Jump to content

Sand substrate


Jimmy
 Share

Recommended Posts

It depends on what color you want.  I use Black Diamond sandblasting sand when I want black and pool filter sand when I want natural colored sand.  The sandblasting sand will need significant rinsing, but the pool filter sand should need little to none (I've used two brands; one produced no clouding, and the other one produced so little it wasn't worth bothering with rinsing).

Some people like using basic Play Sand from a home improvement store, but while it's less expensive than pool filter sand it will need a lot of rinsing.  I'm old; I'll happily spend a little more money to save some work, and pool filter sand isn't that expensive anyway.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/6/2021 at 7:11 AM, JettsPapa said:

It depends on what color you want.  I use Black Diamond sandblasting sand when I want black and pool filter sand when I want natural colored sand.  The sandblasting sand will need significant rinsing, but the pool filter sand should need little to none (I've used two brands; one produced no clouding, and the other one produced so little it wasn't worth bothering with rinsing).

Some people like using basic Play Sand from a home improvement store, but while it's less expensive than pool filter sand it will need a lot of rinsing.  I'm old; I'll happily spend a little more money to save some work, and pool filter sand isn't that expensive anyway.

Appreciate the feedback, I guess I’m more interested in pre bagged sand for the hobby, significantly less rinsing lol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use Caribsea Super Naturals Crystal River. I rinsed it for my 10 gallon, didn't rinse when I started up my 55 gallon. It was cloudy for a few days (because of bacterial bloom and a bit of the sand being stirred up) but it cleared up pretty fast. I love it.

Edited by laritheloud
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The pool filter sand at my local box store needed very minimal rinsing.  I was done in about 5 minutes or less for 50 lbs of sand.  It takes about 20 minutes for the black blasting sand.  Both cost me about $10.00 per 50 pound bag.

With either, I dump about half the bag into a good sized bucket (at least 3 gallons), turn on my hose to a strong but not blasting stream, and stick the end into the bucket of sand.  If your water is flowing enough the hose should easily go all the way to the bottom.  Then I sweep it around with my hand/arm and stir the sand well.  The goal is to fluidize the sand and let any debris and dust float away until the water is clear.  Then I do the same thing directly in the bag.  If you can’t move the hose and your arm easily through the sand, increase your water flow until you can.

You’re probably going to have to do just as much rinsing for any sand.  My water is pretty clear even the same day as it’s added and that’s with planting that day into dirt capped with sand.

All the following photos were taken immediately after planting (dirt capped by sand), then filling the tanks.  Second pic you can even see the floating wood that was insufficiently weighted down.

F5D7DDC8-8458-4987-9635-D67173E3188D.jpeg

390D3050-22B3-4FE1-B740-6A92BC9BB964.jpeg

7AB0F62C-D6C1-425A-9A7A-F0A5FF35A4FC.jpeg

E68606C9-3A13-4B53-81C2-4C3DC4AE7E67.jpeg

  • Like 2
  • Love 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/6/2021 at 3:13 PM, darkG said:

But rinsing a small amount of sand is actually no issue. 🙂

You only have to rinse as much as you need.  😆  I was going to be setting up multiple tanks and I’m a tightwad.  I’d rather have sand to spare than pay three times the price for a fraction as much substrate.  It was driven off by the price of the “aquarium sand” when I knew I could get something that would work just fine for far less money.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/6/2021 at 12:48 PM, Odd Duck said:

The pool filter sand at my local box store needed very minimal rinsing.  I was done in about 5 minutes or less for 50 lbs of sand.  It takes about 20 minutes for the black blasting sand.  Both cost me about $10.00 per 50 pound bag.

With either, I dump about half the bag into a good sized bucket (at least 3 gallons), turn on my hose to a strong but not blasting stream, and stick the end into the bucket of sand.  If your water is flowing enough the hose should easily go all the way to the bottom.  Then I sweep it around with my hand/arm and stir the sand well.  The goal is to fluidize the sand and let any debris and dust float away until the water is clear.  Then I do the same thing directly in the bag.  If you can’t move the hose and your arm easily through the sand, increase your water flow until you can.

You’re probably going to have to do just as much rinsing for any sand.  My water is pretty clear even the same day as it’s added and that’s with planting that day into dirt capped with sand.

All the following photos were taken immediately after planting (dirt capped by sand), then filling the tanks.  Second pic you can even see the floating wood that was insufficiently weighted down.

F5D7DDC8-8458-4987-9635-D67173E3188D.jpeg

390D3050-22B3-4FE1-B740-6A92BC9BB964.jpeg

7AB0F62C-D6C1-425A-9A7A-F0A5FF35A4FC.jpeg

E68606C9-3A13-4B53-81C2-4C3DC4AE7E67.jpeg

Pool filter sand looks really nice I will have to admit 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/6/2021 at 1:27 PM, Tihshho said:

@Odd Duck nailed it with poolfilter sand. This stuff is cheap, it's fairly dust free out of the bag and should be available at any hardware store or places that carry media for pool filtration. You can get different grain size as well if you go to a pool specific shop. 

Different grain size? I will have to go stop by a spa place 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/6/2021 at 5:58 PM, Jimmy said:

Anything in pool filter sand to cause ammonia?

Not one bit, unless you're pulling from an open bag and have bugs in there that drown when you fill the tank.

 

On 9/6/2021 at 5:58 PM, Jimmy said:

Different grain size? I will have to go stop by a spa place 

Keep an eye out on this. Generally, the media is cheap, but if you get it during pool opening season or mid summer the prices go up a wee bit. Going into fall after pools have closed generally this stuff goes on clearance. I think I got 2 bags at Ace Hardware for around $6 per 50lb bag during a seasonal closeout. This stuff was the finer one. If you go to a pool supply store I'm sure you get discounts outside of the big pool rush season for other grain sizes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I prefer natural color to the black sands. I initially had pool filter sand in my 40. I added 2 bags of Caribsea Super Naturals Peace River on top because I wanted more depth. I think it looks much better. The pool filter sand I got was very light in color. Not quite white, but not nearly dark enough for my taste in this tank. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/6/2021 at 8:55 PM, ChemBob said:

I prefer natural color to the black sands. I initially had pool filter sand in my 40. I added 2 bags of Caribsea Super Naturals Peace River on top because I wanted more depth. I think it looks much better. The pool filter sand I got was very light in color. Not quite white, but not nearly dark enough for my taste in this tank. 

PFS darkens with age, that's how most pool folk determine when it's time to change it. What was once light or tan, will get dark years down the line with algae growth and tannin staining.

I love black sand the day I setup a tank with it, as soon as something moves in or detritus builds up from plants or fish waste I want nothing to do with it. It's such a double edged sword. Black is simple, elegant and great, but it's so much maintenance as sand. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/6/2021 at 5:55 PM, ChemBob said:

I prefer natural color to the black sands. I initially had pool filter sand in my 40. I added 2 bags of Caribsea Super Naturals Peace River on top because I wanted more depth. I think it looks much better. The pool filter sand I got was very light in color. Not quite white, but not nearly dark enough for my taste in this tank. 

I was worried about to light of a substrate. Maybe cutting it is a good idea 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/6/2021 at 4:58 PM, Jimmy said:

Anything in pool filter sand to cause ammonia?

Normally there isn't any issue with it, but I saw some at a home improvement place once that said it had "special additives" to make it work better, without elaborating on the additive.  Considering the brand name was Clorox I decided to pass on it.

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/6/2021 at 3:26 PM, Ixrayu said:

I have used pavers sand, really cheap at menards, lowes or home depot

You have to be careful with paver sand as some contains binders that activate when wet to lock the sand together like concrete. The "base paver sand" is generally okay, but the "joint paver sand" is typically filled with binders that get activated with water to lock pavers together. When installing pavers you typically lay down a layer of base sand then install the pavers on top of that, then sweep the joint sand into the joints and wet it down to lock the pavers together. Base paver sand is probably okay. Joint paver sand, is probably not okay.

It might be possible to use the joint paver sand to make a sand background on a tank though.  Lay the tank on it's back, add a layer of the joint paver sand to the back wall then moisten it and let it cure. It might attach itself to the glass and be strong enough to stay in place. No guarantee it wouldn't leach toxins into the water though. I haven't tried that or heard of anyone trying that, but it might work. It might also be an effective substrate on a high-flow river style tank. It should lock together and not get swept around by the current. Once again though, no guarantee it wouldn't leach something harmful into the water.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/7/2021 at 6:24 AM, gardenman said:

You have to be careful with paver sand as some contains binders that activate when wet to lock the sand together like concrete. The "base paver sand" is generally okay, but the "joint paver sand" is typically filled with binders that get activated with water to lock pavers together. When installing pavers you typically lay down a layer of base sand then install the pavers on top of that, then sweep the joint sand into the joints and wet it down to lock the pavers together. Base paver sand is probably okay. Joint paver sand, is probably not okay.

It might be possible to use the joint paver sand to make a sand background on a tank though.  Lay the tank on it's back, add a layer of the joint paver sand to the back wall then moisten it and let it cure. It might attach itself to the glass and be strong enough to stay in place. No guarantee it wouldn't leach toxins into the water though. I haven't tried that or heard of anyone trying that, but it might work. It might also be an effective substrate on a high-flow river style tank. It should lock together and not get swept around by the current. Once again though, no guarantee it wouldn't leach something harmful into the water.

This is great information, thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...