Aug 1, 2007 - I've a question, can I use silver sand in my aquarium?
In conclusion silver sand would be a wise choice for any aquarium. Especially if the keeper does not need the substrate as a pH buffer.
I like silica sand a great deal. Not only do thefish love it, but with the appropriate use of a supplement likelaterite or aquarium soil it can also make an outstanding medium foraquatic plants. But is it the perfect substrate? I think not; whileundoubtedly an versatile and inexpensive substrate it does have somemajor shortcomings. Just as with river sand, it cannot be used with anundergravel filter, and may also allow for potentially dangerousanaerobic decay. Silica sand is also very reflective, and as notedearlier, some fish fade their colours when kept over such assubstrate.
Aquatic, or pond soil, is a special compostproduced primarily for outdoor use but which can work very well inaquaria. It lacks nitrates and phosphates, unlike traditional soils andcomposts, so won't promote the growth of algae. On the other hand,it is rich enough to provide the minerals like iron and copper thanplants need to grow well. The main worry most people have with usingsoil in their aquarium is that they imagine it will be messy and cloudthe water, but the soils sold for use in ponds won't do this. Whilesome soil particles and fibres might float to the surface, there shouldbe nothing that the filter can't remove after a day or two. I findcreating a bed of pond soil 3-6 cm deep topped with a layer of silicasand 3-4 cm deep works very well, and though there is some mixing ofthe layers, the plant roots actually stabilise the substrate veryeffectively (exactly as they do in the wild). The principal downside tousing pond soil is the same as that with laterite, namely that itcannot be used with an undergravel filter.
The 'silver sand' sold in aquarium shops is totally inert
Has anyone used Unipac Aquarium Gravel - Silver Sand
Silver sand would be suited to any aquarium requiring a stable PH . Amazonian inhabitants In most cases require neutral to acidic water conditions and silica will remain inert under such circumstancesQuartz (silicon-dioxide, SiO2) is the least soluble of all forms of silicon found in nature. Although it is important to keep in mind that water is a universal solvent and everything dissolves in water given enough time, the walls of a glass aquarium is far more soluble than any layer of quartz sand that could be placed on the bottom of it. This is not to say that it is not possible to introduce silicate into your tank by the inclusion of silica sand – there are many more soluble silicate compounds (such as feldspar) or contaminants (such as aluminosilicate) which could be found in a generic bag of silica sand from the hardware store that could contribute to an increased level of dissolved silicates in an aquarium, but pure quartz sand is not one of them.Silica sand would be suited to any aquarium requiring a stable PH . Amazonian inhabitants In most cases require neutral to acidic water conditions and silica will remain inert under such circumstancesThe most easily obtained aquarium sand is coralsand, which as its name suggests is made up of finely ground coral,along with tiny pieces of things like seashells, calcareous algae, andsea urchin spines. Being made up largely of calcium carbonate, coralsand is a very effective buffering agent, increasing the pH andhardness levels of any aquarium it is used in. For this reason, coralsand cannot be used in any tank with fish that do not like hard,alkaline water, which includes the vast majority of community fish fromAsia, Africa, and South America, such as angelfish, tetras, barbs,catfish, gouramis, and loaches. On the other hand, those fish that doappreciate such conditions, such as Rift Valley cichlids, manylivebearers, and brackish water fish positively thrive in tanks withcoral sand.