Is sand sand?

jameson_uk

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When setting up my main tank I spent a long time looking at substrates which were good for corys and ended up with Unipac Limpopo sand

I was however reading something the other day which said they would be much happier on real sand. I must admit I have never seen them sifting the substrate like I have seen in videos (although they do seem healthy and happy and are always having a good rumage)

I came across https://www.tropicalfishforums.co.uk/index.php?topic=132729.0 where Unipac say the base material is silica and is coated with iron oxide.

So my first question is what is real sand and secondly is this better for corys and lastly does it come in different colours?
 
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Corys seem to do well with silver sand. It’s nice and fine and doesn’t seem to damage their barbels.

I did read a while ago that “desert” sand was no good for building work because the grains are rounded rather than sharp.
Makes you wonder what the various “Aquarium” sands are like up close doesn’t it?
 

sparkyweasel

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Yes, silver sand, and playpit sand are really fine and feel quite non-abrasive. Great for fish that sift or burrow in it. But if you don't have sifters or burrowers it can pack down into a tight mass.
If you change your fish later and don't want to change substrate, some burrowing snails will keep the texture open.
 

GlenD

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Hi, quick question. Have you found the Unipac Limpopo sand effecting your PH at all?
 

jameson_uk

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Cory barbels seem fine and they generally seem happy enough.

It seems the definition of sand is a little unclear but it looks to generally be defined by grain size but is generally silica? Looks like at 1mm the Limpopo does count as sand under most definitions.

Is play sand not just finer grains of silica?
 
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I stand to be corrected but I thought play sand was “softer” as in more rounded particles?

Edit: a quick search found this quote.

“Builders sand is not the same thing as play sand or sandbox sand, which are made of finer, rounder grains, similar to beach sand.”
 
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sparkyweasel

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Yes, builders' sand is sharp, hence the story you mentioned above. If it's the same one I read, a British firm was very pround to have won a contract to supply sand to Saudi Arabia. No shortage of sand there, but not the right sort. :)

I used to know a builder who used builders' sand in his tanks, but he didn't have corys, loaches or anything that grubs about in the substrate.
 

azawaza

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I ask myself the same existentialist question at the local beach.

Then, the crowd swell and I think ‘Hell’ so it leaves me unanswered too.

;)
 

zozo

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In general about all sand on the planet is grinded/split rock most abunded is Silica.. Some sand is partialy formed/mixed from sea shell material. Anything between 63µm and 2mm is considered Sand. If you go smaller or finer it's actualy about the same substance but called loam. Anything larger than 2mm is gravel.

Thus its not realy the base material making sand, it can be a variety of materials as long it aint bigger than 2mm grain size. Hence we have Fuji sand that is a very fine grain lava rock but still sand.. :)
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I think most water washed (or wind blown) sand is silica and round grains, purely because quartz is really hard, and time polishes off the edges. If you want a larger size of sand, that is definitely not sharp, then <"pool filter sand"> always has round grains.

I usually just have play sand. If you mix different sizes of sand then over time the <"bigger bits always end up on top">.

Sharp sand is preferred for horticultural uses (as well as building), and the good stuff is often crushed granite waste from china clay works ("Cornish grit") or crushed flint. I tend to buy "flint chick grit" as its normally cheaper than the same thing sold for horticulture.

The limestone quarries I've visited around Bristol and Frome tend to have really big stock piles of fine grade stone (smaller than 2mm), a waste product of the rock crusher, because there isn't a huge market for it.

cheers Darrel
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
what stops you from going to a beach amd taking home a bag of sand ?
Often nothing, but there all sorts of interesting by-laws and rights to work mineral deposits. Sand working is really big business.

Have a look at <"SOS Hayle">.

Beaches in the West of Britain tend to be largely shell sand, but around <"Bournemouth etc"> they are mainly just silica sand. My guess would be that N. Norfolk sand is also mainly silica based.

cheers Darrel
 

Chris Tinker

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Nothing, just do it a little at a time when someone nosey isn’t looking!

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/...ckington-haven-bude-prosecution-a8502861.html
Hi all, Often nothing, but there all sorts of interesting by-laws and rights to work mineral deposits. Sand working is really big business.

Have a look at <"SOS Hayle">.

Beaches in the West of Britain tend to be largely shell sand, but around <"Bournemouth etc"> they are mainly just silica sand. My guess would be that N. Norfolk sand is also mainly silica based.

cheers Darrel

Removing stones from public beaches is illegal under the Coastal Protection Act 1949.

suppose thats stopping me lol
 

Chris Tinker

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Hi all,Frome tend to have really big stock piles of fine grade stone (smaller than 2mm), a waste product of the rock crusher, because there isn't a huge market for it.

cheers Darrel
might take a trip to our quarry and enquire
 

Oldguy

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good for corys
Rounded quarts 2 to 3 mm should be fine. It is sold, but most substrates are either larger or smaller in particle size. Be aware that sandstone sand/gravel will leach due to grains being cemented together by calcium carbonate. I use dilute mineral acid to test. If it fizzes, its got carbonates in it. Builders sand be it 'sharp' or 'soft' tends to be alkaline as are horticultural grits.

Is it sand or is it gravel. Typically bird tray sand and finer is 'sand' and larger grits are 'gravel'

I have found that smoothness is more important than grit size but it depends on personal preferences.
 

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