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I only mention this because I want to stress my desire to use Lake Superior sand as a substrate. I've recently returned to the shores of Marquette MI after 13 years as an Infantryman in the Army. I have experience with tropical freshwater aquariums. My parents owned a pet store when I was young. My daughter and I also recently established a conventional tropical tank with success.

My specific question is: how do I properly use Lake Superior beach sand as a substrate? Will boiling the sand render it harmless? I will be cycling a new 55 gallon tank without fish. It will be a Chiclid tank with Lake Superior rocks and driftwood.

I have found threads about this subject pertaining to beach sand. These threads seem to tend towards oceans. Lake Superior is a unique cold fresh water lake.

What do you think? I'll boil or add chemicals as necessary. I want hometown sand.
 

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Notwithstanding some minimal pollution, Lake Superior is one of the most pristine lakes in the world. I would feel perfectly comfortable using sand, rocks and driftwood from the lake.

Just a good rinsing in fresh water to get rid of dust and smaller grains, ought to be enough.

Are you going to stock the tank with native fish?
 

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I think I would take a conservative approach and sterilize the sand and rocks with chlorine bleach to ensure I wasn't adding some unwanted bacteria or parasites. Just rinse well and or treat with a dechlor solutin like Prime, You might want to boil the driftwood anyway to remove tannins. As for the rocks, unless you're sure, test with acid to ensure against adding rocks with minerals that in time could alter your water parameters.
 
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