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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there! Does anyone know if the white play sand from Home Depot is safe to use with African cichlids? I can't see why not but the bag says "not for aquarium use", not to mention it also has a cancer warning! But then again they market this for kids to play with?!?! Here is a picture of the bag.
 

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Is the cancer warning a prop 65 thing? "This product contains material known to the state of California to cause cancer yada yada..." If so I wonder if that could be related to something silly like the plastic packaging.

My HD carries quickcrete playsand and I've no doubt it'd be just fine. Haven't heard a case of a playsand that wasn't. Just need to rinse a lot to avoid cloudy water. I've used quickcrete medium grade sand in the past and prefer its color and grain size to play sand personally, also from HD and a buck or 2 cheaper than the playsand iirc. Also needs a thorough wash.
 

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Yeah so googling tells me the prop 65 warning is because silica dust can cause cancer if inhaled. Usually only in an industrial setting ie blasting without respirators or other proper protection where someone might be inhaling a lot of it. Companies say sandboxes are as safe as beach sand and there aren't any reported medical cases linked to sandboxes apparently. certainly the warning would not be applicable for fish when used as a substrate.
 

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Silica is a carcinogen, but it is safe for fish tanks as long as you don't breathe the dust. But use Pool Filter Sand instead of play sand. It is clean and has a consistent grain that works with the Python and will not fly around the water column and get in your filters to grind up the impellers.

Others have used Quikrete (including Fogelhund) with success but for me it the grain size was not even and 1/3 of the material washed away during cleaning and even then there was too much fine sand in the tank. I removed it and threw it away.
 

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+1 to Pool Filter Sand (PFS).
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Disadvantages of Play Sand (PS),
- Fine size is easily suspended into the water column. A single grain of PS sucked up into a filtration intake will wreck the pump impeller.
- Finer sand grains equal more silica (dust). Diatoms LOVE silica. Providing more of it as substrate material will prolong the brown slime phase of the aquarium a LOT longer.
- Undisturbed PS will pack down over time into this impermeable crust. Over many months - years, this can happen underneath rocks or areas not very accessible in the tank, these anaerobic areas can cause all kinds of problems if they are inadvertently disturbed. Hydrogen sulfide much?
- Bleached coloration of PS seems to attract and showcase Cyanobacteria infestations (my own personal/anecdotal experience on this) of the substrate more than PFS.
- PS seems to almost NEVER rinse completely out. Fine particles of cloudy dust will easily be kicked up and suspended by fish or maintenance in the tank for well, forever.
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PFS will easily counter all of those disadvantages of PS. Plus, I just personally like the color of it better. It looks (and feels) much more natural with all of the visual and physical characteristics of the sandy freshwater riverine or lake biotopes I've ever personally experienced. 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for the great recommendations especially relating to the pool filter sand. I will return the play sand and find pool filter sand!!
 

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Around here it is easier to buy from a pool/spa chain like Leslies.
 
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