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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm setting up a 55 gallon tank with half to a third river colored gravel and I would like a 'play area' for cories or something of the like. But I don't know where to start. I've only ever used sand in a small 5.5 gallon betta tank, again half gravel. It was like Aquaculture or something like that. I haven't had a problem with it so far (1 month and still going).

I would like beige or river or at least a lighter colored sand. I've heard mixed reviews on everything, from pool filter sand to play sand to blasting sand to regular aquarium sand. What's your preferred sand type?

-Empress Akitla
 

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The most desirable features of sand substrate for aquarium use are:

- Dense enough & large enough beads so that it doesn't get siphoned out when vacuuming;
- Heavy enough so that it doesn't free-float into the water column when disturbed and get into filtration systems & clog them up.
- Not fine, so that it doesn't compact heavily, thereby decreasing the risks of toxic anaerobic gas pockets developing.
- Clean enough so that there is very little dirt, dust & grime in it, and little, if any, rinsing is needed before use.

Very few sands meet this criteria, and those few that do are usually much more expensive than the best choice imo:

#20 or # 30 grade quartz-based silica pool filter sand available at almost any pool or spa supply store - generally around $10.- $15. for a 50 lb. bag.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The most desirable features of sand substrate for aquarium use are:

- Dense enough & large enough beads so that it doesn't get siphoned out when vacuuming;
- Heavy enough so that it doesn't free-float into the water column when disturbed and get into filtration systems & clog them up.
- Not fine, so that it doesn't compact heavily, thereby decreasing the risks of toxic anaerobic gas pockets developing.
- Clean enough so that there is very little dirt, dust & grime in it, and little, if any, rinsing is needed before use.

Very few sands meet this criteria, and those few that do are usually much more expensive than the best choice imo:

#20 or # 30 grade quartz-based silica pool filter sand available at almost any pool or spa supply store - generally around $10.- $15. for a 50 lb. bag.
Okay, thank you! I've been looking at PFS and just wasn't sure what to think. Thanks for the imput!

-Empress Akitla
 

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You can also go to stores that sell bagged sand for masonry and similar uses. Around here, you can buy graded sand in other sizes, too.
30 mesh is common for PFS. A bit coarser is available by a company called Cemex that bags it as Lapis Lustre.
Their Aquarium Sand (Coarsest of the 3 materials in these pictures) is about 1/8" diameter, almost a fine gravel. The finest material in these 3 pics is probably 20 or 30 mesh.

Specialty Sands | Products & Services | CEMEX USA
 
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