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Discuss water requirements, "soil" (growing media) and suitable planting containers

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By thepitchergrower
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#415832
If it's not silica sand I wouldn't dare using it...
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By Camden M
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#415845
Curious; why’s that?
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By ChefDean
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#415850
Camden M wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 2:30 am Curious; why’s that?
Most sand is made up of particles of calcium carbonate, essentially parts of seashells, coral, or other once living things along with tiny little stones and crystals. These are fine for most uses, even an addition for regular potting media. The acid in vinegar will react with the calcium carbonate and form bubbles. Carnivorous plants live in an acidic environment (moss is acidic) and, while it is a weaker acid and won't likely bubble, it will release carbon dioxide gas, not a big problem, but leach the calcium oxide out of the CaCO3 which stays in the media and can be detrimental to the plant.
If it bubbles with vinegar, it's no good for carnivorous plants. If it's quartz sand, quartz is a crystal, inert and safe. A quick rinse and its good to go.
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By ChefDean
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#415851
Carnies wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 2:57 am Is there an example of sand that isn't safe for CPs that has bubbled, like a photo of the sand bubbling or not bubbling?
You could try Google to find one. But, think of a glass of soda. The bubbles seem to form out of nothing and rise to the top. That's what it would look like, that bubbles seem to form from the sand grains and rise when they're big enough to break away. How fast and vigorous that might happen would depend on how much CaCO3 is in the sand and how acidic the vinegar is. Closer to the soda in a glass than pouring baking soda into vinegar.
The bubbles from sand will be the result of acid reacting with CaCO3 in the sand instead of CO2 coming out of solution in soda.
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By Intheswamp
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#415854
Ok, I'm a bit confused now. I was thinking that you only had to drip a few drops of vinegar onto a small bit of sand and if it fizzes/foams it's no good. The underlined part of this sentence, "The bubbles seem to form out of nothing and rise to the top. That's what it would look like, that bubbles seem to form from the sand grains and rise when they're big enough to break away.", gives me the vision of a couple of inches of vinegar in a glass with maybe a measurable layer of sand in the bottom.

I tested some play sand recently by putting a few drops on a pinch of sand and saw no reaction. I then dropped a few drops of the vinegar on a pinch of garden lime and the reaction was immediate, but that was two polar opposites. I used a small amount of it in three pots that I planted flytrap seeds. I think I might put a thin layer of the sand (1/4" or so) in a clear glass and pour a couple of inches of vinegar over it and see if I see any carbonation type bubbles rising. Looking at the sand under magnification it is mostly clear crystals with a few dark ones in it, but I saw nothing opaque. We'll see what it looks like. I'll duly (dully, dualie, dooley) report back! :ugeek:
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By ChefDean
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#415867
Intheswamp wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 12:35 pm Ok, I'm a bit confused now. I was thinking that you only had to drip a few drops of vinegar onto a small bit of sand and if it fizzes/foams it's no good.
How large of a reaction you get would depend on a few factors, mostly the concentrations of acid and calcium carbonate. A few drops may only be enough to wet the surface of the sand, not providing a vessel for bubbles to even form, even though a reaction is taking place. If the CaCO3 concentration is high enough, you may see an initial fizz as the few drops of acid are being neutralized, but it will be short lived.
Intheswamp wrote:I then dropped a few drops of the vinegar on a pinch of garden lime and the reaction was immediate,
Because, while you used the same vinegar with an (assumed) acidity of 5%, the sand has a CaCO3 concentration of about 5%+/- (depending on the source, beach sand would have a much higher concentration), while the lime has a concentration of 95% to 100% and is a powder rather than a grain. The reaction between the vinegar and lime would be immediate, where the sand would be slow.

The best analogy I could suggest is Alka-seltzer.
Put a whole tablet in water, it fizzes for a few minutes until the reaction is done, and it has dissolved into the water. However, if you were to grind up a tablet to a powder and dump it in the same amount of water, the reaction would be immediate, and the powder would dissolve into the water in a matter of a couple of seconds.
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By Intheswamp
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#415869
Yes, big difference between sand and lime...I was doing "control" experiment, especially after not seeing any foaming in the sand...plus I had the lime right there and wanted to see it foam. :mrgreen: Apparently the amount of sand and vinegar was too little to get a easily seen reaction? So, can I interpret this as meaning that there needs to be a volume of vinegar above a layer of sand and to watch for a gradual release of carbon dioxide?
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By ChefDean
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#415872
If the sand contains CaCO3, yes. You don't need gallons of each, but enough that you can see if a gradual bubble forms. It could be slow, the bubble forming over the course of an hour due to low CaCO3 then releasing, buoyancy overcoming adhesion, and another forming. Or it could be quick, like bubbles precipitating out of a glass of Sprite.
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By Intheswamp
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#415873
RATS!!!! I should've checked for your response before I did my elaborate testing!!! I put some (rinsed) sand and vinegar together and let it sit a few minutes and dumped it after I saw no bubbles. :| Hmmm, I'm debating on doing it again and letting it sit for a few hours.

I didn't see any bubbles, the vinegar was very clear, but I did see something in some pictures that made me wonder. It looked like out-of-focus stars in the background...teeny-tiny bubbles *or* some imperfection in the glass jar.... :?: :?: :?: The grains, themselves, look like silica/quartz with a few odd grains "here and there".
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