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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok, thinking about pool filter sand for my big tank project since AS is just not going to work. But perhaps the money I'll save will let me do some other things I wanted to do. Anyhow, my question is how is the grain size of pool filter sand and how 'heavy' is it? Or actually any sand substrate, which sand would be the coarsest and heaviest? I think that would be the best combo for plants as well as loaches. The too light and fine stuff is going to turn into a dust storm with the fish on the bottom, and larger stuff like fluorite, well I just dont care for the look unless they released it in black, and the loaches prefer sand anyways. So can anyone recommend a sand that fits this bill?
 

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I've heard great stuff about the 3M Quartz sand, and it comes in different colors. The T-grade is coarser. Regular "tan" pool filter sand is heavier than play sand, but you still might want to sift it to get rid of the finer particles. I've used regular PFS and Play sand...the play sand burned up one of my HOBs straight away, but after it got a nice mulm layer, it was ok. I'd still use a pre-filter sponge if you go with that product until it gets settled and coated. These are just my own experiences...I'm sure you'll get lots of other opinions.
 

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i actually had two bags in my cart today but figured i'd better check on the potential of it before i spend the money. looks better size wise than a lot of the substrates i've looked into.

i might give it a shot anyway but i was just wondering what people thought about it as well...this is a timely thread :)

jason
 

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i have it. it is great. i tried play sand, which was a disaster (oscar + play sand = dead HOB filter). Pool filter sand is heavier and settles quickly. doesn't cloud water. still needs washed. Also, the grain size is big enough that I haven't had gas build up or compaction. paid $5 for 50# at homedepot. just rinse it well first is all.

hope that helps.
 

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paid $5 for 50# at homedepot. just rinse it well first is all.
I have pool sand (quartz) in a 5.5. It works but it does move around easy and shows poop fairly well.

On the big box "sand" material: beware, a fair bit of it is sourced locally so your particular bag may effect water chemistry (ie. limestone or shells).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've heard great stuff about the 3M Quartz sand, and it comes in different colors. The T-grade is coarser.
Anyone have any more info on this T-grade quartz? Is it coarser/heavier than pool filter sand?

I did a quick search and on 3M's website I found this description:
S-grade

* Finest particle size available, non-abrasive, gentle on feet.
* Available in 14 Colors: White, Blue, Black, Cayman Green, Red, Peach, Plum, Brown, Buff, Tan, Grey, Smoke
* Spherical shape

T – Grade

* Intermediate particle size
* Available in 5 colors: White, Blue, Black, Cayman Green, Red
* Angular shape, crushed quartz
I am a little concerned that the S grade specifically says non-abrasive and spherical shape and the T grade doesnt, since loaches would not appreciate an abrasive substrate. Does anyone know just how rough the T grade is? Or if the S grade is too fine and gets stirred up easily?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for those links macclellan. Took me a long while to read through that one! Looks like there is only 1 dealer in ohio and its several hours away (cleveland). But since the family is from NE Ohio cleveland is a little closer if I am already up there. Hmmm, and maybe I could stir up some local interest and get together a bulk order and go up there, if I decide to go with it.

Unfortunately after reading through 21 pages of discussion no one mentioned between the fine S grade or the coarse T grade which one plants would stay in better. I have two main concerns about substrate: that it isnt abrasive to my bottom dwellers and that plants will be able to root well in it so the loaches cant easily uproot them.
 

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It seems, based on description alone, that you would want to go with a spherical shaped grade for bottom dwellers. I would "think" that it's still heavier than regular play sand. You could add some MTS to keep it from getting compacted as well.

I'm surprised no one carries it in Columbus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I haven’t called around or anything, but like was mentioned in that thread linked (one of the posters there was from Columbus too), there was a supplier in Cleveland, and when I went to 'distributors' on 3M website its also indicating just 1 in Ohio (Cleveland).

The S grade sure does sound smoother, but will it hold down plants as good and not be kicked up as easily? All my bottom dwellers seem to do fine on fluorite, unless the T grade is more abrasive than that... maybe I need to contact 3M and see if they can send me a sample.
 

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3M color quartz "T" grade is rough. I have the black color. Great color, but sharp! I wouldn't recommend it for bottom dwellers like cories and such. It ruins their barbels. When I was rinsing it, it felt like it was cutting into my hands, so I could see where it would be harmful for those bottom feeders. Plants well.
 

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my 55 gallon tank is black t-grade 3m colorquartz mixed with some seachem onyx. i have 3 yoyo loaches that don't mind it at all... also the cories do just fine with it, too. highly recommended if you want a dark substrate that's inert and won't cloud yr water. (rinsing required, i recommend rex's method with paint strainer 5 gallon bucket).

Oqsy
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, I think this idea is shot. Called the only Ohio distributer and he wants about $30 a bag for S grade and $35 for T grade. Considering the drive and price of gas just makes this not so much of a good deal. There is one local company that buys in bulk from this guy who they told me to call, and after calling he wants to charge $45/50, told him I'd pass on that, that they quoted me about $30/bag in cleveland. He said they pay $28/bag for it themselves in bulk. Looks like I'm back to pool filter sand. Why dont they have it in black, would make life much easier lol.
 

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A year ago, I paid around $24 to $26 dollars for a 50 lbs of the "T" grade.

Sorry it didn't work out for ya. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well I suppose I havent ruled it out yet, but at that price I'm not running up there tomorrow to get it. Will have to ponder other possibilities now, just that there arent many. I dunno, maybe I should just sell my clowns, then I could go with AS. But I'd hate to do that, their the reason I got the big tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have pool sand (quartz) in a 5.5. It works but it does move around easy and shows poop fairly well.

On the big box "sand" material: beware, a fair bit of it is sourced locally so your particular bag may effect water chemistry (ie. limestone or shells).
I meant to ask, is pool filter sand also sourced locally or are you talking about regular sand you'd get at HD? As far as moving around easy I assume this it true of any sand, but something like quartz should be a little heavier I hope. Is pool filter sand quartz then (sorry, never used sand much before)?
 

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Pool filter sand is not black because it's not a decorative item. Black sand is expensive since it only comes from a few locations close by volcanoes.

Normal silica sand has many sources.

In some counties in Washington state they use fine red lava rock to gravel the roads when it snows. The same rock on the east coast in bags is about $1 a pound. You get what's local, available and cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I inquired as to whether pool filter sand is also locally sourced (I've not seen it yet), so I can tell if folks descriptions of it are accurate (as other sands like you say are locally sourced it doesnt do much good to ask others that have used it since they are probably different). I'm quite aware that it isnt black and why. I was just pointlessly wishing it was black. So far I havent seen anything local other than very fine pale white sand, but I've only looked at a few places thus far.
 
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