Using Play Sand as Substrate?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Substrates - Gravel, Sand' started by mrsdale, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. mrsdaleValued MemberMember

    Pros? Cons? Would you? Wouldn't you? Why or why not?
  2. TayJay76

    TayJay76Valued MemberMember

    I have heard of many people using play sand.

    Looks good
    Doesn't usually cantain anything harmful to fish
    Fish like it because it looks moe like there natural habital, therefore encouraging natural spawning behavior

    Can make the tank cloudy
    Can easily be sucked up by gavel vac
    Can be moved around a lot by fish

    I personally haven't used the stuff before, but have many friends that use it and report success, another option that is inexpensive would be pool filter sand. It is a bit finer grained sand that can be found in many stores. Other than that, go for it:)
  3. LupinusValued MemberMember

    I've never used it and instead opted for pool filter sand. More uniformly grained and less messy. Still cheap, local store carries it for ten dollars for a 50 pound bag.

  4. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    I absolutely hated the play sands I tried to use - I threw them out. Pool filter sand is FAAAAAAAAAAR superior and not much more expensive - I just got a 50 lb bag for $8.

  5. LupinusValued MemberMember

    Oh and regardless of the sand you use, play or pool when you think it's rinsed enough it probably isn't. Rinse it a couple more times.

    I used pool sand, which I understand to be quite a bit cleaner than play sand just from the get go, and my tank was still quite a mess when I thought i had it well rinsed.
  6. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

  7. Meeps83

    Meeps83Well Known MemberMember

    When I set up my last tank I originally bought play sand. It was disgusting and I couldn't get it clean. There were black chunks in it and it just looked dirty. It was cheap, granted, but not quite what I was looking for. I went and got aquarium sand instead (too cold for pool filter sand to be out yet here). It's a very fine, clean sand and it looks very nice in the tank.
  8. LyndaB

    LyndaBFishlore LegendMember

    Play sand blows chunks. It's awful. It stays muddy, it stays cloudy and I wish I'd never used it. Pool filter sand is the way to go.
  9. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    I have had both success and failure with play sand.

    Love what was in an older bag left over from my daughter's sandbox. Close to 10 years. Grain is mostly fine, but there are varying grain sizes; a nice tan color.

    Last year bought another bag for a tank I was setting up. Super fine, ugly grey, compacted in a week and started to smell. Had to throw it out!
  10. OP

    mrsdaleValued MemberMember

    I think I may go with Pool Filter Sand based on what you guys are saying! How do switch from gravel to sand while you have already had fish and maintained good water parameters and such? I don't want to do anything harmful.
  11. LupinusValued MemberMember

    That's the way to go. Any pool supply should have it and home depot and such would probably be seasonal based on you local.
  12. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    I leave the filters on and remove all the decor and stuff. Then I scooped out all the gravel with a big fish net. It's not important to get all the gravel out - what you leave behind will eventually make it's way to the surface, where it is easily netted out.

    If you are adding more sand then you had gravel, you may need to remove some water as you fill with sand to prevent it from overflowing.

    I let the filters clear the water before I add the sand. I use that time to clean the sand, which I made a thread about.
  13. OP

    mrsdaleValued MemberMember

    Hey guys! I finally rinsed my filter sand and put it in my tank. I rinsed my sand for a long time and the water in the bucket was clear as crystal. However, when I put it in my tank, my water has turned murky and cloudy. I don't understand what I have done wrong. Hopefully this is normal.
  14. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Well, it is normal in that it happens to many people. It just wasn't clean enough not to cloud the water. How much sand did you wash at a time? how did you wash it? How did you put it in the tank?
  15. LupinusValued MemberMember

    Hence, my above advice that when you think it's clean rinse a few more times for good measure :) The same issue happened to me.

    Clearing it up was pretty easy. I did a good water change and let it settle for a couple days (and if you did get it pretty clean, this may well do the trick) and then ran the filter with some sacrificial filter padding which took care of the bulk of the cloudiness. When noticeable progress stopped I added some water clarifier which took care of the last bit suspended in the water. When the water was clear the next day I tossed the sacrificial pads, added the ones I intended to use long term, and was good to go. Course, I'm using a canister filter that holds quite a lot of padding. Might be different if you're using a HOB or something like that but I'd imagine it would be basically the same.
  16. OP

    mrsdaleValued MemberMember

    I only rinsed around 2 pounds at a time... I rinsed it in a tall Tupperware container in the tub for approximately 15 minutes. The water was completely clear in the container after about 10 minutes but I did an extra five. The water in my container was much clearer than the picture that was posted. I then place my sand in a measuring cup and slowly put it into the bottom of the tank so I didn't disturb it.

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