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Guessing everyone will tell you no. I'm not saying it will work, but here is my experience:

I have a wisconsin painted turtle that I have had for over 20 years. It used to have feeder gold fish in there with it. Two of the feeders survived, one lived for about 7-8 years after transferring it to a 15 gallon tank by itself.

Both of those tanks used gravel from the beach on Lake Michigan near where I live. Washed it well before setting up the tanks.

Also found/kept a cray fish. Little dude was tangled up in a plastic bag on the beach, so I kept him, he lived for years also. Used gravel from Lake Michigan, it was fine. VERY thoroughly washed it all.

Once again, not advocating, just saying it has/can be done.

Oh snap, just saw your location. You see any darters in your river? Do you know if the collection restrictions have been lifted?

Been wanting to change the substrate from the blue rocks to something more natural. Haven't really wanted to do sand but if I can get some free i'd do it so was wondering if I got some from the sandbar down by the river if that'd work?
 

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I tried play sand and it the end it is not a good choice. The small grain size does not allow for any circulation, areas went areobic (sp?) or black, and smelly - horrible actually ..lol
Folks use pool sand as a "cap".
I am sure eventually it gets all mixed up
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Was wondering of lots of rinsing and and hot water wood make it possible? Was also hoping to find a couple heavy river rocks to help weigh down the piece of wood that i'm wanting to put in there. Money is extremely tight this month and next month so free would be very nice right now.
 

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Yes, you can use it. I'd bleach it as well as wash it, and it would be better if the grain size was decent (larger than playsand). Remember that pool filter sand is another good option. Not as cheap as (free) river sand, but $10 or so per 50lb bag at your local pool supply store.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have a few empty tidy cats buckets that I use for the dirty water. Wonder if a few of those would be enough for my tank? That is if I can even remember how to get there to even get some. Been 20 years since i've been out there. I have what is probably just a standard size 55gal tank.
 

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A five gallon size bucket would be plenty of material to do the tank.
Not sure I would go the bleach route of prepping it as I'm not a fan of bleach.

Once it's been rinsed off laying it out in the sun would kill 99% of anything it could carry back. Simply shift it around completely drying it and any critters in it would die.

I understand wanting natural colors as pool filter sand is just too white/bright for my tastes. Don't try it if it's powder fine as it will pack tightly causing problems.

good luck on the search
 

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You could take a sieve of some sort with you when you pick up the sand/gravel to avoid some of the small stuff if it is dry, or rinse it in the water right there.

Since I decided I needed more gravel at the last minute I did bleach the dirty new to me gravel. Rinsed it mostly clean, added a 1/4 cup of bleach and filled bucket half full. Left it for 10 minutes, came back and rinsed it a couple times then added something like 5x dechlor plus water and left to sit for a few more minutes, repeated this step a couple times until I couldn't smell bleach.

There was somebody selling creek substrate collected from his property last year on SnS and it was very attractive with the mixed grain size and color. I like the idea a lot!
 

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I used/ use sand i get at the lake edge in a few of my little tanks and i only rinsed it for about 3 minutes. Fish (including ottos) have all been fine with it, and i didn't even get it from a sterile lake. lol

But then again i am from way up here, i am not sure what the pollution level is where you live, as long as you take it from a place thats not overly populated with boats and people it should be fine!
 

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Yes, you can use it. I'd bleach it as well as wash it, and it would be better if the grain size was decent (larger than playsand). Remember that pool filter sand is another good option. Not as cheap as (free) river sand, but $10 or so per 50lb bag at your local pool supply store.
I really don't think there is a reason to bleach it. If the stream is relatively clean a simple rinse and use. I've done it a few tanks in the past.

If it is super fine, it will compact and cause problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well a friend of mine and my son and I went out to the river looking for sand and rocks and found some rocks that I need to get cleaned and test them with vinegar and we found what is most likely and HOPEFULLY what we thought was a skeleton of a deer while we were wearching for rocks. We were wondering for awhile.

Also my friend has a bag of sand. She's gonna hopefully bring it by tomorrow. Think it's play sand though. Might stop at ace tomorrow since I have to go p'berg. And see if they have anything. Wondering if they might have some small gravel or larger sand to maybe mix with the sand cause I read that the play sand really compacts?

Guess we'll see what tomorrow brings and how much sand my friend has for me.

Thanks everybody for the help!
 
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