"Natural Beach Sand" for freshwater tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2010, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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"Natural Beach Sand" for freshwater tank

Hello,

I'm about to start a 33 gallon planted tank and I wanted to use sand and a base of fluorite. I found some sand at my local hardware shop called "Natural Beach Sand" with no silica (since I read silica can be harmful according to some). It was only 5$ for 50lbs. Do you think this would be okay for the top layer of my tank? It basically looks what it sounds like, normal brown beach sand. Any concerns? Thanks a lot!!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2010, 10:08 PM
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I would think that if it said beach on it it would be for saltwater...
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2010, 10:16 PM
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may sound funny but taste some if its a salty taste i would stay away,

being that there are freshwater beaches too you might have found some that you dont have to worry about salt content as much


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2010, 10:23 PM
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Put some in a small container & check the PH. Then check it tomorrow & next etc.

If it raises PH it probably isn't good for FW use from what i understand. It could have silica or crushed shells.

You want inert sand if you're gonna use it. I got premium play sand from a big chain diy $3 for 50lbs.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2010, 10:42 PM
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play sand and pool filter sand are silica sand (quartz is made of silica). not harmful unless you inhale silica dust (ie from sandblasting)


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2010, 10:49 PM
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"Beach Sand" may have some salt content, but salt is water soluble. A good rinsing in as warm water as you can arrange will dissolve the salt, no problem. Even if you went right to the beach and scooped up sand from the ocean the salt and minerals is not the issue (just lots of rinsing... )

However, the other issue is very important.
Most sand IS silica based. If it is NOT silica, then it is something else. Perhaps limestone, or other material that dissolves in water slowly, but can alter the pH, GH, KH and TDS of the water. Yes, test it. Get a sample and put it in some tap water (or whatever source you are using for the tank).
Test the water when you start, and every few days. Test GH, KH, pH and TDS.
If the sand is from a limestone or coral parent material or any other material that will add minerals to the water then some or all these levels will go up. This suggests that this sand might not be good in your tank.
It might work if...
Coral and limestone based materials can help if the water is too low in minerals, and you want to keep hard water fish and plants. I use Coral sand in my hard water tanks. I also prepare the water for water changes by adding minerals so there is not a shock to the fish when I do a water change. Then the coral sand is acting more to stabilize conditions between water changes.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-15-2010, 12:56 AM
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I would worry that it's coral-based.

Silica sand IMO is the best sand to use since it's inert.

What about some pool filter sand?





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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-15-2010, 02:59 AM
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If it says beach sand I would keep away from it. Beach sand can be comprised of aragonite wich will raise your ph and kh. I would go with play sand. Better to be safe than sorry.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-15-2010, 04:02 AM Thread Starter
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Super informative as usual. I'll go ahead and swap this for some play/pool sand as soon as I get the chance. Thanks a lot!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-15-2010, 04:34 AM
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Pool filter sand is pretty much all one size grain (like 30 mesh), so it compacts less, better water movement, less clouding, and there are less issues with anaerobic pockets in deep substrate. There are also slightly coarser sands available in rock yards and masonry yards. One brand available here is Lapis Lustre. They package many different grades of sand; one is even called "Aquarium Sand". This one is a pretty coarse sand, almost a really fine gravel.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-18-2010, 11:13 AM
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Beach sand is not suitable for planted tank . It prevents air circulation required for bacteria and roots. Root grow is also horibly slowed by beach sand. Worst one , it is not inert . It contains high amount of calcium due to the corals it will increase your waters GH which will cause all your softwater plant spices decay

You can only grow some cryptos on beach sand if you are sure that it doesnt contain any salt but dont expect good performance

You have tens of better alternatives to beach sand beside commercial products like ADA amazonia malaya etc

If you ask a landscape architect where you can find some sand like quartz , granite , dolomite you can find shops which sell these materials which are suitable for planted aquarium when considered everyfact , I beleive they will be cheaper at that kind of shops and you will have a variety range of alternatives to use.

I suggest you use a very very thin layer of commercial potting soil which has PH of around 6.5 to 7.0 ( or learn what ph does your plants require ) as a nutrient rich layer because the material i listed above doesnt not include minerals. They are clearly best medium for a plant root , keep air circulation and keep bacteria in a wanted way. You can also support that material with commercial planted aquarium fertilizers if you dont trust soils.

Quartz sand used for gardening , it has variety of colors , its inert , 0.8-1cm sizes are suitable for aquaplants


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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-19-2010, 01:17 AM
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If youre based or your sand was processed in the great lakes region of Canada then its almost completely granite. Ive kept granite rocks in tanks for years w/o Ph Gh/KH problems. Youd have to post a pic for me to tell you though. Just be careful with any sand not to make it too deep as it compacts and creates anerobic conditions (sulfer gas bubbles).

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