Pool Filter, Black Diamond, Or Black Petco Sand?

xLukas

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I've been researching for days. I can't decide.

I want black because it gives a great contrast to every other color. I also want tan or natural sand color because cleaning black substrate is a pain without a lot of light.

I've heard PFS (pool filter sand) is easier to vaccuum/clean than traditional sands, due to it not "kicking up" as easily. Is this true? What about Black Diamond Blasting Sand? Do the two compare?

Is the generic, 'traditional' Petco Sand just as good? I want something that won't fly all over as a cory or a vacuum glides over. Thanks! Post pics if you have them. I've seen a ton, but there's close to no such thing as too many pictures when deciding on something like this.
 

neongirl

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I only have experience with pool filter sand but I love it. If it does get kicked up from vacuuming it falls back down immediately and does not cloud the water at all. I rinsed mine thoroughly though before adding it to the tank. Looks great as well.
 

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dcutl002

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If you want black by all means go with the BDBS. A lot of people use it with success. As for me, I like the "natural" look so I used Quikrete Play Sand and I really like it. I actually think the play sand has a better grain than commercial aquarium sand, but that is just opinion.
 

TexasDomer

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Play sand is supposedly worse to use than PFS because it has non-uniform grain sizes, and this can cause compaction of the sand, encouraging anaerobic air pockets more than PFS does.

I've used PFS and BDBS, and I much prefer BDBS. Fish look better on darker substrate - white sand tends to bleach them out. Additionally, over time, PFS (or any white sand) looks dirty, even with a strict maintenance schedule. It's much harder to keep clean looking than black sand.
 

dcutl002

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It was/is my first tank with sand. An experiment if you will. After seeing other tanks with Black substrate I agree: I think I prefer the black substrate. As far as the compaction goes, I don't have a problem. I have a plethora of Malaysian Trumpet snails that came with some plants that I ordered and I assume that they churn the sand up?
 
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Fashooga

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You might as well go with both worlds and create a marble (like marble cake) like landscape. Boom, problem solved!

*Drop mic*

Honestly though, you have an opportunity to actually trying to a small sample to smash together and see how that would look. Too much black, add PFS, too much PFS, add black. Does it look natural? Sure it does.
 
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xLukas

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Correction: I meant black substrate is a pain to CLEAN without a lot of light. Some have claimed BDBS too sharp for corys. However only a couple people claimed this. Maybe they were using a hard grit instead of a medium? Is the 20/40 medium the best in terms of least amount of 'sand' flying around while cleaning and bottom feeder fish traffic?
 
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xLukas

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Medium or fine grit work, though I prefer medium because it's heavier.
Do you have any bottom feeders? Main reason for me changing to sand is due to my hopeful possibility of having a school of cories with my betta.

In my new 10G tank I am setting up.
 

tyguy7760

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Either PFS or black diamond blasting sand will be fine for bottom dwellers. I've used both. I prefer black diamond both from an aesthetics point of view and the fact it has less silica in it than PFS. But really you can't go wrong with either

petco sand is also fine and very similar from a grit standpoint to the medium grit black diamond/pool filter but it's quite a bit more expensive.
 

AllieSten

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When siphoning the gravel/substrate I have to take off the lid/lights. Thus leaving me only with the light from my bedroom light, making it harder to see especially since it's all black.
I do agree with this to some extent. I have made sure to do cleanings in the mornings so that I have plenty of light. It can be difficult to see what you are vacuuming. But I have found if you make a swirling motion over the sand, it will stir up stuff you couldn't see also.

I do love the bdbs though. It looks so nice. It didn't take more than 20-30 minutes of rinsing max. I am using the medium grit. I have it in 3 tanks. It has a bit of a sparkle to it also, which I have to say, makes me like it even more lol

If you are only doing a 10g tank, the bdbs, pfs, or play sand might be excessive. They are sold in 25-50lb bags. Although the bdbs is $8 for 50lbs so very cheap. But make sure you have a place to store the leftover. Otherwise I would spend the extra money and get the pet store sand.
 

tyguy7760

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tractor supply has black diamond. menards has a similar product folks have used on here. Some places will call it blasting abrasives. They are all coal slag and you are wanting something around 20/40 or 40/60 grit
 

dcutl002

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Ah cool. I have a Tractor Supply close by. Thank you. I have wanted to try BDBS for a while, but I hate unplanting my Crypts and Swords.
 

Tiny_Tanganyikans

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I do not like play sand. I use either MPS or black diamond blasting media. I do have a lot of the nat geo black sand and I do prefer it, but it's expensive compared to the previous.

I received a bunch of the nat geo stuff for free when I scooped up a ton of supplies from a breeder who was closing up shop.

I generally use the nat geo stuff as a cap as not to waste it. But I have plenty of black diamond aquariums. You cannot use it with (at least I won't) bottom dwellers like cories and sifters like some loaches and cichlids because it is quite abrasive for them. Otherwise I've never had issues with it. I use multi purpose sand for almost all of my cichlid aquariums but it gets mixed with aragonite (I mix 1 part aragonite to 3 parts MPS). In some of my shell dweller aquariums I also have some of the nat geo sand mixed in. The small multies have probably moved metric tons of it by mow without issue.
 

TexasDomer

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Unfortunately, a 10 gal is not appropriate for a school of cories, but your betta would love a 10 gal to himself! Or you could add some inverts like shrimp or snails.
 
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xLukas

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I just picked up black Petco sand. I didn't want to risk it. It is rinsing and soaking overnight.

I also got some shrimp pellets and an LED hood for my 10G, and Seachem Purigen to put in my larger DIY filter. I've got a silicone place mat coming tomorrow to reduce water getting on the side table it is on during water changes.

My betta seemed to be doing better with the albino cory, but I caught him nipping at him today. Maybe the cory just swam too close. Or maybe I just need to give him more time. I only have one at the moment solely for 'testing' the waters if my betta will be nice enough to live with cories. No chunks missing out of the albino so far, so I'm glad about that.
 
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