Dark or black substrate suggestions? Cory friendly.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:39 PM   #1
driftwoodhunter
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Dark or black substrate suggestions? Cory friendly.


I'm looking for suggestions for a dark or black substrate. I now use MGOPM capped with natural creek gravel found locally in most of my tanks, but I'd like to try something different in a tank that will have Columbia tetras, Diamond Tetras, and some type of Cory in it. I haven't even come close to picking out which cory, so that's up in the air.

The plant selection will be almost entirely needle or narrow leaf java fern and various anubias. Also, this is for a low tech/low light 90g tank. Normally I prefer a natural looking tank, but I think I'd like to do one with a little drama - hence the light fish and the dark substrate and limited plant selection. (to be honest, it's just that those are my favorite plants - lol).

I have Midnight Black FloraMax in on my 40B, and the color is leaching into the water column after 4 years, so I don't want it again. I've read about the blasting sand, but I worry that it's not appropriate for the corys. Are there any rounded, gentle to their belly/barbs options? I recently read a suggestion on another thread about going to local quarries and seeing what rock they have (because it isn't dyed) and I'm going to do that. Fortunately there are a few close to me. Still, I'd like to hear what others have found and are using...

An after thought; does anyone know how slate affects water/fish? I was even thinking about having about having a local quarry cut me a slab of slate to fit into the bottom of the tank. Like the old slate bottomed Metaframes. I'd like the look of that, and it would be so easy to clean (I don't plan on planting in any substrate on this tank). Well duh, I guess slate would be too rough too, don't know what I was thinking...

Thanks!
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:28 PM   #2
JEden8
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I'm actually in the same boat as you are with this. I was about to post the same question but saw you had one going already so I'm along for the ride! Same size tank and all. I'm just trying to do it with spending the least amount of money but still have a quality substrate.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: Dark or black substrate suggestions? Cory friendly.

Black diamond blasting sand. I would use the fine grit with corydoras, as they like to dig a little and I think the coarser grits might damage their barbels. Plus black is it's natural color, so it won't fade or leach.

Also, slate is fine for corydoras, I have a piece in my 125 propped at an angle and I see my Cory's chillin on it shi the time.

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Old 01-28-2013, 05:55 PM   #4
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I have some Jumbo Green Cories I'm using Flourite Dark and they seem fine with it. They like to prop themselves up with there bottom fins. It's recommended that the substrate be fine to prevent damage to the barbels.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:56 PM   #5
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I have a 40 low tech dirt tank capped with Black Diamond. It has 10 very healthy Sterbai Corys in it ( as well as 14 Otos and 6 Bosmani Rainbows) . The Corys love rooting around in the sand and there is no problem with their barbels. The misconception here is that the Black Diamond grinds or somehow erodes their barbels. The fact is, poor water quality and dirty tanks are the cause of barbel problems. The Black Diamond also holds newly planted stems very nicely as well as rooted plants and it looks great. I think your use of the word "dramatic" is quite fitting.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:06 AM   #6
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Tractor supply store has black blasting sand !!!!
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:42 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone ~ I'm going to check out the Black Diamond blasting sand, and now I know what grain size to look for. I have a Tractor Supply in town and I'll go there first. Knowing that the black is it's natural color is the big sell here, I'm very disappointed in the FloraMax leaching color. (not that I would use FloraMax again anyhow - I don't like the look of it)

Razorworm, I don't suppose you have any pics of your 40? I have a 40B I'm hoping to tear down before spring. I might decide to put the Black Diamond in that tank, too.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEden8 View Post
I'm actually in the same boat as you are with this. I was about to post the same question but saw you had one going already so I'm along for the ride! Same size tank and all. I'm just trying to do it with spending the least amount of money but still have a quality substrate.
I can't wait to see how your tank comes out - you'll probably get it done before I do!
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:18 PM   #9
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I just bought two bags of Black Diamond 20/40 for my 40b, too! But it's going to be awhile before I can get it set up as I'm waiting on a stand.

Both my bags have those little needle-like pieces that I'd read about in another thread. I'm thinking about getting some window screen to see if I can successfully sift the longer ones out. However, I've run my fingers through it wet and dry and it really doesn't feel sharp or rough at all. Given that so many others have had success with cories and Black Diamond, I'm not too worried.

The stuff really does look great. Mine has quite a bit of amber specks in it, but it's nice and black when wet. I'm definitely going to rinse mine first if it doesn't become too much of a hassle. I tried rinsing a small tupperware container to see what I was dealing with and there is very fine dust in it. The fine dust kind of creates an "oily" appearance when floating on the surface of the water, which I thiiiiink is what made some people comment about an oil residue in other Black Diamond threads?
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:43 PM   #10
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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.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:48 PM   #11
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The cory barbel thing is pretty well debunked.

I've had flourite regular for 10+ years with 3 current cories that are at least 3 years old and their barbels are close to half an inch long. See link below to post/pic.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...t=#post2294961

Finer grit won't change that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amberoze View Post
Black diamond blasting sand. I would use the fine grit with corydoras, as they like to dig a little and I think the coarser grits might damage their barbels. Plus black is it's natural color, so it won't fade or leach.

Also, slate is fine for corydoras, I have a piece in my 125 propped at an angle and I see my Cory's chillin on it shi the time.

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Old 01-29-2013, 05:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by owens81jw View Post
Tractor supply store has black blasting sand !!!!
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:34 PM   #13
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what looks and feels like a needle to us is like a tooth pick to a little fish. Think scale!
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by driftwoodhunter View Post
Thanks everyone ~ I'm going to check out the Black Diamond blasting sand, and now I know what grain size to look for. I have a Tractor Supply in town and I'll go there first. Knowing that the black is it's natural color is the big sell here, I'm very disappointed in the FloraMax leaching color. (not that I would use FloraMax again anyhow - I don't like the look of it)

Razorworm, I don't suppose you have any pics of your 40? I have a 40B I'm hoping to tear down before spring. I might decide to put the Black Diamond in that tank, too.
I will in a bit
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:10 PM   #15
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I've been using black Diamond from tractor supply for a year. All of my cories look great.
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