Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Play sands and other sands available at the bix box stores are very inexpensive and do the job quite well - many aquarists use them, and are very happy with them.
Can't argue with that.
But as Clemsons2K said, they do need a lot of rinsing - & I mean a lot.
After having used several different types of sands over the years, I have found that quartz-based silica pool filter (usually obtainable only @ pool or spa supply stores - with only the odd exception) is dust/dirt & grit-free, and requires little or no rinsing.
I place mine right into the tank with no rinsing, and there may only be very minor clouding for perhaps an hour or so.
It is also quite dense, (larger-grained, heavier and denser than play sand) so will not free-float into the water column when disturbed, will not therefore find its way into filters & assemblies to clog them up, and will not get siphoned out when doing substrate vacuuming.
Unfortunately, the sands bought @ the big box stores do not generally have any of those qualities.
Check it out - you'll soon know for yourself. My .02