Black substrate ideas for fresh - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-08-2020, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Black substrate ideas for fresh

I'm starting a new tank and want a black substrate. It will be a 50 gallon fresh for endlers and RCS.

The "planted" tank will have surface and water column floaters, anubias/like plants that can be tied to a rock or feature, and possibly plants in planters. I generally don't plant directly in substrate as it is way too frustrating to constantly to have to re-seat things every time you clean and they come loose and start floating around again.

I was thinking of something like polished black river or volcanic rock but online reviews seem to indicate that larger substrate is trouble to keep clean. I have flourite in my current tank, which was a waste since I gave up trying to plant anything directly in the substrate. I don't like how flourite lightens up over time.

What are some good choices of black that will keep its good looks? I'm not above something like the fake shiny black gravel although I do prefer a natural stone and especially something where the color will not chip off.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-08-2020, 10:50 PM
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Black diamond blasting sand

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Black diamond blasting sand

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Interesting stuff! Never heard of it used before but looks quite popular, thank you for the idea! I wonder how much difficulty it presents when vacuuming? Anyone use this in their tank?
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 11:32 AM
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Interesting stuff! Never heard of it used before but looks quite popular, thank you for the idea! I wonder how much difficulty it presents when vacuuming? Anyone use this in their tank?
Since it is tighter, mulm tends to sit on top of it, so when I vac my tanks, I run the vac above the sand, not jam it down into the substrate the way you can with gravel. I also have very large portions where I don't have to vac because mulm doesn't penetrate into the substrate and get moved around by the current, usually to wherever there is some moss.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Great feedback, thank you!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-10-2020, 08:59 AM
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What is the grain size of the Black Diamond Blasting Sand?

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-10-2020, 02:03 PM
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Most of us using the black diamond blasting sand use the 20/40 grit. I have it four inches in some places, and it does not get too compacted or go anaerobic. It's great stuff, and it's easy to plant in, move things around, and maintain.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-10-2020, 07:02 PM
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Thanks will look it up.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-10-2020, 07:55 PM
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FYI, Black Diamond is a brand name. It's available at Tractor Supply and some Harbour Freights in the US. Not sure what's available in Canada. You might want to try a Google search for "coal slag" for more options. (That's what it is, but it's not nearly as terrible as it sounds)
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-10-2020, 09:21 PM
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When vacuuming it, you WILL suck some up. It's so cheap that while I do try not to get too much of it sucked up, I don't really care much if I do get some. I already have a spare couple of bags in the garage so if it ever gets a bit thin looking I can just dump some more in. I pour my water out in my flowerbeds so I'm hoping eventually I'll have some nice black substrate in there too.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-11-2020, 09:03 PM
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FYI, Black Diamond is a brand name. It's available at Tractor Supply and some Harbour Freights in the US. Not sure what's available in Canada. You might want to try a Google search for "coal slag" for more options. (That's what it is, but it's not nearly as terrible as it sounds)
Yes, usually the big decider...is what you need available in the area.

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