Cheap Black Sand Comparison: Spectraquartz, Ceramaquartz, Black Diamond Blasting

troyvsc

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I put this post together for those who have been searching for cheaper alternatives to LFS black sand such as Tahitian Moon Sand. I thought it would nice to have all the info the alternative substrates in one post. Any feedback would be great or if you know another substrate that could be used so I can add it to the lists.

This is a comparison between cheaper alternative black sands that can be used in aquariums. I DO NOT claI'm that any of these are safe for use nor do I claI'm any preference. This is merely to give information for those who want to use black sand who are looking for cheaper alternatives. I will try to provide cost, where can find, and what the product is (MSDS if possible)

First I would like to thank Estes, Fairmount Building and ATI for their samples they sent to me. The first photo is all the products together next to each other to show the general size differences.
comparing all.jpg



The next 4 pictures are of the Estes Ceramaquartz S & T grade (equivalent to 3m Colorquartz) & HP MCD & HP Super Trowel-Rite. Ceramaquartz is color coated vs the the other two the coloring is in the process.
Cermaquartz is roughly $.50 per lb/HP $19.25 for 50lbs/HP Super Trowel-Rite $23.45 for 50lbs.
Here is their distributor list I called to find out that I could not get Ceramaquartz local but was able to find the other two.
Estes Ceramaquartz 1.jpg

Estes Ceramaquartz 2.jpg

Estes Ceramaquartz 3.jpg

Estes Ceramaquartz 4.jpg


The next 3 photos are Spectraquartz F, Q grade and two larger Q grades. Spectraquartz is quartz with color added using a process. (I would call it staining the quartz). I found this locally for $17.45 for 50lbs for both grades. I called this number to find a local distributor 800-255-7263.
Here is the MSDS sheet for Spectraquartz The 50lbs of Spectraquartz that I am using washed pretty easily with a little clumping and floating. Water ran clear after a short time.
Spectraquartz F.jpg

Spectraquartz  Q.jpg

two larger Q grades.jpg


The next three pictures of Black Diamond Blasting Grip. Black Diamond is Coal Slag (The bi-product of coal burning. Inert and should not have any heavy metals in it). There are alternatives of this same substance like Black Beauty. You can find Black Diamond for $7.99 for 50lbs.

Black Diamond Blasting Grip.jpg


Black Diamond Blasting Grip 2.jpg


Black Diamond Blasting Grip 3.jpg


Play Sand and Pool filter sand for comparison.
play sand.jpg

pool filter sand.jpg


I will also try to get a sample of Tahitian Moon Sand, will post a pic when I do. Spoke to a rep and they said that TMS consists of "Washed Amorphous Silica" in other words black quartz yet it is double the price of some of the sands mentioned above.
 

retlaf

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I just wanted to say that Tahitian Moon Sand looks suspiciously like the Black Diamond Coal Slag. I would bet confidently that it's the same stuff re-branded.
 
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troyvsc

troyvsc

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retlaf said:
I just wanted to say that Tahitian Moon Sand looks suspiciously like the Black Diamond Coal Slag. I would bet confidently that it's the same stuff re-branded.
Just got off the phone with a rep from CaribSea. They said that Tahitian Moon Sand is "Washed Amorphous silica" It is quartz sand. it is amazing they get charge double the cost of similar quartz products listed above.

They are going to email me the MSDS sheet.
 

Akari_32

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troyvsc said:
Just got off the phone with a rep from CaribSea. They said that Tahitian Moon Sand is "Washed Amorphous silica" It is quartz sand. it is amazing they get charge double the cost of similar quartz products listed above.

They are going to email me the MSDS sheet.
Slap "Aquarium" on it and they can charge 3x more
 

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This is great info, thanks for posting it - I am going to bookmark it for future use. I love the Tahitian moon sand and never knew it was the same as the black quartz. I had bought some to fill up a bottle and the stuff was very $$$.
 
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troyvsc

troyvsc

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jwebbe said:
This is great info, thanks for posting it - I am going to bookmark it for future use. I love the Tahitian moon sand and never knew it was the same as the black quartz. I had bought some to fill up a bottle and the stuff was very $$$.
Your welcome. This is exactly why I did this. I was so confused after hours of searching.
 

AmazonPassion

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Thanks for doing this! This well help members choose what substrate they want because of this thread.
 

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Thanks for taking the time to lay out all these different sands and other possible substrates! It really helps to see them side by side.
 

Jahnikar

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I stumbled across this on TSC's website and thought I'd point it out as another possibility. I have no personal experience with it, but thought it might be worth comparing also.
 
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troyvsc

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Jahnikar said:
I stumbled across this on TSC's website and thought I'd point it out as another possibility. I have no personal experience with it, but thought it might be worth comparing also.
Black Fury (30-60) is Black Diamond, each size of Black Diamond has a different name such as Twisted Sister (20-40). The photograph is up there under the Black Diamond section.

Thanks for thinking about other items though as I know there are more out there than I have come up with.
 
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troyvsc

troyvsc

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Just washed 50lbs of Spectraquartz and it was pretty clean. I did have some clumping and a little bit floated to the top but overall water ran pretty clear after a very short time.
 

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Is the black diamond stuff sharp? I don't want it to hurt my bottom dwellers.
 
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troyvsc

troyvsc

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Eienna said:
Is the black diamond stuff sharp? I don't want it to hurt my bottom dwellers.
To be honest it's a lot sharper than the fine grade sand. That being said many many people use it with out problems. I live in SoCal so Black Diamond was not an option and Black beauty was nearly as expensive as the stuff I ended up getting.
 

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I researched and I can't find it either xP so it's a moot point. Thanks for the info, though. I'm sure it'll be useful to someone else.
 

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