Sand as aquarium substrate ?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Substrates - Gravel, Sand' started by Mehaster, Aug 6, 2015.

  1. Mehaster

    MehasterNew MemberMember

    I want to ask if regular desert sand is suitable for use in freshwater aquarium ? I tests the sand with vinegar and its produce a little bubble for maybe half to one hour then stop , I have an idea to put the sand in vinegar for 1 day to complete the reaction and come neutral then wash it very well with water , Is it good idea or not ?
  2. NinjaTetra

    NinjaTetraWell Known MemberMember

    In my opinion, you would be better off buying sand. Its usually decently cheap. Personally, I wouldn't want to mess with vinegar getting into my tank. No matter how well you wash out the sand, there will still be a bit if vinegar.

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  3. alink

    alinkWell Known MemberMember

    I agree with the above post. I would not risk using desert sand in the fish tank. You dont know what bacteria, parasites, or other nasty stuff would be there and washing it would only go so far. Its the same reason why people dont use beach sand or ocean sand straight from the wild.

    EDIT: Sorry I missed it, Welcome to FishLore Mehaster !
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2015
  4. Reyes

    ReyesValued MemberMember

    I wouldn't risk it. You can very cheap pool filter sand in hardware shops, I got 25kg for 10€ (so, peanuts) and I know for sure it won't affect the water of the fish.

    It's worth spending a little more at the beginning when setting up a tank to avoid having issues that will cost you hundreds later.
  5. NinjaTetra

    NinjaTetraWell Known MemberMember

    Theres plenty of aquarium substrates out there that are fairly cheap, and pool filter sand is definitely a good option. Some potting soils are fish safe, and various gravels are often cheaper than sand.

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  6. Reyes

    ReyesValued MemberMember

    Actually, to add to that, I just bought JBL Sansibar White Sand for a second tank and I so prefer the pool filter sand I have in my main one... So much easier to clean and it doesn't fly everywhere. So, cheaper and easier to keep :)
  7. DoubleDutch

    DoubleDutchFishlore LegendMember

    Think the size and shape of the grains is the key-issue. The difference of those in dessertsand makes the smaller grains close down the layer. Poolfilter is rounded (polished) and more or less the same size. Oxyginated water can get in the layer that way.
  8. Genavelle

    GenavelleValued MemberMember

    Is play sand from a store like home depot okay? I know everyone says "pool filter sand" but in all honesty, I'm having trouble finding any for a good price- and I found some play sand for like $3 for a 50 lb bag.
  9. Jswin

    JswinWell Known MemberMember

    Pfs is 5$ for 50lbs at Lowes. I got the quickcrete brand

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  10. alink

    alinkWell Known MemberMember

    Play sand has a lot more dust in it. Plus the grains are all varying sizes which means it compacts together easy. Not good for an aquarium unless you want to do whats necessary to keep it safe.
  11. Genavelle

    GenavelleValued MemberMember

    Where? I honestly can't find anything called pool filter sand. Or like what exactly is the product called? I've looked on Lowes and Home Depot's websites and all I see is like, Quickrete all-purpose sand or play sand.
  12. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

    My local Home Depot and Lowe's didn't have PFS either so I checked with nearby pool/spa stores and they had them. :)
  13. Jswin

    JswinWell Known MemberMember

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  14. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

    And just FYI, I called my Lowe's and asked if I ordered it online, could I pickup at the store and they said no. Maybe your Lowe's will but mine didn't allow it.

    The local pool store sold the 50lb bag for $10. Wasn't Quikrete but a different brand... though it looks exactly the same and is doing great in my tank.
  15. Genavelle

    GenavelleValued MemberMember

    I feel like I must be crazy or something because on all the fish sites I've looked at, EVERYONE talks about pool filter sand. I swear I just googled quikrete pool filter sand and NO store had it available for me. The only places I can seem to find any pool filter sand at, it's like $25+.

    So..does anyone know any other kinds of cheap sand that will work? Or more opinions on Quikrete play sand?
  16. Bijou88

    Bijou88Well Known MemberMember

    I got my pool filter sand at Menards, it was $8 I think. I believe some ace hardware stores carry pfs as well.

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  17. f2002

    f2002Valued MemberMember

    Maybe it all depends on whether you live in an climate zone that is conducive to having pools. If you live somewhere cold, I could imagine that stores wouldn't readily carry pool filter sand.

    I don't know if you have Ace Hardware around your house, but . I have no personal experience with it but if you read the reviews on that link, many people said good things about it for aquarium use. Here's a video review:


    The shipping is free (which is important for heavy stuff like sand) if you select the option to have it shipped to your local Ace Hardware for pickup.
  18. chromedome52

    chromedome52Fishlore VIPMember

    The Play Sand I just picked up at Lowe's is a fairly uniform size sand, slightly dusty but that can be fixed by a good washing. I also use General Purpose Sand, which does have a lot of larger pebbles in it, because that was what I wanted for the fish I was setting up.

    Regardless, make sure you put the sand in, then pour the water. You can use a plastic dish to keep the water from stirring the sand as you pour.
  19. OP

    MehasterNew MemberMember

    Ninja Tetra :
    After Thinking I believe you are right about vinegar , I want to hatch killifish from eggs and fry will be very sensitive to vinegar so I think its not good idea , I try to find sand suitable for aquarium at near pet store or even filter pool sand but also not found both , I found at one pet store some natural gravel (( last two bags )) I am lucky to buy it . the gravel need good wash but still better choice, at least I will be sure the gravel has stable PH :)
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2015
  20. BigBoom217

    BigBoom217Valued MemberMember

    I got my pool filter sand from ace hardware for 7.50 for a 50lb bag. Be warned I am struggling to fight off a diatom infestation because pfs is silica based. I used black diamond blasting abrasive in my 125 with no issues

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