Pool filter sand

Discussion in 'The Reef Tank' started by Humblefish, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. Humblefish

    Humblefish Dr. Fish Administrator LARC Supporter

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    Navarre, FL
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  2. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    Deja vu :) I have used this in brackish tank setup, albeit the lighting wasn't reef aquarium strong, but closer to a planted tank as I was growing a water grass in the tank. I also mixed it with planted tank substrate when I had my Brazilian planted black water tank setup (the tank with all fluorite didn't look natural).

    Finally, I am using Miracle Mud in my fuge and it is primarily silica sand, albeit not disclosed by Eco System. The fuge is lit at 700 PAR with a DIY LED fixture tuned to match chlorophyl A. Chaeto takes off and caluerpa grows in the shade...but the sand itself is not contributing to this.

    The silica in silica sand (silica dioxide) is not water soluble so will not contribute to algae. What I don't know is what the purity ratio is, but its not 100%. Nor do I know what the impurities would be, but calcium silicate, sodium silicate, potassium silicate, etc are reasonable guesses and ARE water soluble. This would be short term however. I dose sodium silicate to my tank weekly and the result is measurable on a Seachem Silicate test. Back in the brackish tank, the silicates were not measurable when using silica sand.

    What silica sand does do for you that calcium sand falls short on is because of its finer gradation and higher density. It does not blow around and creates a better anaerobic zone. I believe this is why it is used in Miracle Mud and they can recommend only a 1" sand bed where calcium based substrates need 4" or more. The silica sand does a better job at capturing particulates, providing the environment to degrade the organic particulates and trapping in the organics. It also makes a better time bomb for the same reasons (Why Miracle Mud has to be replaced annually and other fuge substrates do not). It's short comings are the silts are unforgiving and tank much longer to settle out of the water (I suspect part of the impurity is clay particles). Pool filter sand should be better at this than standard silica sand (aka play sand and construction sand). Also, silica sand will scratch glass if it gets in your algae magnetic cleaner or wiping clothes. It is the same as glass, chemically quite hard and will destroy a good finish on glass.

    I would not recommend it in a display tank but I believe it is quite appropriate for non-display tank such as holding tanks, acclimation tanks, etc. You will get a great bio-diversity with far less and a much cheaper substrate. Just make sure it is well rinsed, preferably in RO/DI water.
  3. BluewaterLa

    BluewaterLa LARC Boil Master Administrator LARC Supporter

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    I used it in a small tank quite a few years back.
    I did't have any issues per say with it though I didn't keep corals in that tank either just fish and some live rock.
    Back then algae was part of the normal aqua scape so I did not think much about the sand being a contributing factor haha
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