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Thread: All purpose sand.
10-20-2012, 01:23 AM #1Member Platy
- Join Date
- Oct 2012
All purpose sand.
Alright, so I was looking into Fluorite Black or w/e its called for substrate for a planted tank. Then I learned about play sand and pool filter sand (apparently the better of the two) being MUCH less expensive and I'm on that bandwagon now. However, now I'm also looking into All-Purpose sand which is cheaper than even play sand. So my questions are: 1. When looking at sand, what do I look for in terms of size, chemicals and that kind of thing? 2. Would All-purpose sand be safe for my fishes and plants? I can post links if anyone wants to look t the product I'm interested.
10-20-2012, 01:26 AM #2
All purpose sand is used for pavers and is much dirtier than play sand. It requires much more cleaning than play sand. I would guess that the price difference between the two is the result of play sand being cleaned out for kids.
10-20-2012, 01:29 AM #3
I've had the most success just recently with pool filter sand, the slightly larger (heavier) grains of sand tend to stay put, even while I vaccuum it it doesnt ever go all the way up and subsequently out of the tank. Highly recommended, and round' here it cost $10 for a 50lb bag, not bad IMO... I keep plants as well and so far so good. I've heard of it costing as little as $5 a bag but thing where I live tend to be on the expensive side... hope this helps55 Gal- Fluval 305 & Aqua Clear 70;
2 Gold Veil Angels, 1 GBR, 1 Gold Nugget Pleco, and 11 pesky Zebra Danio's.
10-20-2012, 01:46 AM #4
I don't know about the all purpose sand, but I do have experience with the other two types you mentioned.
I have both black flourite and pool filter sand in my 55g. As far as I can tell there is no difference in the way my plants grow in either sand except that they get a better root hold in the filter sand.
The filter sand is MUCH cleaner, and easier to clean there after. The only downfall to the filter sand that I have come across is the amount of diatoms it will produce when you first use it. After the diatoms have used up all the nutrients in the sand they will go away, and you have a pretty good substrate.130g: 4 Angelfish, 2 Roseline Sharks, 12 Conga Tetras, 5 Kuhli Loaches, 1 Otocinslus, 1 Corydora
10-20-2012, 01:51 AM #5
I would never use all purpose sand. The all purpose sand I've looked at looks like crushed up gravel. I use premium play sand from Lowes. I rinse it over and over until the water does not cloud AT ALL before putting it in my tank. If you do that, you can stir the sand around and watch it fall right back down--leaving your water crystal clear.
Here are a few pictures of my tank for reference:
Under a white LED
Under CFL's (spiral bulbs):
(The lighting was dimmed a little to reduce glare)
I hope that helps.
10-20-2012, 02:24 AM #6
Pool filter sand is usually coarser than play sand. Both are inert substrates and therefore don't provide any nutrients to your plants. Without some kind of fertilization, you'll see yellowing and eventual die off especially on root feeding plants.
10-20-2012, 03:48 AM #7
Well, I can attest to using Quikrete All-Purpose Sand from Lowes. =]
It is very dirty. I took me about an hour or so to wash out all of the sand and add it to the tank. I filled 1/4 to 1/2 a bucket and used a hose to clean it out. You'll know it's dirty, when you see a lot of brown bubbles and gross stuff float to the top of the bucket. lol
I placed a plate on top of the sand and filled it with water. Even after having washed it until it looked clean in the bucket, it was still dirty enough to cloud the water in my 75gal quite a bit. That being said, it did not take long for my Cascade 1000 filter to clean the tank out and in a day or so the water was nearly crystal clear.
The reason I used it, was because I had it leftover from a backyard project (it served as a base for my paver walkway.) So, it was cheap for me, because I already had it.
The sand has many tiny pebbles within it, so if you want something smooth like Pool Filter Sand, this is not the sand for you.
Also, Pool Filter Sand is not alone in the amount of diatoms you'll see, as All-Purpose Sand has quite a bit. You'll see patches of it sprout out during your cycle within the first two weeks for sure.
Now, after all is said and done, I'm perfectly happy with the presentation. It looks very natural - more natural than Pool Filter Sand, if you ask me. It's soft enough for my Assassin snails to dig into and disappear forever, apparently, and I would say that it probably contains quite a bit of nutrients. I've used additives for my plants, as well, but my plants are flourishing like crazy in this stuff. They root very well, too. I was cutting back some Ludwigia last night and the roots gave me some trouble... It's like pulling weeds out of the mulch in a flower bed. That's a good thing.
That being said, I also have a 10gal with CaribSea Tahitian Moon (black) sand. Love the look of it, it's very smooth and really helps my fish and plants to pop out. This was also pretty dirty, but not as much as the All-Purpose Sand. After rinsing quite a bit, I added it to the tank and again, dirty water. That only lasted for a day (again). The filters usually take care of it pretty well. Now it looks quite beautiful, clean and clear. I also have plants growing in this one. My Amazon Swords are doing pretty darn well and my Spiral Vals are growing, too. Only problem is that I should have gotten another small bag of sand, because it's a bit on the thin side. The roots really have no place to go, except outwards... Luckily they haven't uprooted much.
10-20-2012, 03:57 AM #8Member Platy
- Join Date
- Oct 2012
Thanks for responding everyone :) Now...
I was exploring the all purpose sand for it's better price and now its gone as an option. It is only about a dollar cheaper than play sand so its not a big deal.
I am looking more and more into pool filter but that is looking like it'll be a pain to find (I didn't find it on the Home Depot and Lowe's website), is it seasonal? I still have a few hardware store options though...
Mandy, luckily the diatoms aren't a bad thing since I have an otocinclus as well as 2 others i'll be adding sometime soon. Do corydoras eat diatoms too? I plan on getting a small school of them too.
Allen, that sand as well as your tank look awesome. Are you saying that if I was wash the sand thoroughly, I won't have too much trouble with it? I been reading that its difficult to clean and tends to float around. My main concern is the cleaning/siphoning part.
10-20-2012, 04:02 AM #9
0Originally Posted by Seppen
Otos eat the crap out of diatoms, but cories will not. If you have several otos, you should be fine.
10-20-2012, 04:03 AM #10
Any pool supply depot should have pool filter sand. It is much easier to wash than the other options, does not compact as readily and is also easier to vacuum.