Re: "other" laterite substrates

> From: Stephen.Pushak at hcsd_hac.com
> 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.

Then we newbies would love to hear from you. I am convinced laterite 
works because I've read about other people's success stories over a long 
> > 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
> though.

Hah? Just when I though I am beginning to understand this hobby, someone 
throws a wrench into the whole thing :). Dupla's laterite is somehow 
special? I thought they just collect that stuff from Australia or 
somewhere and just package it for retail sale. I am using aqualine 
buschke's laterite "cones", and they certainly appear to break down into 
a powdery deposit within the gravel mix after a while.

As for the type of laterite used by the potters, I can only refer to 
Earl's postings. He implied that the stuff is equivalent to Duplarit, and 
produced amazing growth in his 230 gal tank. I don't believe he "fired" 
or did anything special to the laterite before added to the bottom 1/3 of 
the substrate. Earl may wish to clarify.

> From: gomberg at wcf_com (Dave Gomberg)
> John, I appreciate your desire to insulate newcomers from experimentation, but
> if you use a ugf, it is not clear what would  happen if you threw in a handful
> of laterite.  My guess is that you would have to tear the tank down and start
> over.  Dave

Dave, I use aqualine buschke's "laterite" but I do not use UGF. I'd guess 
that if you mix the laterite, even the powdery stuff with gravel in the 
bottom 1/3 of the substrate, you would get minimal problem even with UGF. 
I think the Booths use laterite and UGF in at least one of their tanks. 
Earl Hamilton used a "ton" of potters' laterite with an UGF, and reported 
that the initial cloudyness went away after a couple of weeks.

- John