Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Pool filter sand will vary. It will be whatever is local; shipping sand is very expensive. Go to your local swimming pool supply places and see what they have. There are often broken bags.
Ask about places that sell to contractors, too. The 'contractors' stores near me will also sell to anyone, but they do not advertize like the 'homeowner' sorts of stores.
Yes, the hardware stores are also getting into selling this sand.
While you are looking into swimming pools, also ask about Pebble Tek products. This is a quartz material that is added to the finish inside a pool to make it look different colors. Some of them contain shells, so avoid those. You just want the quartz material. It is a lot like sand, and is very dense. Easy to clean in an aquarium.
Also, look in rock yards, masonry stores and so on. Sand can be packaged in bags and graded in many sizes.
For darker sand look for blasting grit (One name is Black Diamond)