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Quikrete play sand help
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Joined: 28 Aug 2008

PostPosted: 2008.08.28(Thu)22:00    Post subject: Quikrete play sand help Reply with quote

so I saw some quikrete play sand at home I decided to look it up and see if I could use it in my tank. a lot ofppl say no. and a lot say yes. does anyone have any expierence with this sand? if so please let me know!!! if I can have it I'm still gonna have live sand in it
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2008.08.30(Sat)15:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that is silica sand. I have tried it and personally I prefer the aragonite-based sand but this is a debatable issue. Having been a diver for many years I can tell you that tropical coral reefs do not have silica sand under them...

More from my archives below...

I'm not a sand expert, but aragonite is a form of calcium carbonate.
Most of the marine substrates offered are either aragonite or calcite. It is my understanding that crushed coral and dolomite are both calcites, which do not begin to dissolve/buffer your marine water until the pH is well below 8.0, while aragonite more readily dissolves/benefits your system at a higher (better) pH over 8.0---which in theory, makes it a better choice than the calcite forms for marine systems---at least with regard to buffering. Substrate choice depends on the system goal, for example; a deep sand bed serves one purpose, while in older marine styles with undergravel filter plates, the larger grain sizes of crushed coral are serving another purpose. Personally, I prefer very thin substrate inside the display, less than 1 inch---but this is debatable and only my opinion. In my opinion, many marine tanks slowly fail due to 3 and 4 inch substrates becoming nutrient sinks. I feel that substrate condition often has a HUGE impact on water quality---including dissolved organic compounds (DOC's), nitrates, oxygen, pH and alkaline reserve. I would also add that proper understanding/set up/maintenance of substrates is often the key to a system's success or downfall.

I am not an expert on sand beds but here's my 2 cents... sand beds, particularly live DSB's located in sumps in marine systems can be a real benefit in quickly reducing nitrates, if set up and maintained correctly... sand beds and other substrates, crushed coral etc. can also be a complete disaster if they are not understood/maintained correctly; there are different schools of thought here; some stir the sand with sifter species/critters, others advise never disturbing it... do your homework and proceed with caution before disturbing/removing or adding any sand. Some claim better success with no sand in the display at all. The general direction I am getting from Fenner's site is, sand should be less than an inch or more than 4 inches, which puts you in "no man's land," but it is beyond the scope of this reply to give you all the specifics... you will have to research it for your application. Less controversial, the algae filter is very promising in my opinion.
Keepin' marines happy for 25 years
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Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: 2008.09.01(Mon)19:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

To elaborate slightly....

I have personally used the quikrete brand sand from Home Depot in marine aquarium systems. It is in fact a silica sand, which makes in undesirable in reef systems, in my opinion. However, for large fish only displays, it is a very affordable option.

For the purpose of DSB systems, I am one of those who advocate a 3'' to 4'' layer of aragonite sand placed directly on the bottom of the aquarium. There are many reports of these systems not functioning properly, and usually it is possible to quickly identify the reason why. Many hobbyists try to combine the DSB system with the old Jaubert plenum systems. They are different concepts, the first requiring sand sifters, the 2nd having negative effects from sand sifters. I have also personally found that hobbyists utilizing a kalk drip have serious issues with the plenum method, which sometimes result in calcification of the sand itself. For these reasons, I personally use the DSB method and have no detectable Nitrates in my reef. It should be noted that I did not have similar success when using a deep layer of silica sand.
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