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Profile Aquatic Plant Soil (arcillite)

Hello Tom and everyone--

Tom, the results you've reported are very encouraging. I've been very 
curious about the product, but haven't had a chance to really tinker 
with it as school has begun again and I've been quite busy. I'm in the 
process of setting up an 80 gallon and have been considering substrate 
materials. The arcillite is something that really interests me as one 
possibility, perhaps mixed in with laterite and topped gravel. My 
original intentions for doing this were to hopefully increase the CEC of 
the lower layers. I would think that laterite mixed with arcillite would 
yield a greater CEC than laterite mixed w/plain gravel.  

Someone mentioned in an earlier post that the product was a red clay 
that was ground to a sand like texture--I've purchased a bag to test 
with and it has a grey/beige tint to it. I don't know whether the 
product contains iron in any useable amount, but my feeling is that it 
doesn't, or it would say so on the bag. The label states that it is "not 
a chemical or fertilizer, is not toxic, and has no effect on pH." 
Indeed, it seems to be quite inert. 

The literature on the bag seems to suggest that it has a good CEC 
("stores and exchanges nutrients for aquatic plants"). On the back of 
the bag the company elaborates some, going onto say among other things, 
that "each particle contains thousands of internal 
and external pore spaces that will hold water and nutrients..." and 
further on, "Profile Aquatic Plant Soil, with its unique mineral base 
and permanent structure, actually holds on to precious plant nutrients 
and exchanges them directly with plant roots, increasing
the efficiency and benefits of your plant fertilizers."

So far I've found that the arcillite does not float, causes minimal 
cloudiness (and settles relatively quickly), and does not affect total 
hardness or pH levels. I spoke to someone who claimed that the product 
increased total hardness, but again I haven't found 
this to be the case. If the product truly affected this individual's 
water in such a way, the only thing I can think of is that perhaps the 
clay used for the product is mined in different areas, and therefore may 
be of varying constitution depending on where you are in the U.S. I 
suppose this is along the same lines as the kitty litter brand 
comparisons and their mining sites, and the related pH fluctuations 
resulting thereof...just a theory. I hope that came out sounding the way 
I intended it to. 

Sorry for that long-winded post. On a lighter note, I'm glad that you're 
interested in this stuff Dave. I remember mentioning it to you during 
the SFBAAPS meeting and getting a weird response in return, hehe. :-) 

Erik Leung in San Francisco, awaiting a storm...

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