Best sand for a planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Best sand for a planted tank

So I'm having issues with my water and I have been told it is due to my gravel from petco, it's a painted gravel. I'm wondering what the best sand is or if there is a difference in sand brands. My local petco has black sand made by Imagitarium. I know it's not good for heavy rooted plants but I don't have any of those which I'll be planted into it. Also, should I add anything below the sand? I don't wanna get the fancy substrate because it comes in huge bags and I have a 6 gallon shrimp tank. Any suggestions ladies and gents?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 11:01 PM
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No need to add anything below the sand, and heavy root plants will do fine in sand. Pool filter sand(PFS) is what you should use, not play sand. I buy mine in 50# bags, which I realize is overkill for you, but it's cheap and you may pay a premium for smaller amounts. Lots of people use the HTH PFS from ACE Hardware, 12.99 for a 50# bag. I use AquaQuartz personally, pay a little more for that.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 11:06 PM
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Black Diamond Blasting Sand works well if you want a black sand.


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 11:37 PM
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well if its only a 6 gallon price wise you can do just about anything and not break the bank.

ADA makes a nice aqua soil but keep in mine you have to cycle it I believe Ammonia releases.
fluval makes a shrimp substrate as well but from the research I have done its break down over time and your left with a mess of clay. I have never used either.

after a week or two of researching i decided to go with BDBS under $9 for 50# bag see if anyone locally wants some and go half's.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 08:20 PM
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+1 on the pool filter sand. It looks good and it is so cheap that you will have extra for a long time to rescape.


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 09:10 PM
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I like pool filter sand as it frees me up do several things to avoid working! One is that it is easy to mange but best is that it is cheap enough that I don't do too much to reclaim it when it gets too much "junk" mixed in over time. I simply throw out the old and go for new! Clean enough to not require vast amounts of time to rinse and heavy enough to not bother many filters. No play sand nor all purpose sand as those are too much trouble.
I keep part of a bag to use for those odd times when I move a plant and can't get all the roots back down out of sight. I simply add more to cover them.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 09:15 PM
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Black Diamond Blasting Sand works well if you want a black sand.
How coarse is the blasting sand? I'm looking for something fine, maybe even finer than pool filter sand.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 11:47 PM
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How coarse is the blasting sand? I'm looking for something fine, maybe even finer than pool filter sand.
There are different size ratings on the packages. I couldn't tell you off hand what they are.


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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-28-2018, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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I looked every where for that black diamond sand and had no luck. I just purchased black sand from national geographic. Anyone have luck breading shrimp in this?
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-28-2018, 01:58 AM
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How coarse is the blasting sand? I'm looking for something fine, maybe even finer than pool filter sand.
You may know this already but I figured I'd chime in. One issue with the fine aquarium sand is that it will get in your filters and toast them depending on the type of sand that you get. Also, black diamond blasting sand comes in 3 grades that I know of coarse, medium, and fine. And can be found at Tractor supply.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-28-2018, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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My filter is a simple pump that pulls water through a bio filter, carbon cartrige, and lastly a sponge before reaching the pump. I looked at my local store and they had a different brand. Cost doesn't really bug me. I just want my shrimp and water to be happy. This sand seems decent and it's not super fine.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-28-2018, 01:43 PM
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You may know this already but I figured I'd chime in. One issue with the fine aquarium sand is that it will get in your filters and toast them depending on the type of sand that you get. Also, black diamond blasting sand comes in 3 grades that I know of coarse, medium, and fine. And can be found at Tractor supply.
I had no idea that this was the case. Thanks for the heads up, but now I have to rethink this .
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-06-2018, 07:50 PM
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I've used PFS(Lighthouse brand), Petco brand white sand, and ADA La Plata. Plata definitely looks better but not enough to justify the price. PFS is the best bang for your buck if you want a light color.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-06-2018, 08:47 PM
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I had no idea that this was the case. Thanks for the heads up, but now I have to rethink this .
@dogwood.fleet I honestly wouldn't worry too much about it. If you're using a finer grain sand, yes, then you have an issue. But PFS is a large enough grain that it does not stay suspended in the water column at all. I use FairmontSantrol's AquaQuartz #20 grain and it has plenty of weight to stay on the bottom. Even if you have fish that root around the bottom, i.e. plecos or loaches, you'll be fine. Just rinse the sand well before adding, let it settle for a bit, fire up the filter and off you go. Now, I always turn my filters off before doing water changes, but beyond that, you should never worry about PFS messing up your filter.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-06-2018, 08:51 PM
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Try Tractor Supply if you have one in the area for Black Diamonds sand.
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