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Re: Bioplast TerraMineral, Nitrate, Algae and Laterite

>>I'm now considering striping out the tank and starting again, this time
with Laterite. Has anyone seen Laterite pushing up Nitrate levels? Also,
Laterite is often described as acting as a mineral depot, storing minerals
until needed. Will it hold Nitrate?<<

I don't know that anyone really knows what exactly is in Terramineral,
Bioplast doesn't release an analysys, and unless you speak german,
communication with them is dificult. I would be very surprised however if it
contained any nitrogen. Most of these substrate materials are made of some
kind of clay material and may be fortified with trace minerals.

Laterite is either a lateric soil or clay soil. It mainly provides iron. It
may depending on the brand be supplimented with other minerals. Laterite has
fairly high cation exchange capacity. Cations are positively charged ions. A
media such as laterite can absorb positive ions and hold them for plant
uptake. Examples are calcium (Ca2+) > magnesium (Mg2+)  potassium (K+) >
ammonium (NH4+), and sodium (Na+). Micronutrients which also are adsorbed to
media particles include iron (Fe2+ and Fe3+), manganese (Mn2+), zinc (Zn2+),
and copper (Cu2+). The cations bind loosely to negatively charged sites on
media particles.

Anion exchange capacity is the collection of negatively charged ions which
include nitrate (NO3-), chloride (Cl-), sulphate (SO4-), and phosphate
(H2PO4). This can leech back out into the water, but the Anion capacity of
most media is very low.

To answer your question, laterite and clay additives, and clay gravel most
likely do not contain nitrate or any form of nitrogen, and their capacity to
absorb nitrate from the water and then release it back into the water is
very low if at all.

Robert Paul Hudson