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Re: more red clay stuff

Thanks, Wright and Onis, for clarifying some of this red-clay

OK, I guess I stand corrected on the iron test.  I just called
LaMotte and was told that their iron test won't detect iron
oxides even with clay particulate in the test water.  But I *do*
remember reading what George Booth had to say about the initial
stages of one of his tanks (I think it was the SST).  He said
they had noted early elevated iron levels, and had attributed it
to the Dupla laterite.  Could it be that Dupla laterite is really
loaded with iron oxides, and enough dissolved to register on the
iron test?  Gee, will any red clay do this?

I still have some questions on clay in general for anyone who has
any thoughts on the subject.  Wright wrote:

>For those who test art clay by stirring it in water and seeing
>if it all settles, good luck. If the clay is any good at all,
>it won't!

1.  If it doesn't settle well in a jar of water, won't it make a
mess in the aquarium?  George posted recently about reports of a
potential bad batch of Dupla laterite clouding the water.  And I
understand that AP laterite does that, as well.  Or does *good*
stuff just kinda get stuck to itself and to grains of gravel, and
therefore is not very mobile?

2.  Why won't the clay settle if it is any good?  Is this from a
CEC point of view?  I did a shake test on generic all-natural
kitty litter (Grand Union brand), and found that the stuff
settled within minutes, and the water became clear.  So would
that imply that kitty litter is no good (my apologies in advance
to Dan Q.)?  Is it the particle size that's so important?  I've
done rudimentary shake tests on various topsoils, as well, and
they typically settle much faster than my 100% clay samples did,
even when they have a noticeable clay content.  So I wonder what
this means for using topsoil in aquariums.  Obviously, a high-CEC
substrate alone isn't enough, because, according to Jim Kelly,
pure vermiculite doesn't work very well, but vermiculite mixed
with topsoil that is high in fine clay particles works wonders. 
What's the magic -- small particles with *reasonable* CEC coupled
with high iron content?

>the only turbidity I have ever seen from them is when I rip up
>the substrate. Even then, it's not too bad. Nothing the filter
>can't handle.

I've read on the APD someplace where people have had nasty
cloudiness problems, and have had to diatom the mess out.  It's
interesting that you haven't had any problems.

Rick in rainy Connecticut, where warm weather is loooong overdue.