[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Laterite

On Fri, 5 Feb 1999, Richard Sexton wrote:

> Ok, so whats the deal with this stuff? Is red potters clay good enough ?
> is kitty litter as good ? Does the brand of laterite make any difference ?

I remember long discussions comparing the relative merits of different
brands of laterite.  I've never used any of them, but I think the upshot
was that they aren't all the same; some people reported tenacious
red-water problems with non-dupla laterite.  I've had reasonable success
mixing small amounts of kitty litter in the lower part of a substrate, and
some spectacular localized effects from pushing it into a gravel substrate
near an Echinodorus amazonicus.  I haven't tried red art clay but I
suspect it would give better results than kitty litter, but would be much
more difficult to work with.

> The Dupla stuff was supposed to be from Malaysia as far as I know, will
> laterite from other countrues work ?

George Booth keeps repeating that it's from Sri Lanka.  I think he forgot
his other mantras, so he fell back on that one.

Laterite is fairly common in tropical zones so I see no reason why other
sources wouldn't work.  It wouldn't be quite as easy as ringing up Jaime
and having him dig some dirt out of his back yard in Honduras.  It sounds
like the material would have to be unusually high in iron (for laterite,
which is usually mostly aluminum minerals) and will need some
processing before it's useful.

> Is it feasable ship a great whack of the stuff (a few hundred pounds, say)
> to North America and then divide is up and send out small packages of it
> to needy poeple ? How much processing and of what kind does it need.

Laterite can be found in Central and South America; years ago I saw
samples of a laterite "rock" that an acquaintance brought back from
Guatamala where he'd been building wells for Indian villages in the
jungle.  It was quite red, but in the absence of an analysis, I'd guess
it's a lot of aluminum with just enough iron to give the color.  There
might even be sources in relatively import/export friendly Mexico.

There's even a laterite, or laterite-like soil, in Arkansas.  I believe
that its quite high in aluminum.  Maybe there are high-iron occurances in
the same area.

At a minimum, the stuff would have to be cleaned, probably crushed and
sieved, and dried.  Import/export regulations could put severe limitations
on shipping the stuff.  Also, if you're looking for raw material, then you
will need to specify (at least) composition, texture and moisture content
and quantity in considerable detail.

A friend of mine is an exploration geologist, who when last I checked was
looking for more things to explore for.  He was working in Costa Rica and
Honduras at the time and I think I might be able to get in touch with him.
O'course, he'd probably only help if there were $US to be made in the
deal, but he might know of someone who's already quarrying the stuff.

All in all, I suspect that aquarist's would be better off buying brands of
laterite that are already on the aquarium market.

Roger Miller