CaribSea Hawaiian Black Sand Can Poison Your Tank

Reefer37

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So I've seen a couple posts about this, but I felt the need to share my experience with this sand and my strong opinion towards it.

I waited about 3/4 weeks to verify if the actual problem stemmed from the sand or something else. I did no other changes with my tank in terms of flow, filtration, lighting, or anything except changing out the sand.

About 2 months ago I started noticing everything in my tank taking a turn. Zoas weren't opening up like they used to, acans were beginning to recede and losing new heads, SPS started stripping and dying very quickly, and EVERYTHING stopped growing.

There were a lot of opinions on what it could be and a lot of helpful advice. Ultimately, after really sitting down and thinking about it, it seemed like heavy metals were being leached into the tank. Nothing in my tank had metal, except the sand, which stuck to my magnets and cleaners, and that got me thinking. This sand is NOT inert.
Now, I've read posts on older versions of this sand not having this issue, but it seems like this new stuff does.

I ended up changing out the entire sandbed and can happily say everything has bounced back, and not only that, they're growing!
I have a new baby blasto head forming for the first time since getting the coral for over 6 months! Zoas, now popping up new heads that weren't showing any growth during those last two months. And even my birdsnest, that I thought was a goner, is making a come back.

I just felt the need to share so other reefers can maybe take from my experience and maybe avoid any complicated issues for their tanks. I wish I had known when I first got it, would have saved me a lot time and money losing a few corals along the way.
Sometimes you live and learn!
 

HuduVudu

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I have used Hawiian black in pretty much all of my tanks since the beginning of time. I forget the brand on the last sand that I used but Carib Sea recently bought them. If you are using the correct sand it should be obsidian (glass/silicate) and it shouldn't be a problem. You do need to be careful because there may be freshwater black sands that could be a problem.
 
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Reefer37

Reefer37

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I have used Hawiian black in pretty much all of my tanks since the beginning of time. I forget the brand on the last sand that I used but Carib Sea recently bought them. If you are using the correct sand it should be obsidian (glass/silicate) and it shouldn't be a problem. You do need to be careful because there may be freshwater black sands that could be a problem.
I used the one in the title and attached in the link, it says it safe for saltwater.

Perhaps FOWLR tanks, but not with my reef tank. I've heard people using synthetic black sand and not having issues as there's no metals involved. There is metals in this sand.
 
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Reefer37

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Yeah the sand clinging to magnets is a bad sign, heck, what did the Geiger counter do?
Edited to add: Are your sand days over?
I don't think I can do the bare bottom look. Haha
I changed over to white sand, kinda crazy, but I like it so much more. It draws the eye and everything is a lot brighter now surprisingly.
 

HuduVudu

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There is iron oxide in obsidian, so yes it can be picked up by a magnet.

I have used this sand for 20+ years without problem.
 

AcroNem

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Now there's two. I've used it for about a decade. This thread is all anecdotal though, I haven't been shown or looked into anything that actually shows it harming systems. Doesn't mean it couldn't happen.
 
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Reefer37

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Now there's two. I've used it for about a decade. This thread is all anecdotal though, I haven't been shown or looked into anything that actually shows it harming systems. Doesn't mean it couldn't happen.
Could it be perhaps an older version of this same sand? That is something I've found on other posts on Reef2Reef about it. I got mine probably 8 months back.
 

AcroNem

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Could it be perhaps an older version of this same sand? That is something I've found on other posts on Reef2Reef about it. I got mine probably 8 months back.
Have some from about 6 years back, 2 years and a few months ago. I'm not saying there couldn't have been something wrong with your sand or your sand bed, don't get me wrong. Just adding my experience is all.
 
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Reefer37

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Have some from about 6 years back, 2 years and a few months ago. I'm not saying there couldn't have been something wrong with your sand or your sand bed, don't get me wrong. Just adding my experience is all.
Another thought is maybe in larger tanks it's not so much an issue. This was in a 45g cube. Another thought was if maybe the metals were being kicked up due to my goby/pistol shrimp.

Either way, I'm happy everything is doing better!
 

HuduVudu

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The smallest tank that I have used it on is a 15 gallon.

I have also used the very sand you linked in a tank that I have had set up for 6 years, once again without problem. I pulled the plenum about a year ago so I am not currently using it.

Also to note is that I use this sand as a base layer for plenums so it is usually under 2 to 3 inches of aragonite.
 

DesertReefT4r

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I had the same issue with some black and white sand. I got it with a used tank from a friend. I had some random STN and overall unhappy sps. One day Inhad a magnet from a powwer heqd fall onto the sand and the black sand stuck. It was an Ah Ha moment. Once. I removed it all the tank improved vastly. Black sand is not reef safe, over time heavy metal build up. These days I just avoid all sand altogether. I quickly found BB is so much easier and cleaner.
 

LovesDogs_CatsRokay

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So I've seen a couple posts about this, but I felt the need to share my experience with this sand and my strong opinion towards it.

I waited about 3/4 weeks to verify if the actual problem stemmed from the sand or something else. I did no other changes with my tank in terms of flow, filtration, lighting, or anything except changing out the sand.

About 2 months ago I started noticing everything in my tank taking a turn. Zoas weren't opening up like they used to, acans were beginning to recede and losing new heads, SPS started stripping and dying very quickly, and EVERYTHING stopped growing.

There were a lot of opinions on what it could be and a lot of helpful advice. Ultimately, after really sitting down and thinking about it, it seemed like heavy metals were being leached into the tank. Nothing in my tank had metal, except the sand, which stuck to my magnets and cleaners, and that got me thinking. This sand is NOT inert.
Now, I've read posts on older versions of this sand not having this issue, but it seems like this new stuff does.

I ended up changing out the entire sandbed and can happily say everything has bounced back, and not only that, they're growing!
I have a new baby blasto head forming for the first time since getting the coral for over 6 months! Zoas, now popping up new heads that weren't showing any growth during those last two months. And even my birdsnest, that I thought was a goner, is making a come back.

I just felt the need to share so other reefers can maybe take from my experience and maybe avoid any complicated issues for their tanks. I wish I had known when I first got it, would have saved me a lot time and money losing a few corals along the way.
Sometimes you live and learn!
I had the same experience as you. ICP tests before and after removing the black sand confirmed it was the culprit for the metals. Besides coral troubles I couldn’t keep any crabs or urchins alive for long either. Once I swapped the sand though everything immediately started improving.
 

Raptor72

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Same issue earlier this year on my RS 170 nem tank. I used the Carib Sea Tahitian Moon (discontinued for obvious reasons) and my nems closed up and I couldn’t keep inverts alive. I sent for a water test and Vanadium came back at a level of 9K. Acceptable level is between 2-10!

I went bare bottom after that and everything immediately opened up and is thriving.

39C624A4-E5AD-418E-8989-91F7DFAB4946.jpeg
 
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