Beach sand ok for aquarium??

i keeps it real
  • #1
if I go to the beach and get some sand for my aquarium, will this harm my fish??
  • #2
It mostly depends on where the sand is collected from. The risk you take is that it may be loaded with pollutants.

Check the local laws to make sure it is legal to do this. I'm not sure but I've heard that it is against the law in some places to take sand/shells from the beach.
  • #3
Great advice Mike, wanted to add one point to it...

If this is sand from a Saltwater beach and you have a saltwater tank, I almost guarantee you will be bringing BAD bacteria and other BAD organisms into your controlled environment (your tank) where they will most likely destroy all of the beauty you have taken so much time, money and energy to create. Think long and hard about whether you want to take that kind of risk. Happy fish keeping!
  • #4
Sand from the beach contains silicates, dinoflaggelts and harmful chemicals from boats. I Live right next to the ocean and it made me mad when I found out its a bad idea to use beach sand
  • #5
Its kinda like using natural seawater... right?
  • #6
Yeah if you use a bucket go down to the shore and take 5 gallon to top off your tank you have a bunch of crud that can harm things and unbalance your current bacteria levels. But if your talking about the premade sea water offered at most LFS its already been filterd to remove that stuff
  • #7
I was reading a post on another forum that LFS that has filtered seawater also contains pollutents like petroleum

here is a post I madewith a link inside

  • #8
a LFS filters their own sea water they collect? hmmn. I doubt they spend the time or money but I don't know how it is so I don't want to be "mean", Well I would think if someone saw a speed boat zoom by at the time someone was collecting water they would stop and think of the boats exhaust or any other chemicals that could've been dumped intentionally or by accident
  • #9
I'm sticking with my synthetic salt LOL. I'm not a risk taker
  • #10
Yeah and its still cheaper to make your own saltwater than buy it pre-made!
  • #11
What kind of salt do you use? I use instant ocean
  • #12
I used Oceanic for 1year and it was hard to keep my ALK/PH up due to the high Cal level of Oceanic, So I swithced to IO and had an easier time keeping all my levels in check.
  • #13
cool. Do you use an RO/DI filter?
  • #14
Only have an RO filter, I've been thinking about purchasing an RO/DI but heck if I'm happy with the results I might was well just stick to what's doing me good
  • #15
I am going to buy one when I start a reef tank
  • #16
Are going to a watermill/aviant to get your water? How big of a tank are you looking at
  • #17
well I am stepping up to a 300 gallon next yr. no windmill

  • #18
That's cool. 300gal reef. Have you thought of making it a room divider? That's what I would do if I purchased a tank that big. I live in a condo but moving to a house so I can have a huge tank set up in the shape of a "T"
  • #19
That's cool. 300gal reef. Have you thought of making it a room divider? That's what I would do if I purchased a tank that big. I live in a condo but moving to a house so I can have a huge tank set up in the shape of a "T"

yeah that or this 1,000 gallon I been eyeing up.
  • #20
Wonder what the electric bill would come out to ;D
  • #21
dont know. The sump is going to be in the basement
  • #22
That gunna be a **** of a return pump
  • #23
ohhh yeah. Half the basement will be the sump
  • #24
HA it'll be another big tank to look at
  • #25
  • #26
I live on a salt water river (ICW) in Florida and pump sea water to my treatment room where I chlorinate it and filter it for three days. It then shoots through an air injection pool to dechlorinate.
  • #27
I read a lot about adding beach sand to my tropical tank and 90/100 people assume it to be a bad idea. I decided to grab a bucket load of the stuff and have changed the water regularly. I even added aquarium water ( when I do the water changes ) to this bucket to introduce bacteria of my own. It has now been 3 months. Is my sand safe yet ?

  • #28
HI Welcome to Fish Lore.

I hope you don't mind, I've moved your thread to the section of the forum where your question should get more attention.

I'm not 100% positive but I doubt adding beach sand to a tropical tank is a good idea.
Besides the salt content, it could be filled with mico organisms that wouldn't be healthy for your fish.

There are another members who will have more thorough info for you.
In the mean time, I'm pretty sure this question has been asked before, so you might want to try the search feature.

Good luck and enjoy the forum!
  • #29
beach sand as in sand from the beach, that you got yourself? I wouldn't add that.

If its beach sand as in bought from a store, then go ahead and enjoy!


  • #30
thanx for the warm welcome guys. As I am new to this, I really do appreciate it.
  • #31
hello and welcome to fishlore
Angelfish220 had a very valid question and the answer to that would really determine if it is a good idea to add 'beach' sand to your aquarium.
If you did plan on getting the sand from your local beach, then as Lucy suggested its not a good idea. The sand is dirty.. full of micro organisms and also full of salt. I can only imagine what else is in the sand, if I look around at my own beach there is no way I would add that to any of my tanks.
Your question would be best answered if we knew whether you were in fact looking at getting beach from your local area, or buying clean beach sand from a store?
thanks ahead for any clarification on this..
  • #32
I of course will have to disagree with everyone,saying not to use beach sand.Where do you think the beach sand comes from,that is sold at the stores? Where does the play sand come from.Pool filter sand? The stores have to get it from somewhere,and it's generally from someone who has scooped it up from somewhere else.

With proper cleaning,it would be fine.Proper cleaning being the key phrase.

Mix the sand in a water and bleach solution to kill micro-organisms. Rinse well in dechlorinated water.Sift out debris while rinsing.Fill bucket with dechlorinated water and let stand for 24 hours. Check salinity level,if salinity level is high,keep running water circulating through bucket/container.Let stand for 24 hours.Check salinity level.Repeat until salinity level is safe,or non-existant.

****Note****some fish can tolerate larger amounts of salt,than others and some fish can't tolerate any salt.

*********caution*********ensure that area where you get sand is fee of pesticides.Some chemicals will bond with the sand and not wash out

With those 2 things in mind,ensure everything is properly cleaned,and put it in the aquarium.

Welcome to Fishlore
  • #33
All well and good SOF, but unfortunately a lot of folks just are not going to do as professional a job of cleaning the beach sand as a manufacturer would, and that is why the caution against using it. Beach sand in a bag does not cost much money at all and I for one would rather recommend that then the unprocessed beach sand that is on our local beaches with god only knows what kind of junk is mixed in with it.
If one were to follow exactly the recommendations above in your post then I am sure it would be ok to use,but I would still be very cautious of using it.
  • #34
I would agree capekate,as long as caution is used. I just hate giving money to manufacturers and stores,when they use the very thing,that the 'experts' say not to use. I also know the manufacturers have 'experts' that tell untruths about certain things to increase the demand for their product.Everything they tell you not to use,miraculousely they have just the product you're looking for. It just goes to what and who you trust.

I of course do not trust anyone to do a better job for my aquariums than myself. The manufacturers and stores are doing it for the money. I do it because it's my passion.
  • #35
I think it would be okay as long as you follow SOF's way of treating the sand before you put it in the tank, and make sure you do sterilize the sand and be cautious of the salt content.

I put local lake/river rocks in my mbuna tank, I go through a process of scrubbing the rocks, soaking them in bleach, and boiling them to clean them (repeating the steps a couple of times).
Iron waffle
  • #36
I like the idea, after all, it's free!
  • #37
Guess I'm lazy. I'd rather spend a few bucks than to go through all that trouble.
  • #38
well guys and girls. after reading all your opinions I decided to chuck the stuff into my flower pots. id rather play it safe when it comes to my fishies. even though I wasted 3 months of cleaning, i've definitely gained some more insight into having a cool idea and actually exicuting it. I also realised that we're having this chat from opposite sides of the world so please don't take offense to late responses.
  • #39
Some of the sand you buy comes from the mountains and not the beaches by the way. They just grind up a big rock until it is very fine sand.

For cleaning beach sand though. Another way would be to boil it for a while instead of using bleach (don't know how long this would take to kill everything though). Might be better then bleach as you wouldn't have the chance of leaving any bleach in the sand. Probably not any different though as you would need to still rinse the sand very well after to get all the salt out of it.
  • #40
Has anyone ever considered putting the sand in a hot oven and letting the heat kill any remaining organisms?

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