BDBS vs PFS - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-09-2018, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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After seeing so many people not recommend going with Eco Complete..... I've been wondering about black diamond blasting sand.

My plants aren't doing anything root wise in pool filter sand, so how does the black diamond do so much better? I'm assuming it's a larger grain in the 20/40 size?

Does it compact as much as PFS or is oxygen able to pass through it?

Don't want to have the same situation I've currently run into if I go with BDBS. Thanks!

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I'm also assuming like PFS.... No fish waste or food can get past the BDBS top layer to fertilize plants?

May be just best for me to go with eco complete or a normal gravel after all but wanted to hear thoughts on this sand vs pool filter sand.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-09-2018, 08:52 PM
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After using all that you mention: PFS, Eco-complete, BDS, my opinions are:

I dont care for PFS due to compaction issues. Others experience may vary.

BDS-- I do not like the looks of BDS in the aquarium- aesthetics choice on my part. Other opinions may vary. If your concern is compaction - I didn't notice a problem with this. I did have an issue with my corydoras of a higher occurrence of bacterial issues. This has been reported as a side-effect of the sharpness of the medium on bottom-dwellers undersides. If you dont have bottom-dwellers, no issue here.

I have used Eco-complete many times. I like using it as a base and topping with Caribsea sand. I like to use Caribsea sand, a grain size from .5 mm to 1.0 mm, due to the excellent results I get more from from my fish than my plants. For me, fish always come first and this has proven best in my case. However, I have good results with plant growth as well.

Let me stress that this is my experience and opinion... before someone wants to misconstrue my opinion for law.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-10-2018, 03:07 AM
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I haven’t had any issues with BDS compaction or harming cories/any fish. I did put some Controsoil under it for nutrients and I have a colony of MTS to keep things aerated (like earth worms in a garden).


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-10-2018, 03:38 AM Thread Starter
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I think I just don't want to make a lateral move going from PFS to bdbs if that's the case.

PFS I see some people doing well. Me, it just hasn't worked and don't want to repeat it.

I have a tractor supply not far from here so I think I'll try it. Can't hurt and won't be an expensive test. If it doesn't give me the results I like, I can then move to eco complete finally. If it does better than the PFS, then it's a win too!

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-10-2018, 03:52 AM
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I think I just don't want to make a lateral move going from PFS to bdbs if that's the case.

PFS I see some people doing well. Me, it just hasn't worked and don't want to repeat it.

I have a tractor supply not far from here so I think I'll try it. Can't hurt and won't be an expensive test. If it doesn't give me the results I like, I can then move to eco complete finally. If it does better than the PFS, then it's a win too!

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Before the MTS, the medium grit wasn’t compacting on me and the roots were spreading.


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-12-2018, 01:38 AM Thread Starter
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OK looks like I'm gonna try bdbs this weekend. From everything I've researched, this blacks and *should be* as good and much cheaper than eco complete. Like I said, my pfs has been horrible, so I'm now leary of sand.

Should it not work out, I've got plenty of time and will not mind switching over to eco complete. Can't wait to try it out!


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Oh and how many bags should I get for a 125?

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-12-2018, 02:19 AM
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5'x18" footprint? 3 bags will probably do it. If its a long drive to Tractor Supply might wanna get 4 just in case.

Also just want to say after having dozens cories in many different bdbs tanks, Ive never had a single issue.



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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-12-2018, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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6'x18. I was thinking 3 maybe 4 would do.

Plants that are planted will be Amazon swords, tiger Val, water sprite, and wisteria. All of which have done horribly in my pool filter sand.
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5'x18" footprint? 3 bags will probably do it. If its a long drive to Tractor Supply might wanna get 4 just in case.

Also just want to say after having dozens cories in many different bdbs tanks, Ive never had a single issue.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-12-2018, 03:08 PM
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6'x18. I was thinking 3 maybe 4 would do.

Plants that are planted will be Amazon swords, tiger Val, water sprite, and wisteria. All of which have done horribly in my pool filter sand.

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IME, Black Diamond also makes a good cap for aqua soil substrates too. So you can kind of have the best of both worlds.


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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-19-2018, 12:26 AM
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I've used BDBS with dirt under it and also used it plain. Never had problems with plants growing. I've used the pool sand and didn't care much for it. It seems to compact more so than the blasting sand. I did have issues with the plants in the pool sand, but that might have just been me doing something wrong. I have a tank now in the process of cycling using the dirt and BDBS. So far it's my favorite substrate. Hope that helps.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-19-2018, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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I moved to bdbs this weekend. So far, I'm much, much happier!

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-19-2018, 12:43 AM
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I moved to bdbs this weekend. So far, I'm much, much happier!

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Awesome! Did you experience a mini cycle?


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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-19-2018, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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Awesome! Did you experience a mini cycle?
Not yet! Easy switch over. Kept my media wet and didn't lose a fish. Plants are somewhat melting back but I expected that

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-19-2018, 01:56 AM
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Not yet! Easy switch over. Kept my media wet and didn't lose a fish. Plants are somewhat melting back but I expected that

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Yeah, my plants showed stress when switching substrate as well. Keep us posted! Your tank looks awesome in your thread.


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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-19-2018, 02:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks! Now I'm wondering if my lighting is enough. Always something! Lol
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Yeah, my plants showed stress when switching substrate as well. Keep us posted! Your tank looks awesome in your thread.
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