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:)Hi, after looking a while for a nice oak stand and canopy I found one on craigslist! Its a 55 gallon and will have low light, low algae I hope ! What low cost sand would you all recomend ? Pool filter, black diamond, ect. thanks.
 

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Are you only wanting to do sand? If so then it should be your choice in how it looks, black or tanish or even white sand if you went that route.. If you dont mind gravel like substrate then i would recommend Safe-t-sorb... it has a high CEC rating.. you can find it a Tractor Supply for like $5 for a 40lb bag
 

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I have heard good things from people using high CEC materials as substrate. I might avoid using solely pool filter sand or other inert materials, depending on what you will be planting. At the very least, consider root-tabs. I have had much better luck running tanks with nutrient providing substrates rather than completely inert substrates.
 

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After doing alot of reading on here as well I've decided to do this: Safe T Sorb (it's Optisorb up here) with a cap of black sand. This tank is going to be mostly crypts so I didn't want to being constantly burying root tabs. Hopefully the -Sorb will help.
 

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100% diatomaceous earth. I believe it's mined in Tennessee, there was an attached MSDS sheet when I googled it. There is also an extensive thread on here discussing it - look in the substrate section.

Dry - it looks like kitty litter, fairly light in color. Mine was pretty dusty out of the bag but it rinsed really easily.

Wet - it gets a fairly dark grey color with some brown specks thrown in.
 

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Close, but its not diatomaceous earth. Thats got, well, it's got diatoms in it. Its Fullers earth.

Its actually Montmorillonite clay, a type of Bentonite clay. Its low temperature fired, unlike Flourite which is fired at a higher temp. Because of this it's supposed to have a higher CEC than Flourite but is considerably softer.
 
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