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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, kids, I've finally gotten suckered into ordering a few bags of Dennerle Nano Garnelenkies in Sulawesi Black. Had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket and you know how that goes. I'm a shrimp nerd and have every kind of black substrate available in the hobby but this. So had to snag it. Plan is to use it in one of my existing nano cubes or a new Dennerle 10L cube (since I can't for the life of me get my hands on their 20L tanks in the US! UGH! Just ship them to me already!) in a couple weeks.

There's not much here on the forum about it but I've seen all the photos of it that exist online. And viewed all the stuff on YouTube and social media. I know it's just tiny coated gravel that's close in grain size to sand. Likely similar to Caribsea Peace River. But...

Any of you fellow tank nerds have it in your possession in any color? Have you used it in any setup that you've photographed? If so, I'd love to see. I'll update here with photos once I have it in my possession.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They also have a java green! Oh boy--- Im drawing inspiration here-lol!
Please. No. Giving me heart palpitations thinking about a planted tank filled with that stuff. HA!

But it may be nice as an accent? Especially in a darker tank. Or a Dwarf Crayfish tank where plants tend to get destroyed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Okay. FINALLY! It arrived. Let's get right to it without mincing words.

Some cell phone pics:




Not gonna open it up until I'm ready to use it but wanted to get some photos up for others to see a real life size comparison kinda up close. Surely everyone knows roughly how large an AirPod is in 2021. If not, I'll do a bunch of comparisons to other substrates in a few weeks when I'm setting up new tanks.

The not mincing words part:

Absolutely way too expensive for what it is. Who in their right mind??? Absurdly overpriced in the US. I paid $13.50 per bag and that's as cheap as it can be obtained from Dennerle/JBJ without buying hundreds of bags at wholesale. It's currently more than $20 on Amazon. Not worth the price, even if $5-$6 of that cost is shipping. I'm beyond offended at the lack of value here. Seems to be par for the course with the rest of the Shrimp King products.

But I'm in the shrimp world and love smaller tanks. I also consider substrate scale as much as anything else when planning a tank. Who wants large chunks of gravel in a tiny tank? Looks unnatural - especially with dwarf shrimp. So I love this stuff more than any substrate I've used in the past couple years. It's perfect for Neos and Tigers. Ideal in any small tank that doesn't need a buffering substrate. I ordered 3 more bags a few minutes after opening the shipping box.

Anyone interested in it, here's my take of how much to buy: Maybe 1 bag for an 8in/20cm/10L cube You'd want probably 2 bags of it for a 10in/25cm cube. Just to be sure you have the depth you want. Could probably get away with 1 if you don't need more than a thin layer but it always pays to have more than you need. 2 for a 3gal bookshelf tank. Get 3 bags for a standard 5.5gal or 8gal bowfront - probably the same for a 10gal, I'm guessing.

Comes in several different colors. I opted for Sulawesi Black but Borneo Brown looks like it may be decent. Sumatra Brown is lighter in color and reminds me of Double Red Line Akadama. Or somewhere close the old ADA Aquasoil Malaya or maybe somewhere in the middle of Malaya and Africana, if you remember those products.

A look at Sulawesi Black, Borneo Brown, Sumatra Brown (from the manufacturer):



Nano Garnelenkies as a whole doesn't require rinsing but you definitely should before putting it in your tank. No sense in risking it. It's not clay or dirt-based, so you won't damage it. Only takes a few seconds. All the color agents they use to produce this line of gravel-y sand are natural, so it's not like the weird epoxy coating on standard aquarium gravel at the big box stores. It's not gonna get dinged up and lose color over time as your critters dig through it.

TL;DR: Do not buy this if you like being happy. Because you WILL get mad when you realize you've been ripped off. I love it, though, and am gonna use the heck out of it.
 

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How does this compare to other inert substrates, diamond blasting sand or whatever? Does this seem more like a large sand or a tiny gravel? (What I really want is Caribsea Peace River in other colors and I haven't seen anything close enough.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
How does this compare to other inert substrates, diamond blasting sand or whatever? Does this seem more like a large sand or a tiny gravel? (What I really want is Caribsea Peace River in other colors and I haven't seen anything close enough.)
It's just an inert substrate. Nothing special. Slightly smaller than Peace River and that's why I got it. My lights are off on my Peace River tanks right now so I can't snap comparison photos but I have them in my Spec III & V journal.

Peace River is a better price no matter how you compare it. But this Dennerle stuff is a wonderful scale for small tanks and does come in other colors, as you can see. Slightly nicer-looking than Peace River. Perfect for anything 10gal or less.

I don't like Black Diamond because it's not uniform in its quality, can require a ton of rinsing and is a coal by-product. It can also look yellow-ish in real life. So it gets a hard pass from me.
 

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It's just an inert substrate. Nothing special. Slightly smaller than Peace River and that's why I got it. My lights are off on my Peace River tanks right now so I can't snap comparison photos but I have them in my Spec III & V journal.

Peace River is a better price no matter how you compare it. But this Dennerle stuff is a wonderful scale for small tanks and does come in other colors, as you can see. Slightly nicer-looking than Peace River. Perfect for anything 10gal or less.

I don't like Black Diamond because it's not uniform in its quality, can require a ton of rinsing and is a coal by-product. It can also look yellow-ish in real life. So it gets a hard pass from me.
I REALLY like this black option for my shrimp. Thank you for this review!
I have had a hard time finding black substrate I like --or an option that is not coal crud. I like that this is a very small gravel-- and like you say- uniform! I have a 5.4 gallon Id like to redo and this looks like the perfect substrate for it.
Cool!

PS: Love your offended pocketbook yet, resigned praise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I REALLY like this black option for my shrimp. Thank you for this review!
I have had a hard time finding black substrate I like --or an option that is not coal crud. I like that this is a very small gravel-- and like you say- uniform! I have a 5.4 gallon Id like to redo and this looks like the perfect substrate for it.
Cool!
It would be great in a Spec V or in any tank under 10gal, honestly. There's just enough variation for it to look almost natural. I'm really excited about getting it into a tank. It's really going to make shrimp colors pop.

Kinda want to get a couple bags of Borneo Brown because I bet it will be darker than the photos and YouTube videos suggest.
 

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It would be great in a Spec V or in any tank under 10gal, honestly. There's just enough variation for it to look almost natural. I'm really excited about getting it into a tank. It's really going to make shrimp colors pop.

Kinda want to get a couple bags of Borneo Brown because I bet it will be darker than the photos and YouTube videos suggest.
That is what Ive come to see. I prefer brown and tan substrate, but it makes it really hard to see the shrimp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That is what Ive come to see. I prefer brown and tan substrate, but it makes it really hard to see the shrimp.
Dark browns should be fine with shrimp. I just wouldn't go too much lighter unless it's a tank aesthetic you're going for.

When I use something like light pool filter sand, I try to make sure there are plenty of dark plants, moss and hardscape for shrimp. So if you go with a lighter brown, make sure you do that - fill the space with stuff for them to climb on and explore and their colors will still pop. Especially in a smaller tank.
 

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Great pictures! 20 USD for 4.4 lbs is definitely a bit steep for what this is, I feel.

Have you considered Flourite black sand? I used to use it in my ADA Mini-S, as the grain size was perfect for smaller aquariums.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Great pictures! 20 USD for 4.4 lbs is definitely a bit steep for what this is, I feel.

Have you considered Flourite black sand? I used to use it in my ADA Mini-S, as the grain size was perfect for smaller aquariums.
Really like Flourite Black Sand and have it in a 25cm cube. It may be, hands down, the best substrate I've ever had to plant in. Had a batch of it in 2019 that sucked up kH from my water for a few months but since then has been perfect. Definitely a more natural-looking black, if there is such a thing, in this hobby. I need to use it more often.

Also a big fan of Imagitarium black sand. It's a Petco brand - which I think is also available in Canada? - or at least the sand appears to be available on the Canadian version of Amazon. It's about US$18 for 20lbs/9ish kg. Still expensive for what it is but it's ideal for a couple 10gal tanks or to just have on-hand for when you need it. Not as nice to plant in as Flourite Sand, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Interested to see how this looks in your tank, I bought some to use when i set up my dennerle 10 but used samurai soil instead
I opened a bag to check it out this weekend and really like it for what it is. Despite the absurd premium, of course. Had planned on setting up a tank with it this weekend but ended up spending most of the time at an emergency veterinary clinic with my dog/best pal. So maybe (hopefully!) later this week or next weekend. Will update here and in a tank journal when I finally get the chance.

I've got some containers of Samurai Soil sitting in storage that I've been meaning to use. Honestly forgot about it until just now. CaribSea gave me a bunch to test out before the onset of Pandemia and I guess I need to get my butt in gear to do just that. How long have you had it in use and what are your thoughts?
 

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I opened a bag to check it out this weekend and really like it for what it is. Despite the absurd premium, of course. Had planned on setting up a tank with it this weekend but ended up spending most of the time at an emergency veterinary clinic with my dog/best pal. So maybe (hopefully!) later this week or next weekend. Will update here and in a tank journal when I finally get the chance.

I've got some containers of Samurai Soil sitting in storage that I've been meaning to use. Honestly forgot about it until just now. CaribSea gave me a bunch to test out before the onset of Pandemia and I guess I need to get my butt in gear to do just that. How long have you had it in use and what are your thoughts?
Sorry to hear about your dog, hoping for a speedy recovery
So far I dont have anything bad to say....except the price. I set my Dennerle 10 g up about 3 months ago, I was thinking of using stratum but the fact that it can crumble( not sure it actually does but if you squeeze it in your fingers .....dust) So I decided to give the samurai a shot. I only have anubias and buce so no worry about it being sterile. I am happy with it and like the look of it.

1030197
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Sorry to hear about your dog, hoping for a speedy recovery
So far I dont have anything bad to say....except the price. I set my Dennerle 10 g up about 3 months ago, I was thinking of using stratum but the fact that it can crumble( not sure it actually does but if you squeeze it in your fingers .....dust) So I decided to give the samurai a shot. I only have anubias and buce so no worry about it being sterile. I am happy with it and like the look of it.

View attachment 1030197
Thanks for posting a photo of it submerged in a tank. It does look great. My hunch is that it's from the same OEM as the Landen substrate product.

The Dennerle stuff would have looked great in your tank but would have likely cost more than Samurai overall. At least with what you've got, it's semi-rich in terms of nutrients unlike the inert Dennerle.

Maybe you'll have to start a planted vase or something so you can put the Dennerle stuff to use.

On a related note - I'm always impressed with the quality of Dennerle's tanks.
 

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Really like Flourite Black Sand and have it in a 25cm cube. It may be, hands down, the best substrate I've ever had to plant in. Had a batch of it in 2019 that sucked up kH from my water for a few months but since then has been perfect. Definitely a more natural-looking black, if there is such a thing, in this hobby. I need to use it more often.

Also a big fan of Imagitarium black sand. It's a Petco brand - which I think is also available in Canada? - or at least the sand appears to be available on the Canadian version of Amazon. It's about US$18 for 20lbs/9ish kg. Still expensive for what it is but it's ideal for a couple 10gal tanks or to just have on-hand for when you need it. Not as nice to plant in as Flourite Sand, though.
I think Petco has been bought by 'Canadian Tire' (hardware/auto shop) here; they still carry the Petco brand, but mostly for dogs/cats. I might have to look around; I remember Flourite Sand costing quite a bit
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I think Petco has been bought by 'Canadian Tire' (hardware/auto shop) here; they still carry the Petco brand, but mostly for dogs/cats. I might have to look around; I remember Flourite Sand costing quite a bit
If you can load the US URL, here's a direct link to the stuff at Petco. I like it enough that I buy an extra bag here and there when it's on sale.

Flourite Sand is still better overall, in my opinion, because of the cation exchange capacity - especially when it comes to holding on to root tabs. But it's nice to have alternatives.
 

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Yep, I can load the US site just fine, but the Petco.com website says that I need a valid US payment method and address for them to deliver (and I'm thinking it's not worth using a mail forwarding service!)
 
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