Substrate Choice

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TeeCeeJay
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Substrate Choice

Post by TeeCeeJay » Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:52 am

I'm in the process of trying to find a replacement substrate for the pea sized gravel in my tanks and I'm wondering what other people use.

Obviously sand is the main choice, but what type?
I've heard of people using kids playsand, pool filter sand, shop bought or found naturally from beaches etc.

What are peoples thoughts on sand source, grain size, price, effect on fish/filtration/plants etc.

Any/all comments will be welcomed

Many Thanks

TC
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crazy loaches
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Post by crazy loaches » Mon Jan 07, 2008 5:49 am

For my 240g I decided on PFS. Its a bit coarser than any other sand I could get from the local stores (playsand, building sand, etc.) which I liked, less compaction problems, less dust and harder for it to be stirred up. And it was much more consistent grain size. But it was still inexpensive, only a couple bucks more the play sand for a 50 pound bag.

Also one thing to be aware, at least for those in the U.S. is that most sand is locally sourced. Meaning one brand of sand at one place isnt the same as it will be in another place. For example on another forum one person had great luck with Quickrete Medium Sand, but the Quickrete stuff at my local Lowes looked nothing like it.

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Post by Diana » Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:38 pm

A sand that has been graded so that most of the grains are about the same size is better. Here it is commonly sold for pool filters, and for sand blasting. I use 30 mesh sand and it is very good.
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TeeCeeJay
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Post by TeeCeeJay » Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:44 am

Thanks,

I don't know of many places in the UK that sell pool filter sand - Any UK members got an idea?

When I was on holiday last year, I found some really cool beach sand. It was multi-coloured (from all the different rocks in the cliffs) and quite large-grained (it sank real quick when stirred in a cup of water).

Do you have to do anything other than boil up beach sand, to make it safe for aqaurium use, or is it just too risky to bother with the hassle of collecting it?
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san-ho-zay
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Post by san-ho-zay » Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:15 am

You can get a 25kg sack of play sand for a few quid so collecting sand and treating it seems like a lot of worry and bother to me.

Beach sand often contains a lot of shell fragments which might have an undesirable effect on pH that would be difficult to remove.
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helen nightingale
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Post by helen nightingale » Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:48 am

i got my sand from Emma, so i know you can get it near peterborough. they have another store in lincoln, so they might have some too.

i know aquarium sand might be more expensive, but what was important to me was it being inert, and after failing to lower water pH with Ro water in a tank with gravel, getting something i knew would be inert was well worth buying

where abouts do you live?

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shari2
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Post by shari2 » Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:57 am

I was going to suggest beach sand--as long as it is inert. Do you know the primary type of rock in that area that might be where the sand came from? I scavenged some reddish stuff from Lake Superior this summer and it works great. I didn't boil it, just poured some boiling water into the bucket, then rinsed well in hot water.

If you can get some fairly easily it might be worth checking into. Sounds pretty. 8)
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TeeCeeJay
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Post by TeeCeeJay » Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:33 am

shari2 wrote: Do you know the primary type of rock in that area that might be where the sand came from?
Its from this beach in Pembrokeshire, South Wales. Imagine all the colours of the cliffs in a sand sample the size of a penny
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shari2 wrote: Sounds pretty. 8)
It is very cool, I liked it because it was a mixture of colours and not all one tone like bagged shop sand.
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Whitey_MacLeod
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Post by Whitey_MacLeod » Tue Jan 08, 2008 1:46 pm

I use B&Q play sand, and haven't had any problems with it, although it did take a huge ammount of rinsing.
I've got a mix of play sand and several different sizes of gravel in a few tanks now, and I really like the look- much more natural than one plain colour.
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Ashleigh
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Post by Ashleigh » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:40 pm

At the moment I’m using the Roman Gravel from Pets at Home.

I use both a mixture of coarse gravel and sand (see size reference)
Keep in mind that this is a pain to wash-once the bucket of sand is rinsing clear and you set it up in the tank, the whole tank basically needs drained again to get rid of all the little floating bits :roll: I like it though, even if it is a pain

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OHFISH
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Substrate Choice

Post by OHFISH » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:06 pm

I use Flourite. It seems to provide a better base for plants than any other substrate I used in the past though it is costly at $24 per 10lbs. I also like the natural color and contrast to the plants.
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crazy loaches
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Post by crazy loaches » Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:34 pm

Hello and welcome to the forums, OHfish! Nice to see another Ohioan :wink: .
However flourite is actually a pretty cheap plant substrate, I got mine in my 75g for $13 per 15 lb bag online. Even with additional shipping it was a decent amount cheaper than buying local when your looking at 7 bags or more. However, its is more coarse and not so smooth so not ideal for loaches. I am glad to say though that after 2 yrs+ none of my loaches have shown any signs of it being to harsh on them. I'd really like to see the new black flourite sand, unfortunately I bought the PFS for my 240g long before flourite black came out.

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Post by Mark in Vancouver » Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:51 pm

The cheapest place to buy reliable play/pool-filter sand here is Home Depot. TCJ - is there a large discount hardware/home improvement store nearby? Check out their prices. Usually it comes in 50 lb bags.

If you got this route, rinse it many times - over and over - to get the grit and dust out.
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shari2
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Post by shari2 » Thu Jan 10, 2008 1:28 am

I'd just go get me a few buckets of that sand by the cliffs. While you're there, bring a bit of freshwater in an easy to see into bucket and drop some in to see how well it sinks, how much floating debris, how much silt there is in it. If it sinks quickly and the water clears up nicely, I'd bring some home, put it through some hot water (or even boil it if you want), and test the water the sand is sitting in compared to your tank water.

How is your water? Hard/soft, high pH/low pH?

If it's hard, skip the coraliferous sand. If it's soft a nice mix would do. It is from a salt water beach, right? Just make sure that you clear out all the salt. Shouldn't take much work to do. Sand doesn't absorb salt. 8)
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jones57742
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Post by jones57742 » Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:09 am

Shari:

With sand obtained "in the wild" or even at an LFS would a good soaking in mild chlorinated water solution and several thorough rinses in hot water with the final rinse containing a dechlorinate? (just a question as this is SOP for me but I really do not know if it is "overkill": I have just always been worried about pathogens entering my tank from extraneous sources and a day long soaking in the presence of chlorine will destroy these pathogens).

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