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Old 09-11-2017, 07:09 PM   #1
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Pool Filter vs Blasting Sand

I'm trying to aquascape a currently bare aquarium on a budget, and I'd like to use either blasting sand or pool filter sand. I tried play sand in one of my aquariums, but it's compacted and not working very well at all. So I thought before I bought anything, I'd THOROUGHLY research my options this time, lol. Does anybody here have experience with either of these sands? What would you say the pros and cons are? Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:14 PM   #2
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Both are good ,but I have heard the blasting sand may contain some iron that could be drawn to a magnet glass cleaner if you use one..keeper said his nephew scrathed the whole front of his tank playing with the magnet while no one was watching..
PFS is a good safe choice IMO.
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:43 PM   #3
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Love me some pfs, so clean
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:55 PM   #4
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I absolutely love PFS for use as aquarium sand.

That being said, not all PFS is equal. I would recommend going to a few different places and checking it out before you buy. Try to find something with as uniform a grain size as possible. This is usually easy to do because there are almost always a bag or 2 lying around that has broken open. Hold a bit of it in your hand, the better stuff will have fewer tiny bits.

I have had better luck with the stuff that comes from pool supply stores than the stuff that comes from home improvement stores but they all change suppliers all the time so it is worth checking where you can.

Either way, make sure you thoroughly rinse out the small stuff in a bucket before adding it to you tank. I usually fill a big bucket a little less than halfway. Then put a hose it and stir it around. The fine stuff will float in the water column and overflow onto the ground. Eventually the water will run clean. The better the sand you start with, the faster it will run clean.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:16 AM   #5
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Are there any PFS additives I should watch out for or specific brands that are better than others?
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:43 AM   #6
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I use Seagull pool filter sand. It's not super small but it's not big and honestly think it's the perfect size. I got mine at Leslie's Pool Supplies. 50lb bag for around $15. It's a little more expensive then some of the other sand but it's worth the price because it's clean and the granule sizes are perfect for aquariums
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:46 AM   #7
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Are there any PFS additives I should watch out for or specific brands that are better than others?
I have not seen PFS with additives yet. It should just be plain siliica sand.

You just don't want a mix of large/small particles. It is not the end of the world if you get that, it will just take a *much* longer time to wash the sand out.

9/10 when I check sand out I end up going with the sand from Leslie's pool supply. It is different sand every few years though so it is still worth checking.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:50 AM   #8
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I use pool filter gravel, not sand. It's coarse enough to keep most gunk from sinking into it but loose enough as not to allow pockets of contamination. Its firm enough to help sturdy large rocks. I bought the stuff 19 yrs. Ago from my LFS. It was packaged in boxes marked "Pool Filter Gravel". It's heavy enough not to get caught up in the power filter intake tube or the siphon suction. Most of the quality fish stores around here still use it in their display tanks. Pictured is my pool filter gravel, "light brown granules" mixed with small grain white and gray quartz.
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:25 PM   #9
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I use pool filter gravel, not sand. It's coarse enough to keep most gunk from sinking into it but loose enough as not to allow pockets of contamination. Its firm enough to help sturdy large rocks. I bought the stuff 19 yrs. Ago from my LFS. It was packaged in boxes marked "Pool Filter Gravel". It's heavy enough not to get caught up in the power filter intake tube or the siphon suction. Most of the quality fish stores around here still use it in their display tanks. Pictured is my pool filter gravel, "light brown granules" mixed with small grain white and gray quartz.

Never seen that before. It also looks natural if you're going for a river look.
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Old 09-12-2017, 03:03 PM   #10
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I've always steered away from natural gravel due to unknown mineral content.
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Old 09-12-2017, 03:14 PM   #11
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That's a beautiful substrate, V227! Does anybody else have pictures of pool filter sand/gravel in their tanks? I'd love to see them!
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Old 09-12-2017, 03:49 PM   #12
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I agree that it is better to be safe than sorry, but don't be afraid to challenge the accepted norms if you find contradicting information. For years Limestone was listed by experts as a rock to avoid except for African rift biotypes or marine setups. My research revealed that with regular WC's limestone will have little effect on fish tanks. Now every tank I tend includes limestone. It's beautiful and has no negative effect even on my most fragile fish. Another example, Geode stones. Experts say avoid Geode rocks due to possible metallic content. My research showed that the vast majority of Geode rocks are quartz. I bought several 20 yrs. Ago. I rotate them in and out of my hardscape designs. No effects. The point is don't cheat yourself. Pictured is one of my Plecos grazing on a limestone rock, flanked by geodes.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:46 PM   #13
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Have not used PFS but have used BDS. Not a fan. Strange oily substance (petroleum residue?) observed on the tank surface and the finish was too "shiny" for me. Prefer a matte black substrate if possible.
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Old 09-14-2017, 09:18 AM   #14
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Black blasting sand is an excellent substrate. It's a HUGE pain to clean initially, however after that you have a very nice looking black substrate that will help make colors pop. Yes it's got some magnetic bits in it, but you really shouldn't be getting down in the substrate with a magnet cleaner anyways. Would not suggest this sand with fish that will sift through the sand such as African cichlids.

PFS is also a very nice substrate. It's soft for the fish and has a pleasant look to it.
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Old 09-14-2017, 10:02 AM   #15
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Quartz PFS is awesome clean and inert. Coal slag (BDS) can have bits of metals that are not good for inverts. And the oily residue would have to be cleaned.
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Old 09-14-2017, 12:15 PM   #16
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Quote:
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That's a beautiful substrate, V227! Does anybody else have pictures of pool filter sand/gravel in their tanks? I'd love to see them!
It's from years ago, but I really like PFS.
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