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Home-Made Laterite

My tank is 15 gallon, three months old, overstocked with fish and I've been through the Newbie Algae Explosion, a couple of Ich Plagues and the Great Plant Die-Off.  

A good selection of (expensive) plants was pushed into the gravel and left to their own devices, and the new uncycled tank liberally dosed with FloraCare Plant-Gro 
on the advice of the LFS expert.  Boy I wish I'd known about this list before I started...

There's a piece of mangrove root soaking in a bucket out the back, that should be ready to roll next weekend and I'll put my anubias sp. and java moss on that, and 
use it to hide the filter uptake and heater.

I'll also take the opportunity to rebuild the tank with proper substrate and fertiliser, put in a CO2 yeastburner and lay the tank out better.  Hope the fish can put up with 
living in a trash can for a day.

I'm going with the clay marbles idea due to the non-availability of laterite where I live.  I can get some terracotta clay, I've got some Osmocote and vermiculite, and I'm 
swallowing hard and thinking about spending $15 on a 500g pack of chelated iron even though I probably only need a teaspoonful.

The chelated iron is by Yates, contains 12.0% iron as Iron Sodium Ethylene Diamine Tetra Acetic Acid (na Fe ADTA).  I presume this is the same as EDTA 
previously mentioned on the list, and is in powder form.

My questions to the list are:
  - how much/little iron should be added?
  - do I knead it thoroughly into the clay, or
  - do I make a little ball and put it in the middle?
  - do I put a couple of pellets of Osmocote in there?

Reading the archives seems to indicate rolling the clay into 1/2" diameter sausages and chopping them into 1/2" lengths, and then spacing the hardened slugs 
every 2 inches through the substrate should be about right.  Anyone got any comments on that?

For the vermiculite:
  - is it necessary if I've got clay slugs?
  - do I mix it throughout the lower substrate?

The bag I've got is rather fine (around 1mm diameter).  Are there problems with it coming out of the substrate and floating or going into the filter?

Also regarding the Osmocote:
  - do you sprinkle some in the lower substrate? 
  - how much?
  - do I wrap the root balls in filter wool, and put pellets in with each root ball?
  - how much?

So many questions, but I love nice aquaria and I'm determined to make mine a good one.

Thanks in advance, 

Charlie Lear
Melbourne, Australia