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Re: kitty litter substrate


While a number of people have written about the success that they have
had with kitty
litter my experience has been mixed.  I have to agree that fundamentally
it is a
great idea for the various reasons discussed in the various postings
recently and in
the KRIB archive.  The one problem that the method does have is the
variability that
exists in kitty litter.  The properties of kitty litter will differ from
brand to brand
and geographic location.

My experience has been as follows.  I have a 29gal tank with 2-3in of
kitty litter
topped with 1.5in of gravel.  In the kitty litter I have some peat mixed
in and some
slow release fertilizer pellets (similar to Osmocote).  The problems
that I have been
having is various nutrient deficiencies.  

Initially it was iron, so I started dosing with PMDD.  Then it was
potassium, increase
the dosing of PMDD.  Now it's Ca, I think that I have a Mg/Ca imbalance
as my leaves
show Ca deficiency but my water is very hard (KH=14  GH=28 and the area
is full of
limestone). The Ca deficiency is only a recent occurrence and my PMDD
formulation has
Mg.  Therefore I suspect that I overdosed with Mg.  Still in the process
of figuring
this one out.

When I started with kitty litter substrate I was hoping not to have any
Though on the positive side I have not seen any serious algae in my
tank.  Just a bit
of green spot on the glass and gravel, and a few strands of staghorn
algae that I
manually remove (id? the algae is brown/black and looks like a root
structure with only
one attachment point).

My other tank specs are, 40W, pH=7.4, CO2 yeast method, NO3 < 10ppm, a
bunch of fish.

Would I use kitty litter again? yes if I could find somebody who has had
success with a
brand that I can get my hands on.  Otherwise the next time I redo the
tank I'm going to
try the vermiculite/dirt substrate discussed by Jim Kelly (in the KRIB