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Old 01-14-2004, 01:45 PM   #1
AussieTanker
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Well, .... since doing a search of this forum and since reading the replies to my last post i am now that convinced as to the wisdom of using a dark substrate ....

so i rushed of to the closest lfs .... guess what ... they got a choice of white, or a brown-golden colour ... thats it ... the total colour range consists of a choice of 2 colours ... :shock: .... but no black ... nothing close to it even... :cry:

many phone calls and visits later the only black i can find in any fish shop in the area is a 5kg bag of something (no description of what it actually is or it's characteristics ... the guy in the lfs didn't really know any more detail other than the scant info on the label either... ) that was imported from china and was called "stone #1 - silica black" ... $20AU / 5kg ...

its actually a great looking colour, a good deep black .... it seems to be almost a bit shiny in places ....... but it seems very fine.... almost like course sugar, and the particles don't seem very "rounded" .... in fact it seems a bit "sharp" to me ,and i am a bit worried about it hurting any bottom feeders ... altho the lfs that stocks it has it in it's tanks and he says it's ok .......

there is no info of particle size on the pack .... but a few sample measures with a ruler seem to put the majority of particles in the 1-4mm size ..... this seems very fine to me ..... the current white substrate that i have runs at more like 5 - 10 mm ...... (NB 5 mm is approx 0.2 of an inch )...

i did a search here on size of substrate and while i found it helpful i couldn't seem to get quite the precise info that i wanted ..... i seemed to find mainly posts comparing sand or gravel without identifying the actual ave particle size ....

so the question is, which is the "best" size of substrate particles for a planted tank ....

is 1-5 mm too fine and more likely to "compact" and cause problems in the tank further down the track .... or should i just forget about trying to get black and stick to the brown-gold that most lfs seem to sell .....( it's particle size seems to be somewhat "between" the very fine black and the larger particled white that i have at the moment ) ..

i intend to place a 2cm layer of JBL AquaBasis Plus as a nutrient layer under whatever substrate that i finally decide to get ... this is the closest thing to eco-complete that we seem to have here in australia


and will the sharpness be a problem when i eventually get around to stocking this tank? ... two questions really isn't it ... :roll: .... sorry 'bout that

regards,
aussie tanker

ps i have just discovered that it may be possible to order seachem onyx active gravel or sand from an australian online supplier ..... i will call them tommorrow to check ... i understand that it is black ... altho not as good as the famous eco complete which we can't get here. i understand that it's still a pretty good product, with the sand the better of the two seachem types... is that a correct view?

grrrr ... now up to question # 3

altho it is expensive it is probably not much more than the "silica black" that i am considering .......would it be better considering that seachem is a known product ...i don't imagine thatr it would be "sharp" like the other one ....and that our options here in australai are very limited in terms of available product ...

what are the implications of the problems associated with seachem in terms of it's buffering, .. i didn't quite understand that aspect when i read it in another thread ... i have a jbl co2 system if thats relevant?
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Old 01-14-2004, 02:23 PM   #2
Raul-7
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The ideal size would be 2-3mm, any smaller..your risk compaction, any larger it will be difficult to clean the substrate from the detruis build-up
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Old 01-16-2004, 08:38 AM   #3
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Aquarium warehouse.com in Perth sells that onyx sand. Very pricey.

I bought about 10kg of fine white gravel yesterday just to make sure I get at least 3 inches in my tank. It cost me 10$. I bet I could buy a tonne at the hardware store for that...
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Old 01-16-2004, 10:46 AM   #4
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thanks for the reply raul

... i don't think that i will use the black silicia that i mentioned in this original post.... i think it really is too fine ...... it's much more like 1-2 mm, certainly smaller than your recommendation of 2-3mm ..... i really want to give my (future ) plants the "best possible chance" and think that if i can get the lighting, substrates - nutrients and co2 right ... then i should at least have a reasonable chance of producing a decent planted tank


also the sharpness of this black silica really bothers me ... searching thru this site i have seen some discussion about this "sharpness" in substrates... and while there didn't seem to be any general consensus ... i just don't want to set my tank or fish up for a problem that i could do without ....


i rang quite a few lfs here in sydney today ... all of them said that it is very difficult, almost impossible to get a black substrate that is approx 2-3 mm ... a few have it approx 5 - 10 mm ... but it seems that's too big! :cry:

not sure what i will do now ..... i have discovered that i can get the seachem onyx sand ...... and i have found one shop that has two bags of flourite .... which i understand is reddish anyway ... (.. and they say that they can't get any more --- too expensive and not enough demand for it here in australia apparently) ...

my only other choice to get the right grain size is the regular sandy/reddish/ gold colour gravel that most lfs sell here.... pity ... i really think that the dark substrates that i have seen in tanks on this forum look awesome!


have you used either seachem onyx active sand or flourite .... any opinions as to how they cmpr in your opinion?... given our limited product options down here which would you recommend .... the lfs that can supply the seachem onyx says that there won't be any problems with buffering .... but i think that the info on this forum is prob more accurate ... any more thoughts on that??? ...

thanks again for the replies and help ....

regards ....
aussie tanker
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Old 01-16-2004, 11:02 AM   #5
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thanks for the info Bronx19 ...

have you bought from them before, are they "reliable" ? ....

i happened to see the seachem onyx sand listed on their website ... none of the lfs seemed to have it so i was very surprised... i have emailed them and am awaiting their advice re price, availability and delivery times ... thanks again

regards
aussie tanker

BTW ... are you in australia Bronx19 ?...
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Old 01-16-2004, 10:48 PM   #6
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Hey Tanker, Im in NSW, about an 1.5 hours South of Sydney.

I have bought from them many times, they are very good. I have compared them to many other online stores and they are the cheapest. They offer free shipping for anything over about 50$ and Australian Air Express is only 10% of what you bought. I can get it from Perth to my place in 3 days.
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Old 05-13-2004, 07:38 AM   #7
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Here in melbourne we can get 6mm black brownish gravel from quite a few lfs's. Got mine for $16 for a 20kg bag. If you really want it that is.
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Old 05-13-2004, 02:55 PM   #8
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I've used flourite and its great. I've been using eco on a high light tank, and haven't had such great results. Maybe everyone got excited because it just came out, I don't know. I just got onyx sand and was going to keep a journal on how it comes out. I use small plants like glosso and eco complet's grain size was to big, glosso didn't take hold well. Flourite is a good compromise between the sand and the eco.
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