Dark vs Light substrate?

PheonixKingZ

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Not dark, not light - sort of a medium. For example: you don’t want all white substrate (you want a brown color) and you don’t want a pitch black color. (You want a medium dark grey)

That’s just my opinion, and what I’ve always heard. :)
 

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Both can look great depending on the look you're going for.

Dark substrates, such as BDBM, shows every little speck of debris, dull or dark colored fish can get lost against the dark substrate and overall they can be a bit more difficult to light. On the other hand, colors really pop out. So if you have brightly colored plants and animals with a good light, the results can be striking.

Lighter substrates are pretty much the exact opposite. Easier to light, better contrast with darker species, hides detritus better, etc.

Neon substrates are just blasphemy. ;)
 

utahfish

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I have BDBS and in the past ive had natural brown sand and the one draw back with BDBS is one can see the detritus on it but BDBS doesnt stir up dust clouds when disturbed like play sand.
 

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I have BDBS and in the past ive had natural brown sand and the one draw back with BDBS is one can see the detritus on it but BDBS doesnt stir up dust clouds when disturbed like play sand.
I have AquaQuartz PFS in two of our tanks. Offhand, I believe it's 20 grade. Another tank has BDBM. I forget the grade, but it's finer than the PFS. I've never used play sand, but after rinsing both of our substrates until I thought they were clean and then rinsing them some more, I've never had any issues with either clouding tanks. I will say that the slightly larger grade PFS is a bit more user friendly in my experience regarding maintenance.

BTW, Utah rules! When I win the Powerball, I'm moving the whole family to Utah. Probably down by St. George area.
 

Byron

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There is not much difference between "light" and "dark" when you come right down to it. The problem is avoiding pure white (which does have a negative impact on fish) and in some cases pure black is not that good. But let nature be your guide. Most sand substrates are the buff/grey mixes. Some streambeds in SE Asia have reddish clay. Most tropical substrates are littered with dead leaves (dark brown), chunks of wood (dark brown to black), with or without plants (dark green)--this suggests a "dark" substrate is what fish "expect."

The light over the tank is the usual source of trouble here. Most natural waterways in the tropics are shaded, and fish occur in such watercourses. Overhead light is rarely direct sun, and if it is then floating plants usually occur. So the fish are not in environments where light is being reflected up off a light-tone substrate. And that is why we suggest "dark" substrates. And floating plants help too.
 

utahfish

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I have AquaQuartz PFS in two of our tanks. Offhand, I believe it's 20 grade. Another tank has BDBM. I forget the grade, but it's finer than the PFS. I've never used play sand, but after rinsing both of our substrates until I thought they were clean and then rinsing them some more, I've never had any issues with either clouding tanks. I will say that the slightly larger grade PFS is a bit more user friendly in my experience regarding maintenance.

BTW, Utah rules! When I win the Powerball, I'm moving the whole family to Utah. Probably down by St. George area.
St. George is nice. Gets super hot in the summer, regularly above 100 degrees but its nice in the winter and cant beat all the red rock national parks and vegas is just a short drive away!
 

BetterWithBettas

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I really like both, I've had black sand substrate which imo looked amazing: nice and "moody" haha. I have also used white sand in my last few builds and this of course is the opposite effect. My one dislike about light, or white substrate in my case, is the poop. Oh man, the poop is crazy apparent!! On the plus though, it makes you do better water changes imo because of the fact you can see it so easily! But for aesthetics, I like a mixed colour/natural sand with browns and varying shades of whites - you get a brighter looking tank without the poop drawing your eye between wcs :)
 
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Barry Tetra

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Any thoughts on discus substrate, light or dark?
 

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Any thoughts on discus substrate, light or dark?
Should be on the dark side, but so long as it is not white you can work with it. The normal buff tone sand is fine, provided overhead lighting is not intense (to cause reflected light). I have seen discus in tanks with white sand and they were always "washed out" and that means under stress from the bright substrate.
 
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