Black sand vs white/light sand? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-21-2019, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Black sand vs white/light sand?

I'm getting ready to setup a new planted tank with stand I'm wondering what's better from other peoples opinions... I am planning on doing black sand but in the past I have used tannish natural colored sand which was pretty close to white I suppose. It looked really nice. Except for after awhile I had a really bad green algae problem that I battled for months that really never went a way. I'm guessing something of this caliber wouldn't be as noticeable with black sand? So which is better then? Also.. on a side note.. does anybody know if they still make the Black Moon sand from Caribsea naturals? Last I checked I think it was discontinued
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 01:43 AM
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Other than algae consideration they are the same. Black diamond blasting sand is cheap and pool filter sand is cheap. Both have their proponents.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 01:46 AM
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Other than algae consideration they are the same. Black diamond blasting sand is cheap and pool filter sand is cheap. Both have their proponents.
That was said so diplomatically.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 02:29 AM
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Black sand hides dirt and algae well. White sand shows everything. However some fish tend to have different colors over different sand. Force instance any orange or yellow African cichlid should be over light sand as it makes them bright colored. Over black they kind of turn brown again. Yet some fish like black calvis have great dark colors and the white spots pop over black sand , over white and the fish washes out to a more gray color. So there are benefits to both.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 03:03 AM
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 05:39 AM
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Tahitian Black Moon sand has been discontinued (after some controversy over polluted batches).

IMO, Dutch style looks better with black, island / driftwood dominated scapes with white. So, you might decide on the tank "style" before finalizing your substrate choice.

Beside upkeep of white, some fish species have light phobia and should be avoided with light substrate. Cardinals being the prime example.

I don't belive the substrate color has much, if anything, to do with algae blooms. I would look for other causes and remedies.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 10:41 AM
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White sand reflects light and provides better light distribution to the bottom of plants. Black sand shows fish color better if you don’t grow plants. Black or white sand makes no difference if you are going cover up with dense planting or carpet plants. Black sand is unnatural and Ive never seen it in Amano’s nature aquariums.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 11:55 AM
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Light sand will turn darker over time and you do see everything. I have pool filter sand now (off white) in one setup and even oto poop will show up very easily. Besides algae discoloration, even the bacteria that starts growing on the sand will turn it darker. If you want lighter sand use something further away from white and you won't notice it as much. You can also use inexpensive sand like PFS and just vacuum out the discolored areas and sprinkle new sand in.


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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 03:31 PM
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My 2 cents:

It's really a matter of choice and the look you want for your tank. I like both and have Seachem black sand in a 40+ gallon tank and pool filter sand in a 15 gallon tank. Sure everthing shows up against the PFS but it makes it easier to spot when siphoning crud from the bottom.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
Tahitian Black Moon sand has been discontinued (after some controversy over polluted batches).

IMO, Dutch style looks better with black, island / driftwood dominated scapes with white. So, you might decide on the tank "style" before finalizing your substrate choice.

Beside upkeep of white, some fish species have light phobia and should be avoided with light substrate. Cardinals being the prime example.

I don't belive the substrate color has much, if anything, to do with algae blooms. I would look for other causes and remedies.
Really? Because I bought some in May 2018 that I had an extra two bags left over that I was planning on using. Still unopened since then. Think its okay to use?

The kind of sand I used in the past that I had terrible algae problems with was Caribsea Sunset gold. I really liked the look of it though especially compared to black sand.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 08:55 PM
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Really? Because I bought some in May 2018 that I had an extra two bags left over that I was planning on using. Still unopened since then. Think its okay to use?

The kind of sand I used in the past that I had terrible algae problems with was Caribsea Sunset gold. I really liked the look of it though especially compared to black sand.
There are a couple of threads on TPT and more on the web where fish deaths were blamed on Tahitian sand. I bought mine some years ago with no issues. I would call CaribSea to check if they have a way to track batches. I can count 4 colors of sand and 2 colors of < 1 mm gravel that I have used from CaribSea with no drama. On the other hand, I had no end of problems for a year in a single tank with new AS. I used Fluval Stratum one time that literally turned to mud in 3 months in 8.4 pH water. So, personal experiences all over the place.

Buying substrate, especially sand, on line gets really expensive because of shipping weight. I went temporarily insane and did buy CaribSea gravel for my latest 140g.

I would check LFS in your area to see what they have or can order.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 09:16 PM
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There are a couple of threads on TPT and more on the web where fish deaths were blamed on Tahitian sand. I bought mine some years ago with no issues. I would call CaribSea to check if they have a way to track batches. I can count 4 colors of sand and 2 colors of < 1 mm gravel that I have used from CaribSea with no drama. On the other hand, I had no end of problems for a year in a single tank with new AS. I used Fluval Stratum one time that literally turned to mud in 3 months in 8.4 pH water. So, personal experiences all over the place.

Buying substrate, especially sand, on line gets really expensive because of shipping weight. I went temporarily insane and did buy CaribSea gravel for my latest 140g.

I would check LFS in your area to see what they have or can order.
Went "temporarily insane." `LOL

But, its especially attractive and well worth the money..



I am a Caribsea girl and have used many types. Beyond aesthetics, their sands never compact or cause anaerobic conditions. For me, substrate is something that I will pay more for (and skimp in other areas of a build) because in my tanks where fish are highlighted it stays in for many years. I also buy substrate to match the needs of my fish - because grain size/composition really does have some bearing on maintaining fish health.



Right now I have Sunset Gold in a 30 gallon and Crystal River ( an almost white substrate) in my 180. Never have had any algae on the substrate- even when the biofilter was building and the water chemistry was at its most erratic.

I do have Eco-complete in a 60 gallon that is a non-stop magnet for BBA; but, I dont believe it has anything to do with the substrate itself.



Color is a matter of choice with sand. If you like a color-use it.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer discus pair and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech - Breeding tank
30 g. low-tech Shrimp tank - wild-type neocaradina and Caridina cf. babaulti "Zebra"
9 gallon Shrimp tank- Caridina cantonensis ("Golden Bee's"). *Tank still at cycling stage.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 04:04 PM
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For shrimp, I think darker sand is better. Some of my cherry shrimp turn clear in beach sand, but when I move them onto black sand they turn red


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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-31-2019, 06:42 PM
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When I use lighter substrate with shrimp, I try to make sure most of my hardscape is much darker than the sand. That way my critters keep their coloration and are less likely to appear washed out.


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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-31-2019, 08:02 PM
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IMO, Dutch style looks better with black, island / driftwood dominated scapes with white.
Yes! I'm a believer in this too. Black gets lost (especially w black background) and puts all the focus on the plants in Dutch style

Lighter substrates look so good with island/peninsula aquascapes because it helps define the separation of hardscape/plants with the "open water" part

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