BLACK DIAMOND SAND tanks! Let's see them "blasting away" here!!!
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View Poll Results: If you have the Black Diamond Sand, how satisfied are you with the product?
Very! Would not choose anything else as a cheap substrate! 54 40.00%
Its a good alternative and I'm happy with it. 48 35.56%
I'm Neutral, its okay.... 24 17.78%
I will NEVER pick this sand as a sand substrate again! 9 6.67%
Voters: 135. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-31-2011, 02:40 PM   #1
JonAseed
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BLACK DIAMOND SAND tanks! Let's see them "blasting away" here!!!


Guys,

I'm fairly new here and still learning, but as to most people, we all have priorities in life and time/money is not always readily to available for spending. However, our love for the hobby enables us to miraclously find ways to still enjoy the hobby without compromises to our lifestyle. This can definately put a strain on families if not careful. So I thought it would be a great idea to create this thread and share my experiences with one of the alternative to the lesser expensive substrate which is the blasting grit "sand" made by Black Diamond. It's really coal slag but 100% safe in aquariums, there are a few folks here that use them successfully. With just flourish root tabs, the Black Diamond "sand" and of course the usual maintenance, they are able to have beautiful tanks.

Why I chose this over DIRT?
- Less time preparing the tank and being new, I didn't want to make mistake. I wanted something quick and can have up and running the same week (given that I already have a running tank which I could cycle with its established media). Also dirt can get messy. Also, I was inspired by TactusMortus's tank which is mainly Black Diamond Sand and that my friends, is living proof!

I assume this is more ideal for low tech tanks,

Anyways, those with purely with 100% Black Diamond sand in the tank with NO DIRT, its time to show off your tanks here!!!

Other Notes:
- Is the blasting grit sand rough and scratch tanks? - This was controversial prior to me getting this. However, after going to the store seeing it and having it in my tank, it's just like anything else. Its not going to cut your hand if you touch it. It will NOT scratch your tank as long as used with proper care. Just as you would with gravel. You wouldn't put gravel under a magnet cleaner would you?

The grit size I have is 20/40 by Black Diamond found at Tractor Supply Inc, for $8.99 (50lbs bag).
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:50 PM   #2
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I have used this in a few of tanks and am very happy with it. I have had plants in it for a little while now, including crypts w/o a problem. Also i have shell dwellers who constantly dig in the sans and they are breeding like mad!



Sorry bout the glare, only pic i could find at he moment of this tank.
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:51 PM   #3
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Nice I am liking this thread maybe we can create a kind of show and tell for people who use blasting sand exclusively in there tanks. My tank was done with 20/40 and 30/60.

Thought I should mention you can also use oscomote root tabs if you are really trying to save money. However the flourish root tabs work so well because they break down into what looks like black sand. The two mix so well together that even if you are constantly rescaping it ends up being a dream to work with. I have heard even aquasoil is a pain to work with at times because it causes such a cloudy mess when disturbed.

I think as you can see below in a tank full of heavy root feeders that you still have absolutely no problem growing healthy plants and at a decent rate as well.


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Old 10-31-2011, 03:27 PM   #4
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My 55 gallon. I started with a caribasea "planted tank" substrate, then a few months in capped it with about an inch and a half of Black Diamond. I am sold on this stuff.

Sorry for the cellphone pic.


I fertilize with rootmedic root caps.
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:35 PM   #5
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Absolutely gorgeous tanks guys! Keep em coming!!!
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:31 PM   #6
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I'll be setting up my 75g this week and using this stuff (possibly with dirt though) and am really enjoying these pics. I agree, keep 'em coming!

Great thread idea, JonAseed!
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:36 PM   #7
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Just set up a 10g betta tank with this stuff, and I have a 55g cichlid tank with this and leveling sand mixed. Will put pics up when I get home from work.
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seedreemer View Post
I'll be setting up my 75g this week and using this stuff (possibly with dirt though) and am really enjoying these pics. I agree, keep 'em coming!

Great thread idea, JonAseed!
Don't do the dirt! Hah, I loved my old 10 gallon dirt tank. However even you like changing things up. IT IS THE WORST! That being said you will not believe the root systems you will have.
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:46 PM   #9
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I'm pretty sure this was 'Black Beauty' Sand Blasting Sand... I distinctly remember a horse on the bags, but whatevs, its the same stuff.

Its been a decent alternative and my plants seem to love it, they certainly have no trouble spreading their roots. I do think though that if I were to set up a new tank from scratch I would try to get something fortified like eco-complete or flourite... because although there is plenty of nourishment in my substrate now it did take several years to get that way.
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raven_wilde View Post


I'm pretty sure this was 'Black Beauty' Sand Blasting Sand... I distinctly remember a horse on the bags, but whatevs, its the same stuff.

Its been a decent alternative and my plants seem to love it, they certainly have no trouble spreading their roots. I do think though that if I were to set up a new tank from scratch I would try to get something fortified like eco-complete or flourite... because although there is plenty of nourishment in my substrate now it did take several years to get that way.
Did you use root tabs from the beginning? Not sure how it would take years to get plenty of nourishment.
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TactusMortus View Post
Did you use root tabs from the beginning? Not sure how it would take years to get plenty of nourishment.
In the beginning I did not, because I was poor and I also lived in a fairly remote area devoid of a decent LFS. At that time I stuck to epiphytes.

About a year after the tank had been established I moved and found work. After that I used root tabs periodically (much more regularly now), however since this tank and its gravel bed have been setup for about 7 years a significant amount of mulm has built up. I rarely gravel vac and have a ton of MTS that keep it well turned over. My crypts LOVE it.

I guess to elaborate on my previous statement: I would want to try eco-complete (or something similar) if I set up a tank now not only for the nutrient kickstart but because I can afford to and I have always wanted to try it. Unless of course I was setting up a huge tank like yours Tactus... then I think I might seriously consider obtaining more Black Beauty
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raven_wilde View Post
In the beginning I did not, because I was poor and I also lived in a fairly remote area devoid of a decent LFS. At that time I stuck to epiphytes.

About a year after the tank had been established I moved and found work. After that I used root tabs periodically (much more regularly now), however since this tank and its gravel bed have been setup for about 7 years a significant amount of mulm has built up. I rarely gravel vac and have a ton of MTS that keep it well turned over. My crypts LOVE it.

I guess to elaborate on my previous statement: I would want to try eco-complete (or something similar) if I set up a tank now not only for the nutrient kickstart but because I can afford to and I have always wanted to try it. Unless of course I was setting up a huge tank like yours Tactus... then I think I might seriously consider obtaining more Black Beauty
HEhehe...thanks for sharing man. Your tank looks stunning as well. Cant wait for mines!
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Old 11-02-2011, 02:30 PM   #13
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Anyone else?
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Old 11-02-2011, 02:44 PM   #14
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I'm using it in my 75 but it won't be set up for a week or so. I'll post pics then.
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Old 11-03-2011, 01:41 AM   #15
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I just put two sacks of 20/40 in a 40 gallon breeder, and I just kept pouring... It looks like it's a bit too deep maybe. I see raven wilde has just about the same depth. My question is this: How will I know if there's too much sand in the tank? Is there a way (other than seeing occasional sulfur dioxide bubbles percolating up through it) to know one way or the other?

Here's a couple of pics I took last night as I was setting up the tank:

Sorry about the over exposure!






Beautiful tanks folks!

I'm very curious to see how far/long this thread goes.
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