Tahitian Moon Sand good or bad for live plants? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-08-2006, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Tahitian Moon Sand good or bad for live plants?

I have a 55 gal tank that I setup last year with Tahitian Moon Sand @ about 2" deep. The sand has a nice look, but because its so fine, it seems like it does compact easily and might lead to an anaerobic buildup.

I think I would like to convert this into a live plant tank now, since I already have a fluval 404 running on it, and will make my own light hood, or retro fit mine with parts from AHSUPPLY.

So basiclly I have 2 questions:

1- should I keep the sand, and use that for the substate, or should I replace it and use a natural gravel stone? http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...&N=2004+113555

2- How much lighting should I go with? I was thinking either (2) 55W bright kits from AH for 2 watts per gal, or (2) 65 watts for 130 watts total (2.3 watts per gallon) althought probally not that much of difference. Either way I would use 6700K PC Bulbs.

I will prob start out with DIY Co2 running on this tank also.

Thanks in Advance....
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-08-2006, 03:36 PM
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I have used Tahitian Moon Sand in several tanks with no problems. I have used it over florite and by itself. I currently have it in my planted nano shrimp tank with florite.

IMO, I would keep the sand and forget the gravel.

Are you getting the 2 X 65w from AHS? If so I would go with that one. If not go with the 2 X 55. AHS has awsome lights. You cant go wrong with their set ups.

Hope that helps.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-08-2006, 03:56 PM
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While searching out substrate options I've read how people mix eco-complete with the moon sand. They're both black(ish), so it'd be fairly uniform I suppose. It's an option anyway, and would no doubt be that much better for the plants. Try doing a search over in the substrate section of the forum, there's quite a few threads on it.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-08-2006, 05:03 PM
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The gravel you linked to is much too large for a planted tank.

Take a few minutes and read my Guide. It will answer questions you have not yet thought to ask.

If you want to stay with a darker substrate I would go with Eco-Complete.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-08-2006, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Rex, I did read your guide on sand, and U gave a sample as to the size grain you would look for in sand. And to me, it looks like the Moon Sand is a lot finer that what you are showing with the quarter as a reference.

So that was basiclly why I posted in the beginning, bottom line, im just not sure if the Moon sand is too fine for Live plants?

I tried the Eco Complete before, I tried it in a 20 gal, and I put in 2 bags, and had a mud mess on my hands, I must have uttered every foul language word I could think of for like 5 mins. I then cleaned the tank out and basically threw away $40, since I tossed the Eco out in the garden. I ended up making the 20 gallon a salt water reef tank.

So if you could give me a pointer or 2 on the fresh water side as to the gravel, Id really apprecaiate it, since Im lost right now as too which way to go for the substate in the 55 gallon.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-08-2006, 11:33 PM
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I have never used the TMS. It is very fine though. I would not want a 3" bed of it. And it is inert.

IMHO you should give Eco-Complete another try. I have never had a problem with it.

If you don't want to go that route then try Flourite and coarse sand mixed together. The Flourite will require washing though.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-09-2006, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
I have never used the TMS. It is very fine though. I would not want a 3" bed of it. And it is inert.

IMHO you should give Eco-Complete another try. I have never had a problem with it.

If you don't want to go that route then try Flourite and coarse sand mixed together. The Flourite will require washing though.
Rex, do you have a lead on where you can get coarse sand? I don't know about over/up there, but here I can get playsand (fine) at the local BORG, I can get construction sand (fine) at the local yard if I want a half a yard of it (or mixed into a pickup truck load of mulch . . . I'm going to have to talk to them about that) but nothing in the minuscule quantities (and coarse!) that would do for an aquarium.

Suggestions on where to look?

Sláinte!
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— 2wpg CF lighting; pressurized CO2; 18 watt Turbo-twist UVS; Eheim Pro II 2028; eco-complete; 2 Pearl Gouramis; 7 Harlequin Rasboras; 3 Otocinclus catfish

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-09-2006, 12:09 AM
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Look in the Yellow Pages for either Sand Blasting or Industrial Supply. Let your fingers do the walking. You might even try calling a place that sells pool supplies and see what they have.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-09-2006, 12:22 AM
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Cool. I've actually got a pool supply place just up the road, and a perusal of my "yellowpages live online" reveals at least one source advertising the "black beauty" aggregate. Now to find out exactly how big/small black beauty actually is . . .

Sláinte!
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-09-2006, 12:58 AM
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black beauty "sand" is actually slag
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-09-2006, 12:58 AM
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First, the particles are *really* small (finer than regular masonry
or play sand). Second, I don't think I'd like the looks of it in an aquarium.
Third, since it's used for sandblasting, the particles are *sharp*. Fourth,
since I knew it was slag, I figured it was high in iron, and, sure enough, it
is. So I don't consider it inert.

http://www.thekrib.com/TankHardware/sand.html#1
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-09-2006, 02:13 AM
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I second Rex on the Eco Complete. It is dark (but not totally black like the TMS), contains bacteria to give your cycle a boost, contains trace amounts of minerals, and has both coarse and fine particles. It can be messy at the beginning, but that can be remedied by placing the eco in the bare tank, grading it (deeper in the back), placing your driftwood, plants, etc, placing a small dinner plate in the center, and then filling the tank by carefully placing the water onto the plate. Yes, it is still going to get murky, but place a small filter in there for a couple hours and bingo...and then just be careful when moving things around etc.

For the Tahitian Moon Sand folks. You may want to check out the 3m ColorQuartz. A lot of the folks in the cichlid communities are using it. It is ceramic coated quartz that comes in two grades...and numerous colors. You can even contact 3M and request a sample. I would recommend calling them about the size of the grains, but then I would request a sample of the colorquartz via their online 'contact us' option. Be sure to request the sample vials...otherwise they might just send you picture cards. I say request the samples online because the samples would normally be for contractors who want to carry the product line. They are not in the business to give away free samples to AquaNoobs. LOL.

Here is a link to the ColorQuartz info.

Here is a link to a looooooooong thread on cichlid-forums.com. Someone may have mentioned the grains sizes. there are also pics of tank setups with the various colors...although a lot of folks go with black, white, buff, etc.
At least check it out.

I would stay away from Black Beauty coal slag unless you are experienced and want to experiment. Some folks have reported using it for years (mainly non-planted tanks) for no ill effects, but from what I have read, most people just don't want to take the chance. Here is another article about sand that mentions Black Beauty.

Otherwise, go to a landscape supply, mulch yard, or rock yard. Many of these places have some really coarse sand...and will let you bag it up for smaller quantities.

Ciao
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-09-2006, 12:06 PM
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I use T Grade Colorquartz in some of my tanks and I love it. The T grade is in similar grain size as pool filter sand where as the S grade is much finer. A 50# bag cost me around $25.


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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-09-2006, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clone
I use T Grade Colorquartz in some of my tanks and I love it. The T grade is in similar grain size as pool filter sand where as the S grade is much finer. A 50# bag cost me around $25.
I second the T-grade ColorQuartz, it's the first substrate I've seen that will hold a slope.

Sean

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-09-2006, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clone
I use T Grade Colorquartz in some of my tanks and I love it. The T grade is in similar grain size as pool filter sand where as the S grade is much finer. A 50# bag cost me around $25.
Tank looks great. Is that the black you are using...or a mixture?
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