in the gravel/sand, but maybe a thin layer underneath would hold down your plants so your big fish (i.e. SA cichlids) couldn't "redecorate"?

I know you don't really use plants in saltwater but I figure someone out there might know about the calcium and all that, since obviously I don't.


(Sorry there's like three different questions, I was thinking really deeply into this)

bearwithfish 09-02-2010 08:43 AM

you pose an interesting set of ideas ... as i am not sure my self i wont attempt to address them but rather offer a thought..
would it be a bad idea to get a small 5.5 gallon and test the theories you pose?

obviously with out live stock, but utilizing a set of tests and a little time you could set up the situation you are talking about and run full batteries of tests (again with out live stock present) if after a set time (say 1-2 months) if your tests are coming up safe then the next natural step would be to empty clean and test again to see if any thing changes in your tests... again after some time if all tests well attempt a live run of the situation....

again if any one has any information please share but this is how i would go about finding out...

iheartmypitbull 09-02-2010 08:46 AM

I was thinking of testing it but I thought I'd ask first to see if anyone already knew. Also, I'm wondering if maybe someone who knows a thing or two about saltwater should try it, since don't you need to supplement calcium in saltwater tanks? (I don't know anything about it but I know I don't have any sort of way to test the calcium)

I also feel like I should admit that I don't understand as much about water chemistry (even in freshwater) as I should. I get the basics (ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, etc), but I start to get lost on hardness and phosphates and all that. So I might need to have someone explain it to me in small words :)

bearwithfish 09-02-2010 08:53 AM

yes calcium is very important in some salt water systems particularly reefs.... perhaps i may test your ideas if you are ok with that as i have tanks available as well as test kits..... i will not test it live how ever and i would need to buy a small bag of the sand over the week end.... but this poses an interesting question if it leaches Cal into the water could this be used as a way to dose? for example were this to be a feasible situation and if all tests are sound and safe if this lets a certain amount of Cal into the water could making a block of this to sit in the sump be a slowly releasing solution to dosing Cal??? again just an idea at this point and i am sure i am over looking some points but in the stage of theory it sounds plausible..... hmmmmm if i may i will look into this a bit further for either some one with the answer or a test to discover.....

iheartmypitbull 09-02-2010 08:57 AM

If you want to test it, by all means, go for it! But if it turns out awesome and everyone says you're a genius, you better throw my name in there as a co-genius :)

bearwithfish 09-02-2010 09:03 AM

i would rather give you all credit as this is your idea to begin with i just jumped in from an off angel or two LOL i truly want no credit.... i hope some one her may be able to add to this as i feel some of our more experienced members may have the key already.....
reefs? Pasfur? Wake? Onefish? any one i forgot???

iheartmypitbull 09-02-2010 09:15 AM

I was just thinking that if you were going to test it and you wanted to buy just a little bag, at the pet store go to the hermit crab section, not the reptile section. They sell teensy 1/2 pound (or so) bags instead of 10 pound bags. And it comes in snazzy colors :)

bearwithfish 09-02-2010 09:50 AM

oh yeah good thinking :)

onefish2fish 09-02-2010 10:36 AM

doesnt "live sand" contain buffers?

bearwithfish 09-02-2010 03:32 PM


Originally Posted by onefish2fish (Post 462456)
doesnt "live sand" contain buffers?

yes as well as crushed coral in a sump for PH i was more interested in the potential for calcium leaching personally....

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