Opinions on Sand versus Colorquartz - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Opinions on Sand versus Colorquartz

I'm working on piecing together everything for my first 75 gallon planted tank. I'm planning on using mineralized soil as the base substrate. But I'm still debating on what to use over it as a cap. I've tentatively narrowed it down to two options.

First would be a larger grain pool filter sand (#20 I think I saw it called?), with a small amount of pea sized gravel scattered loosely on the surface, mainly for aesthetics.

I've also looked into the 3M colorquartz black t-grade and can get it very cheap and locally.

There's the obvious aesthetic difference between a light substrate and a dark substrate, but I was wondering if there were any other advantages or disadvantages of one over the other. I've read some speculation that sand grows algae because of its lighter color, etc.

Any input or opinions, even just on the aesthetics of one versus the other, would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 04:29 PM
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Go with whichever looks better to you. I've run tanks with pure color quartz (t and s grade) and I've had no issuse. I also have an all sand tank (pool filter sand not sure of the size), which works great but I make sure to stir the substrate once in a while.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 04:51 PM
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it will only come down to price and looks. They're both inert and will work fine over mineralized soil.


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my 75 (the old tank)
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 05:04 PM
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If you don't stir it I have found the lighter the color of sand the faster alage does grow on it.....

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 10:04 PM
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I use black S grade CQ. There is a lot I like about it.

You can stir it up and it wont cloud the water at all. The particles are much heavier than water and immediately settle back on the bottom. It will not suspend in the water column at all.

I also like the uniformity. Every grain is a perfect little sphere. I think thats why it really does not compact at all.

And of course it looks sweet. After having a tan substrate I am so much happier with black. It really makes the color of your fish and plants stand out.

The only thing bad I can say is that after switching to CQ I had a big diatom bloom. It may or may not have been related and it is also possible that any sand could have the same effect.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 08:35 PM
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I prefer dark substrates, they don't show detritus buildup like lighter ones do. Plus how they show off fish and plant colors. Cardinal tetras (my fav fish) absolutely glow over black substates, so black is of course my very favorite.

I'm quite a fan of black CQ T grade (IMO the S grade is much too fine), but I always mix it with other substrates so there's some nutrient content.





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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 09:21 PM
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Where can we buy 3M colorquartz?
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 09:32 PM
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Where can we buy 3M colorquartz?
Check the 3M site for distributors. Since you're in the Bay Area, check for a supplier in Livermore, CA. It's a bit of a drive, but the best prices in the area hands down if you want more than 2-3 bags.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 09:35 PM
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Check the 3M site for distributors. Since you're in the Bay Area, check for a supplier in Livermore, CA. It's a bit of a drive, but the best prices in the area hands down if you want more than 2-3 bags.
Thanks epic, but I think there's a place here in San Jose that sells the entire 3M Colorquartz lineup: http://www.tera-lite.com/3M_colorchart.html

I'll be checking them out.

Nick
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 09:38 PM
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Thanks epic, but I think there's a place here in San Jose that sells the entire 3M Colorquartz lineup: http://www.tera-lite.com/3M_colorchart.html

I'll be checking them out.

Nick
$15 a bag at the place in Livermore last time I checked. And seeing as how I was buying about 15 bags, I saved ~$180. Subtract gas and I still had enough for a canister filter.

Good luck!
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 09:45 PM
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^^ haha well, If I were you and Livermore was the closest town from Sac that I could get Colorquartz, I'd be happy too. How many lbs is in one bag of this stuff, and why in Gods name would anyone need 15 bags? Either the bags are really small or you have a H U G E tank.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 09:51 PM
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^^ haha well, If I were you and Livermore was the closest town from Sac that I could get Colorquartz, I'd be happy too. How many lbs is in one bag of this stuff, and why in Gods name would anyone need 15 bags? Either the bags are really small or you have a H U G E tank.
There's closer places, but at $30-32 a bag after taxes, it wasn't a great deal. I have ~50 shrimp breeding tanks.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-18-2009, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
I prefer dark substrates, they don't show detritus buildup like lighter ones do. Plus how they show off fish and plant colors. Cardinal tetras (my fav fish) absolutely glow over black substates, so black is of course my very favorite.

I'm quite a fan of black CQ T grade (IMO the S grade is much too fine), but I always mix it with other substrates so there's some nutrient content.

I am using black CQ T grade for the first time in my tank. It's soaking right now What other substrates do you mix with it for the nutrient content?

I am also going to get a nice school of cardinal tetras for this tank and am glad to hear that they will glow over my black CQ. Hubby will LOVE that!
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2009, 03:26 PM
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I always mix mine with Flourite black and black sand. I've also got some mixed with Onyx sand in my 10gal; there's a bit of color difference between the two, though, since Onyx sand is much more grey than black.





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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2009, 04:02 PM
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I mixed mine with black Fluorite and frankly, I prefer the Fluorite look.

I also like black, but it depends on the tank and what you're doing. For some reason Discus hate dark color substrates. Most of the rest of the fish never seem to notice.

I also like a really clean white sand look. It just doesn't stay that way as easily.

Jeff
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