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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I have a quick question: Can I use sand that is normally used for sand blasting jobs. I was told it was silica, basically. But it sure looks like the playsand everybody has talked about in recent times. If it is good, I think I may use it in my tank.

Thanks!
 

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The famous playsand that is usually discussed here is silica free. I have cheap Wal-Mart silica sand in my 20 gallon, and it does not seem to affect anything different than the silica-free aquarium sand in my 29. YMMV.
 

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I do use regular old playsand in my 75, and have been for the past ~1.5 years. I have had no diatom problems and I have pretty high lighting, (720 W) I use it, but I wouldn't recommend it, I don't like the way it looks, and particles of it are always suspended in the water which I hate. I will be using only southdown in my new 150 I am setting up soon.
 

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I used home depot white silica sand in my 180 with no problems. Plenty of life in it as well. I did not have access to Southdown at the time and was not about to pay LFS prices. However, if you do have access to SD, that is probably the best way to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks guys,

I made my mind and I think I better not use it.
I have asked my LFS to order some sugar sized grain aragonite for me. I have not much room for error because this is my first attempt to build a big tank. I have spent some money on this project and I want to do it right the first time. I may spend more money, but I think it'll pay off.
Paint Guru: I wish I had access to SD, but I have not been able to find it here.

Thanks again for your advice.
 

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grazhopr,
Sounds like you have made your choice and it is a good one. Having said that, I put in 100 pounds of a fine sandblasting sand in my tank 7-8 months ago. No regrets. The price was right, totaled about $8.00. It's not pure white but an off white, not too bad looking. Don't know about the sharp edges. It is sugar sized, no major blooms of any sort. A little bit of diatoms on the sand, (what I consider normal) but I like that, need it for my conch to eat. If you have the money, buy the aragonite, if not, don't be afraid of using sandblasting sand.

regards, fsa
 

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fsa said:
grazhopr,
Sounds like you have made your choice and it is a good one. Having said that, I put in 100 pounds of a fine sandblasting sand in my tank 7-8 months ago. No regrets. The price was right, totaled about $8.00. It's not pure white but an off white, not too bad looking. Don't know about the sharp edges. It is sugar sized, no major blooms of any sort. A little bit of diatoms on the sand, (what I consider normal) but I like that, need it for my conch to eat. If you have the money, buy the aragonite, if not, don't be afraid of using sandblasting sand.

regards, fsa
Hmmm,,,
 

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Na,,,,,,,
 

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wouldnt sand blasting sand be angular on the edges, to help it "blast" when in use?

i know from experience (desert storm) that a sand blast can be quite painful, rips the paint right off tanks, and can do some serious damage to exposed skin.

so i'm thinking sandblasting sand might be similar?
 

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thefatman said:
wouldnt sand blasting sand be angular on the edges, to help it "blast" when in use?

i know from experience (desert storm) that a sand blast can be quite painful, rips the paint right off tanks, and can do some serious damage to exposed skin.

so i'm thinking sandblasting sand might be similar?
agreed and his tank is new could have problems later on as it ages. LT
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah. I think that for a good start, I'd use the aragonite. I don't like the look of diatoms much.

Wanna know a secret? I've been teased by Spanky's Starboard bottom idea.... Would I still need a remote DSB?
 

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grazhopr,
there are 100 good reasons to NOT use silica sand in your tank...but diatoms isn't one of them. Silica sand is will not cause a diatom bloom, however silicate will. The silicate in your common silica sand is bound and should not leach into your system. The biggest problem you have with silica sand is not the sand itself, its anything that happens to travel along with it. Search for posts on silica sand, and look for the folks that have been using it for some time. There are a few horror stories, but even more success stories. Alot of the horror stories you read are pass-alongs and not actual reefer experience (ie I read something somewhere).

The reason I even bring this up, is that at one point I was considering the money saving aspects of using silica sand, as the "miracle HD stuff" was not available here. I ended up making a super long trip to purchase 200 lbs. Now like you im reading alot of threads about some of the draw backs to DSB's, and they make a LOT of since (I alwasy wondered where all the nutrients that DON'T get broke down go....).

So I would keep looking at Spanky's Starboard tank in hopes that you can force yourself to give up on the sand all together.......I don't think I can, so I am going to remove all but an inch of this sand I have before I ever fill the tank up....and have a 1" bed. (heck my goby and pistol will need something).

As far as "would I still need a remote DSB?" No, you wouldn't NEED one. If you had a really high bio-load it might be a good idea to keep nitrates down. From what have have gathered in the last couple weeks reading what seems like 1,000's of posts, you would only want a remote DSB if you had the space for one large enough to handle the entire system.....bigger being better. In other words you would basically want something with the upper surface area that your tank would have had if you had put the DSB in there (the Remote should have roughly the same foot print as your tank). Of course that is a debated topic, and alot of folks reason the way I do. If a DSB that is size X works, the a DSB that is 1/2 the size of X will work, but not as well, therefore it might still be a benefit to have the smaller sand bed working. As far as needing it? No, thousands of people kept tanks prior to the DSB craze, and did so with much success. The DSB was supposed to make life a little easier, a little lower maint, and a little better water quality, for many people it did just that, for others it seemed to do the opposite.

Make your choice, and keep up the good housekeeping and husbandry. Read read read read read.......don't believe everything you read, don't discount anything you read...ok im done contradicting myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks guys.

Lady: thanks for the article too.

I'm starting to lose patience, and not because I don't know what to do. Actually, I'm having a great time as all these posts unveil something new to me. It's helping me come up with a good plan so I don't have to wait until I move to my new place.
See, my concern is I didn't know if it was better for me to finish putting up my tank or wait until I finally moved. Truth is, the move is taken longer than I thought, cuz I haven't found the right place yet. So here's what I was thinking: Let's say I end up moving three months from now. How about I pour my RO/DI water and salt. Let it mix well for a few days. Then I get the live rock and leave it to cure a few weeks more. And last, start stocking with corals, not fish. When I move, it will be easier to take the tank. I don't have to disturb no DSB. I can transport the rock, the water and the corals, and set it all up in the new place. After I'm in the new place, I can put a DSB if I want, or a remote DSB if there is room for one. Then I can start adding fish.

What do you think?
Should I hold it? or carry on with the project?
 

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Didn't realize you are moving soon. My personal opinion is if you are going to move DO NOT GET A DSB. I have several reasons..

1. You are looking to move soon. DSB take time to populate and start "working" your DSB may not even mature before you have to tear it down.

2. You don't want to disturb a true DSB. I tried to move a tank a couple years ago wtih 4" of special grade sand (I know not fine enough) but the result was aweful. The tank got very "jostled" in the move, and I made the mistake of really stirring up the sand while I was putting the rock back in. When I tore the tank down that saturday morning I had no measurable nitrites, no phosphate, no algea problems and very low nitrates. Within 24 hours the phosphate was off the chart, nitrates where up and I could detect a hint of nitrite. I did a 25% water change (I had kept 100% of my water in rubbermaid trash cans (brand new, cleaned and rinsed, and only used for a couple hours). The next day the levels where still too high, and I had already started losing some of my more delicate corals.

My solution was to empty the tank, remove the rock, spray and scrub, replace all the water with fresh, and no sand. I had already lost almost all of the coral, and all but the tomato clown. This cured the problem and im convinced it came from disturbing the sand bed.

Remember take everything I say lightly, as I don't have any HARD evidence that the stirred up bed killed the tank, but I was never able to find any evidence that disproved the theory either.

Either way I think you will be most safe in refraining from any kind of DSB until you get your tank to a place where it will stay for at least a couple years.

JMHO
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
You're right!!!

That's why I was thinking on seting up a bare bottom in the meantime, until I moved. Besides, I think the rocks will be about fully cured by the time I move, so I think I have plenty of time to make up my mind once and for all and leave the tank bare bottom (or starboard style) or put some sand in it. One option is to leave it bare bottomed and build a remote DSB after I move.

Thanks for your input!!!
 

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If you do decide to set up a dsb or if you move with one later in life I found a neat little trick. I did the traditional rubbermaid totes and suck, but with my dsb I took a vinyl screen that they sold at one of the local hardware stores. and placed that over my sand and then placed a couple of small rubbermaid totes filled with small rocks and that kept my sand bed from sliding. Even when we took it up the stairs on hand trucks it did not disturb it. When setting everything back up all I did was save a little water in a 5 gallon bucket and shook my live rocks off in it to get off detritus that I disturbed. I was afraid that I would loose something, but luckily not one thing went wrong......minus a tremendous back ache from the total wieght of the tank and sand.
Oh yes, and I also wrapped the top of the tank in surran wrap to keep anything from falling into it while moving.
 
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