cathie wrote: I would have said play sand is a similar colour to silver sand, it is not orange like builders sand which you obviously can't use
As long as its smooth and soft (so not sharp sand), and ideally inert, I don't see why not. I know people who use paving sand from their local DIY centre in their catfish tanks. You need to wash it a lot though.
Builder's sand is usually sharp sand and that isn't recommended for tanks as the individual grains are sharp and jagged and it's used for paving and concretes for improving drainage in heavy clay soils in gardens and with extra clay content for making mortar. Many of the names for building sands are used interchangeably and it's hard to know what you're buying, but almost are classed as unsuitable for play pits, equestrian use and aquariums - if it's not soft enough for kiddies to play in it won't be soft enough for Cories (IMO). Some may be suitable, but personally I would stick to either aquarium sands, river sand or play sand as these are all known to be soft enough for aquatic use.
Oh, no diagreement there, if you do go down the builder's sand route you'll need to do your research. If in doubt go with what you know, but if you need large quantities (the guy I'm thinkning of has 12+ tanks, most of which are 3' x 1' or so, then it becomes an attractive option.
It won't compact as badly, but it still needs occasional stirring to be safe.
I suspect it's more that the river sand has less dust and clay as I find play sand really well-washed is very similar. However, it takes a heck of a lot of washing to get to that stage. I do it in small amounts in a small bucket the size of a kid's seaside bucket. Half fill with sand, top up with water, stir well with hand and pour off floating bits and murky water. I repeat that 'til it's at the point where immediately after stirring the sand settles straight to the bottom with completely clear water above. It's a tedious process, but I find the sand far less prone to compaction and no cloudiness in the tank after first filling (often an issue with a sand substrate).
EDIT: I suspect it's going to take me about a week to wash the sand for the 6ft next year
Well the tank is finally set up and cycle started.
Bought Unipac Silver Sand. Looks good, but took ages to wash. Tank looks slightly cloudy at min but sure it will die down. Don't think i could of washed the sand anymore!!
I'm looking for a bit of cover. At the min I've got 6 bits of bogwood, 5 Java Fern, about 5 vallisnera something, which will multiply, 15 little cryptocorns which I think are dying already. Apparently they don't like being moved and put into a "new tank". Got 5 amazon swords to go in too.
Seen a nice plant in lfs other day. Had no name, was like 5 columns which looked like toilet brushes and deep green. Not sure how hardy that is.
Fish lady, how many snails would you recommend for my sand once its cycled? We'll sort out postage once its done