play sand at Home Depot

Discussion in 'Reef Fishes' started by puttycat, May 24, 2009.

  1. puttycat

    puttycat

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    I found white play sand at home depot that says it is for aquarium and had Newcastle at the bottom of the label. Anybody use this, I know it was gone for awhile.
     
    puttycat, May 24, 2009
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  2. puttycat

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    I've never used it.But have read that the newcastle was alright to use.
     
    yote, May 25, 2009
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  3. puttycat

    ccCapt Reef Hacker Moderator

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    AFAIK, the only company that had aragonite sand was Southdown/Old Castle. Any play sand you get now is silica sand, which is OK to use. You have to really rinse the crap out of it, and it will leech some silicate into the tank, but otherwise it's fine.

    Silica in a Reef Tank
    "So, on to some experiments. I bought some Quickcrete Play Sand from Home Depot and ran a number of tests on it. In all of the cases shown below the silica concentration was determined with a Hach low range silica kit after filtration through a 0.2 mm syringe filter. In cases where the concentration is above 1 ppm, the sample was diluted with RO/DI water prior to analysis. All experiments were carried out in the dark to reduce any effect due to diatom growth.

    In the first experiment I took 3 cups of sand, and suspended it in 3 gallons of freshly made Instant Ocean salt mix that initially contained less than 0.8 mM of silica (0.05 ppm SiO2). After 48 hours of gentle stirring with a powerhead (the water was stirring, but not the sand), the silica concentration had risen to 17 mM (1.0 ppm SiO2). I then rinsed the same sand 5 times with 1 gallon RO/DI water (1 minute each time), discarded the contents, and then ran the same stirring experiment with 2 new gallons of Instant Ocean salt mix. In 48 hours the silica concentration had again risen, this time to 15 mM (0.92 ppm SiO2). Then I let it sit unstirred for another 96 hours, and the concentration had risen more, to 23 mM (1.4 ppm SiO2).​

    In a different experiment, I took about 45 pounds of sand, and added 2 gallons of Instant Ocean salt mix. I let this mixture sit for 7 days, with once a day mixing with my hands for about 30 seconds. At then end of this test, the concentration was 90 mM (5.4 ppm SiO2). It has been suggested that the amount of silica coming from calcerous sand might actually be as high or higher than that from silica sand. To test this hypothesis, I repeated the small-scale experiments above on a calcium carbonate sand from Home Depot (Southdown). In this case, there was some soluble silica released after the first 48 h, but only 1.6 mM (0.1 ppm SiO2), or about a factor of 10 lower than the silica sand. In a long-term test, the concentration had only risen to 5 mM (0.3 ppm SiO2) in 14 days with once a day stirring.​

    From these experiments, I conclude that:
    1. The “silica” play sand that I purchased from Home Depot can substantially raise the dissolved silica concentration in seawater.
    2. The dissolvable portion of the silica sand cannot be completely removed by several rinses with either fresh or salt water, although it may be decreased somewhat by that process.
    3. Southdown calcium carbonate sand (likely aragonite) can release soluble silica, but about ten fold less than the “silica” sand.​

    Is it OK to use silica sand? Probably. Many people do so. I also believe that not all “silica “ sands will be the same for the reasons described above relating to processing of the sand and the nature of the mineral inclusions present. So the fact that many people successfully use some (or many) types of silica sand does not necessarily imply that all people can use any type of “silica” sand without a problem. "
     
    ccCapt, May 25, 2009
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  4. puttycat

    puttycat

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    Thanks for the info guys. I am going to look at it more closely. Its only 99 cents a bag so I may try some in my qt tank since it is fallow right now. I also need to double check it said New or Old Castle, I hate getting old I can not remember anything without taking a picture or notes
     
    puttycat, May 26, 2009
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