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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Currently using Flourite and looking to change out my tank soon to sand. I'm not sure which I want to go with or even what color. I was thinking I might do an island aquascape with two different colors of sand. probably black and a natural tan colored sand.

anybody have any ideas brand-wise? or anything that I could purchase online?
 

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I love pool filter sand (and so do my corydoras and BN pleco). It looks good and is very easy to clean and prepare for the tank. It doesn't have the fines like play sand and doesn't compact into a hard mass over time. So far my low-tech plants are doing well it it using root tabs and Leaf Zone or Flourish.

I have also tried Caribsea Tahitian Moon sand mixed 50/50 with their Moonlight sand which is very light colored. I had to order the Moonlight through my LFS so I didn't realize how fine it was until I got home. It looks nice, but the BN pleco in this tank loves to dig/burrow in it and it clouds up the water badly. I'm half tempted to take it out but can't bring myself to dump $40 worth of sand and dumba$$ me mixed all of it together even though I didn't need but half of it.

I found Petco carries basically the same black sand as the Tahitian Moon, and also a white sand that is actually quite coarse for sand. I tested a 70% black/30% white mix and it looked really nice but not quite what I want for a cory tank.

Next time around I plan to mix the pool filter sand with some of the black sand, just enough to darken it up a little. I think it would be the perfect substrate for anything that digs, burrows or scavenges the bottom.

Chris
 

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Black Diamond blasting grit. Medium size (20/40). 50 lb for $8 from Tractor Supply. Very dark to black, completely inert, very heavy, and I use it in a BUNCH of tanks. Also caps dirt well.
 

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Black Diamond blasting grit. Medium size (20/40). 50 lb for $8 from Tractor Supply. Very dark to black, completely inert, very heavy, and I use it in a BUNCH of tanks. Also caps dirt well.
The black bag, right? The red bag is graded fine.
 

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Yes, that is exactly the type of sand I've used in all of the tanks I've kept over the past 5 or 6 years - a #20 grade density, quartz-based silica pool filter sand - just like what I've linked above, which is available/sold by Amazon.

The only difference is that I get mine from a local pool supply store (a generic brand) that costs approx. $13. for a 50 lb. bag, but it's the same sand.

Here it is for you to have another look at it:

 

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Yeah looks nice, my worry on a light substrate is it might wash out fish color. That doesn't seem to be the case in that photo.
 

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No, it's not - it doesn't wash out color. IMO dark substrate tends to wash out color - it causes many fish species' coloration to darken, rather than brighten, in sympathy with blending into the color scheme so as to be less noticeable to predators - whereas light substrate is more comforting - in it fish are better able to spot predators sooner. Seems to make sense to me.
 

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Yeah, I never got why people have always said that ("light colored substrate washes out fish color").
I have used light colored sand for a long time and I have some of the most colorful fish specimens (though that is also due to a quality diet and good health overall).
People say fish colors stand out over a black background/substrate, which is true (also true of colors standing out over white backgrounds), but the fish's colors darken/blacken to better blend in with the dark environment (defense mechanism to be less noticeable).

But in regards to safety against light or dark colored substrates/background, fish do feel safer against darker areas, since they too are more visible in lighter (both illuminated areas and light colored background) areas (especially when being weary of predators from above, out of the water). But in a aquarium environment, safe without predators, fish can still feel safe against light backgrounds and they don't fade (maybe at first until they settle in) despite what others say, but the darkening of colors against black backgrounds does happen regardless (safe, without stressors. Apparently just a automatic defense mechanism).
 

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I love pool filter sand (and so do my corydoras and BN pleco). It looks good and is very easy to clean and prepare for the tank. It doesn't have the fines like play sand and doesn't compact into a hard mass over time. So far my low-tech plants are doing well it it using root tabs and Leaf Zone or Flourish.



Chris
I agree completely. Some visitors who come to look at my aquariums are shocked that I use plain inexpensive pool filter sand. "Doesn't it cause pockets of deadly gases?" they ask with alarm. Well, no. It might if you used it five inches deep. But no. My experience with coryduras of all varieties is that they LOVE it. And my Kuhlis burrow around in it like toddlers. Highly recommend it. Especially over the day glow colored stuff sold in pet stores.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I might go with Caribsea Naturals sand substrate. They have a pretty good deal going on right now with online orders from Petsmart. I think I would go with the white possibly. Would that look strange on a black background though?

I noticed the user who posted the white sand with the dark blue background looks quite nice though. They also have black and a normalish brown colored sand.
 

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Please comment whether the discuss tanks are 100% sand (no capping over dirt or Flourite). Are root tabs the best answer for the plants? Other than price, is natural "aquarium sand" from Petco comparable to pool sand (maybe slightly larger diameter).
 

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Please comment whether the discuss tanks are 100% sand (no capping over dirt or Flourite). Are root tabs the best answer for the plants? Other than price, is natural "aquarium sand" from Petco comparable to pool sand (maybe slightly larger diameter).

If you're asking about my discus tanks, the substrate I use is 100% PF sand, not a capping - have another look at my pic - I think you'll agree the sand layer is too thin to have anything under it. I just use root tabs and it grows the rooted plants very well.
I don't know what kind of sand Petco sells, but if it's quite cheap costwise, it's very likely some type of play type sand which I feel is to be avoided for a variety of reasons.
I don't know however, so it may be good sand like PFS.
 
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