Black Substrate

Discussion in 'Aquascape Discussion' started by FishingLovingSons, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. FishingLovingSons

    FishingLovingSons Active Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    I have read many threads on R2R discussing black substrate manufacturers with magnetic properties of the "sand" being one of (if not) the biggest concerns. I come from a FW background and I have used the National Geographic brand substrate in many of my tanks; both with artificial and live plants.

    I haven't seen much discussion on this brand; link HERE. Has anyone used this in a SW and/or Reef setup? I have placed my magnetic algae scraper directly on this substrate before and none of the sand has stuck to it... thoughts anyone?

    https://www.petsmart.com/fish/decor...graphicandtrade-aquarium-substrate-21326.html

    Thanks
     
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  2. JasonK84

    JasonK84 Valuable Member R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    They have black sand. I think it's made by Caribsea. It's got a wide range of granule size so probably not good for a sand sifter or sand dwelling wrasse.
    IMG_0935.JPG
    Here is my 30 gallon just after setting it up this past February.
     
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  3. FishingLovingSons

    FishingLovingSons Active Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    Is your 30 a mix of the black and white from Nat Geo? All my Nat Geo black sand bags have been almost 100% uniform in grain sizes.... I'll try to get a pic of my 10g Betta/tetra tank up for comparison
     
  4. hdsoftail1065

    hdsoftail1065 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    I'm thinking that is for fresh water. Does it give any info on the bag? I could be wrong...
     
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  5. FishingLovingSons

    FishingLovingSons Active Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    The large grains are Flora-Max... this substrate is leftover from a mix I used on a 55g planted. The very small grains are the NG brand sand. Also forgive some of the detritus build, today is vac day!

    IMG_0256.jpg IMG_0255.jpg IMG_0254.jpg
     
  6. FishingLovingSons

    FishingLovingSons Active Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    It says Freshwater in product description... just wondering if anyone has used/tried it in saltwater
     
  7. JasonK84

    JasonK84 Valuable Member R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    No, mine is the CaribSea aragonite Hawaiian black sand. It does have quite a bit of white sand but they are very fine and settle to the bottom.
     
  8. PapaWhisky

    PapaWhisky Member Build Thread Contributor

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    It looks like it is epoxy coated gravel - not good for saltwater!
     
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  9. FishingLovingSons

    FishingLovingSons Active Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    Thanks Jason. Yeah I have used the Hawaiian and Tahitian Moon in the past for FW, just trying to find anyone who has tried Nat Geo on SW.
     
  10. JasonK84

    JasonK84 Valuable Member R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    Yeah, I just thought you were wanting black substrate for saltwater and saw on a later post that the reason you are asking is because you already have in on hand.

    It may work it just might not have the ph buffer you need causing a pain in the rear to keep stable for saltwater.
     
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  11. FishingLovingSons

    FishingLovingSons Active Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    Thank you sir! I wondered about that... read some reviews that stated as much from several years ago. I haven't noticed the "flaking" that some others have... that tank in the above photos was setup in March for my eldest boy. I vac the sand bed deeply about 2-3 times per month, the amanos and nerite keep the algae and diatoms at bay. I guess the fact it is almost too uniform should be info enough to know its an artificial replicate.

    I broke down my 55g apisto tank last year; it had been up for almost 2 years. This sand was pulled from that tank; rinsed well; dried and stored. My son got a female Betta for Xmas last year and when I upgraded her tank to the 10g I brought the old substrate out and re-used. I guess better to be safe than sorry... just always liked the look of black vs. white sand. Since the biggest concern for black substrates was magnetism it made me think this might be an option
     
  12. FishingLovingSons

    FishingLovingSons Active Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    How important is the buffering from the sand for SW tanks? I understand what/how it works... do people using BB tanks have to worry more about pH fluctuating?
     
  13. JasonK84

    JasonK84 Valuable Member R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    I can't answer that one. The only BB I've ever had is my QT.
     
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  14. FishingLovingSons

    FishingLovingSons Active Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    Gotcha. Maybe someone else will be able to chime in. Just another item to add to my research list LOL. Thanks again
     
  15. sstanley223

    sstanley223 Active Member

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    Im using the Hawaiian black in this system. Its been running since March. Screenshot_20180713-071656_Gallery.jpeg
     
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  16. FishingLovingSons

    FishingLovingSons Active Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    Thanks Stanley, looks great. Trying to get info on the Nat Geo brand sand but good looking tank there
     
  17. leahfiish

    leahfiish Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor

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    I think the only time that the ph-buffering affects of aragonite sands really come into play is if your pH drops dangerously low for some reason. I have read that it doesn't buffer until the pH is below a certain threshold (maybe 7? but I forget the exact number).
     
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  18. FishingLovingSons

    FishingLovingSons Active Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    I read a few threads last night that basically said the same thing; pH of about 7.5 and under then the aragonite buffering properties begin to help. Guess the best thing i can do is set one of my 10g up with SW and this sand and just test the water. If the sand does leech a chemical/compound into the tank that would not be reef-safe, what might that be? Or, how would I test for it?

    Testing thoughts:
    10g SW with this sand
    Triton or Marin Lab test
    Heater?
    Powerhead?

    If anyone knows someone who might have an idea of what chemical would be the non reef-safe leeching issue please ask/tag them. I have been the guinea pig on a few FW tests back in the day but never a SW one; still a SW noob lol.
     
  19. norfolkgarden

    norfolkgarden Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019

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    A Triton water test tests for metals among other things.
    Not sure of the entire list.

    Never had one done. Heard they are about $50-60?
     
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  20. FishingLovingSons

    FishingLovingSons Active Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    Gonna go for it... sometime this week set it up. 10g, heater and large hob filter (biowheel 350) for lots of flow. Nat Geo black sand about 2in deep, gravel vac it once a week and replace water. I'll test water after 10 days and again much later, 90-120 days. Depending on results I'll see if it needs to run longer. Guess I got a little project lol
     
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