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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have torn down my 46 gallon bow front and am about to rebuild with a sand substrate for the first time, if all goes well I will change out the gravel in my 110 gallon for sand as well. I have read a lot of conflicting posts on this forum and others as to what is the best sand to buy and why.
I have been going back and forth between Pool Filter sand and going to a place like Bathe and Mclellan in whitby/oshawa and buying silica sand with a grit size of 20. From what I have read both of these options will cost about $10 for 50lbs., much cheaper than buying from pet store at 20-30$ for 20/25 lbs., although these do have argonite for PH buffering which the above do not.
I guess what I am wondering is can I just buy the PFS or silica sand and mix in some crushed coral to get the PH buffering effects as well? Has anyone done this and if so does the sand and crushed coral look ok mixed together? Will the sand or pool filter sand look as good as the prepackaged Cichlid sand? Any input or personal experiences would help in making my decision, thanks!!
 

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If you live in the GTA and are on Lake Ontario water, you do not need to use a buffer at all.

There are a lot of people breeding malawi and tanganyikan cichlids for sale in the GTA and they do not use buffers of any kind.

While Toronto's pH may be a tad low compared to Tanganyika and Malawi, the hardness is there. Many argue that that's more than enough.

I prefer PFS to silica sand because PFS has fatter granules that aren't stirred up as easily by large fish and water changes. Much harder to stir PFS up and suck it into the filter.

The PFS that seems to be primarily sold around here is Nepheline Syenite. It's off white with black specks in it. Not bad looking.
 

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Silica sand of #20 grit is the same as PFS in grain size and basic structure. In fact, the specification for a sand filter is #20 silica sand. Basically, it needs to be #20 sharp sand made from an inert substance that doesn't dissolve. You could even go a little heavier to #16 or even #12. Bathe and McLellan has samples at the desk so you can look at the various grain sizes. The last time I bought #12 black sand there, it was $10 for 88 lbs, after the 15% cash and carry discount. If I remember correctly the silica sand is a little cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Silica sand of #20 grit is the same as PFS in grain size and basic structure. In fact, the specification for a sand filter is #20 silica sand. Basically, it needs to be #20 sharp sand made from an inert substance that doesn't dissolve. You could even go a little heavier to #16 or even #12. Bathe and McLellan has samples at the desk so you can look at the various grain sizes. The last time I bought #12 black sand there, it was $10 for 88 lbs, after the 15% cash and carry discount. If I remember correctly the silica sand is a little cheaper.
thanks for the replies, I think i will try Bathe and Mclellan and check out the sand there, maybe in a 16 grit. The black sand, what is that made of, it's not silica sand?
 

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Sand

I'm actually in the process of my converting my 100g from planted with FLuorite to Malawi... Before when I kept Malawi I always had aragonite, but I want the more natural sand look, plus will try keeping robust plants like Jungle Val in the set up...

I was told if I was going to use Silica to mix it with Play sand, as the sharp silica can cut up the fishes gills when they dig...

IS there truth to this? I to am interested in knowing what other sands there are out there for aquarium use as all i see is either Play or Silica.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
i have read the same thing about PFS, although it seems many people use it, i read PFS is sharp and can cause damage to fish as well. Is this something to be concerned about?
 

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The black blasting sand sold at B&M is nickel slag. While PFS or silica is sharp, it isn't necessarily like blades. It is rough from the crushing operation.
 

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I ordered some PFS from international pools and spas on Taunton rd in Whitby..

Watched him write on the order form silica sand, its not as white as aragonite, or even the moonlight sand carib sea makes but its a good colour imo. Its not tiny, it doesn't cloud up easily, real happy with it. And.. it was real easy to clean.

50lb bag costs 10$+tx I bought one more bag than I needed so I have an unopened 50lb bag you can grab from me if you are interested for $10 (no tax!)

Eventually I will be removing the fine gravel I have in my corner tank and replacing with this stuff. Every tank since I setup the corner has been sand, I will never do gravel again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok so I went to Bathe and McLellan, got an 88lb bag of black sand 20 grit for $10.96, used maybe 15-20 lbs in a 46 gallon bow front. The sand looks great, but did take a lot of rinsing to get clean. It is also pretty fine, but doesn't fly around too much. I took a couple pictures to give you an idea of what it looks like, very happy with the look of it.



The sand is darker than it looks in the pictures, but you get the idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
here's my new set up with my new Afra White Top Hara colony, hopefully they grow and breed in here, just got nine young ones.



 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Tank update:added a group of 6 young salousi

Managed to get my hands on a nice group of 6 young Salousi, and a much larger, nice male that is in my 110.
Added them to my 8 young Afra White Top group :)





 

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Tank looks awesome...I love dark substrates...makes the fish colors pop.

On a side note regarding your buffer comments...I'm in the GTA and our water is pretty perfect for them...if you like it a little harder you can add aragonite (it comes in black as well) and crushed coral to your substrate. Or you can put the crushed coral in a media bag in your filters....I use aragonite and coral as substrate and my PH levels out at a constant 8.3

Sent from my LG-P999 using Tapatalk 2
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the tips, I'm in GTA(North York) so water should be fine, and yes love the black sand, going to have to re do my big tank with the same.
 

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Randomly....here's a video of when I changed my black substrate to crushed coral and aragonite :)


YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/cinsal69

Instagram: @cindyscichlids
looks good cindy,for sure looks brighter, what i noticed also keeps my orange leleupi colours, bright orange, when using white, when i had them in dark subtrate they would get blotchy patches on them.
 

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Hey thanks! I also loved black sand but it was just darkening up my frontosa too much. Thats another thing about dark substrate...sometimes darkens up your fishies.

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/cinsal69

Instagram: @cindyscichlids
nice fronts, do you have any frontosa burundi, wouldn't mind another female, this is one of my tanks, before had med/brown gravel still looked ok, but, now on coral/aragonite mix, picture taken 2 years ago
 

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