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Re: reptile sand

Bob Dixon wrote:

> I saw some stuff at a local pet shop today which was labeled as sand for
> desert reptile tanks.  This was a VERY fine grade of sand, almost as fine as
> the dust they call sand in Arabia, certainly finer than playbox or
> construction sand.  Would this stuff be useful in substrate construction?

I haven't seen the product, but I'd guess its a lot like our southwest
desert sand (er, the subsoil in my yard).  The stuff is light tan and very
fine (really it might be silt rather than sand) and often it's quite pure
- mostly quartz.  I think most plants will do well with the small grain
size, but it lacks normal soil components and so doesn't act much like
soil.  Also, being so fine it can be moved around by small currents and
stay suspended longer than normal sand.

If you were to use it you would want to check its reaction pH (see what it
does to the pH of distilled water) and see if it fizzes in acid.  Also you
would probably want to amend it with some organic component and/or clay.

If its color isn't a light tan then there might be a problem.  There are
some odd-ball sands (like the pure white gypsum sand at White Sands
National Monument) that might be attractive but wouldn't be good for an

Roger Miller