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Reading more about black diamond abrasives, apparently black diamond sells a coal slag and copper slag sand.  The latter can contain up to 1% elemental copper according to the MSDS.  so if you do use it make sure its the coal slag variety. 

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59 minutes ago, Larrimore said:

 Tractor supply sales it for $10 a bag.  I think it comes it two different sizes as well.

Yes there are a couple size granules, you will want the larger granules. The smaller is way too fine, almost a powder. Tractor supply, rural king stores, any store like that usually has it. Just be sure to rinse really good. 

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I use Black Diamond Blasting Sand in some of my aquariums.

The Black Diamond Blasting Sand seems to be one of the most popular black sand type substrates used in aquariums. As pointed out by @Larrimore with tax the 50 lb bag that I purchased from my local Tractor Supply was $10.66 which certainly made it popular with me.

As @CT_ points out I made sure the front of the bag indicated it was 'Coal slag'.


I looked it up on the U.S. Minerals website's FAQ and got this description:

What is coal slag?

This stuff is boiler slag, which is a recycled product from coal burning plants. When coal is “fired” at over 2500 degrees it melts and produces a by-product called slag. When the slag is cooled through a process called vitrification, it crystallizes, forming sharp, angular granules in a variety of sizes. We reclaim this slag and put it through several screen processes to remove dust and unburnt coal, and then size the remaining crystals into five different “grit” categories.

There was also a Safety Data Sheet which listed its composition:


I thought to myself, is this stuff safe? But it was almost like U.S. Minerals read my mind because one of the next FAQs was:

Is it safe?

You’re darn right it is. It’s a recycled product, for starters—and it meets drinking water standards. Black Diamond Granules have been tested and not linked to any disease, including Silicosis. That’s because Black Diamond Granules contain less than 0.1% free silica and are low dusting and chemically inert. And if you’re worried about berylium, don’t sweat it. While our slag does contain trace amounts, an independent lab says we’d need to have 1,000 times more before we’d have to report. So rest easy.

Fortunately, I learned, I don't have to sweat the berylium! I think they meant beryllium.

I didn't rinse my BDBS and didn't have issues with cloudiness. Here is a picture of the aquarium on the first day.



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I just put it in my 95 gallon too--2 50 lb bags at Tractor Supply for $20 and 2 kids who liked washing it.  They did curbside pickup, loaded it for me, and it looks really good!  I got the medium grit, which is quite coarse--it's what most people online recommended.


Edited by KaitieG
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I have blue rili + offspring (that vary from almost ghost to close to blue dream). I also don't have this substrate, but I have very dark driftwood and some black equipment/areas, and I personally love the look of the blue against black. I think it makes the blue that much more blue, but of course it doesn't stand out as much against contrasting light substrate. 

Not an answer to your question sorry, but hopefully a little helpful.

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I picked up a bag of this for my latest tank and I've been very happy with the 1630 grit. I rinsed it lightly and then have just gravel vacced the super fine particulate that didn't get rinsed off whenever it settles on the surface. My corys dig so far, even the betta that's in there seems cool exploring the tank bottom. It feels quite soft to the touch once it's submerged.

It's sort of tough to tell what you're getting since all their various sizes of blasting material end up on one pallet at the store. My wife ended up at a TSC by chance and I asked her to grab a bag. It was a bit of a cluster between her not knowing what she was really looking for and the employees being a bit clueless. I attached a picture of the bag showing where they mark the coarseness, knowing that it's clearly marked on the top of the bag would've saved some headache.



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4 hours ago, CT_ said:


Have blue dream shrimp on this?  I'm thinking of going to dark substrate but the blue shrimp are so dark in afraid I'd lose sight of them

I made the mistake of putting my blue dream shrimp in a tank with a dark substrate (eco complete) and now I can't see them unless they're on a plant or the sides of the tank. I'm going to be changing out substrate soon.

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