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Re: kitty litter substrate

Roger miller wrote: <snip>
> When Dan Q. originated the kitty litter substrate idea I thought his
> intent was that a small amount of litter should be mixed (along with
> Osmocote pellets) into the bottom layer a sand or gravel substrate.  I
> don't have his original article anymore, so I can't check what he actually
> wrote.  I don't know where the idea came from to build substrates with
> solid beds of kitty litter. Several people have tried it; have any
> experienced long term success with it?
Dan's concept was 1.5 inches of kitty litter, topped with 1.5 inches of
sand. Osmocote was mixed into the kitty litter. I had a 29 gallon with
kitty litter and medium grit concrete sand, that ran for over 3 years. I
never liked the way it looked, or the mess, and replaced it with Turface
last year. I used DIY CO2, the occasional Jobes spike, and potassium
chloride added weekly. Never found a plant that wouldn't grow in it. The
kitty litter was a non clumping store brand sold by the Food Lion chain.
I played around with the lighting quite a bit, from a low of 2
watts/gallon, to a high of 5 watts. Well water parameters: kh 5, gh 7,
ph out of the tap at 7.4, reduced to 7.0 with CO2. No heater, temp.
fluctuated from low 70's to mid 80's (I'm in Florida). No liquid iron,
or any other liquid fertilizer, with the exception of the potassium, was
ever added to the water column. I also have a fish less 10 gallon that
still has kitty litter. No filter, no powerhead, no CO2. It sits on a
counter and is lighted by a shop light approximately 15" above it. All
it ever gets is a weekly 25% water change, and the very seldom added
Jobes spike. Plants grow very slowly, but they do grow. Dwarf Sag is
steadily taking over. Again, the only things I didn't like about it was
the appearance, and the mess when plants were uprooted. If it wasn't for
that, I'd still be using it on all of my tanks. I have some lousy scans
of the 29 if you'd be interested in seeing it.

Augie Eppler
Green Cove Springs, Fl