Black Blasting Media Substrate Thoughts

Discussion in 'Freshwater Substrates - Gravel, Sand' started by chevyguy8893, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. chevyguy8893

    chevyguy8893Well Known MemberMember

    I have been read a lot about black diamond blasting media trying to figure out if I want to use it or not for my new tank. This will be talking about the blasting media from TSC specifically. I have come across a lot of people for or against it, and don't know if I can trust their opinions on it knowing nothing about their aquarium background. So, I underwent researching it to get as much info as possible.

    In my 20 gallon I use #20 grade pool filter sand, which is a pretty small grain size. The blasting media in question measures a 20-40 for the mesh size which equates to 0.031"-0.0165", so it is the grains are the same size and smaller than the PFS. The PFS should technically be a fairly uniform size at 0.031". So, the size is comparable.

    The main thing that raised a red flag for me was the blasting media is coal slag, and I knew little about it. Having used many other blasting media I know it can have some pretty rough grains, and I found that out when I didn't notice my arm was exposed. Anyway, I found an article explaining that it is an inert product making it environmentally safe. Also, seeing the MSDS for the product shows that it is made up of a majority of coal slag with a small amount being crystalline silica. It looks as though dust is to be expected, so rinsing it heavily would be needed.

    Seeing all of this makes and members here using it makes me think it is safe to use. The edges of it seem to be described as "sharp" and "angular" by various places. Then again sand isn't very smooth to me either. Now for the questions I have. Has anyone compared this to other sand they have? I have a theory that, while wearing gloves, I can move the media around against the other pieces dry, and essentially wear down the edges some. It seems possible, but it may be a waste of time. I am open to hearing more either for or against using this. Otherwise I may just give it a try and compare the two. I know this may be overkill on research, but it may help put my mind at ease.
  2. Matt B

    Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    I also did alot of research on this awhile back and ended up not getting it only because TSC was too far from me. I think people get hung up because its used as a blasting media so therefore must be extremley abrasive, well, plain old sand is also used as an abrasive and if you look very close, has sharp angular edges as well.

    Imo the rubbing it together idea wouldn't be very productive, on top of taking forever you could never be sure whether you wore them all, half or a quarter of the grains down. I also know members who bottom feeders such as cories on it w/no problems.

    If you like the look of it I'd go for it.
  3. kinezumi89

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    I know Dillon (Dlondon95..maybe wrong on the numbers) has it. I have Tahitian moon sand, which is also described as jagged. I have cories in there and they're doing just fine. :) I can't comment on sandblasting sand specifically though.
  4. jetajockey

    jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    I've heard of several people using this material and it seems to be fine. The coal slag is supposedly inert.

    I've never used it personally, for black sand I opt for 3m/Estes colorquartz T grade, which is available at a local industrial supply store for about .50/lb. It's a little more costly than the blasting sand, but it's also much softer and weighs less (so you get more material).
  5. OP

    chevyguy8893Well Known MemberMember

    Thanks everyone for the replies. I guess I should have just kept my post simple and to the point lol. I was kinda figuring that PFS and black diamond was pretty similar in how sharp the grains were. From everything I have seen it looks nice and should work well for me, so I am going to pick some up soon. That is if I can't find colorquartz which looks more even in color. I guess it wouldn't matter much since it will probably all be covered by plants. So, I will just keep it simple and treat it the same way as the PFS :).
  6. aylad

    ayladWell Known MemberMember

    For perspective on the whole blasting media thing, dad uses play sand in his home sandblaster... and that's commonly used as substrate as well. *shrug* I am looking forward to using black diamond in the next tank I set up.
  7. jetajockey

    jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    If you are going into a serious planted tank I suggest going with a high cec substrate instead of sand, although if it's primarily aesthetic-minded either way will get the job done.
  8. OP

    chevyguy8893Well Known MemberMember

    I still have safe-t-sorb in the back of my mind since it would give me a high CEC and provide an iron rich source that the miracle gro somewhat lacks. Plus, it doesn't look too bad and it is still safe on bottom feeders. There is still time before I need to add substrate, so I will probably change my mind again. Between the soil, cap (if I go for CEC over looks), and EI dosing I should have really healthy growth.
  9. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    IME play sand is quite sharp - I ended up throwing it away. I'll never use it or blasting sand.
  10. jetajockey

    jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    I actually like the way that saftsorb/oil-dri looks, it's very natural looking.

    If you are using soil I would be wary of E.I dosing since the tank is going to be loaded with nutrients already. It's not a bad idea to dose to mitigate any potential deficiency but just be careful with it.
  11. OP

    chevyguy8893Well Known MemberMember

    That is what I am beginning to see, I think I was just coming across the wrong pictures online. It kinda looks like flourite without having a fairly consistent color, which I like.

    I actually hope to get to the point where I have to add only a small amount, or no amount, of fertilizers to the tank. I would assume that the need for nutrients would drop over time as the oil-dri picks up more of the nutrients, and the soil isn't going to have anything added. Hopefully, since a large majority of my plants are moderate to extremely fast growth, the nutrients will be used up faster. Plus, there will be even more plants in the refugium below :). There will probably be more trial and error since this will be a new area for me, but that is where the fun comes from.
  12. AlexAlex

    AlexAlexWell Known MemberMember

    I use Black Diamond Sandblasting sand as my 75 Gallon Substrate. Been using it for a while and no issues whatsoever. If you use it, just make sure it's rinsed thoroughly.
  13. carolo43

    carolo43Valued MemberMember

    I know of several who also use it. They get it at the Tractor Supply for about $10 for 50 pounds.