Jump to content

Pool Filter sand types (silica vs. glass)


Recommended Posts

Does anyone have experience with the glass variety of "pool filter sand"?

I am doing research on my end because of trying to understand pool filter sand and it's use in the industry, why it would or wouldn't work for the aquarium.  There is 3 main varieties: silica, zeolite, or glass.  We all know what zeolite is.  The case for glass over traditional silica sand is because it's used in the case of where a pool might have algae issues.  It also, potentially, has an ability to filter out finer particles, but most importantly it's made from a recycled material and is potentially better longer term.

Here's one example, and of course the price is much higher than usual due to it being on amazon. I am not sure what it would be at a local pool supply store.


My assumptions:
1.  It's probably a good idea to tumble it for "a while" to break sharp edges down and allow for a softer edge for any tank with bottom dwelling fish.
2.  It can potentially be contaminated, as it's a recycled product.  Rinse it well.
3.  May or may not have a very specific color and look that could look bad. Difficult to say.


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/7/2022 at 4:12 PM, Fishbros said:

I used a sand once with high silica in it and ended up with a lot of diatoms in the tank.  I have never tried the glass sand before but I have used black diamond blasting media in my 125 with no problem 

I want to get some sort of sand in the new tank.  Hard to decide which to go with (pool filter sand was the choice).  I had carib sea before and loved it. 

It's a tank dedicated for corydoras. The glass sand might not be the best choice so I was just trying to thing in future about it.  I honestly don't think a lot of hobbyists know about it or have used it before.  It seems like a pretty unique, fitting aesthetic that would behave like a fine gravel without the risk of the paint or something coming off like the cheap stuff does on the big box store "sand" they sell.

I might have to get a bag just to see what it's like, if I can find it locally.

Edit: found this.  Apparently it floats.


Sand will require longer backwashing to clean the dirt out of the system as there is more volume of media to go through.

Glass media will backwash quicker as the material is lighter and less dense, so it floats better, resulting in faster cleaning. Faster cleaning also means less water usage.


Edited by nabokovfan87
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I prefer granite sand now, I am a little disappointed that the Co-op no longer sells it. And hasn't sold it for a minute (am I old?) but what Cory and I found individually is the larger granule sand doesn't seem to stagnate and collect detritus and mulm on the surface. Without the action of worms and other burrowing creatures this can lead to some long term health problems in the tank. But with corydoras I like to use some fine sand like the blasting media variety or extremely fine playsand mixed with organic soil (make sure there aren't fertilizer balls in it!). I think this is most accurate to what they encounter in the wild. Watch Cory's videos of him in Peru where they are sinking to their waist in the river, if you haven't already. 


I accidentally used organic soil with volcanic glass in my 5 gallon and I can tell you boy howdy does that sand float. quite annoying and the micro air pockets make it impossible to sink it. I eventually just collected it out with a net.

Edited by Biotope Biologist
  • Like 1
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

  • Create New...