Black Sand or Gravel?

The-Almighty-Zugs

Jack Dempsey
MFK Member
Sep 9, 2019
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Ontario, Canada
I am looking for recommendations on what substrate to use for my new tank. I am having a custom acrylic 240 gallon (96Lx24Wx24H) made and will be housing a single 12" or 18" Piraya Piranha. I am thinking of using some kind of thick black sand or fine black gravel. I don't like the look of large pebbles, so that's why I say a finer gravel. It's not going to be a planted take or anything. Not yet at least. I would want something that is relatively easy to clean with a python. And hopefully doesn't require any extra work like having to wash it. Unless all substrates are better when washed (I'm not sure). Does anyone have any links or recommendations for black sand or gravel? I'm hoping I can order it online if possible or easily pick a few bags of it up somewhere.
 

The Morning

Aimara
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Jan 10, 2018
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I have black sand in my tank at work. Picked it up at a local Petsmart. I washed mine but honestly not much if any dust came off. Tank was totally clear few hours after adding the sand. It is easy to clean with a python. I don’t put the end all the way down into the same. I let it hover about a half inch above the sand.
 

fishhead0103666

Goliath Tigerfish
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May 14, 2018
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After having used sand and gravel I will say that I myself prefer sand for ease of maintance (after bare bottom). With sand it compacts itself so food, poop, and other whatnots can’t get inside it and decompose unlike gravel. Since it stays on the surface less time is needed to clean the tank of such things which I enjoy.
 

The-Almighty-Zugs

Jack Dempsey
MFK Member
Sep 9, 2019
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Ontario, Canada
After having used sand and gravel I will say that I myself prefer sand for ease of maintance (after bare bottom). With sand it compacts itself so food, poop, and other whatnots can’t get inside it and decompose unlike gravel. Since it stays on the surface less time is needed to clean the tank of such things which I enjoy.
Oh. I had thought that gravel was easier for cleaning compared to sand. So sand would be better than correct?
 

fishhead0103666

Goliath Tigerfish
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If you look at it from a purely maintance point of view then I personally would say yes.
 
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The-Almighty-Zugs

Jack Dempsey
MFK Member
Sep 9, 2019
350
87
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Ontario, Canada
After having used sand and gravel I will say that I myself prefer sand for ease of maintance (after bare bottom). With sand it compacts itself so food, poop, and other whatnots can’t get inside it and decompose unlike gravel. Since it stays on the surface less time is needed to clean the tank of such things which I enjoy.
Are there any substrates with a black/brown (dirt) look like in this video?


Obviously maybe not the Seachem Flourish Black Sand as it may have caused the whole algae problem the guy is having.

But I do love that dirt look. Not pure black as to look artificial but like natural dirt.Anything that you know of? Would getting substrate for a planted take without having any plants be a bad idea? Maybe too expensive? I don't need algae or other things growing as this will be my first setup. Want to start slow.
 

Uglyknob

Exodon
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Aug 17, 2019
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What you're describing is Black Diamond Blasting Sand (BDBS). It is basically everything you are asking for. I have it in a 200 and I love it. Too heavy to suck up with a siphon easily, so I can just wave the want over and magically suck up the detritus. I had pool filter sand in a 120 before that and I hated it, but that was mostly cause it was white and impossible to keep clean. It always looked dirty 30 minutes after I cleaned it. It packed down tight, but it inevitably ended up in my siphon bucket.

The BDBS I have is mostly black with little brown and gold flecks in it.

I have some LFS sand in my quarantine tank. That would be fine if it were black too. It is blue, cause I didn't care that much. They have black though. It clumped a lot and floated a bit, but settled down after a day or so. Easy to clean and whatnot. HTH
 

The-Almighty-Zugs

Jack Dempsey
MFK Member
Sep 9, 2019
350
87
31
Ontario, Canada
What you're describing is Black Diamond Blasting Sand (BDBS). It is basically everything you are asking for. I have it in a 200 and I love it. Too heavy to suck up with a siphon easily, so I can just wave the want over and magically suck up the detritus. I had pool filter sand in a 120 before that and I hated it, but that was mostly cause it was white and impossible to keep clean. It always looked dirty 30 minutes after I cleaned it. It packed down tight, but it inevitably ended up in my siphon bucket.

The BDBS I have is mostly black with little brown and gold flecks in it.

I have some LFS sand in my quarantine tank. That would be fine if it were black too. It is blue, cause I didn't care that much. They have black though. It clumped a lot and floated a bit, but settled down after a day or so. Easy to clean and whatnot. HTH
Is BDBS safe for canister filters? I'm only really trying to stay away from sand because of that. Can you plant in BDBS?
 

Uglyknob

Exodon
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Aug 17, 2019
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I'd be surprised if it got sucked up in a canister filter, but I'm using it with a sump now. I had sand with an FX6 though and never had a problem. You can plant in it, but you'd need root tabs for some plants, but same with sand. I have swords and dward grass in it, but too early to tell how well it will do.
 
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