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[APD] Re: Flourite vs soil

>>Fluorite is NOT clay.  It may have been once but it isn't clay anymore.
A clay is a soft thin platy mineral.  If it is hard it's been altered and is
something else.<<

LOL... this is a joke right? You are not really quibbling over such
symantics are you? Flourite is baked clay. Not soil. not anything else, pure
clay. I guess my pottery is not made out of clay but "something else! "

A few years back I interviewed Greg Morin for my WEB site.  It has been a
little while, but is still just as relevant now as then, after all Flourite
hasn't changed any other than the color.  Here is the interview:

What exactly is Flourite made of? What type of clay?
All I can say is that it is a naturally mined clay (i.e. it is not

What is the significance of "fracted"?
Basically a fancy way of saying the clay has been shattered or broken into
many small pieces of suitable size for a planted tank.

Does it provide a source of Fe? In what form?
Yes. Ferric mainly.

Does it need a chelator?

No, the plants roots are able to extract all the iron they need directly
from the Flourite (just as they would extract from the soil out in the
"real" world).

Does it provide any other trace elements?
I'm sure there are some, but we haven't had it analyzed for the main reason
being that the report would not tell us if said element was in a useable
form or not, thus we wouldn't want to supply misleading information (i.e.
source of X, when in fact the plant get at the X even though it is there).
We know it can extract the iron based on a simple qualitative test e.g.
plants simply do incredbly well when planted in Flourite. I know that sounds
like hype, but in this case it is just simply true... plants that were doing
so-so or dying, when switched to Flourite simply take off. Anyway... the
proof is in the pudding . You'll just have to try it for yourself to become
a "true believer".

What benefits does it have over laterite?
1. Will not crumble and fall apart leaving a muddy mess in your tank
2. Completely obviates the need for laterite as it does what laterite does
(provides iron) and what a good gravel does (a place for roots to grow and
looks really nice).

How long does its available iron last? Should it be replaced after a given
period of time? Is it considered inert?
The iron should last for years. It's been on the market for about a year and
half now and we have tanks that have never had their Flourite replaced and
they are still doing great. It is considered inert, i.e. none of it will
dissolve into the water column... it is for the roots only.
In general, what benefits, or what makes this product attractive to the
The main benefit is the simplicity of it. You can use just Flourite as your
gravel and really don't "need" to use any other iron supplements. Flourite
will provide a good solid base of good growth. Supplements will only enhance
on top of what Flourite already provides; the choice to add them is optional
depending on personal taste and preference. Flourite also provides somewhat
of a safety net, i.e. if the hobbyist forgets to add their iron supplement
for a few days (or goes on vacation), the Flourite will carry the plants on
through and keep them from dying (which could have happened if Flourite were
not in use and all supplements were suspended).
Gregory Morin, Ph.D

Greg's title back then was Research Director, now he is the CEO.

So, as you can see, by his words, Flourite is pure clay.  Clay provides iron
and very little else as far as minerals go. Same goes for laterite, high
concentrations of iron. Is iron that important? People used to think so.

Soil on the other hand can be full of trace minerals, and organics that
provide nitrogen. Top soils and potting soils are very high in organics
usually in the form of manure, compost, worm castings and such.   What is
often called "Sub soil" the layer of soil under the leaf liltter has less

Using large amounts of top soil can be dangerous in an aquarium because the
decaying organics can cause problems. Diana Walstad does appear to favor
using top soils without being concerned of that fact. That is what she talks
about in my forum.  However, I presume she limits it to small amounts under
a layer of gravel, but I have never discussed this with her so you would be
better off aasking her directly.

A large number of people use soil substrates whether they follow Diana's
methodology or not., but most of these people are not interested in fancy
aquascapes and for the most part when they plant a plant, the plant stays
planted and is not moved. You want a soil substrate as least disturbed as

Best regards

Robert Hudson

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