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Kitty Litter Brigade
Fluorite, laterite, peat, pumice, KITTY LITTER, now there's a
substrate I can comment on. First off, Dan Q. if you're reading this,
I hope you get well soon. I set up my tank JUST like Dan suggested in
his website: litter, Osmocote pellets, sand, and water.
Since chemistry is my life, I decided to investigate different
litters. After testing pH's, I narrowed it down to STP Oil-dri and
Special Kitty litter (Wal-Mart brand in red bag - dirt cheap;-)).
Cheap is good, so I went with Special Kitty. The pH of 1 tsp/cup
water, swirled, allowed to settle was 6.5. The same water was
analyzed on my ICP at work. It actually absorbed some Ca, Na, and K
from the water (I ran a blank of tap water for bkg.) It also leached
a little Fe and Al from the litter (0.05ppm). As I can remember, a
small amount of micro nutrients also leached out, but after seeing
the data, I realized that PMDD was a sure needed for good growth.
I cleaned the tank and dumped it in dry. (Dangerous feline invader
alert) I mixed in the Osmocote and added an inch of play sand.
After carefully adding the water and planting, I was ready to see
what happened. That's been 7 months ago. At least twice a month, I
uproot stem plants and replant, and I've moved Apon., crypts, and a
big sword without too much damage. I also added DIY CO2 about a month
into it, I'm not a patient man. She's growing like mad now!
The litter has been doing pretty good. Sometimes a little poof of
litter comes up when I'm playing in there, but it settles right out
and it's not noticable on the sand. It still keeps it's litter shape
when wet, but will gradually break down to silt when the corys give
it a good once-over. My pH is stable and my nutrient levels are good,
so I have no complaints. I was wanting to try some Fluroite, but I'll
have to convince the wife that 4 large aquariums are an asset, not a
hinderance or money-pit.<g>
I was embarrassed to ask for aquarium substrate for Valentines Day.
Jamie Johnson "Keep your eyes on the stars
Chemist-Trace Metals and your feet on the ground"
Davis & Floyd, Inc. -Theodore Roosevelt
jjohnson at davisfloyd_com