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Substrate, play sand, buffering, etc.


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I just bought 10 lbs. of coral sand (it says it's 100% calcium carbonate) for my 12g nano cube (it's this stuff right here http://www.bizrate.com/marketplace/product...--18977586.html . My question is do you think this will provide enough buffering and add enough hardness to the water for a reef tank?

Also, I know I need more substrate but the only stuff I seem to find is that arag-alive that's packaged with water and sealed in a plastic bag and claims to still have alive bacteria in it (i doubt it) also it's very expensive. So are there other options available (playsand?) etc.?

ps as you can see from the link above, the size of the coral sand is rather large so i want to mix it in with a finer sand to provide a variety substrate which i heard was more beneficial.

Thank you guys for always answering my questions so quickly!

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there are lots of posts about playsand from places like Lowes, Homehardware, etc....just search for them in the forums. Most people seem to say it works fine....


My advice would be to get that agra-live stuff and seed it with 1lbs of live sand from your LFS.


Your coral sand should be ok, try to mix it with something lke the arga-live.

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you should be able to find southdown (new castle?) sand in your area (home depots in the northeast). southdown is calc carbonate sand. i found some at a nyc home depot. really no need to wash sand. the light stuff will dissolve/settle eventually, but it can be bothersome to see a milky tank. toss some floss in a hob filter and should clean up pretty quickly. calc sand doesn't provide a lot of buffering. most is from the water.

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Nah, with a 12 g nanocube get the real stuff. You can order it online from Drs. Fosters and Smith pretty cheap. I ordered a 30 lbs bag for less than $20 and it only cost me an additional $4 to ship it. This is for the aragamax, sugar sized. I would only consider the southdown or other types of playsand if you have a tight budget and/or you have a much larger tank. Also, I am not sure, but I dont think your carbonate substrate will provide as much buffering over time as you might think. Look into providing additional buffereing supplements to your water or look for a good salt that has these buffering components in them. Also what particle size is your carbonate sand? Large particle size can trap dietrus/fish waste and benthic organisms may not grow as well if the particle size is too large.

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what's esv? But anyways, I purchased caribsea sand and I believe it is the aragonite kind or aragamax. Does this have any buffering capabilities?

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Originally posted by EtOH_is_good

you should be able to find southdown (new castle?) sand in your area (home depots in the northeast).  


HD stopped carrying Southdown long ago, and has also long since ran out of any left over stock pretty much anywhere :(



Chaozie, that sand should work just fine for ya. Too bad they rape us on the price for the stuff >_<

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Hey chaozie,


It may have some buffering qualities but I wouldnt rely on it to buffer your water. You may need additional supplements.

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