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Re: Substrates & Roger's ?

>Or could it mean that laterite - long touted as a great source of
>substrate iron - is actually completely inadequate?  The same could be
>asked about Flourite, which was also promoted on this list as a high-iron
>substrate material.  And venerable dirt -- usually so sufficient for
>supplying iron to fast growing garden plants; is it also a bust?

I had very good results the flourite and nothing added to the column. Very
happy with the results. No algae, good color, very little nutrient
deficiencies. Stunted growth was present somewhat. Very low maintenance
tank. Feedings only. A trim about once a month or two. Once every 2-3 months
a water change was done.

My problem is with the idea of no water column fertilizers. Bacteria and
fish food will supply some. 

Dirt. I had about a pound of peat and 20 pounds of dirt with a cap of 2
inches of sand. I really liked it from the start. The main problem was the
short small tank which required trimming often. I tend to be messy when I
trim. The dirt gets all over so I was happy to try something else. I wrongly
blamed dirt for adding algae causing agents to my tank at time and  didn't
realize it was more likely me that was doing it when I replanted all the
Same goes for this tank on the fertilizers as above.

>It makes little difference how the water is circulated through the
>substrate.  The plants themselves will induce some water movement.  It can
>be provided mechanically by UGF or RUGF (though this would have to be
>unusually slow to avoid suspending the clay) or maybe even thermally by
>heating cables.

I tried the RFUG on the Kitty litter .....it did quite well. Little algae
and great growth. Replantings were cloudy though. After a couple of hours
things settled down.
I added trace fertilizers to this tank.

>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?

Myself and RFUG's did very well. I had my first very nice hairgrass field
using the 75% kitty litter and about a 25% cap of sand. I had the tank up
for about 18 months. I was quite pleased. I added laterite instead of
pellets to the very bottom. Replantings were like the soil tanks so I nixed

There's no real data except observational on these substrates. If a method
works and keeps working, is simple, doesn't cost much, easy maintenance,
reusable, decent looking, works in a variety of situations, I'll keep using
it. Flourite only seems to fit this but is pricey for most folks. It does
very well overall. Fertilizers added to the column or not is good with it

I tend to think this goes back to issue of balance. Plants seem to like
having access to nutrients in water column and in the soil. Balancing these
two in our small tanks seems to be the best approach to me. Perhaps the same
could be said for Nitrogen and NO3- and NH4+. 
Tom Barr