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3M color quartz

278029 Views 574 Replies 216 Participants Last post by  Deeda
Guys, Can you tell me where I can buy the 3M quartz?
Is it OK for tanks, cost, colors, cleaning?
Thanks :-?
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Fmueller (one of the many people here) uses it. He told me that he had to contact 3M to find a distribution center. He said he tried calling pool places but they never heard of it. As far as cost, he told me it was less than half of Tahitian Moon Sand and completely safe. 3M's website says that the ColorQuartz is quartz crystal with ceramic coating. I would suggest you start at the source. I'm looking for it myself. What color are looking for...could it
I unearthed the stuff at a local sandblasting/contractor store. Call 3M to find a dealer. The stuff is about $18/bag. My sand was basically a fine sugar sand variety. I've had no deaths in my tank and have been using it for 2 months or so in my 125 gallon.
Hi All,

I sent a private message to Fmueller after I saw a post in which he used the 3M product.

He did say he used the T grade which is a bigger grit than the S grade.

It seems like all of a sudden people are wanting this stuff! By the way, $18 for how much (pound wise)?
Thanks guys. I'll do some research as well and post what I learn also
It was $18 per 50lbs bag. The fish love it. Since moving them into the sand over a month ago, I've had one fish die from unknown causes. The jewels LOVE this stuff as do my other malawi cichlids. I used about 2" across the bottom and they have created their own pits and mounds.

If you mix the black with another color in a 2/3 black to 1/3 color mix, it will overtake the black. I'll see if the wife can post pics of our 125gal with it. I have nicknamed the take, "The 125 gallon from Mars". We mixed thier red and black together and used red lava rock. The red matches the lava rock nearly perfect and since I overdid the red, it looks like the planet Mars. If you use any fake plants, I'd silicone them to the bottom. We didn't and the fish decided they liked all the plants in a different location, no matter if we moved them back or not.

I got the finer grade. It doesn't cloud the water and settles very quickly. I had a AC 500 go out and I haven't investigated the reason yet. It may have been the sand, but the other AC 500 is working fine and is nice and quiet.

Also, I found the black is probably a "flatter/duller black than the other black sands, but I also only have two 36" single strip lights to light my aquarium.
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I only just found this thread, and haven't had the time to read all previous posts, but here is my experience with 3M Color Quartz.

I found Tahitian Moon Sand outrageously expensive, and since the Black Beauty is essentially a waste product, you just don't know what you are getting. Maybe my background in chemistry makes me over-careful, but I am not convinced that some batch of it couldn't leach toxins into the water. Even a trace of heavy metal salts could kill off your fish in no time.

I found the Color Quartz to be a perfect solution - less than half the cost of Tahitian Moon Sand, and a carefully engineered product that's guaranteed to be chemically inert. Not even regular sand offers the latter!

Following the advice of others on this forum, I rang a raft of pool and tile shops in my area, but none of them had ever heard of 3M Color Quartz. I ended up calling 3M at 1-800-447-2914 (the phone number is on their web site burried in the FAQ about Color Quartz at ... view.jhtml). I was very lucky in that the 3M distributor of Color Quartz for 5 States happens to be located only about 30min drive from my home, and I bought the Color Quartz directly from them. Unfortunately they charged $22 for a 50 pound bag of black T-grade Color Quartz, which is slighly more than people have paid elsewhere in the US, but I still found it well worth the money.

For those of you in or around NE Ohio, the distributor is N.T. Ruddock Company, 26123 Broadway Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44146, Tel: (440) 439-4976, Fax: (440) 439-8728). Either 3M (anywhere in the US) or this distributor (around NE Ohio) should be able to point you towards a store where you can buy the stuff.

When I bought it, I also saw the S-grade Color Quartz, which is finer grained and has rounder granules. The T-grade looks and behaves like sand, I definetely would not call it gravel, but it is a comparatively coarse sand - not sharp though. The S-grade is very fine, more like a powder, and feels very very smooth, due to the round particles. For pool applications, I believe they use S-grade if you want a very smooth surface. The T-grade is used where you want a bit of grip; eg on stairs. Both would probably work well as substrate, but I thought the T grade would look more natural - if that's possible with a black substrate.

The 3M distributor where I bought the stuff had a sample box with little test tubes full of different types of Color Quartz in all the different colors. They also had a similar product for roofing applications that was just a notch coarser than T-grade. I forgot the name, but it would probably act like a very very fine gravel. You might want to try and find a store in your area that has the stuff and check it out yourself. That's the only way you can find out which of the different options you prefer.
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I called 3M yesterday, and the girl there told me that the nearest ones by me (Central Ohio) is in Illinois and Kentucky. She told me they ship, but after the shipping charges are added, I might as well get Tahitian Moon...I've tried tile manufacturers (someone here said they tried tile places) but no dice. Sandy (at 3M) said that it isn't available retail wise, so would a pool mfr. be a good place to check?
I would suggest being a little careful. Glass is very hard, harder than steel in fact (5.5 for glass vs. 5.0 for steel on Moe's Hardness scale) HOWEVER!!!!! Quartz is 8 on hardness, and WILL scratch your glass or acryllic tank with a vengance if you are not very careful!

Good luck! It sounds like it would look awesome!
silkpoet - if you have that hardness skale handy, could you look up how silicate fares? I bet it would be very similar to quartz :D
Still no luck in finding any...I contacted the place fmueller had gotten his. They told me that there are no dealers/distributors of crystalquartz in Central Ohio. I'm going to try a few more places around here (Columbus) and maybe I'll get lucky.
I was wondering why 3M hasn't gotten the message that they are missing out on a good market. You'd think they'd want our money. I couldn't even get any of the local pool builders to get any. Seems no one is interesting in retailing this stuff. I'm having to get mine trucked in from Houston. Should be here tomorrow :D . Fortunately it's hitching a ride on a shipment coming in for my husband's business.
I was wondering why 3M hasn't gotten the message that they are missing out on a good market.
Can you imagine how much money they could make if they started to package their Color Quartz in smaller bags and sold it through the large pet store chains? Could be millions of $ for 3M. Unfortunately I haven't figured out a way to progress this issue in a way that part of this money would come my way ;-)
Seems like a business 101 duh to me too :? . Maybe with the cost of shipping and packaging, it would be more expensive than Tahitian Moon. It's like rocks. You guys in Colorado go down to the river and pick some up. I have to pay .46 a pound because of the cost to get it here.
Kinda funny that you should have to pay for rock...They can't give the stuff away up here. I guess everybody has something that they take for granted in their own part of the world...I finally heard back from NT Ruddock. It's $21 for S grade, and $25 for T-grade. For an additional $5, it comes in a bucket. It only gets sold in 50lb bags, so I suppose I could do both of my tanks. Hmmm.........I would like to see photos of the stuff in tanks, just so I can make my final decision on this.
Got my two bags of black CQ in. Guess my weekend will be spent washing sand. At least it's suppose to be hot this weekend. :D
I've said this in other posts..............

Wear latex gloves when you wash the sand, unless you like coal black colored hands!
Thanks for the warning.

BTW, I posted a question in the Equipment section about what lighting to sue with this substrate. Hope some of you that have CQ will chime in. It won't reflect light like sand so this may be a tough one.
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