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Re: [APD] Mixing Flourite and Gravel

This method works, has all the basics for rinsing, but it
is way more work than one needs to go through if one
applies ti to all the Fourite you plan to use.

Some fellows from Texas found that using a plastic mesh
storage container worked well for rinse large amounts or
Flourite quickly. I just use a kitchen collander; it takes
more batches but each batch rinses more quicker. 

However you do it, if you do much stirring of the material
during or after the rinsing, you will generate more dust.
So, my advice is, don't go crazy with the rinsing if you're
going to be stirring during or after the rinsing -- it's a
bit like trying to vacuum a carpet while wearing muddy
shoes ;-) .

Scott H.
--- "auntie_fran at netzero.net" <auntie_fran at netzero.net>

> I've mixed Fluorite and gravel by washing the Fluorite
> first, letting it dry thoroughly and then mixing it 50/50
> (by weight).  I used to have the web site that gave
> detailed instructions on washing the fluorite (complete
> with illustrations), but I think you can get the idea
> from the description that I had saved in Word:
> How to Wash FLUORITE
> The Perfect Plant Substrate
> You know, I wouldn't have thought there was an article in
> this subject, but I see so many questions about it on the
> boards I thought maybe it was something that needed to be
> addressed. We are talking about SeaChem's Fluorite, a
> fracted clay material that is just about the perfect
> substrate for growing plants--at least in my humble
> opinion. It's the right size, it's loaded with iron and
> other trace elements to feed the plants' roots, it won't
> affect the ph or hardness of your water, and it's even
> pretty! How can you beat that? The only complaint I ever
> hear about it, aside from the cost--and I hear it all the
> time--is how messy it is when you wash it and how badly
> it clouds your tank. Well, it doesn't have to be that
> way--it's not that way for me--and I thought I would
> share my methods in the hope it will help alleviate
> someone' else's frustration.
> So why use Fluorite? What's wrong with plain old gravel?
> Well--nothing, really, except plain old gravel is just
> that; it's inert, and it offers nothing extra to help
> your plants grow. If you use plain old gravel, you'll
> find that you need to use substrate fertilizers to give
> your plants a boost. It's more than that,
> though--Fluorite is the best rooting medium for plants
> I've ever come across. It's the perfect size, and it's
> lighter in weight than regular gravel and doesn't compact
> as easily, and that together with the nutrients it
> provides encourages roots to grow like nothing else I've
> ever tried. Yes, it costs more than gravel does, but
> think of it as an investment in good plant growth--and a
> way to protect your investment in all those plants you're
> going to be buying! Keep in mind that Fluorite occupies
> more mass than an equal weight of gravel does, so you
> don't need quite as much; a 15 pound bag is more than
> enough for a 10 gallon tank, you'll have some left over.
> About !
>  one pound of Fluorite per gallon will give you plenty of
> substrate; you'll have to buy half again as many pounds
> of gravel. You can reduce the cost considerably by mixing
> it with small gravel, up to about 50-50. That's what I
> prefer to do, and I feel my results have been just as
> good with a mixture as they have been with a 100%
> Fluorite substrate. How much you want to use is for you
> to decide.
> So, you've decided you want to use Fluorite to give your
> plants the best possible medium to grow in. Great! Now
> what? Without further ado, here's how you can get it from
> the bag to your tank with a minimum of effort for you and
> cloudiness for your tank.
>  <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns =
> "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
> STEP 1 
> Note tomato plants. If you're going to wash Fluorite, you
> might as well do it someplace where all that nice water
> and Fluorite dust will do some good. I use the heavy duty
> disposable aluminum pans and split a bag between two of
> them, and then place them in my garden or anyplace else
> that needs a good soaking. Grab your hose (preferably one
> with a high pressure nozzle) and prepare to blast away.
> Turn on the water, and spray with the hose until the pan
> overflows; keep spraying as the yucky stuff floats out of
> the pan--a minute or two is plenty.
> STEP 2 
> Here's what it looks like after the initial rinsing. Huh?
> What Fluorite? All I see is a pan of mud! Now, now, be
> patient--we're not finished! Pour off as much of the
> muddy water as you can without dumping out the Fluorite
> along with it.
> STEP 3 
> Now rinse again with the hose until the pan overflows,
> another minute or two. At right is the pan after the
> second rinse. Surprise, you can see the Fluorite! If
> you're really compulsive, you can do it a few more times
> until the water is clearer, but if you can see the
> Fluorite in the pan through the water, you're pretty much
> done. Keep in mind that the more you wash it, the more
> you abrade it, and the more stuff it will let go of. This
> is counterproductive. Not only won't it EVER be
> completely clear, you're eating away at that expensive
> substrate you just bought. You want it to leach out that
> stuff in your tank, not in the aluminum pan in the
> garden!
> STEP 4 
> I guess it would have made more sense if I had taken a
> picture of the Fluorite IN the colander, but hopefully
> you'll get the idea. Anyway--pour as much of the water
> off the Fluorite as you can without dumping the Fluorite
> (I keep mentioning that because if you DO dump it,
> there's your expensive substrate either in the garden or
> the lawn. Go ahead, try and pick it up. Now try and pick
> it up without picking up a whole handful of crud you
> don't want in your tank.) Pour the Fluorite into the
> colander. Any colander will do. I have no objection to
> doing Fluorite one day and pasta the next (you CAN wash
> the thing out, you know), but if you're pickier than I
> am, you can either get a colander strictly for aquarium
> use or just use an old one. Grab your trusty hose, and
> blast away (don't fill the colander TOO full, or you're
> back to trying to pick the Fluorite out of the lawn
> again) for a minute or so. If you've gotten this far and
> have spent more than ten minutes doing it, you've spen!
>  t WAY too much time rinsing.
> If you skip this step, you might as well forget all the
> other ones, and I wash my hands of you AND your Fluorite.
> Shake as much water as you can out of the Fluorite while
> it's in the colander, spread a garage towel (come on,
> EVERYBODY has garage towels) on a nice sunny spot, and
> then spread the Fluorite out on the towel. LET DRY!!! If
> you want to speed the process along, once it's dry on
> top, grab another garage towel and spread it out; then
> pick up the Fluorite in the towel. Just use the edges to
> slide it to the middle, grab all four corners and lift;
> you won't lose a piece, I promise. then spread it out on
> the dry towel, and it will be dry in no time. I usually
> leave it out there for half an hour or so and go do
> something else in the meantime. Once it's dry, pick it up
> in the towel again and put towel and all in a five gallon
> bucket, and then just carefully remove the towel. VOILA!!
> It's ready to go in the tank.
> STEP 6 
> Once the Fluorite is in your tank, the way you add the
> water will make a big difference too. Find a good sized
> bowl that's not too deep, and weigh down your hose so the
> water flows into the bowl; turn on the water and fill
> slowly. Just let the water overflow the bowl to fill the
> tank. Once the bowl is under a few inches of water, you
> can just let the water flow in, but keep the hose nozzle
> under the surface. The tank at right is a 120 gallon
> which is still filling; looks pretty clear, doesn't it? I
> promise you that if you add your fluorite (or ANY
> substrate, for that matter) to the tank dry, you will
> have virtually no cloudiness at all from the substrate
> material.
> Obviously this method works a lot better if you choose to
> do it on a sunny day with the air temperature somewhere
> above freezing. I'll grant you that if you happen to be
> setting up your tank in Manitoba in January, you may have
> to improvise, but it is entirely possible to do this
> whole thing inside in the bathtub if you have to--in
> fact, it will keep those annoying little pieces of gravel
> from winding up down the drain as long as you don't get
> carried away with the hose. Just be sure to keep the dog
> out of whatever room you've spread the fluorite out to
> dry in. 
> The payoff is a nice clear tank right from the get-go (do
> people still say that? Lately I've had the feeling that
> I'm losing touch with pop culture). This is the 120
> gallon, three days after setup and first planting:
> It's not crystal clear yet, but that's not the fault of
> the Fluorite. No planted tank is going to be crystal
> clear in three days, biological stuff has to happen
> first--but it doesn't have to be cloudy either. This is
> what the tank looked like after six weeks:
> Told you the Fluorite was good stuff.
> Growing old is inevitable; growing up is optional.
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> Aquatic-Plants at actwin_com
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