pool filter sand. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-21-2012, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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pool filter sand.

I am looking to start using a different substrate in my planted tank besides rocks. I have vals, a sprite, 1 sword, some hairgrass, and a moth ball..

Now, I want to start using maybe pool filter sand. I know it has silica in it, and I am wondering if it would be harmful to my fish and plants.

I have 1 hifin platy, neon tetras, an oto, and alot of glass shrimp.

Would it be better for my shrimp to use sand rather than rocks?

If this sand is harmful, what do you recommend I use?

Any information would be great as I am new to all of this
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 09:46 AM
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Pool filter sand is good stuff. Consistent in size, relatively clean, and doesn't compact much at all. I'm using in in one of my tanks right now. Ya, there's silica, but its really hard to avoid. (You should see the diatom algae detonation I set off with lava rock lol)

Just avoid play sand. That stuff might as well be dirt.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 04:54 PM
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Silica as in play or pool filter sands, some gravel and other sources is not a problem for fish or plants in an aquarium. It can trigger the growth of 'Brown Algae', also known as Diatoms. (Google for images, they are really interesting seen under a 'scope').

The secret is to remove the silica as fast as possible. Allow the diatoms to grow, they are filtering the silica out of the water and incorporating it into their body. If they are allowed to die in the tank that silica gets recycled into more diatoms.
If you remove the diatoms then the silica in their body gets removed. You can wipe off the diatoms from things you can remove from the tank, or you can get Otos or a few other fish to eat the diatoms, then vacuum the poop. Or you can wipe off the things while they are still in the tank, and keep the siphon close by to remove the diatoms.
Keep cleaning the filter media, too. Gently, the new bacteria are still colonizing it, but slosh the sponges around enough to remove the diatoms.

Even if you do not make any effort to remove the silica eventually the diatoms will die off. It just goes faster if you can keep on removing the silica.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 05:36 PM
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I've used pool filter sand before, rinsed the crap out of it... despite what people say, that stuff still needs to be cleaned and prepped before shoving it in your aquarium... and It's cheap!

50# for $20 i believe.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 06:20 PM
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I know a lot of people say pool filter sand does not compact, but any substrate will compact, and the finer it is, the more likely it will.

Silica is not a problem unless it is in high concentration, and that can vary in any silica/quartz sand, and then it is a pain in the but, but manageable.

Silica sand provides no minerals that plants require, and has very poor cation exchange capacity, so you would have to fertilize by either adding something to the sand or to the water.

Robert Paul Hudson

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the input guys! For now, im going to stick with my natural colored rocks. Later on down the road I am going to do either sand or something like eco complete.
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