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Kitty litter and Osmocote (was: Plant meltdown)

Olga Betts wrote:

>>Three days ago I decide to re-fit my 29 gallon tank into an environment
>>more suitable for plants. Right now it's something like this:
>>- - 1.5" of natural clay (kitty litter) mixed with some Osmocote pellets.
>You say "natural clay (kitty litter)". How do you know that the kitty
>litter is "natural clay"? Are you sure you know what is in it? I am

I have no way of knowing it 100% sure, but it claims to be "natural 
kitty litter" on the bag. It doesn't have any deodorizing products,
and it even recommends it for the barbeque grill (so I doubt it will
have poisonous substances). I did some PH tests it only modified
the water about -0.1. Besides, I had a 10 gallon experimental tank
setup with it, and it did fine considering it didn't have great lighting
and no CO2 injection at all.

>>I was hoping this was going to be IT and be my most successful tank
>>so far since it seemed to have all the requirements for good development.
>I'm surprized (if you have been gathering information from this list) that
>you would go for kitty litter with Osmocote pellets as a tank that was
>going to be "IT." I think that gravel with laterite, Paul K's soil soup or
>just plain gravel with plant tablet fertilizer would have been a better
>bet. I hope your tank recovers.

Two main reasons: I'm in the middle of nowhere, so there are no good 
sources of laterite around here. And I'm on a student budget, for
both money and time. I really cannot afford a lot of money on laterite,
or the time to make Paul's soil soup. Maybe that will be the next step
some other time.

By the way, the plant meltdown seemed to have been caused by a malfunction
of the heater. I woke up the next morning to find the tank at 85F (ouch!),
so I imagine that's what happened and I didn't detect it earlier.

llopis at zonker_ecs.umass.edu