onyx sand - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-21-2006, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
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onyx sand

been thinking of changing my substrate to something black and have thought of onyx sand or Tahitian Moon Sand. Anyone have any suggestions on either of these?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-21-2006, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klaxan
been thinking of changing my substrate to something black and have thought of onyx sand or Tahitian Moon Sand. Anyone have any suggestions on either of these?
Onyx sand is not black, it is dark gray. Eco Complete is black and better than moon sand....DC

Last edited by DiabloCanine; 05-21-2006 at 02:39 PM.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-22-2006, 07:42 PM
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I like Onyx Sand, though I'm only using for a small, unheated nano presently. Easy to plant small stems in - much better about it than my flourite tanks.

It seems like it's being carried less and less by my LFSs. I found a clearance bag at petsmart for $8.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-22-2006, 11:46 PM
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you should consider soilmaster select... cheap and better CEC than sand. onyx is not even dark gray... it's a lightish blue/gray in my experience ( i have a 55 almost full of it mixed with 3m colorquartz). It's good stuff, just not black. shipping is the biggest issue with buying a substrate you can't find locally. if you're paying out the ears for shipping, go ahead and buy the one you want the most. Eco complete is a fantastic all around substrate, a little pricey, but not horribly so... onyx is the perfect size and weight, and has a great CEC and some calcium that leeches slowly to keep gH and kH stable, soilmaster is cheap, has a high CEC, and comes in a true "black" color like tahitian moon sand or eco, tahitian moon sand is fine (too much so if you ask me), heavy (can cause compaction issues), and has virtually no CEC, and is not cory or loach friendly. shop around and do some searches here before you make your final choice.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2006, 01:26 AM
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I wouldn't even call it 'dark' gray. In my 110g tank it's more an ugly lighter gray like dry asphalt on a sunny day, or the broken chips on the bottom of a bauxite quarry. Very unattractive in my opinion if you ask me unless you totally cover it with a ground cover - ie, can't see it!

It may look okay if you can find dark gray slate-type Amano style rocks to match it's appearance, otherwise nothing else does. Especially not sandstone like I have!

PS. Sorry Oqsy, just saying I think it looks unattatractive in my tank! I just can't stand looking at mine any more and can't wait to change it to Ecocomplete or ADA or something. 8 square feet of dull metal-gray gravel is just depressing me! It looks much better in your pics though with all your plants I think!
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2006, 02:23 AM
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Seems to be a wide difference of opinion regarding the color of onxy sand. The pic in the above post looks more like onyx gravel than onyx sand. I am sitting here looking at all the samples from Seachem. I always thought onyx sand was grey too, but I saw a tank at a lfs and asked what it was...nice and black...onyx. And of course, the sample sitting in front of me is black...maybe not as black as moon sand or color quartz, but black.

Out of the ones mentioned though, I would go with eco complete planted substrate. To me it looks more natural than a solid black substrate.

order of preference for a planted tank: Eco, Onyx, TMS
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2006, 02:25 AM
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Wow, that was a great deal, I have over 600lbs of Onyx sand and did not get that good of a deal buying it in bulk....DC

Quote:
Originally Posted by csf
I like Onyx Sand, though I'm only using for a small, unheated nano presently. Easy to plant small stems in - much better about it than my flourite tanks.

It seems like it's being carried less and less by my LFSs. I found a clearance bag at petsmart for $8.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2006, 02:35 AM
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This might help....DC



100% Onyx Sand, 10000K bulbs



100% Onyx Sand, 10000K bulbs



100% Onyx Sand, 10000K bulbs



100% Onyx Sand 6700K bulbs



50/50 Onyx sand/Soilmaster, 10000K bulbs



50/50 Onyx sand/Soilmaster, 6700K bulbs
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2006, 02:45 AM
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wow, what a difference the Kelvin rating makes. Huge.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2006, 02:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bombay
The pic in the above post looks more like onyx gravel than onyx sand.
It is indeed Onyx Sand.

It may look like gravel when viewed close up in a pic because that's basically exactly what it is. It isn't really sand at all, just very small gravel ranging from dust sized pieces up to about 2-3mm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bombay
Seems to be a wide difference of opinion regarding the color of onxy sand.
My opinion is based on what I can see in my tank in front of me, which is pretty much how it looks in the photo. The exact shade of light gray could vary depending on the camera's exposure, but that's pretty much close to what you can fairly expect to see under strong light. You can look back through my photo thread and see it looked darker sometimes, but that again is due to the camera's exposure.

Also, it certainly is much darker if it is simply wet but not underwater, which you can see in my early setup shots before the tank was filled, but it was still wet after being washed. This could possibly explain why it looks dark in Seachem's sample photos.

It also reflects a lot of light, so if it's bare to the tank's light like in the photo I linked it will look lighter, while under a lot of shade from plant leaves it will naturally appear darker.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2006, 03:02 AM
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After seeing Diablo's pics, I should mention mine is under Sylvania Grolux T5s, which looks like it's closest to Diablo's 6700s. I guess all the different looks with different lights is due to its reflectivity.

You wouldn't experience that with black Ecocomplete!
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2006, 04:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awrieger
After seeing Diablo's pics, I should mention mine is under Sylvania Grolux T5s, which looks like it's closest to Diablo's 6700s. I guess all the different looks with different lights is due to its reflectivity.

You wouldn't experience that with black Ecocomplete!
We'll see, I just got around 400lbs of eco for $75. I am going to swap out the Onyx sand for eco in my tanks that have black stands/canopies.....DC
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2006, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by DiabloCanine
I just got around 400lbs of eco for $75.


How on earth do you manage that sort of price??!
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-24-2006, 06:55 PM
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Sorry for the bad picture - it was more for my own records. 10" cube tank with onyx sand.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-24-2006, 06:57 PM
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6700k bulb.
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