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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

I am starting a 90 gallon planted tank and to save some money I am going to use an inert substrate with DIY root tabs rather than buying a bunch of plant specific substrate like eco-complete or aqua soil. If it matters, I will be using CO2 and have medium to high light hopefully. I have it narrowed down to these three choices and need some opinions possibly from people who have used these in the past:

White play sand (pic attached)
Pool filter sand
Black blasting sand (pic attached) Not sure if this will be safe or not since it isn't the brand I typically see people using.

Any input would be really appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Tractor supply co has the black blasting sand that a lot of members on here use. It's the "medium size" and is 20-40 grit and comes in a white bag with black lettering. GL
 

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I personally like the look of pool filter sand (at least the kind I got) since it comes with slightly different colored grain. It adds more of a natural look to it if you will instead of it being all of the same color.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah if I use black blasting sand I would probably use this one as the nearest tractor supply (or other store selling black diamond) is a bit of a drive.

I guess I just have to decide whether I want light or dark substrate. I feel like the light substrate would look more natural and make the tank look brighter. The stand is a very dark stain if that matters but might make the contrast even more apparent.

On the other hand, the black substrate would probably make the plants and fish colors stand out more.

I may just have to look at pics of other tanks using light vs dark substrate to decide...
 

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Many fish respond to the color of the substrate.
Against a light background the fish tend to go pale. When the surroundings are dark the fish intensify their colors.

If you want a sand-like material then I would go for black not white or off white.

Play sand is not so good. Usually contains a lot of fine material that can pack down, reducing the water movement through the substrate and contributing to anaerobic pockets.

Any sand does not hold fertilizer. If you can find Safe-T-Sorb (Tractor Supply), Turface (Irrigation stores like Ewing or John Deere) these materials will hold the fertilizer in a way that plants can use it. Provides a back up in case the root tablets run out and you are not ready to add more.
 

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I guess I just have to decide whether I want light or dark substrate. I feel like the light substrate would look more natural and make the tank look brighter. The stand is a very dark stain if that matters but might make the contrast even more apparent.

On the other hand, the black substrate would probably make the plants and fish colors stand out more.

I may just have to look at pics of other tanks using light vs dark substrate to decide...
I'd go black. Once you go black you never go back.
With such a small size I was always concerned about sand compacting because it will reduce in volume over time preventing water from circulating (very slowly) within the substrate, which is very important for long term substrate health and overall tank health.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I guess my hesitation with the black blasting sand is that I can not find anywhere what the grain size is and I don't want too fine of sand that will be a mess and compress over time. The only info it gives is that it is 1.5-2 mil anchor profile but I have no idea what that means..lol

Anyone have experience with this blasting sand from Menards or know where I could find more information about it?
 

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I like and use pool filter sand myself (well rinsed of course) but have always been curious about trying that black sand.
Would surely avoid white if you have any kind of biological load on the tank.
Shows any and all waste instantly (tried white in a nano tank).

Sent from my BN NookHD+ using Xparent Green Tapatalk 2
 

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Kareen said it all above. Depends on what color turns you on.

If you like black, go with the blasting sand - If you like white, go with pool filter sand.
If you like a 'beach sand' color, go with play sand - oops - pardon me for saying that - don't even bother with play sand - chances are it won't perform the way you might expect and you'll be disappointed in everything about it except maybe the price. LOL
 

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Kareen said it all above. Depends on what color turns you on.

If you like black, go with the blasting sand - If you like white, go with pool filter sand.
If you like a 'beach sand' color, go with play sand - oops - pardon me for saying that - don't even bother with play sand - chances are it won't perform the way you might expect and you'll be disappointed in everything about it except maybe the price. LOL
Weirdness. My pool sand was tan multicolor. Guess I got lucky it wasn't white?

Sent from my BN NookHD+ using Xparent Green Tapatalk 2

Has no one ever released a new product to compare with the old 3mm ceramic grains that 3M used to manufacture, ColorQuartz? I loved that stuff, was so sad when they discontinued it.
Ceramaquartz and specraquartz I think?

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Weirdness. My pool sand was tan multicolor. Guess I got lucky it wasn't white?

Sent from my BN NookHD+ using Xparent Green Tapatalk 2



Ceramaquartz and specraquartz I think?

Sent from my BN NookHD+ using Xparent Green Tapatalk 2

Play sands mainly come in several different shades of beige/brown.

Pool filter sand can be had in several colors - white, sand/beige, greyish and pinkish. But white seems to be the color most associated with it.
 

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Play sands mainly come in several different shades of beige/brown.

Pool filter sand can be had in several colors - white, sand/beige, greyish and pinkish. But white seems to be the color most associated with it.
That explains it. Guess my local Lowe's or home depot whichever I purchased it from just carried the beige/natural color.

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