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 claim that any of these are safe for use nor do I claim 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.
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 Distributors, Clifford W. Estes, PermaColor Quartz, 3M Replacement
I called to find out that I could not get Ceramaquartz local but was able to find the other two.
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 http://www.fairmountminerals.com/Doc...artz-MSDS.aspx
(sample only had blue in the Q-Grade)
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 Abrasive | Blasting Media| Northern Tool + Equipment
or Black Diamond 20-40 Blasting Media, 50 lb. - 3905403 | Tractor Supply Company
. MSDS for Black Beauty http://www.flatrockbagging.com/info/...ty%20Specs.pdf
Here is Petco black sand for comparison.
Play Sand and Pool Filter Sand for Comparison
The next photo is to show what close up Mexican Pebble Looks lik and to help size difference between small gravel and sand. $14.95 for 75lbs at a local landscaping supply.
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.