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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I want to do a black sand substrate, I used fluorite black before on my last tank and really liked the look, but always wanted the sand rather than gravel, are there any drawbacks to sand?

In an old marine tank I had problems with the penguin power filter sucking up sand and ruining impellors, will this be a problem again with my FLuval 105 filter on a 20 gallon tank? or can I raise the intake far enough from the substrate?

Good local place to get some! I have not been able to locate any at Mr pets, Petcetera, or Island pets, does anyone know where I can get some black sand that would be local to maple ridge/coquitlam? Are there specific brands to recommend? I was looking at the seachem fluorite black sand, or perhaps just the tahiti moon sand, as I am doing a planted tank I would think the black fluorite sand would be my best bet?

Thanks!
 

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I use fluorite black sand in my tank and like it a lot and its great for all my plants. Just be aware that you really really really need to rinse it a long time and multiple times or you will have very murky water. I thought I had rinsed mine well enough based on how much I had rinsed my Fluorite gravel but it still ended up being extremely cloudy/dirty. Newbie mistake.

here is a pic after about my 3rd or 4th time rinsing the sand and it never settled/cleared up over a couple day time span... and I think I rinsed it a couple more times after that and still had a cloudy tank just at a different degree of cloudiness. I suppose you could do some water polishing to get rid of the bulk of it.


My filter intakes are roughly 4 inches above my sand and I have had no issues with it damaging my canister impellers yet. I am not local to you but I found my sand at Big Als. Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks for your reply, so I have been told 2 - 3 lbs of sand per gallon, is it best to have a deep sand bed in a planted tank to go with 4 bags (61.6lbs) of the fluorite black or 3 (46.2 lbs) and save a bit of money? It looks like I will have to order online so I don't want to under order, at the same time I don't want my tank half full of sand!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well I found out that fluorite is slightly lighter than gravel so 3 bags should be plenty. I have however come across a new question, I have the option of Seachem Fluorite black sand, or Seachem Onyx sand?. I cannot seem to find the difference between these 2? It appears the fluorite black sand is a finer product?
 

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I think the Onyx sand is like gravelish so Black Sand is definitely better. I use Fluorite Sand/Gravel for all my planted shrimps tanks and I have to say they are great! I love the black sand color and how it really brings out the color in shrimps/fish. The only draw back like CGY mentioned is it takes a LONG time to get it cleared, for me it was like around a week/tank, but hey what's the hurry? The fishes don't care about the dirt at all and I never had a fish death as a result. A lot of fish natural habitats will get dirty once in a while so you can just add the sand in with a tank full of fish no problem (but if you have delicate plants they will die). But if you are starting a new tank then just add sand and water and DO NOT do water changes at all during the first week. I find water change does not help at all and it just makes things worse. Instead stock your filter with new sponges and NOTHING else. Clean the sponges everyday for the first week as you will find it clogged with dirt. This is the best and most effective way to take care of the dirt. After a week most of the dirt will be taken out and the rest will fall in between the sands. Even after 1/2 a year now every time I vacuum the sand I still get some debris, but they don't hurt or anything so I just leave it alone. Hope this helped :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thank you, yes its helped alot! I use Fluorite for a small nano I have now which will soon be a shrimp tank once the new tank is up and cycled, I have heard the fluorite sand is even worse for rinsing however, but your right I am in no rush, its a new tank so I currently have the driftwood soaking, and will start to assemble over the next couple weeks. So your suggesting to just fill my Fluval 105 filter with filter floss and let her run for a few weeks? Don't even bother rinsing first? And thank you!
 

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Nope don't bother rinsing it since it'll never help. And if you just add floss you should pretty much be able to see the whole tank in 4 days and completely cleaned in around a week or so. It's just the people who are stressing and rushing it that's taking a long time lol.
 

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No prob :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So I was thinking a 3" sandbed should be sufficient for plants? Using Seachems calculator that would mean 4 7KG bags on a 24"x18", which does not seem like alot, should I go with one more bag for a 4" depth for a heavily planted tank?
 

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Why do you want such a deep bed of substrate? In my Eco complete and Florabase tank, it's as thin as 1 inch to a max of 2.5-3" and I consider even 3" a waste of money. After all, the crown of the plant stays about the substrate, so no matter how deep a bed you use, you'll only be using the top 2 inches. The rest is just wasted volume that you could have had water in.
 

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Substrate depth of 4" might create an environment for anaerobic bacteria, which could cause water toxicity in your tank. That depth is unnecessary for almost all plants anyways.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
well most research I did was telling me 2-4" so I figured go in the middle with 3", and until I can upgrade lighting I have always liked the crypts which I understood were deep rooters? I had a 2" fluorite base in my 8 gallon, and it seemed like I would have to go right down to the glass to plant my crypts. I always found it easier to take away some sand, rather than adding some later, and it seems to be hard to get around here right now, all of which why I would rather have a bit too much than not enough.
 

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I think you would have anaerobic conditions if you were using very very fine grade sand only. I've not use flourite size, but Florabase and Ecocomplete is so voluminous that you could have 6 inches and not cause a problem. My only concern was waste.

If you have 2 inches of substrate and you pushed your crypts right to the glass then you buried the crown, which can cause rot. By all means put as much substrate as you want, but don't do it because you think it's necessary. Because slope it back to front for aesthetics. The plants don't need it. Crypts have longer roots, but certainly not longer than most of the bigger swords. Some of my bigggest swords were grown in one inch of plain aquarium gravel with no root tabs. Almost all feeding was through the water column via EI, unless mulm was established as the aquarium aged.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
hmm good to know, perhaps thats why the crypts died and then grew back through the fluorite with new shoots, re-establishing the crown haha, I tell you I can kill even the most hardy plants! Well 3 bags will give me a 2" base and 4 bags will give me a 3" base, I think I will buy the 4 bags, but only use 3 for now, see how it makes out, when I get my lighting down the line I can always add the 4th bag if it needs it, or use it in a shrimp tank I would like to do afterwards. Win Win, and save on some shipping if I end up having to bring it in.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I would love to, but they don't have the fluorite black sand which I was really wanting for this tank and the regular is backordered. Island pets is hopefully getting some in next week. The only other place I found local to drive to was Mr Pets, and they are $10 more per bag x 4 bags is $40, and the shipping is only $38 if I HAVE to order it online. I don't really want to go all the way out to King Eds, as I drive a pickup, and would cost me more than $38 in gas :D Sometimes living way out in Maple Ridge has its disadvantages, I don't know of any real good pet shops.
 

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i'd not recommend 4 inches deep for sand, you'll get a lot of gas build up in the substrate. Mine is around 1.5 - 2 inches depending on where in the tank and the gas does indeed build up a lot even with that. Preferably I'd have went 2.5 at the front and 3 inches at the back now that im done with it all :p Oh and you can go with tahitian moon sand, many shops carry it around the city. I think there may be other members who come out your way aswell a case a beer goes a long ways in maple ridge :D
 
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