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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Right now I have cichlid sand in my aquarium, and I like it. I never have to add any kind of buffering and my pH stays right above 8.

I am moving my fish to a bigger tank that will require alot more sand. I was thinking about buying play sand from home depot ( can't beat $3 for a 50lbs bag!!!)

What should I expect with the different substrate?
Would it be better to blend the 2 sands?
Or, should I just splurge and buy more cichid sand?
 

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Generally people recommend pool filter sand instead of play sand, as the latter has an extremely high clay content and can be a huge pain to clean. The pool filter sand is only a little more than the play sand.
 

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i use fine sand from home depto i rinse it once and its good to go. it is white in color though so i do not know how well it will mix
 

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There are 2 types of play lot sand. One is lighter in color and easier to clean than the darker brown. Then you have pool filter sand. All 3 are priced cheap. See what your water ph is from the tap. If its high you may not need the expensive kind of sand. Or you can make your own lake buffer mix with baking soda. (Check the library section for info on lake buffer mix). The most important thing is to make sure the PH of the water going in your tank, match the PH of the water inside the tank when doing a water change.
 

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I use play sand from home depot in all my tanks. It does take some work to get it clean, but in my opinion, it looks more natural than pool filter sand.
 

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Myrock said:
There are 2 types of play lot sand. One is lighter in color and easier to clean than the darker brown. Then you have pool filter sand. All 3 are priced cheap. See what your water ph is from the tap. If its high you may not need the expensive kind of sand. Or you can make your own lake buffer mix with baking soda. (Check the library section for info on lake buffer mix). The most important thing is to make sure the PH of the water going in your tank, match the PH of the water inside the tank when doing a water change.
+ 1 for checking your tap water pH and pool filter sand.
 

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Go with what you like the look of- no substrate will effectively buffer your water no matter how it's advertised. I haven't had problems with play sand but recently purchased for first pool filter sand. The larger grain size of the pool sand is nice- but I added some play sand to add some contrast.
 

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I disagree with the statement that " no substrate will effectively buffer your water". My ph is 8.0 out of the tap, left out in a glass for a day drops to 7.8, yet all my tanks have aragonite sand, and ph is stable at 8.3.
 

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I understand why you think it's the sand, but I will happily demonstrate how little calcium carbonate can possibly dissolve in circumneutral pH water. The solubility constant of CaCO3 is very low, meaning saturation occurs at very low concentrations. Any buffering effect from aragonite is likely due to the initial dust particles. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Right now the pH out of my tap is 7.6.. The pH of my tank is 8.2..
During my weekly water changes (30%) I do nothing to the water.. My tank pH is constant. I'm not saying it doesn't fluctuate slightly during the change, but hours later it is still 8.2.. And to my understanding Altos are sensitive to water fluctuating.. They were my first fish, and are thriving.. Never a sign of distress..

I would like to continue the trend. I hate chemistry..
 

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Yeah- I'm a big geek. :lol:

If you like the cichlid sand and have the money- go for it. Or, mix it with a cheaper alternative. There's nothing wrong with any of the alternatives listed above.

One thing you should always add (that doesn't require a chemistry degree!) is a tap water conditioner. Your municipality can change what they treat the water with instantly- so your safe, don't-need-to-add-anything water can kill everything in one foul swoop if they get a funny test result. I recommend either Prime or ChlorAmX for a good, cheap dechlor.
 

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Well, I'm no chemist, but I like the way my sand looks, and all I do is change water and add prime. I don't care if the ph fairy comes at night while I'm sleeping, as long as it stays at 8.3, I dont care how it gets there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
doesn't mean your a geek triscuit....

If I hadn't looked at your profile for your profession.... Then you'd been a geek :lol:

Nothing wrong with a lil pinch of this, and a dash of that!
 

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shellies215 said:
Well, I'm no chemist, but I like the way my sand looks, and all I do is change water and add prime. I don't care if the ph fairy comes at night while I'm sleeping, as long as it stays at 8.3, I dont care how it gets there.
I do. Its prob just the carbon dioxide coming out of your water.
As explained before this happens to my tap water.
Out of the tap at pH 7.0-7.5
Becomes stable at pH 8.6 without buffering or buffering substrates or me doing a thing, except airate it. :thumb:
If it was your substrate buffering it would be dissolving, also giving you particles you would see as it does not dissolve evenly. Enough of these and they can irritate sand sifters gills.

I do not like buffering substrates. When they are not a waist of money, they are dissolving and can be irritating cichlids gills.

Play sand for some tanks sand sifters etc. Pool filter sand for easy maintenance in other tanks. Lots of colours and shades of sand without paying out on shop bought stuff.
Cichlid sand way overpriced for what it is........ coral sand crushed coral etc............ in the bin or at a pinch in the filters.

All the best James
 

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You want geek...I use RO/DI water and then buffer it with Tanganyikan buffer, and Cichlid salt for water changes....all evaporated water is replaced via an auto-top-off system with RO/DI water bufferd with Tanganyikan buffer.
 

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Oh and true to the topic here: I use all Aragonite sand in my tank, and a 6 inch layer of aragonite, and plant substrate in my refugium.
 
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