What type of sand? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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What type of sand?

I'm starting a new planted tank in hopefully the next month or so after being out of the hobby for a number of years. Just trying to decide on a substrate, right now I think I'm going to just go with some low cost sand since I'll be dosing the water column anyway. From what I've read you don't want anything too fine because then it can trap anaerobic pockets etc. I had a stint in saltwater for a while and I did find that to be the case. Fine sand made it harder to clean as well without making a big cloudy mess in the tank and a fine covering of sand on everything afterward. So I know I don't want anything too fine. I'm looking at pool filter sand and play sand available to me and my question is, what grade should I be looking for, for something medium to coarse? I've seen #20 grade listed on some, but not sure how fine this would be. Does anyone know what these grades mean?

Also, what would a good depth of sand be that I should go for?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 11:10 PM
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Get a # 20 or #30 grade density inert quartz-based silica pool filter sand, preferably from a reputable pool or spa supply store, or from a big box store, but if from the latter, make sure it is true pool filter sand - nothing else in substitution. Cost should be not more than $15., or less, for a 50 lb. bag.

Avoid any type of 'play sands"!

I've used above type of PFS for years in my discus & other tanks - very clean with little or no dust or dirt - needs little or no rinsing, won't cloud the water, will not free flow up into the water column when disturbed, so no chance of clogging up the filter - easy to keep clean and will not get siphoned out when using a store bought pool vacuum tube hovered approx. 1" above the sand.

Layer the sand no deeper than 2 & 3/4" to 3" at the rear where most plantings will be, and as thin a layer as possible - say no mote than 1/2" or so at the front of the tank.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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That is excellent thanks so much!

So far I have found these:

https://www.homehardware.ca/en/227kg...sand/p/7154650
PFS but no pic to know what colour it is and no specs.

https://www.homedepot.ca/product/gre...wns/1001091750
Nice pic but not sure the actual grain size or anything about it.

https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/p...4253p.html#srp
This one says #20 grade .45-.55. mm, but not sure if I want sand as white as this appears to be. But for this one I can look at it in store first anyway.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 05:14 PM
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If you have access to a pool store like Leslies they'll have the right stuff. I've purchased PFS from them several times. Like $12 for 50 lbs. One brand I've been using that is tan/off white is lighthouse 20lb.


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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 05:54 PM
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That is excellent thanks so much!

So far I have found these:

https://www.homehardware.ca/en/227kg...sand/p/7154650
PFS but no pic to know what colour it is and no specs.

https://www.homedepot.ca/product/gre...wns/1001091750
Nice pic but not sure the actual grain size or anything about it.

https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/p...4253p.html#srp
This one says #20 grade .45-.55. mm, but not sure if I want sand as white as this appears to be. But for this one I can look at it in store first anyway.

The Home Hardware Marco product, and the Canadian Tire Fairmont Aquaquartz are A-OK. (Don't buy the Home Depot Greenline product).
$12.95 is a good price for 50 lbs.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 07:06 PM
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Although PFS is great and I use it often, just be aware due to its light color everything will show up on the sand. Even tiny fish like otos their poop will be visible. So if your not planting a carpet or plants in the front sides you will notice it until you vacuum it up. The good news is it's inexpensive so you can even vacuum the top layer out of the aquarium and replace with fresh sand.

If you want something dark Black Diamond Blasting Sand (BDBS) is used by many experienced people here.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! Yes I would definitely prefer dark. Just not sure where I can get it from around here. A mottled color would be good too, but I was thinking the same about the light color, it’s going to show everything.


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Well, came across a great deal on a 75g that I can't pass up. I'm picking it up tonight and have to buy sand tonight unless I want to try to put it in after the fact (because it's coming with fish, so I can't wait to set it up) so it's looking like it's going to be the Fairmont which I can get locally! If it shows too much maybe I'll get some darker sand to mix in with it after to give it a mottled effect. What about putting a layer of gravel on top of the sand?

Last edited by Darkblade48; 07-04-2019 at 11:57 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 02:27 PM
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Suggest you don't place gravel on top of the sand - that would make it difficult to keep clean and free of bacteria-laden wastes which get trapped in gravel.

The benefit of using a light colored sand that shows all the waste detritus, is that you can see all of it to vacuum it out, keeping your water quality and conditions as pristine as possible - which better maintains the health of your fish.

That's why I use light colored sand - viz. my avatar.

Check out the photos:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...oto-buffs.html
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 03:09 PM
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...

The benefit of using a light colored sand that shows all the waste detritus, is that you can see all of it to vacuum it out, keeping your water quality and conditions as pristine as possible - which better maintains the health of your fish.

That's why I use light colored sand - viz. my avatar.
That might be true if your keeping a Discus that isn't well planted. A normal tank with regular plant mass that is not even a consideration as there are obviously a ton of tanks on this forum and everywhere that use dark colored sand. Did I miss something is OP starting a Discus tank?


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 03:58 PM
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That might be true if your keeping a Discus that isn't well planted. A normal tank with regular plant mass that is not even a consideration as there are obviously a ton of tanks on this forum and everywhere that use dark colored sand. Did I miss something is OP starting a Discus tank?

Starting a discus tank has nothing to do with it.


Whatever you can do to improve water quality & conditions will be a health maintenance benefit to any species of fish.
And there's also a ton of tanks using light colored sand, particularly in shades of beige/tan. Dark colored sand hides wastes well, providing a false sense of tank well-being- this harbors the development of harmful bacteria much more than light sand, which demands better cleansing, even if only thought of for aesthetic purposes.


I've been fish-keeping for over 50 years, and have a fair idea of what it takes to maintain fish health, discus or otherwise.
What am I missing here ?
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 04:47 PM
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Hi All,

Just an FYI, for the AGA aquascape workshops this year we used HTH Pool Filter Sand available from Ace Hardware 50#@$12.99. If your local store doesn't stock it you can order it an pick it up at your local store. It is made from quartz, so unlike many sands that contain shell fragments the HTH product is inert.

Aquascape with HTH Pool Filter Sand
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 09:58 PM
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Hi All,

Just an FYI, for the AGA aquascape workshops this year we used HTH Pool Filter Sand available from Ace Hardware 50#@$12.99. If your local store doesn't stock it you can order it an pick it up at your local store. It is made from quartz, so unlike many sands that contain shell fragments the HTH product is inert.

Aquascape with HTH Pool Filter Sand


Very nice - thanks for posting those pics.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 11:07 PM
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Hi Carrissa,

I'm using the pool filter sand from Canadian Tire in my 10gal (link in my signature). So far I'm really happy with it, I much prefer it to the playsand I used many years ago, and will be getting more to set up my next tank(s) with. I haven't had any luck finding the Black Diamond Blasting Sand in Canada, although locally on my Kijiji or local FB page people will sell a bag or two here or there.

Good luck!


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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discuspaul View Post
Starting a discus tank has nothing to do with it.


Whatever you can do to improve water quality & conditions will be a health maintenance benefit to any species of fish.
And there's also a ton of tanks using light colored sand, particularly in shades of beige/tan. Dark colored sand hides wastes well, providing a false sense of tank well-being- this harbors the development of harmful bacteria much more than light sand, which demands better cleansing, even if only thought of for aesthetic purposes.


I've been fish-keeping for over 50 years, and have a fair idea of what it takes to maintain fish health, discus or otherwise.
What am I missing here ?
The majority of planted tanks use dark substrate so they are all risking fish health? That is the one of the silliest things I've ever heard I don't care how long you've been in the hobby. Most planted tanks have plants in the majority of the substrate and you don't vacuum the way you do in a discus or other fish dominated tank. You might know fish tanks with some plants in it, but obviously don't know much about planted tanks.

All rich substrates sold for planted tanks are dark. Just ask ADA.


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 12:24 AM
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The majority of planted tanks use dark substrate so they are all risking fish health? That is the one of the silliest things I've ever heard I don't care how long you've been in the hobby. Most planted tanks have plants in the majority of the substrate and you don't vacuum the way you do in a discus or other fish dominated tank. You might know fish tanks with some plants in it, but obviously don't know much about planted tanks.

All rich substrates sold for planted tanks are dark. Just ask ADA.

Most of my years of fish-keeping experience has been with non-discus planted tanks, and you continue to make outrageous, completely nonsensical & ignorant remarks about my commentary, which is solely intended to be helpful to other fish-keepers.


From here on in I'm going to ignore your continued sarcasm, like I've done more than once before regarding your past behaviour towards me and others as well.
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