Natural sand recommendation - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Natural sand recommendation

Can someone recommend a natural looking sea sand I can put into my freshwater aquarium? Looking for something with different grain sizes and colours..
Thanks
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 09:28 PM
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I would watch sea sand as most of it is actually broken down coral and shells which will increase your PH dramatically. Make sure you stick with silica based sands unless you are going for a hard water freshwater tank


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 10:18 PM
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If you want to use alkaline sand, have some PH regulator on hand.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 11:16 PM
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Caribsea has a pretty comprehensive list of sands and gravels. For my newest tank I am mixing very fine Sunset Gold sand with a bit of Peace River gravel (which is a pretty small sized gravel). They describe the mm size of the particles for all their sands and they carry fresh water and marine sands as well as those with pH buffer for African cichlids.

ADA has two sand types as well. A fine white one called La Plata and a slightly larger (but still very small grained) tan sand called Colorado. Both of these sands are larger in grain size than the finest of the Caribsea ones which are almost powder like. Colorado to me seems like an ideal size for Corydoras and other bottom dwellers to sift through.


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 06:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I?ll take a look at the brands.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 06:45 AM
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I use play sand in one of my tanks. Some advise against it, but I personally love it and haven't had any issues. Tank has been setup for a few years now.

Last edited by crisp330; 10-24-2017 at 04:01 PM. Reason: typo
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 12:40 PM
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Play sand is fine. As crisp330 notes, it's not very popular because the small grain size can be a nuisance. Pool filter sand has a larger (heavier) grain size, so it does not kick up as easily. Thing is, "wild" sand comes in many grain sizes, while commercial sand is typically sifted for consistent grain size. If you want to create a truly natural look without having to wild-collect, you could try mixing pool filter sand with play sand. Sprinkle some light-colored pea gravel over that and you're halfway to a biotope tank.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 03:27 PM
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Hi kimdive,

I don't know if you will find it where you live or not but most Ace Hardware can order it in for you; HTH Pool Filter Sand is probably one of the best; all quartz, inert, and relatively clean. Although it is not the cheapest it is not expensive either. Take a look at the comments for the product and how many come from aquarium hobbyists and what they say.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 04:55 PM
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Highly recommend PFS. Cheap enough to remove/replace if it mixes with another substrate and less likely to go anaerobic
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 05:46 PM
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I have Red Flint brand pool filter sand in my 300 and really like the variation in coloration. if you wanted to vary the size of the grains they do sell a wide array of grain sizes and mixtures that you can get samples of on their website.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-25-2017, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi kimdive,

I don't know if you will find it where you live or not but most Ace Hardware can order it in for you; HTH Pool Filter Sand is probably one of the best; all quartz, inert, and relatively clean. Although it is not the cheapest it is not expensive either. Take a look at the comments for the product and how many come from aquarium hobbyists and what they say.
In NYC, ordering from Ace is the only way to get PFS. I've lugged so many of those bags on the subway...
If I ever develop back problems, I blame hth for not offering a smaller product portion size.


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I have Red Flint brand pool filter sand in my 300 and really like the variation in coloration. if you wanted to vary the size of the grains they do sell a wide array of grain sizes and mixtures that you can get samples of on their website.
Would you mind posting a pic? I'd be interested in seeing.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-25-2017, 11:09 PM
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I would definitely check out Caribsea's line. Pfs is pretty good too. I am defintely doing something from caribsea for my next build. I bought Ada La Plata for my current build. While it looks nice, it was not worth the price.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-25-2017, 11:18 PM
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Hi @sevendust111,

Be cautious of Caribsea products. They have had issues with some of their substrate products effecting PH / dKH due to pieces of shell in the substrate. If you chose a Caribsea product buy one bag. Take a glass of tap water and after letting it de-gas for 24 hours measure the PH and dKH. Add a handful of substrate from the bag, stir, walk away. The next day stir and walk away. Repeat for 5-7 days then measure the PH and dKH.....are they the same....then great! If not.....then pass.

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-25-2017, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi @sevendust111,

Be cautious of Caribsea products. They have had issues with some of their substrate products effecting PH / dKH due to pieces of shell in the substrate. If you chose a Caribsea product buy one bag. Take a glass of tap water and after letting it de-gas for 24 hours measure the PH and dKH. Add a handful of substrate from the bag, stir, walk away. The next day stir and walk away. Repeat for 5-7 days then measure the PH and dKH.....are they the same....then great! If not.....then pass.
Thanks. Good to know.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-25-2017, 11:44 PM
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Hi @sevendust111,Be cautious of Caribsea products.
Be also cautious about Seachem's Onyx Sand. They say it will raise KH (which it does), but they make no mention of GH. My GH spiked from 4 up to 9. It continues to rise to this level after every water change (50% using RODI). Had Seachem put this into their product info, I would not have bought it. Now, I'm stuck. VERY unusual for Seachem to be so sloppy about their product info.
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