Silica sand vs. Aroganite sand

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
Well, it is not as simple as that (sand has a much higher surface area, for example, and is not all quartz), but it is true that natural silica sand generally does OK.

Natural silica sands (beach, river, etc) may be a lot better than ground up minerals because the inclusions of silicate that are freshly exposed can release substantial silicate to the water. There is detectable leaching of silicate from new silica sands (I've shown it myself) and it might possibly help diatoms, but I actually choose to dose silicate to my tank, so that does not particularly concern me.

I discuss it in more detail here:

Silica in a Reef Tank