Why Do You Say “NO” To Calcium Sand?

Calcium Sand
Calcium Sand product guide.

Calcium sand has this reputation of the “killer” substrate, yet sells by the millions worldwide

I’m guessing the true answer for many, if they are truly honest with themselves, is because it’s what everyone else says, right?.

So let’s just go over the honest facts here based on my own research via the many Vets I converse with due to my article writing, etc. And also years of observation in Reptile related groups and forums. Not to mention honest keeper experience;

This is all an expansion of a post I made back in 2016 in my Bearded Dragon Facebook group.

Calcium sand has this reputation of the “killer” substrate, yet sells millions of units worldwide, and never gets removed from public sales due to issue. Fact (like the old coil uvb did when phosphorus issues caused reptile pkc. Long since rectified I might add).
And exactly how many ‘Death by impaction‘ cases have we seen in our social media forums & groups?.
Apart from the same photo of the Gecko,Or that bearded dragon autopsy.


One main fact is, if you ask any good reptile Vet what impaction issue they see most, they will say it’s food based impaction.
People feeding way to much, and with either poor heat, UV, hydration, or all of those.

This dissolves just fine in the guts of our Reptiles.

Another fact…..You do know it’s just calcium carbonate, right?. Just CaCO3. Exactly same content as in our supplements.
This dissolves just fine in the guts of our Reptiles.
Yes…it clumps up if wet, and left exposed to air and heat. But, not much chance of that happening in the digestive system of a healthy dragon for example.

But yes, it definitely could cause an issue if it’s getting eaten by the mouthful, as this can neutralise stomach acid causing a host of issues. That being said. Like “most” substrate issues, it’s a symptom of a cause. And that cause is 99% of the time traced back to husbandry failure of sorts. Often nutrition based in this case, and trying to self supplement for example.

I do wonder how many keepers have used the sand themselves. Or, are just regurgitating stuff spouted at them from group to group over the years. I lean towards the latter myself 😉

For me, I’ve used it in the past. Never had an issue. For many a year.

People need to test things for themselves in safe conditions. Ask questions to the manufacturing companies directly. And then, question those answers given in reply.

Also, a simple test outside the setup can give you the answers in this case. No need to feel you are putting a reptile life at risk.

But would I use it myself? – I have done in the past, many many years ago, and without issue with both Geckos and Beardies.

Would I use it now?, nope- There are far far better options available.

But my point being for this post was NOT to say “use it, its awesome”, It was to state the facts about nonsense and frankly unwarranted bad reputation its given by people.

I have also never been a fan of the dyes used within the coloured sands. They’d turn a dragon pink (or whatever colour you had), and would take a coupe of shed sessions for this to be removed from the skin. Incidentally, back when I used it, there were no colour options to choose from. It was plain only. Why they felt the need to introduce these colours I have no idea. Keeper pressure?. Or maybe just more range added to a simple product?. Who knows.

But as you all know, I’ll always advocate a natural setup. After all, my motto is “Replicate, Emulate, Stimulate“, hard to do that on tile and paper-towels, am I right 😉 .
And such a setup I have no need for Calcium-Sand, hence why I’d not recommend it within my groups. This is my only reason.

Give advice based on your own experiences.

I realise many will hate this post, and me with it, but am I bothered?, not a single bit. I know I speak the truth based of the facts. Not to mention I have obvious statistics on my side due to the so few related issues reported in groups, or when asked.
So them hating me, or the post content would be them simply hating such based on advice given in some group or forum, from another person regurgitating reptile disaster folklore.

So please. Don’t follow the mindless nonsense and just blindly offer advice based on what everyone else has said.
Give advice based on your own experiences.
If you have none on a given subject, then don’t comment at all. This will hopefully stop the spread on nonsense that still plagues the Reptile keeping hobby.

– Pete

One thought on “Why Do You Say “NO” To Calcium Sand?

  • I want too say thank you for your message on calcium sand. I was just got kicked out of a bearded group cause I refused too change my dragon’s loose subtracts too tile,wood,and paper towels. They also didn’t like that I used flat river rocks and logs.I was told I will kill my dragon and they no longer wanted me in the group. I’ve talk too more advanced owners and they told me my setup is perfect . Thank you

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