Need suitable sand on a budget? Go to Lowes or Home Depot and buy a product by Pavestone called Pulverized Limestone. Its about six whole bones a 50 lbs bag. By the time you wash the talc powery stuff out you will be left with about 40-45 lbs of sand thats between Oolitic and Seaflor grade (CaribSea) in texture. That works out to about a bank breaking .15 cents a pound. This is safe to use in a Reef tank becuase Lime stone is calcium based and it also happens to be what many of the aqua culture facilities in Florida use for thier rock that they place in leased sections of the ocean to "grow" live rock. I have tested this personally for about 3 years now and have found it to be completely satifying if you are okay with this off white fairly fine grade of sand.
Normally I will add this to my tank to the proper fill level. I will then usually add a Bag of Live sand on top or order some GARF Grunge and seed the tank. I usually use the later if starting with sun dried rock. I also now have a 55 gallon tank with about 100 lbs of this sand in it as well as about 100 lbs of sun dried rock that has been seeded and allowed to mature so that I always have a supply of quality pest free live sand and rock on hand for new tanks or a local noob that needs a helping hand or to get things started.
South Down is great if you can get it. Pave Stones stuff should be readily avaioalable throughout the US. Just yet one more suggestion you might want to consider...
I understand, as getting through the initial set phase with a SW tank can be pretty brutal on the ol check book. There are a few cornners you can cut though and get away with it. This just happens to be one such short cut.
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