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Think of it as extruded glass, and the weird shaped parts make more sense. I see some similar things in mine if I look closely, though infrequently. My GUESS is their manufacturing process may be a bit inconsistent, after all it's aimed at sand blasting not esthetics. I had no issue with oil, in fact I suspect what people see is extremely fine dust that floats. Had a fair amount of that, I just washed for a few hours. I find a continuously running hose best -- just poke it around in the sand, let it overflow and the floating stuff goes away faster.

I've had my first black sand tank going now for 9 months, I don't regret it at all. It is FAR easier to plant and replant in than gravel, and the plants seem to love it.
 
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