Dark or black substrate suggestions? Cory friendly. - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 08:54 PM
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Here are a couple of pics. FYI, I just fed flakes so some are seen in the sand.
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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 04:43 AM Thread Starter
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That looks really nice - I love how the greens pop against the dark base.

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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 06:52 AM
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Those "pins" in BD break quite easily and really aren't anything to concern yourself about. I have heard others talk about metal in this stuff and maybe that's true. I don't know. I have used it for 2 years in 2 tanks and I don't see any in mine. Maybe somehow someone got the tail end of a batch and it had the dregs of the grinding machinery in it? Whatever. I don't think it normally has anything more than boiler slag in the sack. I love the stuff. Corys love the stuff. Nothing negative to report here.
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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by m00se View Post
Those "pins" in BD break quite easily and really aren't anything to concern yourself about. I have heard others talk about metal in this stuff and maybe that's true. I don't know. I have used it for 2 years in 2 tanks and I don't see any in mine. Maybe somehow someone got the tail end of a batch and it had the dregs of the grinding machinery in it? Whatever. I don't think it normally has anything more than boiler slag in the sack. I love the stuff. Corys love the stuff. Nothing negative to report here.

I've been following a few of these threads, and I'm under the impression that a lot of people mistake the needle/pin shaped pieces for metal wires. I'm pretty sure they are just artifacts of whatever process is used to produce the slag, but that's just a guess on my end.
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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 02:46 PM
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I bought two bags of Black Diamond last week and both (unfortunately) have the pins/needles. But m00se is right, they break pretty easily with your fingers. I'll still be using the stuff in my tank.

I'm no expert, but I'm confident they are NOT metal. They're the same material as the rest of the coal slag and they only resemble metal wires in shape. Some of mine are even the same amber color of some of the grit when you hold it to the light. I'm with lochaber, I think they're a natural artifact of the process.
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post #21 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 11:00 PM
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ONCE AGAIN. What seems small and sharp to us is big and dull to a little fish. I have been using this stuff for a while and others have as well. I rinse mine and squish the heck out of it with my hands while rinsing. No injuries to report.
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post #22 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 12:43 AM
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Here is my 29g with blast sand from Tractor supply. Tank has been up for 4 months. Have 3 channel cats (babys), two bristle nose plecos, 5 tiger barbs and guppies. Stuffed the tank with plants. Everyone seens happy. Rinsed the blast sand a whole bunch.
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post #23 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 12:47 AM
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They don't call them armored fish for nothing
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post #24 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 02:20 AM
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I've been using Super Naturals black sand. It looks great and the root systems grow great without any fluorite. I do use some root tabs a few times a month. It's fairly expensive but I have had great results with it.
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post #25 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 06:55 AM Thread Starter
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I'm definitely trying this. It looks like I'll be setting up the 55 before the 90, so I'm going to do the 55 in Black Diamond (or whatever Tractor Supply has). The 55 is actually being set up in a darker area of the room, so the drama of the tank will be highlighted even more. Both tanks will have black Poret foam Hamburg Mattenfilters and DIY 3D rock backgrounds in dark tones, so it will be interesting to see how the plants and the fish pop. I'm really looking forward to trying this -I love seeing the pics of people's tanks, I hope more photos get posted here!

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post #26 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by marcnc View Post
Glad I read this, was about to pickup/order some FloraMax. Cannot beat the price, but the topic is bit of concern about the color of the water. Also not sure if my cory's will be happy with it?

I don't care for the blasting sand from tractor supply. Last time I picked up some for small tank it was full share thin metal, kinda looked like the size of small pins, was not about to pick it all out.

As I know it much more money, I think at this point I am going to get eco-complete. It not perfect and costs more, but I guess it will be better than the other 2, though hate to spend the money.
I'm in the same boat. Planning on changing out my substrate from playsand to a dark color and have had trouble deciding. I don't care for the blasting sand from TS either. Was looking at Spectraquartz and Estes Permacolor Quartz also. Estes is supposed to be a replacement for the 3M Color Quartz which is no longer being made. Sadly there are no sellers close by.

I won't be doing the change myself for a couple weeks, so I'll still be looking. Though like you, so far I have settled on eco-complete for my 55 gallon.
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post #27 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 01:19 AM
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I have used three different types of black substrate, and the black blasting sand is my favorite (and the cheapest).

The first one I tried (and the one I am still using in my 25 gallon tank) is the black Activ-Flora from Nature's Ocean. It looked good at first, and still looks okay, but the substrate has many sized particles in it, and over time the small stuff settled on the bottom, so now it looks like I have black pebbles, which isn't exactly the look I want.
Opinions of my 25g (9/18 rescape)
Here is an old thread with pics of this tank and substrate. You can see the gravelly look it has now. Right under the small piece of driftwood, towards the middle of the first pic, you can see the smaller size particles where one of my fish moved all the large pieces.

The second one I tried was the Flourite black sand. I had it in my 16 gallon bowfront. It looked awful. The sand was actually more of a gray color than a true black. It was also way to easy to stir up. The tank always looked dirty and the floating sand ruined my HOB filter. I have no pics of this tank. It never looked good. (The only reason I kept it up for so long was because I had a pair of pelvicachromis taeniatus "kienke" in there that bred like mad.)

The black blasting sand was the third black substrate that I have used. I am currently using it in my 40 breeder, and I also used it in a 29 before I took it down. Not only does it look better, being a true black, but the plants loved it. The roots from the plants I pulled out of that tank (the 29) were unbelievable. I don't have any pictures from then, and the 40 breeder I have now has cichlids in it, so there are no plants in the substrate. I really wish I would have found out about this before spending more money on (in my opinion) an inferior product.
Comments/suggestions for my 40 breeder cichlid tank
This thread shows some bad pics of my 40 breeder how it looks right now.
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post #28 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 12:09 AM
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We used the black Top Fin sand sold at PetSmart. Our cories and MTS seem happy with it. Not sure how it compares on price.
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post #29 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 12:24 AM
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I use black sand blasting grit, sand. Very cory safe, mine breed and their substrate is blasting grit. =)
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post #30 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-20-2013, 09:01 PM
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Is this the "black diamond" everyone is referring to?

Amazon.com: Black Diamond Blasting Abrasive: Home Improvement Amazon.com: Black Diamond Blasting Abrasive: Home Improvement

Can't find it locally and there aren't any Tractor Supply stores by me. With the shipping, I may as well just buy black aquarium sand.
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