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Old 04-21-2003, 07:17 PM   #1
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Sand for my fish only tank.

As some of you know I am setting up my 46 gallon corner tank as a FOWLR.

I bought some sand at home depot (dont have southdown in my area). It was called Gulf coast white beach sand. It is very fine and white. It does not say much about the sand on the bag. It is very nice looking sand. I dont think it is aragonite based but I have yet to do the vinegar test on it. My wife talked to my friend at the LFS and he said make sure it is not silica based, He said this is bad because it will cause me to have a brown slime problem ( I think he was talking about diatoms). Well I was pretty sure that it had been proven that there was no link between silica sand and silicates in fish tanks. It has been awhile since we discussed this but could some one shed some more light on this subject. I am real hesitant to use the sand, but it is very nice and I would like to use it. Should I be worried if it is not aragonite based? How important is calcium levels in a FO tank? After all, calcium is the main benifit of aragonite sand right?
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Old 04-21-2003, 10:25 PM   #2
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hey mike i got silica based sand in my reef and it has been up for about 10 months now and no problems yet. i've had some people tell me it would create diatom blooms and hair algae problems but i have yet to really see any of that.
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Old 04-21-2003, 10:40 PM   #3
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Im not sure if it is even silica based. However I wanted to hear some info on it. What you told me really helps though. I will probably just use it and see what happens.
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Old 04-22-2003, 12:56 AM   #4
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Well after extensive searching of old posts I found out what I needed to know. I also read some of my old posts and seen how much of a idiot I used to be. When I first joined I recommended CC to lots of people. I found this wierd because I have never used CC. I later found out I had CC confused with aragonite at the time. If you ever want a good laugh go back and read some of your older posts.
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Old 04-22-2003, 07:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
My wife talked to my friend at the LFS and he said make sure it is not silica based, He said this is bad because it will cause me to have a brown slime problem ( I think he was talking about diatoms).
I hope what you found out was that this was a false statement. Silica sand, will no more cause diatoms, than the glass of the tank will. Silica and silicate are two different compounds, silicate requires a metal (which is probably what fuels the algae growth), silica is glass.


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Should I be worried if it is not aragonite based? How important is calcium levels in a FO tank? After all, calcium is the main benifit of aragonite sand right?
No, you shouldn't be worried. IMO, the main benefit to using aragonite based sand is for a dsb, the critters seem to like the aragonite better. There is actually very little buffering capacity to the sand at SW ph levels. The silica, has sharper edges which tends to cut down on the diversity of the fauna in a dsb (at least that is my theory as to why the critters seem more plentiful and diverse in an aragonite based sand). This is only opinion, but I think you should shoot for NSW levels of CA, ALK, MAG etc...in a FO as well as a reef. I just think that it has to (for lack of a better phrase) change the texture of the water. I know it is not nearly as important in a FO tank, and will more than likely be maintained through reg waterchanges, but if it's there I think your fish will have less stress.

Here is a suggestion, for your FO tank (and your wallet), recycle your reef water. When you do a waterchange on your reef....save the water and use it to fill your FO tank after a water change.
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Old 04-22-2003, 02:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Here is a suggestion, for your FO tank (and your wallet), recycle your reef water. When you do a waterchange on your reef....save the water and use it to fill your FO tank after a water change.
Sounds like a great idea on saving on money but what if you did the change in the reef due to high nitrates. Wouldnt that just be jacking up the nitrates in the FO tank. Not being a smart butt, I am just really curious as to the benifits of this.
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Old 04-22-2003, 03:00 PM   #7
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FO you shoudn't have to worry about nitrates that much, and if you have that much nitrates in your reef tank, wouldn't you be worried about that and solve that problem first besides doing water changes? Just a question...
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Old 04-22-2003, 03:14 PM   #8
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Just to clarify what I meant, I cant edit the post, I tried water changes to bring down the nitrates in my tank and it didn't work. I know it helped a little bit, but not enough to start building a reef. IT was only after I removed all filter media, that my nitrates got down to .5 meg/L. It is stable so far... The limits from what I have seen and read, is .30 meg/L and in some cases higher. Although I would not promote it, I think .30 meg/L is rather high even for FO.... So, the water from the reef should be much less than that and shouldn't cause a problem...
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Old 04-22-2003, 03:21 PM   #9
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I dont see how the fish in a reef or a FO would produce nitrates any differently. They have to have fish waste and that inturn creates nitrates. I have always used simple water changes to keep my nitrates down.
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Old 04-22-2003, 03:55 PM   #10
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I dont see how the fish in a reef or a FO would produce nitrates any differently.
They wouldn't...my point is, that the Nitrate limits are much higher in FO than in a reef environment. You questioned that wouldn't using the water from the Reef, would jack up the nitrates in the FO? My thing is, not really. .10 meg/L added to water .20 meg/L does not = .30 meg/L and thus why worry so much if it is going to be FO? It will be fine to use...
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Old 04-22-2003, 04:19 PM   #11
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OK
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Old 04-24-2003, 07:22 PM   #12
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Here is a great article on the presence of silica in sand, including aragonite. Thats right folks, aragonite released silicates into water. Not as much as silica sand but, they both do. But the point of the article is that silicates in fish tanks aint always a bad thing. Read the article, it is by chemist, Randy Holmes-Farley.

http://advancedaquarist.com/issues/jan2003/feature.htm
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Old 04-24-2003, 09:07 PM   #13
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IMO, t here is nothing wrong with using silica sand, however, it provides absolutely no buffering capacity. It is also very fine and although that could be a good thing for silt and such, it is also very jagged and sharp which is not good for most burrowing inhabitants. I would say the main disadvantage is buffering capacity. If it holds none, it just means you will have to supplement more to acheive more. There have been many a tank successfully reared with the use of silica sand alone and suffered no ill effects. Check it out:

Silicon:

The silicon in the sea, like phosphorus. originates from the land. Silicon (Si) is the element. When compbined with oxygen, it becomes silica (silicon dioxide, SiO2), the stuff of sand, flint, quartz, glass, and the skeletons of some tiny planktonic protoctists. Silicone ( with the "e") is SiO that is combined with various semi-inorganic polymers (R groups) to form adhesives, lubricants, and coatings.

Some silica is dissolved during the breakdown of rocks and sediments and is washed into rivers and out to sea. Silicon is an esential element to animals that use it in the development of skeletal supports such as diatoms, radiolarians, silicoflagellates, and sponges. In the marine environment, silica is obtained from the water by the organisms that utilize it, and some is returned to solution when the organism dies. Silica that is not dissolved, accumulates as sediment on the ocean floor.

Silica in the form of sand, rock, and glass is not very soluble and is not a chemical concern to marine aquarists. Silica in the form of silicic acid is another matter. Very few animals are that require dissolved silica in any significant amount; however, excess dissolved silicic acid may stimulate growth of unwanted diatoms and certain red algae. Silicic acid does not usually accumulate to problem status in marine systems. In fact, if anything, it is depleted from aquarium water. However, if fresh water supplies contain high levels of silicic acid, constant addition of tap water to make up for evaporative loss may cause excessive diatom growth is other nutrients are also available...

From the words of MOE
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Old 04-24-2003, 09:18 PM   #14
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BTW, very good article thanks...
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Old 04-24-2003, 10:37 PM   #15
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You might have noticed in the article he says that it does buffer the water as much as one would think. He said water changes would basically do the same thing. I found that interesting.
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Old 04-25-2003, 12:29 PM   #16
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So did I to the extreme that I have to question that...I have been reading the Marine Aquarium Reference by Martin Moe Jr, and he has quite a bit about silica sand and how it does not buffer... I also have read ather authors that say the same thing. I look at it this way. They use CC substrate for calcium reactors, because combined with the CO2, it breaks down and releases calcium in the water which gives good PH and Alk capacity in the water. You also have to replenish one with more CC as it dissolves. so, if you have Aragonite sand and good quality pourous LR, your buffering capacity will be greater than that of the same setup with silica sand.
It doesn't matter which one you use, the only thing is that one will require a closer eye on the PH and Alk on the silica setup as opposed to the Aragonite setup. This seems to be the consensus of the most well known Marine Biologists and authors..
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Old 04-25-2003, 06:18 PM   #17
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Well we cant argue this. Aragonite buffers, silica does not. No matter how much. Thanks for your input Tim.
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Old 05-01-2003, 11:46 PM   #18
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Im using that sand!!! MY tank is a 180 gal. I put about 200 pounds of it in mine . Its been set up for about 10 weeks now and is doing great ,went through the cycle I have a little diatom alge , but from what I hear thats normal . Ijust added about 15 pounds of Marshal Iland LR . Now Im going to up grad my lighting , I just have the basic aquarium lights right now .
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