Can you have bottom dwellers with a black sand substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-25-2009, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
 
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Cool Can you have bottom dwellers with a black sand substrate?

Well, I heard this insane theory the other day about how you can't have any kind of black sand in your aquarium ( Flourite bacl, Tahitan Moon Sand) with bottom dwellers. People have said it contains sand with sharper edges and can be harmful to any bottom dweller ( Pleco. Otto, Cory catfish). Is this true, I have heard many people say it is fine, and they do it, and then I hear people say don't because it might hurt them. Can anyone tell me the truth, I think it isn't true but still won't to know what other people think...
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2009, 12:27 AM
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I used Tahitan Moon Sand with oto's and dwarf puffers which have the most sensitive little tummys out there. They both did very well and in the 5 years the tank was set up. neither have had any problems. And the Dwarf puffers have breed in the tank 7 times already.


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2009, 03:13 AM
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I use 3m Colorquartz Black Sand with my corys and otos. There are 2 different grades: T which is a little bigger grain and more jagged, and S which is the smaller grain and very rounded. I use the S grade and the corys love to dig in it. I don't see any damage to their undersides and their barbels are all intact.

I would just make sure the substrate isn't too sharp. Just rub your hand in it and see if you feel any sharp edges. I really recommend 3M sand though if you're looking for something inert or as a topper. S and T grade, both are good.


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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2009, 12:04 PM
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Sand

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Originally Posted by ex225 View Post
I use 3m Colorquartz Black Sand with my corys and otos. There are 2 different grades: T which is a little bigger grain and more jagged, and S which is the smaller grain and very rounded. I use the S grade and the corys love to dig in it. I don't see any damage to their undersides and their barbels are all intact.

I would just make sure the substrate isn't too sharp. Just rub your hand in it and see if you feel any sharp edges. I really recommend 3M sand though if you're looking for something inert or as a topper. S and T grade, both are good.
Estes Black Sand is good for corys. Hard to find, however.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2009, 12:54 PM
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I use black Colorquartz, both T and S grade. The T grade is larger, but still comparable in size to pool filter sand. I've had not issues with it. The S grade is very fine and easily gets stirred up, so it goes in my airfilter only tanks.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2009, 02:11 PM
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Have had no problems with Colorquartz T grade.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2009, 06:19 PM
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"Well, I heard this insane theory the other day about how you can't have any kind of black sand in your aquarium ( Flourite bacl, Tahitan Moon Sand) with bottom dwellers."

Complete rubbish except perhaps for that "black beauty" coal slag abrasive stuff that is used for sandblasting. That stuff is very sharp and shiny. Perhaps that is the origin of the myth you heard. It seems a bit of a dodgy idea to put coal slag in a tank anyway. I have used colorquartz, tahitian moon sand, fluorite etc without issue.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2009, 08:02 PM
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I've got black beauty in a few of my tanks. I haven't had any problems with it and have cories in all 18 tanks.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2009, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks guys, I pretty much new it wasn't true. But thank you anyways!
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-27-2009, 02:49 AM
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There is a regular Flourite black and a Flourite black sand.....the Flourite Black Sand, I wouldn't use it with bottom dwellers. Mine has alot of dust in it...still after it being in the tank for months and if something was stirring it up all the time, I'd go mad. But as for the other black sands...they should be just fine with bottom dwellers.

I'm a big fan of Tahitian Moon Sand.

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-27-2009, 05:45 PM
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Thanks for the info susankat, what else have you noticed about black beauty. I admit that my initial dislike for it is based on the term coal slag. It sure is an affordable black substrate and available in a variety of grades, does it change water parameters at all? What exactly is coal slag?
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-27-2009, 07:11 PM
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It hasn't changed anything in my tanks in terms of ph and such. The plants seems to like it. They get a better root hold faster than any of the other substrates I have used except for my npt tank. There is also some minerals in it that the plants utilize as ferts.

BLACK BEAUTY is a 100% slag product produced from the combustion of coal in the generation of electricity.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-28-2009, 01:15 AM
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"BLACK BEAUTY is a 100% slag product produced from the combustion of coal in the generation of electricity."
Thanks susankat, I googled coal slag and found a good page on it at "http://www.tfhrc.gov/hnr20/recycle/waste/cbabs1.htm" There is a good table on chemical properties of this stuff and it has some very good plant usable minerals in it but would probably benefit from a good rinse before hand due to possible sodium content. Either way it is mostly "silica, alumina, and iron with smaller percentages of calcium, magnesium, sulfates, and other compounds". they go on to say that it may be corrosive due to low ph etc. Next tank I do I might give it a try and muck about with it some but I will give it a good rinse first since it seems to vary so much according to source. Thanks again susanKat for sharing your experiences with this material.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-28-2009, 02:42 AM
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Originally Posted by sonby101 View Post
Thanks guys, I pretty much new it wasn't true. But thank you anyways!
It's not that easy. Sand, especially moon sand, should be fine, but some rough slag can indeed be dangerous to fish. Otos usually don't care that much since they don't dig a whole lot. But for cories, it is important to choose the finest sand possible. Otherwise, they will hurt their mouths.


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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 07:00 AM
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My cories drop like flies with my 3M T-grade. I have one cory that has managed to stay alive. He doesn't dig in the substrate. He dives down there and bobs back up at the last second as if thinking, "Ouch! Better not." I purchased 10 more a little over a week ago after reading others don't have problems with it, thinking that possibly something else killed off my cories. I'm already down to 2. The other 8 all died with what I call "face rot" like the other cories. These two, like the sole surviving elder, do not dig in the substrate, but chomp around on the driftwood and plants instead. They also do the divebomb and pullback at the last second routine. I guess some fish are smarter than others.

My ottos never go in the substrate. They hang out on the glass and leaves.
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