Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Kazzy 02-08-2011 02:15 AM

Ok, so I'm planning on switching to sand in at least 2 of my tanks. Here are my questions:

1.) What size should the sand 'particles' be? Like, what is the smallest recommended?
2.) Other than aquarium sand, what else can you use? I've heard pool filter sand, I just can't seem to find it anywhere. What about 'play sand'?
3.) The amount of sand in lbs should be equal to the gallons right? (i.e. 20 gallon tank needs 20 lbs of sand?)
4.) Is sand safe for snails?
This will be for my cray/shrimp tanks. If it's safe for snails, I'll switch them to sand as well. Hoping to get this done tomorrow before work, or if need be do some before work, and the rest after. Already went out and got some nylon pantyhose for this (I don't own any...not much of a dress person lol)


CoffeeMan 02-08-2011 08:55 AM

I used Quickrete brand Play Sand purchased at Lowes. I'm sure Home Depot has it as well. As long as you wash it real well before using it, it'll work just fine. My Cory Cats love digging through it looking for scraps to eat. Both the trumpet snails and assassin snail in my tank move just fine on it and have no problem burying themselves in it. Having some trumpet snails in your sand helps keep the sand aerated so no pockets of gas get trapped in the sand... or at least that's what I've been told.

The Quikrete sand comes in 50 pound bags, and I used a little over half the bag in my 20 gallon tank... but I have more sand in there than I really need, so the 1 pound to 1 gallon ratio is probably right.

stevenjohn21 02-08-2011 08:57 AM

Hi Kazzy,
I just made the switch to sand, even though i was a little nervous about it causing the water to cloud all the time i just couldnt stand gravel and the gunk that was getting trapped between them.
Somebody told me to use sand blasting sand (comes in sand color and black) The grains are a little heavier than normal sand so they stay on the bottom and even during water changes it never gets stirred up.

I bought a 50lb bag from "northern tools" for $7.00 !!! which is way cheaper than other sand. It already comes pre washed so i only rinsed it once and it was ready to go. It looks great and my fish love it.

CoffeeMan 02-08-2011 09:04 AM

I really like the look of that black sand. I might get some of that for my Clawed Frog tank. Right now I just have a bunch of river rocks in there, which I don't like the look of at all.

Kazzy 02-08-2011 09:41 AM

Thanks so much! I like the black as well. I was wanting to do black, but didn't want to spend a ton on aquarium sand. Heading out now to get some sand and get this thing rolling!

Byron 02-08-2011 11:25 AM

Just a caution on true "blasting" sand, it usually has rough/sharp edges. Something you do not want with bottom fish as it will cut into their undersides and barbels.

Play sand is smooth, being intended for kids' sand boxes, so it passes that test.

The smaller the grain, the more likely it is to compact, and that is a real problem. Also, the deeper it is, the more compacting.


jbonez 02-08-2011 11:53 AM

1 Attachment(s)
i used regular pool filter sand i put 100lbs in my 75gal i washed it real good never clouds my water...

Kazzy 02-08-2011 12:31 PM

Thanks everyone! I went and bought two 50 lb bags of the Quickrete play sand. Changed one of my 10 gallons and my 29 gallon. Going to do the other two tonight after work.

I may have added too much to the 29, so may have to remove some to keep it from compacting. I'll also stir it regularly to keep it from forming any bad bacteria. The tanks are clearing up pretty quickly, and my two crays in the 10 gallon are lovin' the sand.

redchigh 02-09-2011 12:32 PM

Actually, play sand is can have sharp edges, and tends to compact... Pool filter sand is the smoothest.

I used estes 'reef sand'. It was a large grain sand, and about $4 for $5...

Good luck with the sand though, if you stir it often it won't compact.

Kazzy 02-09-2011 12:58 PM


I've finished all the tanks and everything is all cleared up. Darn crays keep messing with the nylon bags of old gravel though...:lol:

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