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Old 08-18-2005, 01:55 PM   #1
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idea for a cheaper deep sand bed

What do all of you think of this idea for a cheaper deep sand bad?

3 inches of silica sand covered with 1 inch of crushed oystershell topped off with two inches of fine aragonite.

About 3.5 inches of silica sand denitrified my fresh water tank from over 200 to about 20 in three weeks and doesn't dissolve so it should stay on the bottom and not mix upwards through the aragonite. It can be bought at Wal-mart for cheap (50 LBS about $3.00)

Crushed oystershell from a feed and grain store or co-op is cheep (50 LBS about $7.00). It is sharp edged and coarse and calcite based so it wont dissolve much either. It should act like a barrier to keep sand sifters from going too deep.

And lastly aragonite sand, you only need two inches of it, cheaper than 6 inches of it and cheaper yet if you can find southdown play sand.

If silica sand does get mixed with aragonite-as the aragonite dissolves and you add more of it on top than the silica sand should work its way to bottom.

Maybe you wont need the barrier and can skip the oystershell?
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Old 08-18-2005, 02:17 PM   #2
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the large particles WILL make their way to the top of any mixed substrate. small sand particles will fall between the large shells and the shells will end up at the top. this action will be accelerated by any burrowing/digging creatures.

the cheapest way to do this is to buy all of one kind of sand. if you can live with silica sand in your tank, then go for it. if you want the buffering capabilities of aragonite sand, then i would tell you to get the play sand from HD. i paid $7 for 50Lbs.

what size tank are we talking about here... i used 3 bags in my 55gal and it is about a 4" sand bed.

~mike
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Old 08-18-2005, 02:38 PM   #3
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my fresh water tank is a 120 gal 48x24x24 and took 250lbs to get 3.5" and salt tank is also a 120 gal both home made so 6" equals 4 cu.ft. or about 400 lbs

perhaps just silica sand and bottom and aragonite on top both are fine particles and the silica (I think weighs more and doesn't dissolve)being finer than special reef grade sand should stay on the bottom.
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Old 08-18-2005, 09:09 PM   #4
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Went to home depot and it was pretty inexpensive for the tropical play sand (argonite). I just threw in a lil live sand on top of it. So far so good. The only thing i did was to make sure that I took bags from the center of the pallet and didn't touch any bags that were open or torn.

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Old 08-18-2005, 09:31 PM   #5
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The problem with HD tropical play sand is that I cannot find it here in north central Alabama I am stuck with the $1.00 per lbs stuff at the LFS.
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Old 08-18-2005, 09:44 PM   #6
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Yike's that would make it expensive for sure, not sure how silica based sand would work into it, but you can always look around for some place that has variety of tropical bagged sand and do the vinegar test on it. If it fizzes ya have argonite. I like it cause of the buffering and stuff and basically my 55 has been running 9 months and so far so good.

Good Luck

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Old 08-18-2005, 09:51 PM   #7
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I have actually taken a bottle of vinager and a glass and drove around the Tennessee valley testing sand where ever I was allowed to no avail.
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Old 08-18-2005, 10:45 PM   #8
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Ohhhh that is a bummer, sounds like a disappointing end to your quest. Only thing I can think of is if you have a HomeDepot down there to see if they will order some for you. It never hurts to ask. I have heard rumblings that they may bring it in.

Liz
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Old 08-22-2005, 02:27 PM   #9
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after reading about deep sand beds on wet web media's website it looks like they want a minimum of 3" 4 to 6 is better. and that you can expect fine aragonite to dissolve at a rate of abut 50% in 24 months. I've decided to try this, 3" of silica sand (3.5" denitrates my freshwater tank and never dissolves) and top up as I can afford it with the fine aragonite sand. I am stacking my rock on 6" perforated tubes to keep the pile stable and to allow more water flow around the rock and to show how deep the sand bed is. I'll update my findings sometime in the future.

it has been said that silica sand is too rough for the critters but in my FW tank the venustus' and frontosa's eat it to get the algae that grows in it and poops out sand turds (sorry) so I think it must not be all that sharp or damaging my pleco's belly and fins are fairing quite well also. the silica sand I bought was Walmart's play sand. It was very dirty when poured into the fishtank I think I'll use poolfilter sand this time I figure it should be more uniform and less dirty (we shall see)
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Old 08-22-2005, 02:31 PM   #10
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I thought silica sand in a saltwater tank also will produce danger algae bloom, that is why argonite is recommend and the buffering reason also
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