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Old 08-02-2004, 04:25 PM   #1
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Using ocean sand as substrate

hey all-

i'm getting ready to set up my new tank (225gl) and would like to know if there would be any problems using beach sand from the pacific ocean as the substrate. i can get it for free and i think it would look pretty neat.

my concerns are the crap that is in our oceans is in the sand as well, any one know of anybody that has tried to do this?
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Old 08-02-2004, 04:36 PM   #2
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I think there have been threads over in the SW forum about this - do a search if you don't get any replies.

I would be very hesitant about doing it, unless you could spread it out on a new, clean tarp and let it bake in the sun or something - that might not be practical. I don't know if it will buffer your water and raise your pH or not, either, if that matters for your setup.

Good luck, and I'm jealous of your 225!
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Old 08-02-2004, 05:02 PM   #3
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Regardng the pH, put some sand in a cup and add enough vinegar to cover it. If it fizzes, then it'll raise your pH. Whether this is OK or not will depend on what fish you intend to keep.

Regarding pollutants, there are three main categories here, water soluble, non-water soluble, and organisms. Water soluble (e.g. salts) is simple, just rinse. Non-water soluble (e.g. oils) is more tricky, and may require use of a surfactant, although the rinsing you would want to do after this would have to be very thorough. Organisms would require some bleach, and thorough rinsing.

Sand is a bit tricky because of all the little agglomerates and small hard-to-reach pores. I would personally buy sand from a garden supply place (check composition, silicate won't affect your water as much as carbonate). If you're committed to the beach sand, I'd rinse it in a big bucket, then add a *small* amount of soap and some bleach. Then I'd change the water every day and stir it every day for two weeks. Should be OK by then!

Another sand caveat is to put a sponge filter over your filter intake, because sand will trash or clog your filter.

Enjoy your beatiful new tank!
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Old 08-02-2004, 05:54 PM   #4
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thanks for the posts, i'm going to do a sw search right now.

i'm not completely committed to making it happen, just an idea and, considering i live 2 minutes from the beach, figured it would be kinda cool to have the same sand in my tank that is on our beach...
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Old 08-02-2004, 07:28 PM   #5
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Based on the contaminants found in the ocean off California's coast, I wouldn't risk it even if I were saving $1000.
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Old 08-02-2004, 10:07 PM   #6
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Sand shouldn't be that big deal to buy..

Just get someone with a pickup truck, Most places only charge a hundred or so to fill up the back of the pickup, or so has been my experiance with non-aquarium related matters.
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