Black Diamond Medium Grit safe for Kuhli Loaches to dig in? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Black Diamond Medium Grit safe for Kuhli Loaches to dig in?

Hi folks, brand new to TPT.net. I have been keeping planted tanks for about 30 years, but now that we have all these forums I find that I've been doing everything wrong.

I have never used BDBS before but got a 20lb bag of Medium Grit today for my new set-up. I plan on using AquaVitro aquasolum as the substrate and capping it with the BDBS. I have used the Aquasolum for a couple of years with good results, but never capped.

I want to cap it this time for A) looks and B) to give my Kuhli Loaches a nice sandy bottom to dig and forage in. I have been keeping Kuhlis off and on for a long time (40 years) and went to sand about 20 years ago. The fish like it but it's been a struggle to keep the plants happy, since I didn't really know what I was doing. The LFS guys are anti-forum, so I just used what they suggested - inert gravel or sand and lots of fertilizers, with mixed results.

A couple years ago when the Aquasolum came out I started mixing it with my gravel / sand, and the plants liked it. But it doesn't look very natural. I recently found lots of good reviews/advice for the Black Diamond, as well as using it to cap aqua-soils for a good looking and nutritious tank. That is what I am getting ready to do this weekend - a base layer of the Aqasolum soil pellets covered with the BDBS for good looks, good foraging and good burrowing material for my loaches.

BUT, I got the BDBS today and it looks sharp. Like lots of broken glass sharp. I have read nothing but good reviews of it for bottom dwelling fish like Plecos and Corys, but the Kuhlis like to dig down into the sand. I am worried the BDBS will nick their scale-less skin.

The alternative at this point would be to use straight Aquasolum without any cap. It doesn't look natural, but it is all soft round pellets and will not hurt the Kuhlis.

Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2020, 12:06 AM
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Black Diamond Medium Grit safe for Kuhli Loaches to dig in?

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Any thoughts?

It ill not hurt your fish, it’s not actually sharp like glass shards.

I will recommend not capping aqua soil style substrates, especially with a hard dense substrate like BDBS.

First words in Seachem’s description of Aquasolum is “lightweight” meaning it will almost immediately mix with the sand, creating a mess, and wreck your hard work.

You can use 100% BDBS and fertilize for the plants, easy, clean, cheap and will last a lifetime.



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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2020, 12:51 AM
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I like @Quagulator---

So Ill zip my lip and smile pleasantly on this question.


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2020, 01:13 AM
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I like @Quagulator---



So Ill zip my lip and smile pleasantly on this question.


I’m always good for a debate, feel free to disagree with me

I’ll be honest, Ive never used AquaVitro Aquasolem, but I have used coal slag, watching my fat goldfish sift through it as I type this


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2020, 02:22 AM
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I’m always good for a debate, feel free to disagree with me

I’ll be honest, Ive never used AquaVitro Aquasolem, but I have used coal slag, watching my fat goldfish sift through it as I type this


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Everyone knows my response to this question ad nauseum. If they dont, they can type in coal slag and fish in the google search box and they are sure to find it.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2020, 04:56 PM
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Had it in my 10g for a while. Changed it out to medium commercial sand so matched my 40b. The BDBS looked good initially.

Many people use it without issue, others have had issues. Its inert so technically wont cause any issues in of itself. Only thing I would disagree with some is that there are glass like shards on some of it. Yes a big percentage of the bag is not necessarily sharp however the bag I got did have some of the longer narrow sharp pieces mixed throughout. Use gloves if you are stirring it up with your hands while washing it as it will tear up the skin on your hands. Only had a few spots that I got actually small cuts or pokes that bled, most of it was just the abrasive aspect of the stuff.

The tank I had it in did not have cats but did have nerites. They would avoid it if at all possible where as with the medium commercial sand they will scoot across the sand on a regular basis.

Just my experience. Like I mentioned others have had great success with it.


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2020, 11:21 PM
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Like usual, can only speak to personal experience.

I kept Clown Loaches for many years in BDBS.

No worn barbels, no nicks on scaleless skin....no nothing.

Just healthy Clown Loaches that led happy long lives.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2020, 11:30 PM
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Like usual, can only speak to personal experience.



I kept Clown Loaches for many years in BDBS.



No worn barbels, no nicks on scaleless skin....no nothing.



Just healthy Clown Loaches that led happy long lives.


Must have been those fancy shrimp you kept feeding them


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 12:07 AM
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Must have been those fancy shrimp you kept feeding them
LOL Yeah that's for sure.......an expensive smorgasbord every time!!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 09:29 PM
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I’ve used artificial that had sharp edges. It wasn’t harmful sharp, so my kuhli where not harmed in the year or two I had them on it. However, my kuhli never dug in it. I switched to sand from my local sand dune, with rounded sand that’s almost tiny round beads. They Love digging in it, I watch them swallow sand and then “spit” it out through their gills. Two months on this sand and I think they are much happier now then before.
Can they live on your sand? Probably yes. Will they thrive and exhibit natural behavior? Probably not.


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