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Discussion Starter #1
I'm considering upgrading my 50 gallon aquarium to a 75 gallon aquarium. Currently I have black eco complete substrate. I was doing some tests on my water and I noticed that the dGH was 15 in my aquarium while it was 12 from the tap, and I had just done a water change a few days ago. Anyways, I feel like the eco complete could be raising my hardness? So I'm considering using something else when I upgrade. What do you all use as black substrates? I want to keep plants as well. Thanks :)
 
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One option is to use a cheaper substrate on the bottom and cover it with your black sand . Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think I would mess it up, and the sand may settle to the bottom eventually. I'm always moving stuff around, and I have always wondered how people layer different types of substrates without mixing them up!

By black sand do you mean the eco complete? Or do you have any suggested products?

I have been considering:
Black Diamond Blasting Sand (Coal Slag) which apparently many people use with success according to my research. It's cheap but idk where I can find it around here.
Petco Black Sand - I just went out and looked at it tonight and it seemed extremely fine. Won't it compact?
Tahitian Moon Sand - apparently this is the same as the coal slag almost...
Plain black epoxy coated gravel...
or keep the eco complete and see. I may run some experiments.

I've used play sand in a planted aquarium with some success (it's hard to tell how successful, it was only a 5g that was set up for a few months). However, that sand is much bigger pieces than the petco black sand, and other sands I've seen. I do have MTS to stir the sand, though.
 

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Austin!!! *woots for the 75g*

I have no experience with eco complete, so no help to you there. But Tahitian Moon sand is the stuff I use in Becoming - and I love it! It doesn't affect the water parameters, and my loaches have no barbel issues in the nearly 2 years I've had them. The sand isn't nearly as fine as playsand, but I've had no issues with compacting or filters or anything! I do have MTS and my tank has many deeply rooted plants. The Petco brand is similar, from what I've read - but I've never used it.

Hope that helps?
 

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ecocomplete is supposed to be inert,at least it is in the 2 tanks i have it in.there are two types of tahitian moon sand.the regular caribsea is not guaranteed to be barbel friendly,while the caribsea naturals is guaranteed barbel friendly. if you go for the blasting sand,get the 1st generation stuff and not the recycled stuff,as it contains metal shavings. it can be found at the big box home improvement stores. there is also flourite black sand.
 

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foundry sands, would be more expensive than play sand or pool filter sand, but ... you could get sand that is round to sub-round (which is good for your fish) ... i'd also stay away from anything "slag"
Spherical Ceramic Sand for Foundry - Opta Minerals CERABEADS®, a cost effective replacement for zircon sand.
not black, but i would be pretty sure it's density will garantee it stays ontop, ... maybe other companies offer simular products in darker, or even black colors

i don't know the densities of any foundry sands by heart
i have considered ceramic beeds

coal slag, being 'angular' isn't that going to be rough on any fish or critters that deal with the bottom of the tank ?

i've played with the idea of glass bead sandblasting media - but it's clear, ... it should take on the color of whatever is underneath it

for black, i would recommend chromite, if only as it's not as abrasive

i would keep looking for alternatives if your concerned about cost, i'm sure foundry sands & sand-basting sands to use for substrate caps are more on the expensive side, ... oddly still cheaper then what you get from the LFS

i have no idea about densities, for anything other than the cerabeads (ceramic beads, rather fine sized from that company) are expected (personal guess) to remain above whatever else you use for a substrate.

that only solves where things are as you move & rearrange your tank on an (ir)regular basis (your choice, not what i would do), it does nothing for color, where i would again recommend looking for other companies that may have it in darker colors

Edit:
i like alibaba.com for it's options, a search for low density foundry sand, "yay" they have black, ... $350-400 per ton, ... i don't think anyone here needs a ton of the stuff, and if everyone pitched in, i'm sure there would still be surplus.
 

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One option is to use a cheaper substrate on the bottom and cover it with your black sand . Just a thought.
As long as the substrate underneath was finer than the black sand on top. Otherwise, the black sand will eventually make it's way to the bottom.
 
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the regular caribsea is not guaranteed to be barbel friendly,while the caribsea naturals is guaranteed barbel friendly.
Thank you for clarifying this, Sandy! I've always been confused by the 'bad for barbels' reviews. I've always used Super Naturals. . .
 

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i am going to get some dojo loaches.i must have read about 200 or so reviews on black sand.
 

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But then some people have problems with erosion on pool filter and play sands and others have no trouble at all with the TMS, so I think there's just more to it than just what substrate is chosen.

I know I never had problems with Corys or kuhlis on the TMS.
 
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I love my Tahitian Moon Sand.. Never had any problems. It's clean enough that I don't even rinse it and the water is barely cloudy for only a few hours. It's smooth and to the touch, and has no impact on my water parameters.

The only bad part is the cost.


I also have MTS in my tank and swords.
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I had to wash mine as well as any other sand - very thoroughly.
 
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20/40 grit (<=== that's important, right there) Northern Tool and Die Black Diamond Sand Blasting Abrasive

Black Diamond 20-40 Blasting Media, 50 lb. - Tractor Supply Co.


Dry, it's sharp and angular. This causes some people that have never used it to mistrust it. Wet, something changes... fish safe, barbel safe, bottom dweller safe, loach safe, plant safe. Works with minimal rinsing.


I raise sand chewing Kribs in it. They move it around. They rub their bodies on it. They eat it. No deaths or injuries.
 

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I'm considering upgrading my 50 gallon aquarium to a 75 gallon aquarium. Currently I have black eco complete substrate. I was doing some tests on my water and I noticed that the dGH was 15 in my aquarium while it was 12 from the tap, and I had just done a water change a few days ago. Anyways, I feel like the eco complete could be raising my hardness? So I'm considering using something else when I upgrade. What do you all use as black substrates? I want to keep plants as well. Thanks :)

for a black supstrate some recommend john deere landscaping turfface or something like that.

For a red substrate I use pro choice pc select.


my .02
 

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turface i would also recommend, ... maybe not the colored stuff, ... it's made from ... i forget the mineral (baked), same mineral/clay in clumping cat litter actually, baked it no longer swells, but expected to still have a very high CEC (good for retaining nutrients)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for all the advice guys! I've started school so I've been stressfully busy and haven't had a chance to reply. The TMS is sounding nice. It looked so fine at the store but I suppose it works. I just wanted to make sure the plant roots can breathe and such and the waste that accumulates on top isn't too unsightly.

So, the regular TMS I wouldn't be able to get Cories with? I don't have any plans to get them but in case I ever want any kind of bottom dwelling fish I'd like to get something safe. The regular is about 10$ cheaper per 20 pounds. :/
 

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I've only seen TMD Super Naturals. That's what my LFS stocks and what my local Petsmart stocks. I've had no problems with plants, you just do want to make sure to stir it up a bit from time to time.

I'm not sure if the regular stuff would be cory safe or not since I haven't used it myself. Cories will be fine with a fine gravel instead of sand, as long as it isn't sharp
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I too have only seen the super naturals.
 
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Discussion Starter #20
The instant aquarium is the one I'm talking about. 16$ vs 25$.
 
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