Laterite/vermiculite mix

> From: Miles Morrissey <mmorriss at sophia_smith.edu>
> Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 15:13:46 -0400 (EDT)
>                         First off, in reading the instructions that
> came with the 500g of Duplarit G I am confused about what to do with
> the 10 Duplaplant tablets.  Do I push them into the gravel? Dissolve
> them in the aquarium water itself or are they anti-anxiety pills that
> I shoud injest to calm myself?

There are some blue-ish "root starter tablets" in the package.  Crush
them into powder and mix those with the laterite you add to the gravel
(remember - only the lower 1/3 of the gravel).  The other tablets can
be placed on top of the gravel or in your filter so they can dissolve
in the aquarium water.  

> 	Secondly, After reading Jim Kelly's soil and vermiculite posts
> and more recently his article in the last TAG on soil characteristics,
> I am thinking of mixing the laterite I have with vermiculite.  My
> theory is that this mixture will have an increased cation exchange
> capacity than laterite alone.  What are peoples thoughts?  A
> discussion of pro's and con's would be appreciated.

No one (to my knowledge) has determined how much CEC is really needed.
Nothing I've seen indicates "more is better".  There's not much to
discuss (even though it has been discussed to death) until someone can
determine just how much CEC is needed for which plants or which

Based on the tremendous growth we get with laterite alone, I don't see
any reason to add anything else.

Of course, it probably won't do any damage so go ahead and add it if
it makes you feel better.  I think someone once pointed out that
vermiculite in the gravel will keep elephants out of your tank which
is good because elephants can *really* do a lot of damage stomping
around in there.  He offered as proof the fact that he is using
vermiculite and there have been no elephants in his tank. QED.


Bummer that I won't see responses to that for a week - I'm on
vacation :-)