Different sands

Aussie_Bristle

Fish Addict
Tank of the Month!
Pet of the Month!
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
746
Reaction score
797
Location
Australia
Hi all

This really might be a silly question etc but I’ve read many using children’s play sand for flooring in the tank. When I had turtles it had to be riversand or similar as it’s finer sand where the play sand has fine coral & shell grit in it that could cause internal damage when eaten as turtles eat everything. Now my question is, when I watch my little fin babies eat the sand or shuffle through it would this have the same effect on them? Obviously being captive fish their little tummies would be different then that in the wild. Just something I thought I’d ask as I watch my goldfish eat and spit the sand but would still have remaining sand in their little mouths and the cories and bristle noses that scavenge through the sand too.
I’ve continued with riversand due to it being finer and easier to digest if need be but it would be just interesting to know.
 

seangee

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
3,239
Reaction score
1,601
Location
Berks
Certainly play sand in the UK has no coral or shell in it. The reason its "safe" is the producers expect their customers to eat it and land on their knees etc.

No fish that I am aware of eat sand or digest it. The issues with bottom feeders is potentially cutting or scratching their barbels and some fish (like corys) filter the sand through their gills.

If you are comfortable with what you use there is no reason you can't, although be aware that coral and shells could affect pH
 

AbbeysDad

Member
Joined
May 13, 2011
Messages
1,312
Reaction score
412
Location
Central New York, USA
Here in the US, play sand typically comes from land deposits and doesn't contain shell or coral. However, there may be some play sands (white ones come to mind) that originate from beaches.
------
For a planted tank you really want a somewhat coarser sand as fine sands tend to pack too tightly, inhibiting root growth. I also think that a coarser sand is better for beneficial bacteria and burrowers like Malaysian Trumpet Snails.
------
I'm using pool filter sand in a couple of my tanks and although some feel it's too sharp, I've had Cory catfish for many years with no issues (barbells just fine). As a matter of fact I recently saw a video (Aquarium Co-op) of hundreds of Cory's in the wild where the river substrate was a very sharp gravel. Fish have of way of surviving in some pretty hostile areas!
 

PheonixKingZ

Fish Gatherer
Pet of the Month!
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
7,733
Reaction score
3,456
Location
Lawrenceburg KY
Ok, here we go....(IMO for all of this)

Play sand in the US is completely safe for any tank you have. It is cleaned, and has to be, because it has to be safe for kids to put in their mouth.

I use play sand in all of my tanks and have used it for over 5 months now. It looks great, and its cheap. It is also really good for any aquarium plant. (I have about 100 stems of Anacharis in my 10g betta tank right now. Some floating, but most of them growing in the sand.)

I'm using pool filter sand in a couple of my tanks and although some feel it's too sharp, I've had Cory catfish for many years with no issues (barbells just fine). As a matter of fact I recently saw a video (Aquarium Co-op) of hundreds of Cory's in the wild where the river substrate was a very sharp gravel. Fish have of way of surviving in some pretty hostile areas!
As pool filter sand might be classified as "Cleaner", or "More safe" in the long run it really isnt. Most pool filter sand is more on the white side, and can stress out your fish. And even if fish can survive in the wild with sharp substrate, it doesn't mean we should give them that. As aquarists, it is our duty to give out fish the bets possible home. :)

Back to the OP you mentioned wanting to have fine sand? Play sand is very fine. As you can find small grain pool filter sand, the sand you buy in stores usually have large grains.

Overall I think you should get play sand. :)

(P.S. I bought my 50lb bag of play sand for just $5 USD.)

(P.P.S. No hate @AbbeysDad, just IMO. ;))
 

Byron

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
13,260
Reaction score
4,191
Location
CA
As a matter of fact I recently saw a video (Aquarium Co-op) of hundreds of Cory's in the wild where the river substrate was a very sharp gravel. Fish have of way of surviving in some pretty hostile areas!
This caught my attention, so I watched the video. It is very misleading. If you look carefully at the river substrate during the video you will see it is primarily sand. The handful of "sharp" particles is not the substrate, but scattered here and there. There is no way any Corydoras is going to even attempt sifting that through their gills.

All species of Corydoras live over a habitat substrate that is either sand, mud, or a combination. There is one exception according to Ian Fuller that does live over gravel, and I can't remember which species, but it doesn't matter.

And the issue of sharpness has less to do with barbel loss than it has to the inherent trait of fish in this family to sift the substrate through their gills. This is why they live over sand and mud, and why we provide smooth sand for them.
 
Last edited:

AbbeysDad

Member
Joined
May 13, 2011
Messages
1,312
Reaction score
412
Location
Central New York, USA
Just for the record, the pool filter sand I've used for several years now is just as tan and natural as nearly any play sand and although purported by some to be too sharp, it sure doesn't seem to be....and my 10 year old Cory's are just fine with it.
Also....
1) I didn't invent using PFS substrate as it's been used by many hobbyists [especially in planted tanks] for many years now.
2) I attempted to use some big box store play sand a few months ago. Put some in a 5g bucket to rinse clean. There were more dust like fines than coarse sand particles - about like trying to clean dirt/mud, so most of it just got dumped out...so I put pool filter sand in the 37g instead.
(Just my opinion) :)
 
OP
Aussie_Bristle

Aussie_Bristle

Fish Addict
Tank of the Month!
Pet of the Month!
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
746
Reaction score
797
Location
Australia
Okay that explains a lot then. The Aussie sand is different, it has been known to have traces of shell and coral grit. Even though fine it is still sharp hence why I use Riversand. I have no problems with what people use, I was just intrigued by this that’s all.
 

PheonixKingZ

Fish Gatherer
Pet of the Month!
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
7,733
Reaction score
3,456
Location
Lawrenceburg KY
Just for the record, the pool filter sand I've used for several years now is just as tan and natural as nearly any play sand and although purported by some to be too sharp, it sure doesn't seem to be....and my 10 year old Cory's are just fine with it.
Also....
1) I didn't invent using PFS substrate as it's been used by many hobbyists [especially in planted tanks] for many years now.
2) I attempted to use some big box store play sand a few months ago. Put some in a 5g bucket to rinse clean. There were more dust like fines than coarse sand particles - about like trying to clean dirt/mud, so most of it just got dumped out...so I put pool filter sand in the 37g instead.
(Just my opinion) :)
Did you make sure to get the sand that said, "Cleaned", or "Processed" on the bag?
If you didn't, then that is the reason why your sand was very muddy. When I got my sand, I had to wash it just a little bit to get it cleaned.
 

AbbeysDad

Member
Joined
May 13, 2011
Messages
1,312
Reaction score
412
Location
Central New York, USA
Did you make sure to get the sand that said, "Cleaned", or "Processed" on the bag?
If you didn't, then that is the reason why your sand was very muddy. When I got my sand, I had to wash it just a little bit to get it cleaned.
Sakrete All Natural Play Sand, prewashed & screened.
 

trending

Most reactions - Past 7 days

Top