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Old 03-31-2013, 10:24 AM   #1
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Mixing Play Sand w/ fine aquarium gravel?

So I've really been thinking about adding Quikrete Play Sand to the Instant Torpedo gravel I already have in my tank. I've seen lots of people say play sand is a bad idea not just for planted tanks, but I've seen a couple videos on Youtube where is looks just fine. I figure if I mix the two together it could provide better conditions for the plants instead of just having play sand. Feedback would be very much appreciated!
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Old 03-31-2013, 03:48 PM   #2
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The issue with play sand is that its not as quality controlled as, say, pools filter sand. The granules can potentially be mixed in size, unlike pfs which is pretty uniformly one size. Another concern is that play chemical properties often vary by location due to it being locally acquired. There is the potential for it to not be chemically inert, such as having a large bicarbonate opponent and raising your water hardness/pH.
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Old 03-31-2013, 04:13 PM   #3
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I've been using quickrete premium play sand for the last few years in my tanks. I find it to be completely uniform in size, like table salt or sugar. It settles quickly when disturbed, a plus when i had the geos.

Maybe you are thinking of the "medium" grade sand they offer? It is larger in size but is mixed in size. The premium play sand is screened so is fairly clean but dusty. I recommend rinsing it using the pillow case method. I did 100lbs a year or so ago and didn't take long at all.

Just an FYI over time the gravel will settle on top of the sand.
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Old 03-31-2013, 04:22 PM   #4
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Here's a picture comparing Aquaquartz pfs and the premium play sand. Pfs is up top and bigger mixed grain, about half a grain of rice.

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Old 03-31-2013, 04:42 PM   #5
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The stuff was very varied in size and texture. I ended not using because I wasn't happy with its look. I think that this just shows us that different packagers have different quality levels/sources.
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:01 PM   #6
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The play sand I was looking at said it was screened and "cleaned" so I assume it's the very fine stuff. I'm truly not that picky when it comes to uniform size of the granules, but I would like to know if it will work well for plants. I know certain plants do better in sandy substrates, though I'm aware play sand will hold no nutrients that the plants will need. At some point I will be acquiring aquarium plant fertilizer because I don't have room for a CO2 system.
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:31 PM   #7
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I had plenty of high light stems in with play sand. Yes, you will need root tabs for heavy root feeders.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGuppyGirl View Post
The play sand I was looking at said it was screened and "cleaned" so I assume it's the very fine stuff. I'm truly not that picky when it comes to uniform size of the granules, but I would like to know if it will work well for plants. I know certain plants do better in sandy substrates, though I'm aware play sand will hold no nutrients that the plants will need. At some point I will be acquiring aquarium plant fertilizer because I don't have room for a CO2 system.
I am using play sand as my substrate for my planted tank. I have been using it for months now and my plants are doing fine. Even though the bag says 'clean'... You still need to rinse rinse rinse. And then rinse and rinse again!
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:07 PM   #9
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Sounds like a plan then. I'll only need enough sand for a 3 gallon tank so it shouldn't take too long. Rinse, rinse, rinse... then rinse some more... then again, and again... then again after I think it's enough.
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:28 PM   #10
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Sounds like a plan then. I'll only need enough sand for a 3 gallon tank so it shouldn't take too long. Rinse, rinse, rinse... then rinse some more... then again, and again... then again after I think it's enough.
If you get play sand, I got mine at lowes for $4 for a 50lbs bag. It's cheap. A 50lbs bag will last you forever. I only used half the bag when I first did my 55g and I just used the other half of the bag to top off the sand the other week.
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:06 AM   #11
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I got a bag of sand for about $3 at Fleet Farm (much closer than driving to Lowe's or Home Depot for me). I must have rinsed it 10-15 before most of the fine particles were out and things started to settle quickly, though it was probably only 2 pounds of sand. Placed it in the tank and it settled in a matter of seconds, but it did kick up globs of bacteria that was at the bottom and the water got cloudy with it. But my betta seems to like it and I hope the asian stone cats do too.
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:10 AM   #12
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I should try to experiment with some of the types of sand you guys where talking about. I will also see if they sell it where I live
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:27 PM   #13
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There are a few different types of aquarium safe sands that are definitely less expensive than what you'll find at Petco/Petsmart. Pool filter sand has larger grains, whereas some play sands are very fine like the stuff you see at a beach. Wouldn't be surprised if that's where they take it from and just clean it really well.
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