River sand? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 05:19 AM Thread Starter
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River sand?

Or perhaps more specifically: Sand that wells up in my garden due to liquefaction occurring on a fault line that runs across my property. This sand happens to be similar to sand I found at a nearby river. Hence describing it as such.

BTW, liquefaction is awesome. If you don't know what it is, look up videos. At my place it makes sand geyser up from the ground during earthquakes, and seep up to the surface with general ground movement. Which is always here, because I live on a fault line.

So this would be mixed-grade sand mixed with garden soil. I've done dirted tanks before, even dirt without a cap (it's not as messy as it sounds- looks nice to me anyways, and plants don't seem to mind not having a cap layer). I've just never used sand before. Any thoughts on it?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 06:04 AM
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Let's see some pics dude

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-14-2015, 05:29 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry about the late reply, been busy playing in the dirt on land.

The sand (once the dirt is rinsed out) seems to be like soft, fine grain beach sand. Wonderful to run fingers though, and if weeds are any indication, fine rooted plants will probably love it. I am somewhat worried about it compacting, turns out its fairly moldable when damp. I swear I'm an adult, haha. I guess some of my MTS will be getting a new home when I set up a tank for the sand.

I even love the color!

Pre-rinsing




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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-14-2015, 01:47 PM
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I love that color!! I would try it in a 10g or, less. Test it for ammonia as there are going to be at least some organics in it if it's growing stuff. Then try it with some stems and see what happens! You may have to supplement with root tabs or O+ caps.

Bump: If you're worried about compaction then add some snails.

Stock lightly and carry a big filter. - I don't have aquariums. I have ecosystems in a glass box. - Hygrophilaholic and hoarder of Anubias.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-14-2015, 05:22 PM
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very nice, that sand looks great. be sure to post some pics if you use it for your tank!

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2015, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
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I'll be using it in a 1.5 gallon nano as a test. Put a lil bit of Osmocote on the bottom, and I'm considering dry starting it (would probably help prevent some clouding when filled). I'll have to wait until tomorrow at least to finish the set up- I'm wanting to add at least another 50% more sand. I don't know how much it will compact when wet, so better safe than sorry.

Tank: 6"x6"x10"

Planned plant list:
-Microsword
-Nymphaea daubenyana (dwarf lilly sp.)
-Rotala Roundafolia/Colorata
-Sunset Hygro

Denizens:
-Pixel (angry, spiteful crowntail betta)
-Velociraptor


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2015, 07:09 AM
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Woah, you got a big thumb. Haha only playing.

Hi Kehy. Another Washingtonian I see haha. If you are just looking for cheap sand, you can get a 100lb bag from Home Depot for $8.88 (that's really the price). It's a fine-grain, beige sand (not the regular quik-rete play sand or pool filter sand, just another all purpose silica sand. yes silica sand is fine. one of the LFS even sells it by the lb.).

I've used 200lbs (2 bags, lots of tanks) of it with a bunch of different species of fish. It does compact some, but I think all sand does if you let it sit long enough. I've noticed in higher bio-load tanks (overstocked) it compacts quicker and can turn dark in color when nitrogen gas builds up under it (normal), just got to stir it once in awhile. Definitely a cheap sand to try out. Even though it is a fine-grain, I don't siphon much sand out at all during vaccing, and it's clean sand, practically no clouding at all, settles very fast and no debris, but I still rinse before adding just in case.

Anyways, I can't really comment on the sand you have. But do be cautious, you never know what the sand is made of and what other potentially dangerous stuff it might have on/in it. That velociraptor might also leach harmful stuff as well. Then again, they both might be completely safe, but just giving word of caution.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2015, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WaterLife View Post
Woah, you got a big thumb. Haha only playing.

Hi Kehy. Another Washingtonian I see haha. If you are just looking for cheap sand, you can get a 100lb bag from Home Depot for $8.88 (that's really the price). It's a fine-grain, beige sand (not the regular quik-rete play sand or pool filter sand, just another all purpose silica sand. yes silica sand is fine. one of the LFS even sells it by the lb.).

I've used 200lbs (2 bags, lots of tanks) of it with a bunch of different species of fish. It does compact some, but I think all sand does if you let it sit long enough. I've noticed in higher bio-load tanks (overstocked) it compacts quicker and can turn dark in color when nitrogen gas builds up under it (normal), just got to stir it once in awhile. Definitely a cheap sand to try out. Even though it is a fine-grain, I don't siphon much sand out at all during vaccing, and it's clean sand, practically no clouding at all, settles very fast and no debris, but I still rinse before adding just in case.

Anyways, I can't really comment on the sand you have. But do be cautious, you never know what the sand is made of and what other potentially dangerous stuff it might have on/in it. That velociraptor might also leach harmful stuff as well. Then again, they both might be completely safe, but just giving word of caution.
Whereabouts in WA do you hail from? haha

And you've got some good points. It would be a much safer route to go with store bought sands, and the prices for them aren't bad at all (where to store 100 pounds of sand is another issue entirely ). This was a spur of the moment type thing, and I did happen to need a separate tank for the angry bitey fish.

Mostly I just want to see how well this might work as a free resource. As it happens, I do like the color of the sand, and I'm fairly certain that the worst that might come from it could be algae issues from too many nutrients. The dirt I get the sand from comes directly from the family veggie garden, so I know pest/herbicides aren't a major issue. The organics that are inevitably still in there, I can deal with.

The raptor though, I've got my eye on her. She should be fine, given that she was in the children's toys section, and the only warning that came with her was a choking hazard (her mouth opens). I was tempted to upgrade to the T-rex and put it in a larger tank, but I'll see how the raptor does for now.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-14-2015, 07:20 AM Thread Starter
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Been doing a dry start on the tank for a couple weeks now (3-4 weeks?). Aquatic weeds agree with terrestrial weeds in saying this stuff is good for growing in. The microsword seems to be picking up growing speed, not that it was slow before. The hygro is doing the hygro thing and is growing too fast. Rooting very well. The rotala is also growing, but it would really really like to be submersed. Somehow an itty bitty buce baby also made it into the tank. It's gotten a new leaf since its been in there, so I suppose it likes it.

Also, being able to look at root growth from the bottom is awesome.

July 26th:

August 14th:


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-30-2017, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Reviving this thread because my experiment in the 1.5 jar worked so well, I'm preparing 20+ pounds of sand to use in a 20 gallon tank. I'll be using SubstrateSource's Coffee Brown sand in a second 20 gallon, as I think it's the closest color match. It'll be interesting to see how the substrates compare.

The river/garden sand is still proving to be an excellent rooting substrate, and heavy enough to not be picked up by a gravel vac. At the same time it hasn't been particularly prone to compacting, at least not with snails in the tank. While I think it's long past used up any original nutrients it might have had, I've been supplementing it with root tabs. Seems to be working fine.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-20-2017, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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Now if only substrate could stay this pristine...


But then we wouldn't have raptors in our tanks, now would we?
BTW, this stuff is a joy to plant in.
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