Originally Posted by jetajockey
Black beauty is not the black equivalent of playsand. Play sand is quartz sand and black beauty is coal slag.
The 'aquarium' sands you find at pet stores are good but can get expensive for bigger tanks.
Other good options for colored sand is 3m Colorquartz (no longer being made but still in stock in some places), spectraquartz, or estes. Estes is often the stuff in LFS
being labeled as aquarium sand and you can buy this in 50lb bags through an industrial supply company.
A company local to me carries this stuff in 50lb increments at about $25 per with 2 different grain sizes and a multitude of colors.
With all sand you'll need to wash thoroughly or you will have clouding issues from all of the dust.
And no, there is no clay in basic play sand.
This is such a treasure trove of information. Wow.
I know, for the tank I want I'm going to be posed over a hose/tub for hours. Completely worth it, though, I'm really bored of gravel/rock substrate.
I'll take a look at some of the local non-monster retailer fish stores and see if they have any of these, or check companies nearby, etc. I know there's a huge industrial company that sells pool sand and a few others I can't identify by the ton. Thank you for all these names, definitely a great post.
And I wasn't aware of black beauty. I was told they had the same consistency,etc. Does that affect the water quality at all?
Also, since the support is overwhelming, I'm going to go to Petco, too. Even if it's a little expensive, if I find one I think will suit the tank, and I can't find another alternative like it, it'll be worth the price.