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Beach sand?

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I'm living in Maldives and aquarium sand and ADA substrate is REALLY expensive here, so I decided to go to the beach and collect 2 buckets full of white beach from the sand. I rinsed it off a few times, got it all cleaned up and even washed it with boiling hot water. Then i kept it to soak in normal tap water for about 5 days. But still, the salt water smell doesn't go off. It's really smelly, but all clean.
I don't want to put my plants and fish in while it smells like that because I know it's probably gonna kill my plants and fishes. Anyone has any idea on how I could remove the smell? Btw it's like 40 liters of sand and I need to clean it indoors, so if anyone has any idea, please let me know. Thanks
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Your beach sand is probably mostly carbonates - broken up bits of shells and corals and stuff.

It'll work great for a marine tank, or anything where you want hardwater, but it might be difficult to do a typical softwater/blackwater type tropical set up with it.

As to cleaning it, I imagine just doing a couple washes with freshwater should remove the salt. If it still smells there is probably something decaying in it - bits of sea weed, tiny critters, etc.

Not sure what the easiest/best way, but you could try doing smaller batches, and 'winnowing' it. Put a small amount in a much larger container, add a bunch of water, and stir it up good, so particles are suspended, and then up end and pour out all the water and anything but the sand in the very bottom. A couple of attempts like that, and you should be able to pull out most of the smaller/lighter particles, and hopefully anything that may be decomposing. You might even be able to do this step on the shore when you collect the sand.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Yeah, sorry to say, but beach sand probably won't work well for most freshwater planted setups as it will keep leaching and driving your hardness and pH way up. Now, if you wanted to try a brackish or saltwater setup, or an African cichlid tank, that would probably be a great choice.

Do you have access to a gardening store? Some organic soil underneath some pool filter sand (which is inert) would be a good, cheap alternative that I think you may have better luck finding locally?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the feedback, I've got a smaller tank setup with beach sand which i had cooked for a couple of hours and it works great. I just did it two days ago and I'll let you know on an update. Just an experiment.

As for gardening soil, I'll try it too on a smaller tank and let you know on how it goes. Thanks a lot for the feedback
 

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Not all beach sand is from coral, shells or limestone.
Test it to see if it alters the KH, GH, pH.

The 'beach' smell might indeed be dead matter, and it does need to be cleaned out. More rinsing, perhaps even a light dose of bleach followed by a lot more rinsing.
Maybe read about mineralized soil. Do that to the sand, and perhaps that will break down the organic matter faster.

Shrimp do not usually eat the sand, but may pick it up and eat stuff that is on the sand, like microorganisms. It is the natural way they eat.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Amano shrimp would be a good choice, if you have those in the Maldives? They'd probably do well even if your sand is affecting your water parameters, as they can handle hard and brackish water.

I probably would not try any of the Bee shrimp species (CRS, etc), though- they really do need pretty soft water.
 
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