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Thread: What is "coarse sharp sand"?

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    swords's Avatar
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    I've been wondering for a while what is "Coarse sharp sand" that many soil recipes call for. the only sand I've found was "Play sand" at home depot, and it's a very fine silicate kind of sand , the few plants I used fine sand mixed with peat only resulted in rot after six months. The only other sand I've found is what I'd call gravel.

    Anyone know what it is and where to get it?

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    You're not the only one wondering. I've been on a quest to find that stiuff for months. I went to multiple HDs, and they only have concrete mix sand and play sand, yet i've had a lot of people tell me to get it at HD. I'm not surprised at your results with play sand: the play sand i last saw at HD said "no silica" and "not for aquarium use" on it, which is sorta the opposite of what we're looking for, isn't it?

    I have to warn against the stuff called "Aquatic plant soil" by Schultz. I bought it at HD because it said "neutral pH" and "safe for aquarium use", and claimed that it was inert because it's essentially a crumbled ceramic (fired clay). It has a nice, coarse texture and a pleasant reddish-brown color. I don't know what kind of aquarium they intended it for, though, considering how badly it seems to leech minerals: I just noticed today that my new VFT varieties, which were growing like weeds right after i potted them up, have "burned" looking edges to the traps and lower leaf, and have slowed in growth. I don't know if that's salt poisoning, (can anyone confirm that?) or just shock from a humidity drop or something, but it seems like too much of a coincidence that i used that Schultz stuff in the mix. Another pot has definite signs of salt precipitates on the soil surface. I'm worried sick about it now, trying to decide if i should repot all the plants that i potted with that stuff (about 1/3 of my collection! ). [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif[/img]

    I was told to ask for sandblasting grit by several people, but i got the impression that there are different kinds of grit used for sandblasting. I don't think the aluminum oxide they mentioned at HD is what the others intended.

    Anyway, what you want is coarse silica sand, and if you find out where to buy it... please let me know!
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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    I know many say you can get it from pool places as it is used in the filtration systems. I have not tried this. I do use the medium and fine grade Silica sand by Sakrete, which I get at the local Lowes in the cement/concrete/mortar aisle. There are warning labels on it for silica and it is a nice white color. It is very well graded also. Be careful though since Sakrete also packages various other sands. Here is a some info on the Sakrete. The one to use is on the bottom of the list: Sakrete products

    Here is one by Quikrete also..
    Quikrete silica sand

    Tony



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    I think that silica sand is also sold as "sandblasting" sand, and should come in a variety of sizes. You have to buy more than you really want, but it should be pretty cheap.

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    Arrow

    This is the most useful germination medium available anywhere. It is better and more environmentally friendly than perlite and is reusable in making good quality potting mixes.

    To prepare the sand you can start with any grade, but the coarser it is, the less work you will have. Take a kitchen sieve and place a couple of cups of sand in it. Fill a large bucket with water. Now jiggle the sieve in the water so that small particles get washed out into the water (they settle at the bottom eventually). Keep doing this until no more particles wash through the holes. Keep the sand that is in the sieve - it is called 'coarse sharp sand'. This process is important, as it eliminates the small sand particles and silt that lock up the structure of the sand. Without removing this fine stuff most seed will rot rather than germinate.

    During summer it is also possible to dry the sand and sift it dry to get the bulk of the fine stuff out. It should however still be washed at least once.

    For difficult or slow seed it is recommended to serilise this sand just before use by baking on a shallow tray in the oven at 200deg C for 2 hours.
    [B]I got this from a Website.--Phil [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img] Hope it helps you [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]
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    I use pool filter sand which is coarser than table sugar. It is very clean and uniformly coarse. I get it for 7.00/50 lbs.

    I second the motion to rinse the sand, this is VERY important.



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    N=R* fs fp ne fl fi fc L Pyro's Avatar
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    I've always used leveling sand with no problems...
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