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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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Cap Help

Ok so I am looking for a good cheap black cap to put over Miracle Gro Organic soil. My tank is a 20 tall.

Form your guys experience.. What is the best black cap sand or gravel? and what brand should I buy? If its gravel what size should I guy?

Side note... I can't buy Black Diamond sand, because it seems like they don't sell it in the west coast. The only place I found that does sell it, is about 4 hours away from me.

Thank you
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 01:08 AM
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I like Activ-Flora, which is a gorgeous black substrate that would work well over soil. Any sort of black sand should work fine, though, even the ordinary PetCo stuff. I see the CaribSea Tahitian Moon sand recommended a lot.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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I like Activ-Flora, which is a gorgeous black substrate that would work well over soil. Any sort of black sand should work fine, though, even the ordinary PetCo stuff. I see the CaribSea Tahitian Moon sand recommended a lot.

So really it doesn't matter? like when it come to what the plants would like.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 07:08 PM
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So really it doesn't matter? like when it come to what the plants would like.
There are fine points to be made depending on the species, such as the root systems of some sword plants seem to prefer larger chunkier substrates, OTOH small fine root systems in smaller carpeting plants like Glosso do better with a finer substrate like sand. But in the end, an inert substrate is an inert substrate, and you have to add the same ferts whether it's play sand, petco sand, FloraMax or Eco Complete. In your case, the actual fertilization is going to come from the Miracle Gro, which is fantastic stuff for plants, so the substrate on top is really just for looks and to hold the plant in place while it grows down to the MG soil.

BTW, I'd be curious where that source you located for Black Diamond was, as I was trying to find that myself at one point. I later went with Activ-Flora, but if I ever go with black sand...
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 07:19 PM
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NorthernTool sells and ships black diamond blasting grit, but its $25-$30 to ship a $9 bag of blasting grit so it would be up to you to determine if its worth it or not.

Depending on your local geology, a local rock yard might have a dark sand available for purchase. There's on in my area that sells an almost black sand, but you have to buy a minimum 1/2 yard of the stuff for $25. If you're like me and don't have a truck (or a place to store 1/2 yard) its a little hard to do.


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kman View Post
There are fine points to be made depending on the species, such as the root systems of some sword plants seem to prefer larger chunkier substrates, OTOH small fine root systems in smaller carpeting plants like Glosso do better with a finer substrate like sand. But in the end, an inert substrate is an inert substrate, and you have to add the same ferts whether it's play sand, petco sand, FloraMax or Eco Complete. In your case, the actual fertilization is going to come from the Miracle Gro, which is fantastic stuff for plants, so the substrate on top is really just for looks and to hold the plant in place while it grows down to the MG soil.

BTW, I'd be curious where that source you located for Black Diamond was, as I was trying to find that myself at one point. I later went with Activ-Flora, but if I ever go with black sand...

I called the company that accually makes Black Diamond, and he told me the only store in cali that has it is tractor supply in Bakersfield..
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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NorthernTool sells and ships black diamond blasting grit, but its $25-$30 to ship a $9 bag of blasting grit so it would be up to you to determine if its worth it or not.

Depending on your local geology, a local rock yard might have a dark sand available for purchase. There's on in my area that sells an almost black sand, but you have to buy a minimum 1/2 yard of the stuff for $25. If you're like me and don't have a truck (or a place to store 1/2 yard) its a little hard to do.
Wouldn't be worth it. My tank is only a 20 gallon and i would use it as a cap only.. lol ya i wouldnt know where to put a 1/2 yard of sand too lol.
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