dark substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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dark substrate

I am looking to rescape my 135g tank. I wanna keep it cheap so im gonna cap organic potting soil with sand, but i wanna cap it with a darker color sand i think. I wanna use red lava rock so i think it would look nicer with a darker substrate. Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 11:25 PM
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Well the usual cheap option for dark substrate is Black Diamond Blasting Sand. You can find it at your local Tractor Supply store.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Okay that sounds perfect thank you

Bump: I just looked it up and are they sold as "blasting abrasives"? and if so is it safe for bottom dwellers like cory cats and such
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 12:47 PM
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Black substrate makes fish and plants stand out and look good, but unnatural in real world. Light substrate reflects light thereby increasing light intensity at the lower level. Amano Nature aquariums used light substrate exclusively.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by zwalter08 View Post
Okay that sounds perfect thank you

Bump: I just looked it up and are they sold as "blasting abrasives"? and if so is it safe for bottom dwellers like cory cats and such
It's not actually "sharp" per say, it's safe for bottom dwelling fish.

It's just not spherical like other sand pieces, its more "jagged" but safe for cory cats.

I have some goldies that sift through it all day every day, in the mouth out the gills, and nothing ever bad comes of it.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 01:03 PM
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Black substrate makes fish and plants stand out and look good, but unnatural in real world. Light substrate reflects light thereby increasing light intensity at the lower level. Amano Nature aquariums used light substrate exclusively.
Unnatural in the real world?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_sand

Plus dirt can be pretty black too.

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Last edited by Streetwise; 01-28-2020 at 01:14 PM. Reason: Edit
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Black substrate makes fish and plants stand out and look good, but unnatural in real world. Light substrate reflects light thereby increasing light intensity at the lower level. Amano Nature aquariums used light substrate exclusively.
Yea i understand, i would like to use red lava stone because its cheap and i like the look, so i would like to also use dark sand cause i think white would look bad with the red stone

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It's not actually "sharp" per say, it's safe for bottom dwelling fish.

It's just not spherical like other sand pieces, its more "jagged" but safe for cory cats.

I have some goldies that sift through it all day every day, in the mouth out the gills, and nothing ever bad comes of it.
Okay thank you this sounds like the perfect option
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 04:41 PM
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This is primarily a visual hobby IMO, so go with what looks good to your eye. With red lava rock the dark substrate would look much better to me as well. Although I like light sand in some setups, it shows everything so there is that too.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 06:13 PM
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I’ve been to black sand beaches in Hawaii and Iceland. Black sand beaches are rare and found in volcanic formation only, and aquatic black sand habitats are even rarer. Larva rock range from black to red and go well with black sand which is derived naturally from parent larva rock. I use larva rock in my white sand substrate though because larva rock is light in weight, safe and easy to stack up, and provides porous surfaces for attachment of Java fern and Anubias. But my goal is to have vegetation completely hide the red rock so it doesnt stand out unmatching the white sand.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 06:57 PM
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Make sure you get medium grit on black diamond not the fine or extra fine. 12-40 grit or larger.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MS3ZFCS...ing=UTF8&psc=1


As far as appearance goes anything that’s to high a contrast sets me off. Black sand I’d use black lava rock then use a few pieces of wood for slight contrast. But that all personal pref’s.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 07:20 PM
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It also depends on what your trying to put emphasis on. If it's more of an aquascape and is hardscape heavy, although a personal thing, most will want good contrast to make the hardscape stand out. For example there's very few Iwagumi type aquascapes using dark stone like Seiryu wth a black substrate unless the substrate is going to be covered with a green carpet. If the substrate is left bare it's pretty much always light sand to contrast with the rock.


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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
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It also depends on what your trying to put emphasis on. If it's more of an aquascape and is hardscape heavy, although a personal thing, most will want good contrast to make the hardscape stand out. For example there's very few Iwagumi type aquascapes using dark stone like Seiryu wth a black substrate unless the substrate is going to be covered with a green carpet. If the substrate is left bare it's pretty much always light sand to contrast with the rock.
True. These are Takashi Amano Nature tanks in Sumida Aquarium Tokyo where I visited last year. The substrates are all white sand bare or covered with carpet plants to contrast with dark rock.
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