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JPA 03-29-2019 08:40 PM

Estes black sand - good for planted tanks?
I've been wrestling with the substrate issue during my planning for a 75 gallon tank. I think I've landed on black sand. Now I'm trying to settle on one that is good for bottom feeders (corys) and also will allow plants.

Someone suggested Estes black sand. I've been researching substrates pretty exhaustively all week and haven't seen a lot on this. Does anyone know how it would do for a low tech planted freshwater tank with corys?

goatnad 03-29-2019 08:54 PM

It will do fine for a planted tank like any other inert substrate would. As long as you are dosing ferts and using root tabs where needed you are fine. If you are thinking just this substrate fish and plants then no its not going to happen. The thing to consider is the grain size of the Estes material. Corydoras like finer substrates like sand. Black diamond sand blasting material from places like tractor supply are commonly used since you can get them in fine sand grade to small/medium gravel and they are super cheap. $8 per 50lbs.

If you are dead set on Estes sand then if its fine grain it will work.

JPA 03-29-2019 10:36 PM


Originally Posted by goatnad (Post 3522170)
If you are dead set on Estes sand then if its fine grain it will work.

I'm not dead set on anything. I'm just wondering if there is a substrate better for corys than blasting sand. Someone said estes. But I have no idea.

TMaier 03-30-2019 01:46 AM

Blasting sand is often oily with high metals. Some bags are fine, others arenít. If you are planning on inverts I would stay away from it.

King Fisher 03-30-2019 01:20 PM

Coal slag blasting media is chemically and biologically inert the same as sand.

I Don't know about an "oily" substance with coal slag as I've never experienced that. I'm not sure what would be oily in coal slag as the process to make it requires extreme heat and anything on it would burn off, or what the need would be to add an oily substance to blasting media. That would make it virtually useless for what it's intended for as a blasting media.

TMaier 03-30-2019 07:35 PM

The Nursery

goatnad 03-30-2019 07:44 PM


Originally Posted by TMaier (Post 3522231)

I haven't noticed this with BDS but I also have only used about 10 bags of it ever. Nice to know to watch out for this though.

TMaier 03-31-2019 11:06 AM

I wasnít aware of the possible problems with blasting sand either but started doing research when my inverts were showing signs of neurological problems and dying. Moon Sand is just as bad. That is why I use Quartz or Garnet sand now.

King Fisher 04-01-2019 02:56 PM

Odd that they wash the BDS with petroleum. I still don't understand the purpose of this for blasting media. In some cases it would actually be detrimental to have petroleum on some surfaces that require sand blasting. Very strange.

I got some BDS I'm about to add to another tank. I'll check it out a little closer. The stuff I had before didn't have that oily substance in it. Makes me a little nervous about the new bags I got. I'll let you know what the verdict is here soon.

King Fisher 04-20-2019 05:20 AM

Update.......I rinsed out 5 bags of Black Diamond coal slag blasting media (250 lbs) with NO oily substance. Very clean actually with very little amount of particulates. All is good.

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