Opinions on 3M colourquartz gravel - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-29-2007, 06:42 AM Thread Starter
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Opinions on 3M colourquartz gravel

So I was looking for a cheap plant substrate, when I came across 3M colorquartz on a lot of reef/marine/cichlid forums. Apparently it's quite cheap, about $20 for 50 pounds, it's 3mm in grain size, is inert, and comes in black colour.

After some thread searching on those forums, I found a distributor in Toronto that sells 3M colorquartz gravel. I e-mailed the distributor, and they reply saying they do carry it. Still waiting for reply on the pricing right now.

What do you think of 3M colorquartz? I'm thinking of getting 50 pounds of the T-grade or S-grade Black Colorquartz.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-29-2007, 07:06 AM
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hmm, im no pro, but the word quartz in it seems like it wont have good cec.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-29-2007, 09:05 AM
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i'm using black t grade.
i chose it because
1) its black
2) its cheap

i had to set up a 75 gallon tank and where else can you get 150 lbs of substate for $60? the grain size for the T grade is perfect imo.
it also holds a slope like a champ. i have cories and a clown pleco and the stuff does not kick up when they're swimming by.
if i had to do it all over again, i would still chose t grade because you can't beat the price. plus it looks fantastic.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-29-2007, 09:20 AM
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I love it. Unlike many black substrates it does not look gray under bright lighting. It is also very dense making planting foreground plants less frustrating. Get the T-grade the S-grade is much to fine.


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-29-2007, 01:59 PM
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I would hesitate to use this if you plan on keeping fine deep rooted plants or any small digging fish. the T-Grade is heavy, 1mm uniform cube sized and sharp edged, so it compacts very easily, and can crush fine roots if you disturb your substrate regularly by vacuuming it or replanting. It has a smooth, rather than a porous surface, so it will not be very hospitable for healthy mulm development, so you'd better have a good canister bio media full filter to make up for it. Black has a slightly purple hue when compared to another flat black substrate like eco-complete, which could be why it's especially popular with marine aquarist who use so much more blue light than we do. If you want a cheap inert flat black substrate, you'd be much better off with 2-3mm SMS assuming you could still find some. the one thing T-Grade does excel at is holding a slope. it would also be ideal for undisturbed nano-pico tanks housing shallow amounts of substrate, since it's heavy edgy grains have such good root holding power. when you first plant in T-Grade, it's best to make a depression with your finger, place the root ball in, then cover it over with surrounding grains of substrate. If you simply push a plant down deep into T-Grade with tweezers, you may actually damage the plant as the weight and sharp edges of each grain micro slice it as it moves down. solid leaf shallow root plants such as dwarf hairgrass can be planted just fine with tweezers, but you should be more careful with soft hollow stemmed plants like pearl-weed by simply laying it down in a trough and sprinkling gravel over it.

my observations are based on substrate comparison demos
I've been running the past 2 Months which include T-Grade;

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sw...es-needed.html



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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-29-2007, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info.

I just got an e-mail reply from the distributor--they only carry S-grade.

Kind of slow in responding with details though. I ask multiple questions, and they respond one of them each time.

Still waiting for the colour and price.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2007, 01:32 PM
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I have used both products and SMS is gray under high light, and is very light in color compared to colorquartz. Also, I have never noticed a purple hue to colorquartz. Perhaps the hue is due to the color of your bulbs?


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2007, 02:11 PM
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the more blue in your light, the more T-Grade will reflect it, instead of absorb it - as a true black substrate should.
this distinction is observable under 10000k white lighting, not the 6700k white lighting most of us will use here.
your SMS is a more of a flat black, which means it evenly reflects all spectrums of light for a soft graying black.
I didn't type that review to get stuck on color perceptions, rather to point out it may not be best for certain plants.


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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2007, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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Okay they're charging $35 for 50 pounds of S-grade Black Colorquartz. Obviously that's not cheap enough to be a cheap substrate.

It was good that I got quick replies at least.

I just got an promotional e-mail from BA's, $23.99 CDN for 7kg BLACK FLOURITE!!!!!!!! Probably gonna go for one bag of that instead. I also have 7kg in my current 20g too. So 14kg = 30pounds should be more than enough for 55g if I add sand as filler substrate for some non-planted sections. Or should I just get one more bag--for a total of 45-46 pounds of flourite only substrate?
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2007, 05:40 PM
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Your math is confusing me, 50 lbs at $35 is not cheaper than ~45 lbs at $69???

I don't recommend the S-Grade anyways that size can really compact on you. The T-Grade is much better, I've been running two tanks with it for two years now. BUT, I'm using it as a cap over a soil/clay substrate so your application may not be as successful.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-2007, 05:31 AM Thread Starter
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Oh sorry about the math.

I meant that $35 for 50 pounds isn't cheap for something that's supposed to be a cheap substrate. I was hoping for a lower price, maybe $20. It's not worth having half-decent colorquartz for just a little cheaper when I can buy flourite that's on sale right now.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-07-2007, 04:20 PM
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Yeah I was going to quote MiSo about it being cheap - it really depends on your distributor. I've heard of some selling it for under $20. My local pool company sells it for $45! I'd have to drive a couple hours to the nearest distributer which was $33 if I remember.

SCMurphy - are you sure about the S grade compacting? I've heard since the S grade is perfectly spherical it will not compact.

I really wanted S grade black, but just couldnt make the drive to get it (especially since they werent open on the weekends). So I just went with pfs.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-08-2007, 04:41 AM
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when i was searching for a substrate i though i was pretty lucky. there are only 9 distributors of 3m color quartz in the whole state of Georgia and the one next to me was only about a 30 minute drive. i gave them a call and they said it was $20 a bag. which is what i've seen others getting it for online. if it was more expensive i'm not sure which route i would've taken for a substrate. if you can get 3m cheap enough then i think its well worth it.

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2007, 04:30 AM
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I have used Black T grade in the past. It grows plants fine. I can't comment on S grade.

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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-03-2008, 10:17 PM
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I have had the S grade in my tank for a couple years and it doesn't compact at all like play sand. I can't comment on how plants grow in it because I am still learning. They stay put, thats all I know.
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