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.
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
, 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.