is there a reason that i cant just use beach sand in my set up or should i just wait until i can get some aragonite?
I see no reason why you should not use beach sand unless the local rules and regulations restricts you or the sand is located in an area that you are not sure of whether being polluted or not.
do you reckon a good wash would be all it needed or should it be boiled or something? and will it make a difference if its sand found in fresh water if you were using it for a salt water set up?
There are a few reasons not to.
1.) Is that it is not a natural substrate and does not look the part once established.
2.) There is a debate that the silica present in beach sand can cause diatom outbreaks as they feed from the crushed silica that will be released every time you disturb the sand.
3.) It is not mineral bearing. Aragonite can slowly break down in element deficient systems helping to keep parameters stable. Especially ALK, CA, and PH.
None of the above mentioned reasons would prevent you from using beach sand and I know that many people do. I would avoid it altogether, but yet again it is your tank and not mine.
If you happen to live on the East coast where H Depot still stocks "Southdown" sand, you can buy hige bags for cheap. It is a crushed coral that is sometimes sold for white sand play boxes or as a cement binder.
i guess im gunna wait till i can find some aragonite.
one question tho... how is sand not natural?
Beach sand is so fine that it compacts readily and doesn't keep a loose look like agrograte does. I know I am talking from fresh water experience here but I took beach sand and was trying to set it up to see how it would work for a possible reef tank. The sand looked fine to start with but in less than 2 days it had compacted so hard that the volume was less than 50% the original volume. It would just be really hard to manage and keep looking the way you want let alone any kind of current is going to pick it up and move it into huge sand dunes in your tank.
Beach sand is not even recommend for fresh water tanks for the same reason. Thats why playsand is so popular. Larger grains and easier to scape with because it stays put a little better.
The simplest reason is that mineral formations are different all around the world. Beach sand is not from the ocean. It is broken down terrestrial rock, generally bearing quartz crystalline. Aragonite is the dead skeletons of former corals that has been crushed in the ocean over time. Aragonite is about 96% pure calcium, which is something all salt tanks benefit from.
Yes beach sand is natural, just not natural to a coral reef.
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