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Thread: Cat litter substrate?

  1. #21
    Moderator 2000 posts, Star SCAPEr Nick Shades's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post
    My sentiments exactly. In another video, he also speaks of a study where aquatic plants were studied in tanks with and without plenums and was saying the plants in tanks with plenums did much better because the roots were unimpeded by anoxic zones within the substrate. I think it's at least worth a try, worst case, it's a bust on a small tank and won't be too hard to break down or convert.
    I am thinking that a very interesting, hypothetical, implement would be to make a circulation pathway with a powerhead beneath it, and make a powerhead circulate the otherwise anaerobic area beneath it, and then have a drop in port for dosing fertilizers directly into it.

    An emersed hydroponics, if you will.

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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr varanidguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Shades View Post
    I am thinking that a very interesting, hypothetical, implement would be to make a circulation pathway with a powerhead beneath it, and make a powerhead circulate the otherwise anaerobic area beneath it, and then have a drop in port for dosing fertilizers directly into it.

    An emersed hydroponics, if you will.
    That would be very interesting indeed. With a design like that, I'd want a very very mild powerhead or pump, so the water circulates slowly, and rather than laterite, maybe use some Safety Absorb for the really high CEC. That way it'll absorb most nutrients to make them available to the roots long term rather than in the water column. It could reduce the need for water changes.

  3. #23
    Moderator 2000 posts, Star SCAPEr Nick Shades's Avatar
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    Know any patent attorneys?

    I need a retirement program.

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk

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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr varanidguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Shades View Post
    Know any patent attorneys?

    I need a retirement program.

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk
    hahahaha Ironically, yes.

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    SCAPE Member Jr. SCAPEr kqchung's Avatar
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    Quick question is this safe to use? Plan on redoing my substrate.

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Special-K...25-lb/10293705

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    Moderator 2000 posts, Star SCAPEr Nick Shades's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kqchung View Post
    Quick question is this safe to use? Plan on redoing my substrate.

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Special-K...25-lb/10293705
    That is not the bag that i usually get. But it does say 100% natural clay, and i have purchased a similar looking bag of it before.

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    SCAPE Member Jr. SCAPEr kqchung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Shades View Post
    That is not the bag that i usually get. But it does say 100% natural clay, and i have purchased a similar looking bag of it before.
    Which one do you normally get?

  8. #28
    Moderator 2000 posts, Star SCAPEr Nick Shades's Avatar
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    It is very possible that they no longer stock it. I need to stop by there to buy hair product, today, so I will try to remind myself to take a picture of what I get if they have it and post it.

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  10. #29
    SCAPE Member SCAPEr jayo's Avatar
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    In addition to kitty litter, other low-cost fired clay substrates include oil absorbers like Safe-T-Sorb, and infield conditioners like Turface.

  11. #30
    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr Seattle_Aquarist's Avatar
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    Hi @ Flighty Zeus

    I have been using calcined (fired) montmorillonite clay substrates for years, both with and without an undergravel filter. I used to use Soilmaster Select Charcoal but it was discontinued. Now I use Safe-t-sorb (Tractor Supply 40#@$6.49). My first tank with Safe-t-sorb (STS) held up 4 years 7 months, when I broke it down the STS was OK with some signs of loss of texture but I would not recommend re-using it.. STS is much harder than Cat Litter, even harder than ADA Amazonia.

    30 gallon with Soilmaster Select Charcoal substrate (10 yrs old) , CO2, Undergravel Filter, EI dosing



    10 gallon with STS substrate, No CO2, HOB filter, EI dosing
    Roy_________Greater Seattle Aquarium Society (GSAS.org)Aquatic Gardeners Association (AGA)
    75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay

  12. #31
    SCAPE Member SCAPEr varanidguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
    Hi @ Flighty Zeus

    I have been using calcined (fired) montmorillonite clay substrates for years, both with and without an undergravel filter. I used to use Soilmaster Select Charcoal but it was discontinued. Now I use Safe-t-sorb (Tractor Supply 40#@$6.49). My first tank with Safe-t-sorb (STS) held up 4 years 7 months, when I broke it down the STS was OK with some signs of loss of texture but I would not recommend re-using it.. STS is much harder than Cat Litter, even harder than ADA Amazonia.

    30 gallon with Soilmaster Select Charcoal substrate (10 yrs old) , CO2, Undergravel Filter, EI dosing



    10 gallon with STS substrate, No CO2, HOB filter, EI dosing
    How well does it grow a dense carpet in your experience?

  13. #32
    Moderator 2000 posts, Star SCAPEr Nick Shades's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kqchung View Post
    Quick question is this safe to use? Plan on redoing my substrate.

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Special-K...25-lb/10293705
    Looks like they changed the packaging. It didn't say it as expressively as it used to, and it used to be had in 50lb bags, but it looks like it might very well be the same.

    IMG_20190402_200231.jpg

  14. #33
    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr Seattle_Aquarist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post
    How well does it grow a dense carpet in your experience?
    Hi @varanidguy

    Here is Marsilea minuta 12/10


    Here it is on 01/04


    And on 01/10


    And on 01/14


    Or if you prefer Hydrocotyle tripartita
    Roy_________Greater Seattle Aquarium Society (GSAS.org)Aquatic Gardeners Association (AGA)
    75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay

  15. #34
    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr SCas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
    Hi @varanidguy

    Here is Marsilea minuta 12/10


    Here it is on 01/04


    And on 01/10


    And on 01/14


    Or if you prefer Hydrocotyle tripartita
    Wow, tempted to try this even more! Would it work as a cap for a dirted tank? That would provide even more nutrients

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr Seattle_Aquarist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCas View Post
    Wow, tempted to try this even more! Would it work as a cap for a dirted tank? That would provide even more nutrients

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    Hi @SCas,

    Yes, it could work as a cap for a dirted tank. It is a little heavier than ADA Amazonia but not as heavy as gravel or BDBS.
    Roy_________Greater Seattle Aquarium Society (GSAS.org)Aquatic Gardeners Association (AGA)
    75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay

  17. #36
    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr SCas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
    Hi @SCas,

    Yes, it could work as a cap for a dirted tank. It is a little heavier than ADA Amazonia but not as heavy as gravel or BDBS.
    It would be like capping it with more nutrients right?

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

  18. #37
    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr Seattle_Aquarist's Avatar
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    Hi @SCas,

    Yes, calcined Montmorillionite clay has a lot of minerals, more importantly it has a high CEC (cation exchange capacity) which allows it to absorb nutrients and make them available to plants in the root zone. Safe-T-Sorb is not as dirty as cat litter, but it is a clay product and will never rise clean when washing. Be aware, all calcined clay products, because they have a high CEC, will 'strip' the carbonates from the water lowering the dKH (also pH) and to some degree the dGH. This effect will last for several weeks to a few months.
    Roy_________Greater Seattle Aquarium Society (GSAS.org)Aquatic Gardeners Association (AGA)
    75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay

  19. #38
    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr SCas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
    Hi @SCas,

    Yes, calcined Montmorillionite clay has a lot of minerals, more importantly it has a high CEC (cation exchange capacity) which allows it to absorb nutrients and make them available to plants in the root zone. Safe-T-Sorb is not as dirty as cat litter, but it is a clay product and will never rise clean when washing. Be aware, all calcined clay products, because they have a high CEC, will 'strip' the carbonates from the water lowering the dKH (also pH) and to some degree the dGH. This effect will last for several weeks to a few months.
    Cool thanks

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

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  21. #39
    SCAPE Member SCAPEr varanidguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
    Hi @varanidguy

    Here is Marsilea minuta 12/10


    Here it is on 01/04


    And on 01/10


    And on 01/14


    Or if you prefer Hydrocotyle tripartita
    Wow that is absolutely beautiful! One other question, have you housed corydoras on this substrate? If so, how do they fare? Your tanks always look really clean and impressive.

  22. #40
    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr Seattle_Aquarist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post
    Wow that is absolutely beautiful! One other question, have you housed corydoras on this substrate? If so, how do they fare? Your tanks always look really clean and impressive.
    Hi @varanidguy,

    Thank you for the kind words.

    I too love Corydoras and keep them in all my tanks (all of which have Montmorillonite clay) except the tank that is a SE Asia biotope (corys are not indigenous). I keep C. sterbai, C. sterbai albino, and C. aeneus.
    Roy_________Greater Seattle Aquarium Society (GSAS.org)Aquatic Gardeners Association (AGA)
    75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay

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