Sand Turning black - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Sand Turning black

My substrate, mostly pool filter sand and decomposed granite, is turning black below the line of the glass, there are also some greenish tinges and some blueish as well.
16 gal bowfront

Ph: 6.9
NO2: 0
NO3: 7
Temp: 78
Pressurized co2 and 96watts pc 50/50 white and blue

any help would be appreciated
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 09:40 PM
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Is it just on the glass or is the sand actually turning black?
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 12:08 AM
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If the sand is turning black it could well be due to anaerobic zones in your sand. This can be an issue with using sand. How deep is the substrate? You could possibly have Malaysian livebearing snails in there as they buring inthe substrate during the day and help keep the substrate areated as they areconstantly moving under there. Downside is that those snails breed like mad.


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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 10:28 PM
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It's probably bacteria buildup. My tanks usually get this over time. As long as it stays down in the substrate, I just ignore it (it's also why I prefer black substrates...)





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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 10:48 PM
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Sounds like cyanobacteria. How deep is the sand?
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2010, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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sound is about 3-4 inches deep and the tank is about a year old. i dont think its cyano, it almost reminds me of oil, or oil shale built up underneath it. so far it has not caused any issues. Do you think it could be releasing H2S?
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 12:41 AM
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That does sound like anaerobic areas.
Remove enough sand so the deepest is 2", or else use a gravel vac to turn over the sand at least once a month.
When you start working on the sand be very alert to the smell of H2S. It is toxic to the fish. You might want to remove them and do the job all at once, followed by a couple of big water changes to be sure it is all gone.

Cyanobacteria can also look pretty close to black, and almost oily, slimy, and could be growing between the glass and the sand. There is a surprising amount of light in that area. When you start to remove it you may notice an unpleasant odor, more like an earthy scent, but not quite that nice healthy soil smell.
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