The quartz silica sand at HomeDepot does work great. It is very bright, because it has a ton of the actual clear quartz crystals in it instead of the darker grains. If you choose to use this in your tank, you should at least consider the garden hose rinsing method:
Fill about 2 inches of sand in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket. Place a full out garden hose into the bucket to super-circulate the water. If you keep your hand inside the bucket, you will know when the lighter particles are suspended in the current, and then just dump that off into your yard. Do this two or three times. After a good few minutes, of doing this with a few bucket loads, you will be left with the real heavy quartz sand that is very big grained.
The stuff is so cheap, you won't feel bad discarding quite a bit in the form of suspended light grains.
Once you are done with all of this, the sand that is left over, makes a very fun substrate for a planted tank. I have had tons of fun with runner plants being able to propogate through this easy substrate, and they spread real fast. Stems with roots are nice too, because you can just "brush" them down, and the roots get under, to where the want to be.
PS: Though, I don't think this is a good first time substrate for beginners, and I add extra stuff under the inert silica to kick-start my tanks. So, I would call this an intermediate substrate, not something for a first time experiment please.
PSS: A heat cable with a sand substrate is a good topic, but I don't care to discuss that as of right now, sorry.....