Black Diamond Substrate - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-09-2020, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post
Interestingly enough, if you scroll through the Q&A, the company actually says it's safe for aquariums and they suggest rinsing it until the water runs clear. https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pr...s?cm_vc=-10011
I did not know that, thanks for sharing!
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post #17 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-09-2020, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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I think this was decided for me. I had an allergic reaction halfway while working with it. Not unusual for me, but moving on. Also, same reason I did not use peat/soil. I love all of your suggestions. Truly helpful. I really like the look of Activ-Flora lake gems and can't find much info on it. May order a bag to check it out. Is it okay to take the stratum out until it arrives? I only have plants in the tank right now. My GH jumped in two days from 8 to 12. PH is the lowest I can test, 6. That is with water changes every 2 days right now. I just want to get the tank more stable and get the nitrifying bacteria going, so out with the old gravel in with the new.
Open to all suggestions, and thank you.
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post #18 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-09-2020, 05:13 PM
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I think this was decided for me. I had an allergic reaction halfway while working with it. Not unusual for me, but moving on. Also, same reason I did not use peat/soil. I love all of your suggestions. Truly helpful. I really like the look of Activ-Flora lake gems and can't find much info on it. May order a bag to check it out. Is it okay to take the stratum out until it arrives? I only have plants in the tank right now. My GH jumped in two days from 8 to 12. PH is the lowest I can test, 6. That is with water changes every 2 days right now. I just want to get the tank more stable and get the nitrifying bacteria going, so out with the old gravel in with the new.
Open to all suggestions, and thank you.
Yes, you can remove the stratrum for now. It's okay for plants to even float for a few days at a time.

If you had your heart set on black sand, you can see if Petco's offering would work for you: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcos...isting_Ads-_-0

Edit: You also have offerings available from Seachem like Flourite Black or Onyx Sand. I will say that the Lake Gems gravel looks like it could be really attractive, been thinking about using it in an upcoming 20 long project.
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Last edited by varanidguy; 11-09-2020 at 05:16 PM. Reason: More info
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post #19 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-09-2020, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, you can remove the stratrum for now. It's okay for plants to even float for a few days at a time.

If you had your heart set on black sand, you can see if Petco's offering would work for you: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcos...isting_Ads-_-0

Edit: You also have offerings available from Seachem like Flourite Black or Onyx Sand. I will say that the Lake Gems gravel looks like it could be really attractive, been thinking about using it in an upcoming 20 long project.
Well, I just ordered the Lake Gems. You'd be surprised what I cannot find locally. Since I have to send someone to pick it up, just ordered it to be done with it. I'll post close up pics when I get it set up. Thanks
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post #20 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-09-2020, 09:10 PM
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Just wanna say that aquasoils often stick to magnets. Magnetism is not a good test for whether something is "safe" for your aquarium.
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post #21 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-09-2020, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Just wanna say that aquasoils often stick to magnets. Magnetism is not a good test for whether something is "safe" for your aquarium.
I agree and many earth minerals would magnetize, but my deciding factor had more to deal with the allergic response. I would never say it would/would not work because I haven't officially tried it.

FYI: I love experimenting, even if it doesn't sound practical, I'll test it myself. I bought some RHYZOMAT and put it around a few plant stems and roots. They were really trying to embed in that fiber. The stratum was set up approx. three weeks ago. All filter media from the old tank setup. I can say I never had this kind of root system in my eco complete. It's going to be interested to see how the next substrate does.
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post #22 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-09-2020, 11:09 PM
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I've never seen Rhyzomat before... seems like it would prevent you from being able to uproot plants. What is the purpose of it?

Bump: I've never seen Rhyzomat before... seems like it would prevent you from being able to uproot plants. What is the purpose of it?


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post #23 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-10-2020, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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I do a lot of houseplants, so I think rhyzomat is nothing more than coconut fiber, but could be wrong. Warning: I soaked it like you are supposed to and it really expanded. I spread it thin and placed it under the substrate. My substrate ended up being too tall, so I tore the entire thing out and chose just to wrap the plant stems in it. You can tear it to size. I got mine from petsmart online.
Just from using it for a couple of weeks, the hairs/fibers stick through the substrate and I took scissors and chopped to substrate level.
It would probably have been fun to play with it, but I will probably reserve it for cuttings.
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post #24 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-10-2020, 02:57 AM
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This individual fish has been on Black Diamond in some way, shape, or form for a couple of years at least. Long barbels and never had an infection or nasty belly.

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post #25 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-10-2020, 05:28 PM
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Some years ago, I had a few fish tanks with BDBS as a substrate. In one tank, I added a few Corydoras Sterbai. I had been using BDBS as a substrate for months before introducing the cories. I remember that when I was rinsing it (which took a long time), some sharper bits would get caught under my nails. It was not a very uniform substrate either - there were quite a few pieces that looked like 3-5mm long pieces of mechanical pencil lead.

Anyway, the cories initially had nice barbels. It took a few months, but eventually the barbels were worn down. The fish were fine, weren't behaving any differently, but in my experience the substrate was/is sharp enough to do some damage.

In another tank, I had the BDBS mixed in with some fine grained pool sand, and started a small colony of shell-dwelling cichlids. These cichlids like to dig out the areas around the shells they inhabit, and after a little while I noticed that they developed a dark "stain" around their faces, likely because the BDBS had not been rinsed thoroughly enough. I was rinsing maybe a half gallon of the BDBS at a time, with multiple rinse and drain cycles, and apparently that still wasn't enough.

I don't have it in my tanks today. I would likely still use it if I needed a cost-effective solution - but only in tanks with top-dwelling/top-feeding fish only.
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post #26 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-10-2020, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by fishie777 View Post
I do a lot of houseplants, so I think rhyzomat is nothing more than coconut fiber, but could be wrong. Warning: I soaked it like you are supposed to and it really expanded. I spread it thin and placed it under the substrate. My substrate ended up being too tall, so I tore the entire thing out and chose just to wrap the plant stems in it. You can tear it to size. I got mine from petsmart online.
Just from using it for a couple of weeks, the hairs/fibers stick through the substrate and I took scissors and chopped to substrate level.
It would probably have been fun to play with it, but I will probably reserve it for cuttings.
I used a layer of rhyzomat in my 180 gallon over my eco- complete and below my sand layer so that my geophagus (eartheaters) wouldn't disturb the eco-complete.

The swords and deeply rooted plants really adhered well to the mat and held up well to having the base of their roots disturbed by constant sifting of geophagus.


Love the stuff-- wouldn't hesitate to use again.

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Originally Posted by sm1ke View Post
Some years ago, I had a few fish tanks with BDBS as a substrate. In one tank, I added a few Corydoras Sterbai. I had been using BDBS as a substrate for months before introducing the cories. I remember that when I was rinsing it (which took a long time), some sharper bits would get caught under my nails. It was not a very uniform substrate either - there were quite a few pieces that looked like 3-5mm long pieces of mechanical pencil lead.

Anyway, the cories initially had nice barbels. It took a few months, but eventually the barbels were worn down. The fish were fine, weren't behaving any differently, but in my experience the substrate was/is sharp enough to do some damage.

In another tank, I had the BDBS mixed in with some fine grained pool sand, and started a small colony of shell-dwelling cichlids. These cichlids like to dig out the areas around the shells they inhabit, and after a little while I noticed that they developed a dark "stain" around their faces, likely because the BDBS had not been rinsed thoroughly enough. I was rinsing maybe a half gallon of the BDBS at a time, with multiple rinse and drain cycles, and apparently that still wasn't enough.

I don't have it in my tanks today. I would likely still use it if I needed a cost-effective solution - but only in tanks with top-dwelling/top-feeding fish only.
Yep. For every picture of "no issues" there is a counter-story.
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post #27 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-10-2020, 06:05 PM
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Some years ago, I had a few fish tanks with BDBS as a substrate. In one tank, I added a few Corydoras Sterbai. I had been using BDBS as a substrate for months before introducing the cories. I remember that when I was rinsing it (which took a long time), some sharper bits would get caught under my nails. It was not a very uniform substrate either - there were quite a few pieces that looked like 3-5mm long pieces of mechanical pencil lead.

Anyway, the cories initially had nice barbels. It took a few months, but eventually the barbels were worn down. The fish were fine, weren't behaving any differently, but in my experience the substrate was/is sharp enough to do some damage.

In another tank, I had the BDBS mixed in with some fine grained pool sand, and started a small colony of shell-dwelling cichlids. These cichlids like to dig out the areas around the shells they inhabit, and after a little while I noticed that they developed a dark "stain" around their faces, likely because the BDBS had not been rinsed thoroughly enough. I was rinsing maybe a half gallon of the BDBS at a time, with multiple rinse and drain cycles, and apparently that still wasn't enough.

I don't have it in my tanks today. I would likely still use it if I needed a cost-effective solution - but only in tanks with top-dwelling/top-feeding fish only.
Sorry to hear about your experience. I wonder if different batches are physically different in terms of sharpness and whatnot. Have you kept cories off BDBS without having the barbel issue?
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post #28 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-10-2020, 08:45 PM
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Yep. For every picture of "no issues" there is a counter-story.
Agreed. This isn't to say that one should not use it - but all experiences should be considered before making the decision for yourself.


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Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post
Sorry to hear about your experience. I wonder if different batches are physically different in terms of sharpness and whatnot. Have you kept cories off BDBS without having the barbel issue?
I know that there are different grades of BDBS you can get, but the finer grade is too fine IMO. BDBS is typically used for sandblasting, so it needs to be sharp to some degree. Given it's primary purpose, grain uniformity is much less important, which could be why there are inconsistencies even within the same bag.

I only kept cories in that one tank, never had them in any others.
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post #29 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-10-2020, 08:52 PM
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I only kept cories in that one tank, never had them in any others.
I'd be curious to see if you experience the same issue under the same conditions with the only exception being a different substrate.


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post #30 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-10-2020, 09:16 PM
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I'd be curious to see if you experience the same issue under the same conditions with the only exception being a different substrate.
A different substrate (i.e. something made specifically for aquarium use) would likely be much less sharp because of the purpose of the product. IME, you pay more for something like CaribSea's Super Natural Crystal River sand for the uniformity of the product and the smoothness of it. I believe 100% that using the CaribSea stuff would not have damaged the barbels on the cories. I can't say that about BDBS, but as we have already seen, YMMV.
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