Play sand as a substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2009, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Play sand as a substrate?

Has anyone here ever used play sand as a substrate in a planted tank? I am considering it. How will it affect the water chemistry? It's really cheap at 4$ a bag for 50 pounds. Will it change the pH by a lot?


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2009, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Vladdy View Post
Has anyone here ever used play sand as a substrate in a planted tank? I am considering it. How will it affect the water chemistry? It's really cheap at 4$ a bag for 50 pounds. Will it change the pH by a lot?
Yes. It won't. It won't change it at all.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2009, 01:30 AM
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You can also use pool filter sand if you want to. It's about $6-$8 for a big bag (forget how many pounds....40-60). It's a larger grain. I've been using it for about 5 years now.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2009, 02:59 AM
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I've used it. It doesn't change the water chemistry at all. But if you like vacuuming your substrate, even hovering above it with the gravel vacuum, forget about it. Play sand is very fine, finer than almost any other substrate, so the smallest of disturbances sends sand particles flying.
It does look nice in a tank though. May I suggest an alternative? Pool filter sand has a bigger grain size, and I payed 10 bucks for a 50 pound bag. It's pure silica, so you know it's inert. I got it at a pool supply store.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2009, 03:12 AM
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Ohhh we got another russian person on here I was born there too
Play sand is very nice I actually thinking setting up my 14g with it, but as Hipuks said vacuuming it will be a pita. You could use some color quartz T grade sand, or pool filter sand. Bigger grain and looks very nice. I have black color quarts in my 10g now and i love it.


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-18-2009, 10:10 AM
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I used playsand for years.. providing you rinse it you shouldn't get any dust or fines.. it's the easiest substrate to hoover I've ever tried (after rinsing out the fines.. mulm just sits on the surface of the sand)).. Crypyts and Vallis both love it - as do Corydoras, banjo cats and other substrate sifters/burrowers. It's surprisingly dense once settled and roots really run through it.

But.. play sand may vary from location to location.. so ymmv.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2009, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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The play sand looks great in the tank. Check out my journal to see it.


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2009, 02:52 AM
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Play sand does not have to meet any particular specification, as far as I know. It would have to be relatively clean and free of broken glass, or other unacceptable debris. But, it could be limestone and would be perfectly acceptable for its intended use, but not for a planted tank. Even pool filter sand varies widely in appearance because appearance is of no concern for that job. But, I don't believe a sand that changes the hardness of the pool water would be acceptable as a filter media, so at least you don't have that to be concerned about with filter sand. In fact any time you use something not specifically sold for planted tank substrates there is a chance it will affect the water - even SMS did that for some people. But, that is still the way to go for really cheap substrate.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2009, 03:40 AM
 
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I have spoken to some locals who have used both pool filter sand and play sand, one local in particular who used both told me that he went through 4 filter impellers within a one year period when he used play sand, largely owing it to it being lighter than pool filter sand and being easily stirred up sending fine sand grains through the impeller. He stated that he had no such issues when he switched to pool filter sand.

I think you are at greater risk of impeller damage using play sand vs pool filter sand, especially if you have bottom dwellers that continuously stir up the substrate.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2009, 04:13 PM
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After setting up some breeders over the weekend with both play sand & pool sand I would recommend getting the pool filter sand. Its much easier to plant, clean and setup. The play sand was a mess and took a lot longer to settle than the pool sand. Play sand also had a tendency to snap stems when I was trying to plant them, where as the stems planted almost effortlessly in the pool sand. Also be careful when buying pool sand, try and check the grade if you can. I got three identical bags; two bags that were perfect and one bag that was fine almost like the play sand but not quite as bad, so even with the pool sand there is some variance.

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