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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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Sand

I've seen river sand mentioned frequently. If I understand correctly, it's fairly coarse as far as sand goes. But I live in Florida and on a tidal river. Our "soil" IS sand. It doesn't have so much salt that it impedes terrestrial plant growth but if I rinsed well, could I use it in an aquarium? If so, could I use it exclusively or should I be looking at it as a cap for top soil?

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 11:41 PM
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I'd say you would have to rinse it pretty well. but it may have quite a bit of nutrients...


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 04:21 AM
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I've used sand literally from a riverbed locally, and you can find all sorts of grain sizes in a river. I used fairly fine sand, and just rinsed it like I would gravel from the store. I had good luck. You may try a test sample in a glass jar to watch for salinity/pH problems, but I think you will probably be okay. An excess of nutrients could of course make things interesting.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I scooped up some sand from the yard, added water and shook it up really well. There was about 1 1/2" of sand in the jar. Now its settled out with mostly sand with 1/8" layer of something that's either organic matter or actual soil on top of the sand. There is a wee bit of floating organic matter too. The sand is very fine and a dark gray in color. Its fairly attractive actually.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 04:40 PM
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go for it.. sand is a bit of a pain in the aquarium though. Mulm sits on top of it unlike the other commercial substrates and plants can be easily dislodge out of sand. That's a good thing too. You can change your scape easily.

I used paver's sand and that looks pretty good to me because it has a lot of different size grains and pebbles like real river sand.


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 05:17 PM
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Needless to say, would love to see pics if and when you put it use!

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-15-2011, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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I tested the water this morning that is with the sand. Ammonia is .5, pH 7.8, KH 180, GH 150. The grain is very fine and the sand is pretty heavy. I rinsed it well to get out all the extras and if I shake the jar up now, within 10 seconds 95% of the sand has settled and within 5 minutes the water is very clear. I think this would cause compaction issues wouldn't it? I did the vinegar test. Its purely silica based sand because it didn't fizz at all. That pretty much makes it a no-go right?

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-15-2011, 04:47 PM
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Not fizzing is a good thing. You DON'T want carbonate-based substrates in a FW aquarium since it will lead to fluctuating water parameters.





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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-15-2011, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for that info lauraleellbp. I got that one backwards. I'm still quite concerned about compaction and anaerobic areas with it being such fine grained stuff. But here's a big question....would it be ok for Cories?

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-15-2011, 04:54 PM
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Just don't exceed 2-3" deep and also get some Malaysian Trumpet snails to burrow through it.

And yes it should be fine for Cories.





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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-15-2011, 09:30 PM
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Plant roots will help make an aerobic condition too so no worries about anaerobic areas.
Cories, catfish, and loaches love sand. Let your plants have a good hold first before introducing bottom dwellers or you will see lots of floating plants.


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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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You all have been a tremendous help and have given me the confidence to move forward with using the sand. I'm guessing I'll have to use some root tabs for fertilization.

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