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If your intent is to gather sand or gravel, then I would simply test it to see if it will alter the GH, KH, pH and TDS of the water. If that is OK for the fish you want to keep, then go for it.
If you collect from a wet location you might want to thoroughly dry the material with lots of exposure to the sun and a splash of bleach to kill fish disease or parasites.
A dry location would not have this issue.

If you want a finer material, more like soil for a planted tank I would highly recommend testing a sample to make sure it won't cloud the tank.
Put a handful or two in a jar of water with a good lid (Canning jar is good) and shake it a lot.
Let it sit and see how much falls out in just a few seconds, a few minutes and a few hours.
If most of it has fallen out in the first few minutes this is good.
If the water stays cloudy, but not too bad, through just a few hours this is good.
The longer the water stays cloudy (like overnight) or the murkier it is, the worse as far as aquarium use goes.
This would be a high clay soil and high cationic exchange capacity (good), but the cloudiness that does not settle, even when the jar sits still overnight will not settle out in an aquarium with any sort of pump, power head or even fish stirring the water.
 
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