i have a bag of play sand, but im not sure if i should use it for my reef.. i cant remember the vinegar test to check to see if its ok ..i was at HD yesterday for garden plants and browsed the sand and they had nothing.. this was the W. Ridge Rd. HD..
I hear it has become hard to find out side of the the south east. I had a tank with a silica sand (play sand) bottom for years with no problems but you do have to keep the flow down or it will drift like mad. Not really ideal for a reef tank, but it did not cause any diatom outbreaks or kill all my invertibrates or any of the other horror stories I heard at the time.
Look around, Mel.
The 'Southdown' type sand is still around home improvement places, but it's no longer labeled 'Southdown'.
Don't use silica sand! The sand you want to use in a reef aquarium is aragonite based.
Additionally: never pay extra for the "live sand" pictured in the link that you posted.
FWIW I now prefer to use the CaribSea brand 'Special Seafloor' aragonite based sand.
#0 is not silica. The benefits they list are a bit humorous though. Unless your PH is way low it wont raise it, add to carbonate hardness or release trace elements. That is why we need to add CO2 to a calcium reactor to get the PH below 7.5 or so. It will be a good host to bacteria and critters though
Are you SURE you want a grain size that small? I am guessing from your sig (2x400 w halides) that you are putting together a SPS tank and you will want lots of flow. The fine sand will blow around like crazy unless you plan on using in in a sump or fuge. Trust me, been there, done that, and spent a LOT of time getting it out! Funny how the stuff practically floats until there is a siphon tube near by.
Actually, I do struggle with low Ph so it would benefit me. I do also prefer the fine grain in a shallow bed. Was planning on only spending $7 intially to buy one bag and give it a flow test before buying it all at once and finding out I don't like it afterall.
In my current tank I actually have a mixture of crushed coral and some of the fine sand above only in the pink sand version and it seems to be handling two Maxijet 1200s in my 72 OK right now but I do understand the crushed coral underneath may be helping somewhat and the flow in the 125 will be a bit more strong...
The reasons I prefer the fine grain of a shallow bed is that it is harder for waste to build up on a smooth bed, it's probably much easier on my sand cuke and my mandarin needs a sand bed regardless.
I definitely like the look of a finer sand bed and the critters that can live in and on it but I found it didn't work out when I upped the flow to go from softies to SPS. Your rock setup and type and possitioning of circulation will have a big impact, so it may work out for you.
I ended up going to a larger grain in the tank and used the fine stuff for a DSB in the fuge because I was getting drifts and bare spots and the occaisional sand storm when the fish would kick some up and it would get carried all over.
If you are struggling with low PH, and your alk tests OK I would guess you might have a CO2 problem. Could be CO2 getting into the tank from a calcium reactor if you have one, but it can also be caused by not enough gas exchange or high CO2 in your home. A lot of newer well sealed homes can have elevated CO2 levels that wont bother air breathers but will be enough to lower the PH in your tank quite a bit. I have heard running an airline outside as an airsource for your skimmer can solve the problem. I also have heard of a couple people using dryer vent hose to blow outside air over the sump.
Thanks, I've already researched the causes and due to the fact of my alk also being low I have determined at this point constant monitoring and buffering are taking care of it but it would be nice for some aragonite to add the the pH and carbonate alk.
I have 7 bags of oldcastle form Chase-pitken before the closed the doors. If anyone local needs a bag or two...I would be willing to trade for a frag. I think all sand that is not marketed for Aquariums has the "Not for Aquarium use" Disclaimer on the bag...for obvious reasons. As long as you test with Vinegar you'll be safe.
To test if it's aragonite sand, just put some in a cup with some vinegar, and see if the sand dissolves. If it dissolves, you're in good shape. I think I read that in a 'Southdown' FAQ on RC somewhere.
The Oldcastle that I bought at Chase Pitken last year passed the vinegar test, but it also said 'not for aquarium use'. I never got to try it in the tank, because it ended up in the sandbox. I was actually planning to use it in my 'fuge -- I like coarser substrate in the display tank...