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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thinking of changing from white to black, (going to have live plants so prob. eco-complete), and I'd just to hear from anyone who made a similar change and whether they liked it or not, AND if not, why not?

90 gallon, black background, huge light colored granite boulders. Fish: cmoorii, yellow labs, clown loaches.

I know: it's personal preference but, well, you know how difficult these aquarium decisions can be.

Any opinions/thoughts/experience will be appreciated.

Thanks
Robin
 

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I had Tahitian Moon Sand with a Super Red Sev, and I liked it a lot...for a while. It really made it look dark and dreary after a bit. Just my opinion though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Frank you would think that with the black substrate and the massive amounts of (somewhat) dark lace rock that the overall look of your tank would be way too dark, but it absolutely isn't. Looks awesome.

What plants 'got eaten'?

Robin
 

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Thanks for the complement Robin,

Its actually alot brighter in person, but the pics don't capture it well.

That pic is with only 2 of the 3 light strips on. I converted the 3rd strip over to a "moonlight" setting. So you need some good lighting, but it dosen't have to be overkill in order to brighten up the tank.

The plants I tried were java fern, java moss, moss balls, 3 types of anubia's (one is still alive kinda), and a veriety of 2$ plants from petco (don't know all their names).

I will never buy another 12$ plant for this tank, but I still get the petco plants sometimes, I think of them as "chew-toys" for my fish. :D
 

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i am setting up a new tank. i have black beauty for substrate and i love it. i am going with white rocks and decor and a black background. I think black is very cool
 

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I concur with Geeee, I tried a set up with dark slate rockwork and black substrate. The idea was that the colours of the fish would stand out brightly. Looked fine for a couple of months then it started to depress me, in the end it was like looking a flooded coal mine! The colouration of some of the fish, especially leleupi, looked dirty.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't!
 

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I have two tanks with black. I like it in my 20H, but after a year now I dont like it in my 75g. I am about to get a 110g to replace and am switching to coral or white sand. I am hoping this will make my Tropheus show thier correct colors. Everyfish I have had over black shows great color, but for some reason my tropheus dont. I love it in my 20H though, it makes it almost impossible to see shell dweller fry.
 

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Personally, I never saw a black substrate tank I liked. They were all too dark for my taste. I also think it would get a bit boring over time.

BUT it's all a matter of personal opinion. I have seen a lot of pround owners, of tanks that made my fillings fall out of my teeth :lol:

Fortunately substrate can be changed rather easy if it does not appeal to one after all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
hmmm, nobody's making up my mind for me.. .

Fortunately substrate can be changed rather easy if it does not appeal to one after all.
Not sure if I feel all that free and easy about switching after switching, Peter!!
The cheapest I've found Eco-complete is 22- a bag.
$22x5bags=$110- :eek:

Soooowa, if I end up switching and then finding it doesn't appeal to me after all I think I may be inclined to have a not so appealing tank for awhile. I'd like to avoid that.

All the serious plant-people love eco-complete but the difference with their tanks is that they completely cover the black substrate with green plants. I plan on having some plants so the black will very much be a part of the aesthetic appeal of the tank. Question remains: will it be appealing?

I really appreciate all your comments.

Robin
 

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I think if you do a black substrate, you have to do light colored rocks, or it does become too moody. I would go with green granite, texas holey rock, or grey river rock etc, or maybe even white limestone.
 

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Ok, don't laugh too hard. This was the VERY FIRST DAY on my first planted tank. As you can see, I hadn't even put the background on...or the heater...or the filter, etc.

This is eco-complete. It looks black in the bag...but IMO it doesn't look deathly black once in the tank. It actually reminds me of dirt on the bottom of a pond or river. I am happy with it for my planted tank. I do not intend to cover up all the soil. I want the fish to be able to dig in the sand when desired. Plus, I think leaving some open spaces looks more natural.

I am also considering it for my new malawi setup...in which I will include some low light plants. I was considering 3M colorquartz, onyx sand, or moon sand, but I do think that they are too black and stark for my tastes. Anyway, there you have it.
 

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I have black substrate in my 30 gallon and love it, but white in my 55. I think it definitely depends on the kind of fish. For example, I like the black in my 30 because it houses my GT whos body is grayish brown but whos color is represented by shiny spots and lines, much in the same way as the faces of my peacocks. Fish with this type of color don't seem to be affected as much by the black substrate and, at least in my experience, even helps to bring out the colors and makes the "sheen" more noticeable. The gray of their body darkens which makes the colors stand out more.

The colouration of some of the fish, especially leleupi, looked dirty.
Fish such as the Leleupi, yellow labs, etc have a more flat color scheme (like flat paint for example)so I think this is why they may darken more than, say, most central or south american fish.

Both of their bodies darken but South and Central Americans still retain their shiny, colored schemes.

Obviously my experience is limited, so I can't say if this is 100% across the board, but maybe that will help in your decision making. :)

Oh, by the way, I think plants work extremely well with black substrates because they stand out so much more. When you look at the tank the first thing youd probably notice is the bright green plants. I like it.
 

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I have small black gravel and love it. It seems to highlight all the colors in my fish (mbuna). I switched from a white substrate and there was a noticeable improvement. I use a combo of actinic and daylight flourescent bulbs, and I think lighting plays a more important role than the substrate as to how the fish look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Bombay: no laughter: your tank looks great. Love the driftwood. That'll really be nice once it gets all covered with plants. Will the plants be growing out of the top? What kind of fish?

All the tanks I've seen with black substrate look awesome, especially those with plants, but I think what I'm hearing from people is that after awhile the black might get to be too much--appear too dark--?

I've got the eco-complete in a as yet unplanted 12g Nano tank. Just moved the family betta from his two gallon into the Nano today. It's going to look great once there's some plants but unless the lights on it's extremely dark in there. Not sure I'd want that with my 90, especially since it's not going to have tons of plants.

this thread has been so helpful

Robin
 

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Thanks Robin. Everything has grown in nicely. None of the plants that I have used grow up and out of the tank. I am not sure which plants will do that, but yes, if they do they will be allowed to grow out. I have some botia striata and lochata and 5 silver tip tetra. Once these settle in and i get the hang of fertilizing, I will add one more selection of fish...those will be the showcase fish.

I have 65 watts over that tank...and I'd say that 90% of the substrate is covered with plants. Maybe the CF (67k/10k combo) is bright enough as not to make the gravel too dark.

Anyway. I was considering one of the black mentioned above for my new cichlid setup, but now I think I am leaning towards Seachem Silver Shores aragonite with some areas of a medium colored sand...and lace rock...and live plants. I really like the Seachem line of aragonites (silver shores, kona coast, pearl beach).

Anyway, I think the current trend is black substrates. They have their pluses and minuses. it boils down to personal preference...and maybe cost.

Are you any closer to deciding for or against the black?

Ciao
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Are you any closer to deciding for or against the black?
I think I've decided against it. :( Even though I've seen some black substrate tanks that were pretty incredible.

I really like the substrate that RD has:

http://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/view ... p?t=112150

The key is if you have black substrate/background then you need to go with very light colored rocks for contrast
You're right, altho frank 1rizzo's tank does not follow that rule and his tank is stunning.

Robin
 

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Bombay said:
... Anyway. I was considering one of the black mentioned above for my new cichlid setup, but now I think I am leaning towards Seachem Silver Shores aragonite with some areas of a medium colored sand...and lace rock...and live plants. I really like the Seachem line of aragonites (silver shores, kona coast, pearl beach). ...
I'm planning on setting up my first Tang tank with Silver Shores and Carib-Sea's Moon Rock. There are going to be some plants like Vals, Anubias and maybe a Crypt or some another plants. Underneath the Silver Shores where there are going to be plants, I'm going to use ADA's Amazonia as a bottom layer. I will be adding pressurized CO2 as well. I hope it works well.

Moon Rock My Moon Rock is a much lighter shade of gray.


Silver Shores


Amazonia


I have a question. I just purchased some 1.5" to 2+" whale eye shells from eBay. Will they be the right size and not too heavy for smaller shell dwellers? There were some Escargot shells for sale too.
 

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I have black in a 180 with black background, and random 200lbs or so of random field stone, looks good to me, and others who have seen, only issues are
*need lots of light as the black tends to soak it up
*must keep very clean as it tends to show poo rather quickly
The big plus is that your fish colors look very vivid against the black.
 
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