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play sand ok for tanks?

hi, yall,

i wanted to get some gravel or sand for my new 55 gallon tank.  the hardware
stores sell something they call "play sand" for children's playgrounds.  is
this safe for aquarium use?  a friend said it's too fine for plants roots, and
it will compact.  is this true?  what should i look for instead?

thanks for all your help.

tsuh yang chen, nyc