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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
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Black Diamond

I really like using Black Diamond, but have a few questions.

Less than happy about having soil in my tank, I am about to pull it all out and jjust put new Black Diamond in. I assume I can still use the Black Diamond even if I am not going to use soil?

Also will the Black Diamond settle at some point, it seems like I have a lot that just floats around in the tank.

Thanks
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 05:37 AM
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there are different types of grit.. some finer then others..

I did not know that. BEFORE I bought second bag..
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 12:30 PM
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The main difference is that coal slag (by whatever name you want to slap on it: "black diamond" or "black beauty" or "black blast") is that it's totally inorganic and totally sterile. Dirt has lots of nutrients and will breakdown to release more nutrients. Coal slag is basically crunched up glass with no nutritional value.

As for clouding; dirt has lots of super fine sediment and is notorious for making your water murky. Coal slag may have a little dust, but you can generally play in the substrate without kicking up much cloudiness.

I use a blend of pool sand and coal slag and "root tab" fertilize like crazy.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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The main difference is that coal slag (by whatever name you want to slap on it: "black diamond" or "black beauty" or "black blast") is that it's totally inorganic and totally sterile. Dirt has lots of nutrients and will breakdown to release more nutrients. Coal slag is basically crunched up glass with no nutritional value.

As for clouding; dirt has lots of super fine sediment and is notorious for making your water murky. Coal slag may have a little dust, but you can generally play in the substrate without kicking up much cloudiness.

I use a blend of pool sand and coal slag and "root tab" fertilize like crazy.


Thanks for the info, do you have dirt in yours?
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 12:35 PM
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Thanks for the info, do you have dirt in yours?
Nope, no dirt in this one. You're looking at pool sand on the bottom and coal slag on top. Eventually the 2 will homogenize into a tan/black blend. ++shrug++ I like it.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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Nope, no dirt in this one. You're looking at pool sand on the bottom and coal slag on top. Eventually the 2 will homogenize into a tan/black blend. ++shrug++ I like it.


Will I really get a big benefit of keeping the dirt? I also use root tabs, and dose my tank daily with fertz, and have CO2. Just wondering if it worth the effort to pull it out. Just makes a mess every time I move anything around.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 12:50 PM
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Jim - If your cap is 1" + and you work carefully you cam have a pretty clean tank with a dirt subfloor.

Removing plant - many people, myself included, when they start go too fast in uprootinging. I get a hold of the base of the plant and basically wiggle it out. On very heavily rooted plants, some get them out with 1'2" root exposed and cut the roots...leavng the bulk of the roots in the substrate.

Planting - I use my tweezers grasp the roots and pull/wiggle them down into the substrate. I trim new plants to about 1" of root. If that makes a Crypt too top heavy I'll trim a few of the older leaves. That will stimulate new growth.

Couple other tips:

> filters off
> lower water level for larger plant moves/maint.
> Pics in a photo album help reduce unnecessary moves
photobucket is great for that.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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Jim - If your cap is 1" + and you work carefully you cam have a pretty clean tank with a dirt subfloor.

Removing plant - many people, myself included, when they start go too fast in uprootinging. I get a hold of the base of the plant and basically wiggle it out. On very heavily rooted plants, some get them out with 1'2" root exposed and cut the roots...leavng the bulk of the roots in the substrate.

Planting - I use my tweezers grasp the roots and pull/wiggle them down into the substrate. I trim new plants to about 1" of root. If that makes a Crypt too top heavy I'll trim a few of the older leaves. That will stimulate new growth.

Couple other tips:

> filters off
> lower water level for larger plant moves/maint.
> Pics in a photo album help reduce unnecessary moves
photobucket is great for that.

Thanks for the tips, all sound like things I should try. Is the dirt add big benefit to plants? Or if I don't want to deal with it, would it be that bad to pull it out and just use sand?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 12:52 PM
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The idea of dirt it to get away from Root tabs and allow the plants to thrive in a more natural substrate.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 12:53 PM
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Jim - You just set up the tank, I'd offer let it go for a few months.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Jim - You just set up the tank, I'd offer let it go for a few months.

OK, was just wondering since I still need to plant it, which I hope to do this week, and then post some pictures. I have a few plants, in, but not all. Now if I can only find a light that will work for my setup, I might be happy. Oh my wife says I need to leave the new tank alone, stop messing around with it.

Last edited by Jim_PA; 02-28-2012 at 12:56 PM. Reason: typo
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 01:27 PM
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jim.. what size grit did you get?
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim_PA View Post
OK, was just wondering since I still need to plant it, which I hope to do this week, and then post some pictures. I have a few plants, in, but not all. Now if I can only find a light that will work for my setup, I might be happy. Oh my wife says I need to leave the new tank alone, stop messing around with it.
I find that listening to my wife is often a good idea, and I agree with yours on this one. I just started my 65 gallon tank with topsoil and black diamond. It has been set up for 2 weeks now, and the water is now very clear, after being cloudy for over a week. It is planted - easy to do - but no fish yet. And, I haven't quite finished planting, so no pictures yet.

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