Re: "other" laterite substrates

> From: "John Y. Ching" <jyching at watnow_uwaterloo.ca>
> That being said, I encourage the proponents of vermiculite to continue 
> your experimentation and research and keep us informed of your results. 
> Until you have sustained success over, say 2-3 years, I think it is 
> unfair to recommand vermiculite as a "better" substrate than laterite to 
> a newbie.

I think there are a number of people using vermiculite for over 2 years.
Jim Kelly for one and I'm pretty sure he's still lurking on this list.

> Anyway, I just want to add my .02 to the "holy war" :), and make it clear 
> to people just starting out that if you are confused about what substrate
> to use for your first plant tank, laterite is a less risky bet than 
> vermiculite, especially if you follow Earl's suggestion to obtain cheap 
> laterite by the pound.

Oh-NO!! That's the point of the discussion here. Duplarit-G is granules;
that's why it doesn't impede circulation. Even if you made pottery clay
into granules and dried and baked it, it would very rapidly revert to
the powder form in the substrate. If you kiln fired it, it would change
it's chemical properties and it definitely would not contain the porosity
of lava originated crushed rock. IMHO, using large amounts of this stuff
would produce a very dense substrate. For beginners not concerned overly
with the cost I would recommend the "Optimum Aquarium" method which
is designed to easily reproduce good results. If you want to save money
on laterite and heating coils, I would recommend vermiculite in the bottom
layer and a top layer of plain #1-3 gravel. I consider the use of peat
and soil mixtures the experimental stuff. An acceptable alternative to
Duplarit at the high end is Terralit. The stuff is incredibly expensive

BTW has anyone heard of a new trace nutrient fertilizer for aquatic plants
which is highly concentrated and can treat several thousand gallons of
tank water? I think the name is "Flourish" and the cost was about $10.
It was carried by Aquarium Services here in Vancouver.