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Substrate study (coming soon)

All this talk about kitty litter has finally got me to speak 
up...Hopefully I'm not letting the cat-out-the-bag (sorry Dave!), but I 
did a pretty extensive physical and chemical study of various 
substrates for Dave's Planted Aquarium Magazine. It's reportedly 
due out in the second issue (hopefully coming soon) and it should 
help clear up a lot of questions in the substrate department. 
The various substrates tested were: AquaTerra, CaribSea laterite, 
Dupralit G, Flourite, WalMart Special kitty litter, Natural River 
Rock, Onyx gravel, Hartz pH5 litter, First Layer Pure laterite, 
Profile, Sand, Substrate Gold, Terralit, Tetra Initial Sticks, Turface, 
Turface Black, Greensand, 2 brands of redart clay, and 
soils/topsoils/subsoils/laterites from South Carolina; Toronto, 
Canada; Finland; Yolo County, CA; and India.

The various parameters tested: pH; CEC; Total Al, Ba, Ca, Co, Cr, 
Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Ni, V, and Zn; an explanation of the different 
properties of each (size, color, physical properties, etc.) and the 
make-up of the the various substrates (zeolite, laterite, calcined 
clays, etc.)

All analyses were performed by me within a weeks time on the 
same equipment, using the same procedures. This helps get 
around the problems of different analysts performing slightly 
different methods and then trying to compare a bunch of data that 
is not the same. One analyst and one method is always best for 
comparing as many samples as were listed above. I was quite 
surprised at some of the conclusions I saw and I know a lot of you 
folks will definitely benefit from the data, at least to settle some 
lingering doubts. 

And, BTW, the kitty litter is a good substrate choice, growing wise.

Jamie    <"\\\><