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Hey guys. I've noticed that every new Cory cat I get for my planted 125 loses their barbells on this black diamond blasting sand I have. I don't like that at all.

I originally had pool filter sand and my plants didn't grow at all. Moved to the bdbs and plants have done wonderful.

Is there anything in a more natural color that will allow plants to root and grow well, as well as be safe for the cories? I loved the cheap price and way the plants grow in the bdbs, but hate that my cories are losing barbells. Do they grow back ever?

Thanks!

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Personally, I am using Fluval shrimp stratum mixed with Laterite (there is also regular gravel underneath that, too. I know, way too much substrate...). I just didn't feel like taking out the Laterite. It works fine and I haven't had any problems with their barbels at all, at least, none that I ever noticed. I have 9 cories and have had some so long that they died of old age, so, I would say that it is safe. It is about 18 bucks on Amazon for 4.4 pounds, or 8.8 pounds for $21. It is a dark brown color. Not as dark as the BDBS, but, I do think it is close enough that you would be happy with it.
I have no personal experience with them growing back, but, according to these threads, they do, just not to the size they were before injured (a couple people mentioned this), but, as I haven't owned one with injured barbels, I can't comment on whether that is true or not.
https://www.fishforums.net/threads/cory-barbels-gone.364855/
Here's some other links talking about this, too.
https://www.aquariacentral.com/forums/threads/will-cory-catfish-barbels-grow-back.279635/
Corydoras With No Barbels - PlanetCatfish.com
https://www.myaquariumclub.com/albi...this-morning-my-cory-in-my-10-...-806519.html

According to all these threads, they will! I guess that is good news for you. 1 person said that it took over 6 months for them to grow back, so, I guess just be patient. Another comment says that Cory's do use them to hunt for food, so, just watch the one without barbels and make sure that it is eating enough. You should keep an eye on him daily. I do agree with that, it may have a little trouble finding food, but, as food is given to him daily (or whatever your schedule is) it shouldn't be too big of a problem, imo. Like I just said, just make sure it is getting enough food and keep an eye on him. He should be fine, though. I would (personally) get some of Kordon's Fish Protector and add it every day or two for a little bit, or maybe Melafix. Something like that. I have one that has long fins and his fins got injured. His fins started to rot away and the Fish Protector has made a significant difference. Stopped the rot dead in it's tracks.
As far as the stratum goes, it seems like it is perfect for plants. It has a lot of nutrients in it and it has the consistency of dirt or clay. It is little pebbles and it will compact over time, but, not so much that the plants get their roots through it. I used to use just plain laterite on top and never had any problems, as far as the cory's were concerned. I hope this doesn't come off as conceited, but, I have used a lot of different types of substrate and never had a problem with this, but, I always kept it in the back of my mind when looking for a substrate, meaning, I made sure that it wasn't sharp because I knew that I would have a cory or two in there. Again, I don't want that to come off as being cocky, mean or anything like that.
I would like to ask you this: what kind of plants are you growing in your tank? The stratum is good (imo) for stuff like Crypts and other plants that feed through their roots. I have 2 Crypt Wendtii's (green and red) a few Parva's and others that root feed and they all do great with this. I just have an inch or two on top of waaaayyyyy too much substrate, so, depending on how much substrate you have already, you could just put a small layer of this stratum on top of what is already there, kind of like I did.
I have also used regular rounded aquarium gravel in the past and haven't had any issues. I have used Laterite and no issues with the cory's either. I hope this helps you in some way. Good luck with your tank, I hope it does well!

Edit-I always keep Cory's, I just love them! I have kept them my whole life in every last aquarium I have had, that is about 30 years! I just love them, they look like an old man with a beard, I just love those guys!
Also, the common answer to this will probably be just sand (you can always add some Flourish tabs to it if you want to), I think, but, what I have said above is just my experience with Corydoras. Good luck!

Edit 2: Since this is a thread about cory's and there is the problem of him eating enough, I wanted to add this. I recently got this off of Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00025K1GG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
They are tubifex worms and are shaped into a cube. They are on sale for $7 and usually sell for $8.50. I have been taking a cube with those long, aquascaping tweezers and holding at the bottom so that the cory's can come and eat it. They absolutely LOVE them!!! The other fish get a treat as well, because the cory's knock off a bunch of worms while they themselves are trying to eat them. It is SO much fun! I thought maybe you could do this with the one that lost his barbels? It would be a great source of protein for him to heal with and it is just a whole ton of fun to do! I tap the tweezers against the glass and they learn after doing this once or twice that it is feeding time and come running. Once they are done eating, all mine sit in a row on the bottom. Just a thought, this way you can be certain that he is getting food. I really hope he makes it and doesn't die on you. I would appreciate it if you let us know how he does. Good luck!
 

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Sorry to hear about the problems you are having. My question is why you think that the BDBS is what is at fault? Blasting sand isn't any sharper than a typical sand (its harder) and many folks keep cories just fine with BDBS, myself included.
 
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Can you explain this statement. How is sand "sharper" than blasting sand?
Also, blasting sand has been found to contain sharp pieces of wire, is that also not ( in your opinion) as sharp as sand?
The thing with pieces of wire is an exception, not the rule. I've used 15-20 bags of BDBS (more than I have needed, but I bought the wrong mesh) and haven't seen it, and from what I understand its fairly rare. There is a misconception that blasting sand is sharper than other sands, but sands are selected for blasting based on their hardness, not the sharpness of the particles. I haven't handled any that felt any more sharp/abrasive than a PFS or play sand.
 

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The thing with pieces of wire is an exception, not the rule. I've used 15-20 bags of BDBS (more than I have needed, but I bought the wrong mesh) and haven't seen it, and from what I understand its fairly rare. There is a misconception that blasting sand is sharper than other sands, but sands are selected for blasting based on their hardness, not the sharpness of the particles. I haven't handled any that felt any more sharp/abrasive than a PFS or play sand.
There have been just as many people who have had issues with BDBS as there have been others who have not. Forums are full of testimony of the ill effects of this medium on corydoras. Ian Fuller, one of the most notable researchers on corydoras species states that in no circumstances should this material be used with corydoras in the aquarium. It is the number one reason Red Blotch disease has become so common in corydoras species in the aquarium.

Thanks for sharing your own experience with BDBS and opinion thereof. But others have had different experiences and the experts on corydoras species do not agree that blasting sand is an appropriate medium to keep these fish on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've got chain sword, crypts, water sprite, Java fern, jungle Val, and anubuius.

I'm wanting to go back to natural sand color, but pfs just did nothing for my plants.

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There have been just as many people who have had issues with BDBS as there have been others who have not. Forums are full of testimony of the ill effects of this medium on corydoras. Ian Fuller, one of the most notable researchers on corydoras species states that in no circumstances should this material be used with corydoras in the aquarium. It is the number one reason Red Blotch disease has become so common in corydoras species in the aquarium.

Thanks for sharing your own experience with BDBS and opinion thereof. But others have had different experiences and the experts on corydoras species do not agree that blasting sand is an appropriate medium to keep these fish on.
Your mileage may vary, I suppose. I'm not an ichthyologist, just a materials chemist that worked in the scouring business for some years at a well known abrasives manufacturer and thought I'd pass on what I know of the material.
 

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I thinky pfs didn't allow the roots to breathe much. It compacted way more compared to the bds

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Its very possible. The med grade of BDBS is suggested over the fine for that reason. I have mostly fine in my tank now and I am doing fine, but I may have the MTS to thank for that.
 
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Your mileage may vary, I suppose. I'm not an ichthyologist, just a materials chemist that worked in the scouring business for some years at a well known abrasives manufacturer and thought I'd pass on what I know of the material.
Interesting that you say you are an expert on the material/ in the business yet you say this : "sands are selected for blasting based on their hardness, not the sharpness of the particles".



According to this expert, hardness is only one criteria that is utilized to determine a mediums abrasiveness. This link gives far more criteria in the selection of abrasive. Also notice that shape is also a very important criteria. Blasting sand is angular and sand is rounded. Angular materials cut more deeply at less velocity than rounded materials.

https://www.graco.com/us/en/contrac...ow-to-choose-the-right-blasting-abrasive.html

Im no materials chemist, but seems to me some of the information you gave as an expert on the topic at hand was partial.

Looks to me like silica sand is not as hard as BDBS. It is also rounded, not angular.

Abrasive Name Mesh Sizes Hardness Density Shape
Silica Sand 6-270 5-6 2.65 Rounded

Coal Slag 12-80 6-7.5 2.7 Angular
 

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Interesting that you say you are an expert on the material/ in the business yet you say this : "sands are selected for blasting based on their hardness, not the sharpness of the particles".



According to this expert, hardness is only one criteria that is utilized to determine a mediums abrasiveness. This link gives far more criteria in the selection of abrasive. Also notice that shape is also a very important criteria. Blasting sand is angular and sand is rounded. Angular materials cut more deeply at less velocity than rounded materials.

https://www.graco.com/us/en/contrac...ow-to-choose-the-right-blasting-abrasive.html

Im no materials chemist, but seems to me some of the information you gave as an expert on the topic at hand was partial.
I think you are drawing primary conclusion from the margins again here. I may have better stated it by using qualifiers. Here's a better attempt at it with a better disclaimer. I am a materials chemist that has years of experience in developing for a scouring business. That company is also a well known abrasives manufacturer. My particular area of expertise is not in the area of sand blasting, but I have had some fairly extensive collaborations with the pure abrasives folks. There is a market for shaped abrasives, and I would expect a marketing document to extol those virtues. I have done specific work in the are of microreplicated shaped abrasives, and understand the benefits associated with them. In the work I have seen in comparing materials often has coal slag or garnet as the comparison point. It is my understanding of the subject that the hardness of the material is the primary criteria, with shape playing a secondary role. This doesn't mean that they have no role, and showing that they have a contribution doesn't refute that the hardness is the primary selection criteria. Shaped materials are an area that I am not going to discuss in any kind of detail. Again, your mileage may vary.

All of this aside, I have scooped 300lbs of the material from a 37" tall tank before and didn't feel like it had any ill effect on my hands. Because there is so much variability in this material, maybe that isn't particularly meaningful? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

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I think you are drawing primary conclusion from the margins again here. I may have better stated it by using qualifiers. Here's a better attempt at it with a better disclaimer. I am a materials chemist that has years of experience in developing for a scouring business. That company is also a well known abrasives manufacturer. My particular area of expertise is not in the area of sand blasting, but I have had some fairly extensive collaborations with the pure abrasives folks. There is a market for shaped abrasives, and I would expect a marketing document to extol those virtues. I have done specific work in the are of microreplicated shaped abrasives, and understand the benefits associated with them. In the work I have seen in comparing materials often has coal slag or garnet as the comparison point. It is my understanding of the subject that the hardness of the material is the primary criteria, with shape playing a secondary role. This doesn't mean that they have no role, and showing that they have a contribution doesn't refute that the hardness is the primary selection criteria. Shaped materials are an area that I am not going to discuss in any kind of detail. Again, your mileage may vary.

All of this aside, I have scooped 300lbs of the material from a 37" tall tank before and didn't feel like it had any ill effect on my hands. Because there is so much variability in this material, maybe that isn't particularly meaningful? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I see that, to you, hardness is a primary factor. But, I have yet to see that echoed in materials I have read online ( let alone as it relates to BDBS being used on aquarium with corydoras). Can you direct me to a resource I can read that explains how hardness is a more important criteria than shape ( roundness or angularity?).



Another source: This expert does not give a hierarchical listing of considerations when choosing an abrasive material. He includes shape in his analysis of the 4 criteria of abrasives. Stating that:


"Shape: Shape can be from spherical to angular. Spherical (round) abrasives work by peening the surface, while angular abrasives cut into the surface, displacing some of the surface material, leaving pits, described as profile. Profile is measured as the difference from the bottom of the pits to the top of the displaced material."


http://www.mrsandmaninc.com/techinfo/AbrasiveSelection.pdf

PS I may be drawing primary conclusions from this, yes. I am not an engineer, but I can do research, give me some materials that describe/substantiate how hardness is a much more important criteria to consider when determining how an abrasive will work on/against various surfaces.
 

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That's funny, I had almost the exact opposite experience from you. When I had BDBS my pygmy corydoras had dainty little barbels that were unaffected by the substrate. But I saw very limited root development in the sand!

You could definitely go with an aquasoil, which is really all I use nowadays. If you prefer to stick with sand, @Seattle_Aquarist uses HTH Pool Filter Sand which seems to be working to grow plants in his discus tank. @Deanna swears by the CaribSea Peace River Gravel, which is probably what I would try next if I was going to go back to a non-soil based substrate. It seems to me that grain size is important for plants-- too small and the substrate compacts which hurts root development and water flow to the root zone. Too large and the roots can have trouble anchoring in the substrate, plus any root tabs you put in there will just be immediately exposed to the water column. The Peace River gravel seems like it would be a nice middle ground as a very fine gravel/very coarse sand. Plus the grains are nice and rounded so your cories should be fine on it.
 

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I see that, to you, hardness is a primary factor. But, I have yet to see that echoed in materials I have read online ( let alone as it relates to BDBS being used on aquarium with corydoras). Can you direct me to a resource I can read that explains how hardness is a more important criteria than shape ( roundness or angularity?).



Another source: This expert does not give a hierarchical listing of considerations when choosing an abrasive material. He includes shape in his analysis of the 4 criteria of abrasives. Stating that:


"Shape: Shape can be from spherical to angular. Spherical (round) abrasives work by peening the surface, while angular abrasives cut into the surface, displacing some of the surface material, leaving pits, described as profile. Profile is measured as the difference from the bottom of the pits to the top of the displaced material."


http://www.mrsandmaninc.com/techinfo/AbrasiveSelection.pdf

PS I may be drawing primary conclusions from this, yes. I am not an engineer, but I can do research, give me some materials that describe/substantiate how hardness is a much more important criteria to consider when determining how an abrasive will work on/against various surfaces.
Perhaps the example from your own quote will help illustrate what I am referring to.

2. Hardness: based on Mohs scale of 1-10. 1 being talc, 10 being diamond. Glass is +- 6 on the Mohs scale. Hardness determines cutting ability. Example: You could not cut
a steel pipe with a plastic saw.
Abrasive must be harder than the surface to be abraded or removed.

In this example, should I care how sharp the plastic saw is?
 

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The difference in both your rooting with bdbs is interesting. I've pulled some plants and they have extensive rooting. I have a medium size, can't remember the number, so that must be the difference between your tanks.
I've noticed it feels very sharp compared to sand if it gets under my fingernails, but I haven't noticed any problems with my bottom feeders.
 

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Perhaps the example from your own quote will help illustrate what I am referring to.




In this example, should I care how sharp the plastic saw is?
Your cryptic answers mean what exactly? Perhaps you might be clear and explain. Perhaps making this a teaching moment to the layman instead of trying to just say "I am the expert on this topic" and do not have to explain. I am very much all for science and experts, but when they talk over the layman's head and act condescendingly when questioned you only further perpetuate the notion that science is not for the masses.

Edit: On second thought-- do not explain here. Send to me direct message. Im sure the OP has no no interest ( or anyone else) in what you and I are going back in forth with. I hope that the OP will look to experts in ichthyology as more pertinent in the matter than a materials chemist. You have your area of expertise-- stay in your lane.
 

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I also really like Caribsea Peace River. I just use it as a cap, but it's really nice to plant into, has a natural color, and is polished and not sharp. I have also used Gemstone Creek from the same line and it's very nice looking but not as easy to plant into and probably would be tough on plant roots as it's a larger gravel. It's polished too, so I bet it would be fine for cories. I wouldn't try Gemstone Creek as a stand alone substrate, but the two match.
 
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