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Old 06-16-2004, 10:43 AM   #1
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silica sand - is it ok?

So one forum tells me not to waste cash on argonite sand...that if I'm going LR I can just get playsand, even if it's silica.

So i spend $3 on 50lbs of silica playsand at Home Depot.

Now i read in my New Marine Aquarium book that silica has no place in the marine tank, and that it'll only feed diatom algae.

Is it a problem? This is a 40gallon breeder which will start with 1x96watt PC, and a second added when I'm ready to add some corals and fish.
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Old 06-16-2004, 11:35 AM   #2
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I wish there could be a final word on silica sand, but unfortunatly that isn't possible. I personally have never used silica sand but here is my understanding:

Silica is different from silicates so it should not increase diatom algea, it is a common misconception. Silica sand is safe as long as it is sterilized and from a pure source. Occasionally it is found to have trace metals in it, but if deemed sterilized and safe for kids it is probably safe for your tank. Silica sand will not have any buffering effect as aragonite would. It is said that the shape (sharp egdes) of silica will/can irritate your livestock. Yet I have not known anyone to report this other than when doing as I am doing now. There are endless discussions on this topic and many use it without issues at all.

I think it is all preference. Just my thoughts on it. Good luck with your decision and keep us posted.

HTH,
R-
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Old 06-16-2004, 01:57 PM   #3
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yeah, what I bought is playsand, which from my understanding means it's safe for kids, so it should be safe for fish.

however I only have 50 lbs, and this is a 40gallon breeder (the original tank size was 30gallons).
I think I'm gonna need more substrate...I want several inches correct? (i'm still confused since i see references to DSB but then my book says 1" in the front, 2" in the back of the tank)

I didn't realize this would be so much more difficult than freshwater
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Old 06-16-2004, 02:46 PM   #4
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I bought my sand from HD too paid I think about $3 for 50# I bought 2 bags and that gave me about 3.5 to 4in in my 55 youll prob want one more bag even if you only use half of it. Youll also want about 4 or 5 inches in the tank to get a good DSB
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Old 06-16-2004, 05:14 PM   #5
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Ok, so the general consensus is that you do indeed want a deep sand substrate...a little shallower in the front, so the detris collects there (same as a FW tank)
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Old 06-16-2004, 08:55 PM   #6
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I didnt make it different levels just leveled it out a bit. When you put your rock in youll want to make sure you wiggle the rock down so it touches the bottom or is close to it so nothing digs under it and makes the fall over but thats what cheaper base rock is for
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Old 06-16-2004, 09:43 PM   #7
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I'm gonna cure my live rock in the tank, to cycle it, so at the end, I guess I'll wash my sand in some aged SW and then add it to the tank (which is what my book recommends), so that the rock gets 'planted' securely.

Does silica sand need to be rinsed, or could I add it, then do a water change after it settles?
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Old 06-17-2004, 12:06 AM   #8
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I would rinse it good first. Get some of the "lighter" stuff out of the mix early. This way it won't cloud up as bad. Been there, done that. Learned the hard way...LOL

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Old 06-17-2004, 10:17 PM   #9
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Well its up to you about rinsing I didnt rinse it because the small stuff is good because you can grow more bacteria. It will cloud up bad but it wont matter because all you will have in there is a bunch of rocks so your not missing anything.

Ok about curing your rock in your tank are you going to have the sand in first before the rock? Thats what you should do because thats the whole purpose to cycleing the tank so once its in there and you add your rock then wait about a month to cycle then your good to go you wont need to rinse the sand or anything you might want to do a water change(about 50%) to lower nutrients in the water to help block an algea bloom but thats all youll need to do.

I just reread your post you wont need to do a water change till after it cycles and if you have a HOB youll want to run it with out any media in it so it doesnt build up bacteria.
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Old 06-18-2004, 01:20 PM   #10
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My lfs recommended that I do not add sand at the beginning of tank cycle with lr as I should expect an algae bloom about 2 weeks into the cycle and that it would be very difficult to clean the algae off the sand. So, that's what I've done - lr 1st, no sand yet. I have no algae yet and parameters are close to completed cycle. I'm adding more lr today to bring my lr content to maximum desired... thus starts the cycle over to some extent.

Question - should I go ahead and add sand with the new LR, or should I wait until algae blooms and had a run at cleaning it up and changing some water [then add sand]? Planning on using play sand.

Any benefits to mixing play sand with argonite?

Thanks for any suggestions!
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