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Cat Litter as Substrate: Technical Debates

Contents:

  1. Kitty litter???
    by iceman/ghgcorp.com (IceMan) (Wed, 21 Jan 1998)
  2. Kitty litter???
    by cbingman/netcom.com (Craig Bingman) (Tue, 27 Jan 1998)
  3. Kitty litter???
    by bae/cs.toronto.edu (Beverly Erlebacher) (27 Jan 98)
  4. Need some advice!
    by Steve Pushak <teban/nospam.powersonic.bc.ca> (Thu, 26 Mar 1998)
  5. laterire, clay litter or both?
    by John Pitney <pitney/uiuc.edu.nospam> (31 Mar 1998)
  6. Need some advice!- Kitty Litter PO4 Woes
    by "Chucker" <Chucker/servtech.com> (Sat, 28 Mar 1998)
  7. Kitty litter & fertilizer
    by "Chucker" <Chucker/servtech.com> (Fri, 1 May 1998)
  8. Kitty Litter Warning!!
    by "Chucker" <Chucker/servtech.com> (Thu, 9 Apr 1998)
  9. laterire, clay litter or both?
    by John Pitney <pitney/uiuc.edu.nospam> (31 Mar 1998)
  10. Need some advice!- Kitty Litter PO4 Woes
    by "Chucker" <Chucker/servtech.com> (Sat, 28 Mar 1998)
  11. Kitty litter & fertilizer
    by "Chucker" <Chucker/servtech.com> (Fri, 1 May 1998)
  12. Kitty Litter Warning!!
    by "Chucker" <Chucker/servtech.com> (Thu, 9 Apr 1998)
  13. Water polishing (kitty litter mistake)
    by "Kudzu" <Kudzu/airnet.net> (Mon, 16 Nov 1998)
  14. Kitty Litter composition
    by Steve Pushak <teban/powersonic.bc.ca> (Fri, 04 Dec 1998)
  15. Kitty Litter Brigade
    by "Jamie Johnson" <jjohnson/davisfloyd.com> (Tue, 16 Feb 1999)
  16. Acidic kitty litter (was KH Buffering)
    by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/rt66.com> (Tue, 11 Jan 2000)
  17. kitty litter substrate
    by Augie Eppler <augiee/bellsouth.net> (Thu, 15 Jun 2000)
  18. kitty litter substrates
    by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/rt66.com> (Thu, 15 Jun 2000)
  19. kitty litter substrates
    by Heide Li <boingy/ugcs.caltech.edu> (Fri, 16 Jun 2000)
  20. kitty litter substrate
    by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/rt66.com> (Fri, 16 Jun 2000)
  21. APD V4 #352 - Two Points on KL (2nd Post)
    by "David A. Youngker" <nestor10/mindspring.com> (Sun, 18 Jun 2000)
  22. Kitty litter substrate
    by WEREED5518/aol.com (Mon, 19 Jun 2000)
  23. kitty litter substrate
    by Loui Polic <lpolic/canada.com> (Mon, 19 Jun 2000)
  24. Kitty litter substrate
    by busko/stsci.edu (Ivo Busko) (Tue, 20 Jun 2000)
  25. lessons learned
    by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/rt66.com> (Sun, 16 Jan 2000)
  26. Kitty Litter / Osmocote
    by "Sylvia Kohler" <skohler/entermail.net> (Thu, 22 Feb 2001)
  27. Kitty Litter / Osmocote
    by "Keith and Lisa" <kandl/net-link.net> (Fri, 23 Feb 2001)

Kitty litter???

by iceman/ghgcorp.com (IceMan)
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

[... non-relevant material removed by Krib editor...]

First off, however, it it important to note what a substrate should not do.  
The substrate should not alter the water chemistry.  Some types of clays and 
gravels contain limestone and/or calcium deposits.  The presence of such 
materials can lead to uncontrolled hardening of aquarium water.  This is all 
good and well for some kinds of fish (like cichlids), but plants typically 
find this to be a problem.  Commercially sold substrates (such as laterite, 
zeolite, and flourite) do not contain such materials.  Since kitty litter was 
not designed specifically for use as an aquarium substrate, one cannot be 
certain that the various clays used to make kitty litter do not contain these 
materials.
Now, back to what a substrate should do.  The substrates main purpose is to 
provide nutrients to the plant roots.  Too understand how a substrate 
accomplishes this, it is important to look at it's composition.  Commercial 
substrates are made mostly of clay that has been highly weathered by exposure 
to tropical temperature, precipitation, and forest derived humic acids.  As a 
result of this "geologic curing", the clay develops a crystalline structure 
which has many negatively charged sites.  Soils and clays from temperate 
regions not exposed to accelerated wheathering such as this lack the 
characteristic of being negatively charged, and also tend to retain an excess 
amount of Ca++ and Mg++ (calcium and magnesium).  The characteristic of being 
negatively charged is very important in a substrate for the following reason.  
Aside from decomposing organic matter, there are no other negatively charged 
sites in an aquarium.  All of the trace elements which are essential for 
healthy plant growth (ammonium, Fe++, K+, and Na++ for example) are attracted 
by the negatively charged sites provided by the substrate.  The negative sites 
in the substrate material attract and hold the positively charged ions of the 
trace elements and hold them like a magnet until a plant root hair contacts 
the substrate material and exchanges another positively charged ion for the 
trace element ion.  All of the commercial substrates perform this function.  
In fact, alot of different types of clay perform this function.  All types of 
clay, however, do not perform this function.  As mentioned above, some clays 
are simply not exposed to the proper geological conditions.  The clays that 
are used as commercial substrates are specificly selected to ensure that this 
ion attraction and exchange is created.  Is kitty litter made of the same 
types of clay?  Good question...almost always the ingredients on a bag of 
kittly litter simply state "natural clay" as a key ingredient.  How can one be 
sure that the clay used in the litter is of a type of clay that has been 
exposed to the proper geological conditions as to develop the ability to 
attract the positively charged ions of the trace elements?  If it is not such 
a type, it does no more good to have the kitty litter than it does to have 
plain gravel.  If it such such a type...congratulations and may you have 
healthy green plants.
There you have it.  This is my "chemical" reason you so badly wanted to hear.  
Sorry if this didn't involve as much chemistry as you were hoping for, but 
this is as chemical as I can get with this, and I'm not going to argue over 
symantics, the attraction of positive and negative ions is chemistry to me 
and I don't really care to hear if it is physics or whatever to someone else.

While I am at it, I will also provide some evidence that supports my claims 
from when I tried kitty litter for myself.  One problem I noted, which was 
also mentioned above, is that I had extremely high levels of ammonia in the 
tank.  Obviously, there will normally be an accumulation of ammonia in a newly 
setup tank, but I have never experienced a build up of ammonia like this in 
any other tank.  Also, when I removed the litter, and replaced it with 
commercial substrate (flourite was the substrate I used), the ammonia build up 
was back to normal (in other words, it was not as excessive as it was with 
litter present).  I can only attest the increased ammonia build up to the 
litter since it was the only thing different from my other setups.  I cannot 
say if the ammonia levels would have eventually dropped because I removed the 
litter from the tank before I could test this.  Anoter problem I encountered 
was a fungus type growth on the bottom of the tank.  After a couple of weeks 
of being setup, I noticed a strange mucus like fungal growth coming out of the 
gravel.  The amount of growth seemed to exponentially increase as the days 
went by.  I cannot say what exactly this was, but I can say that I never 
experienced this before using kitty litter, and once the kitty litter was 
removed, the "stuff" stopped growing from the gravel.  And lastly, when 
removing the litter from the aquarium, I noticed the litter had changed from 
its initial "hard" composition (like solid pieces of gravel) to a "muddy" 
composition.  In other words, the litter looked as if it had dissolved while 
in the water and turned into a gushy layer of muck.  Common sense told me that 
this could also turn into a problem.  The layer of muck could (and will) 
eventually become "packed" and could endup blocking nutrients from reaching 
the lower roots of the plants.  I also did an experiment along these lines.  
Since I also have several cats, I often have to buy kitty litter.  Each time 
over the past few months, I would buy a different brand of kitty litter.  I 
would take a cup full of each brand and place it in a glass of water and let 
it sit for a few days.  A little more than 75% of the time, the litter would 
end up turning into a layer of mud at the bottom of the glass.

Kitty litter???

by cbingman/netcom.com (Craig Bingman)
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

In article <34c5538f.0-at-news.ghgcorp.com>, IceMan <iceman-at-ghgcorp.com> wrote:
>In article <6a2bpc$sa3-at-camel15.mindspring.com>, "Nestor10" <nestor10-at-mindspring.chkr.com> wrote:
>
>>Sorry, but it is not your opinion that I am questioning, although you seem
>>to find it a convenient avenue. You have stated more than opinion in your
>>inferences to background research and some hidden insight that you seem
>>unwilling to provide.

A flame war.  How lovely.  And the protagonists are flicking bic lighters 
rather than hurling streams of burning napalm.

>I am not unwilling to provide anything.  Again, you seem intent on putting my 
>integrity on the line by making another false accusation in my direction.

flick flick.

>>Stating an opinion I can respect.
>>Unsuccessful attempts I can respect.
>>Seizing my post as an attempt to change the focus I do not respect in any
>>way.

flick flick.

>Beep Beep....back the substrate truck up.  Seizing your post as an attempt to 
>change the focus???  If I am not mistaken, you were the one who turned around 
>and accused me of attempting to belittle the news group by saying that I 
>implied nobody would understand the chemistry aspects I referred to.  

Oh, man, an attempt to belittle chemistry.  You are drawing me into the 
fray of cigarette lighting devices.  I read on.

>Is 
>accusing me of such related to substrate?  To me it sounded like a direct 
>attack on myself.  So in other words, you do not respect that fact that I 
>stood up for my position when I was falsely accused of doing something I in no 
>way did.  Yeah...I can see how that is entirely unrespectable.

I'll cut to the chase.  

First, aquatic plants often grow in rather mucky places in nature.  These 
areas of muck are not often pristine volumes of granular silicon dioxide, 
or in even worse cases, volumes of really poorly coated fluorescent 
epoxied dolomite that begins to uncoat upon exposure to water and a 
little mechanical disturbance.

The myth of depletion clays is just that, something of a myth.  There are 
several germs of truth to it.  Yes, depletion clays exist.  Yes, some of 
them come from tropical environments.  Yes, some of them are put into 
little boxes and sold to aquarists.

No, aquatic plants are not uniquely dependent on depletion clays for a 
happy existence.  No, you don't necessarily have to pay a lot of dollars 
to put a valuable clay into your tank.  No, not all kinds of kitty litter 
are equally valuable in this case.

Yes, kitty litter is a hell of a lot less expensive than other clays, so 
yes, people can experience some of the hell caused by highly protonated 
clays when they put them into their tanks.  Yes, highly protonated clays 
will drive the pH in a closed tank down very far.  Yes, the pH may well 
go down into the 5.x range.  Yes, almost all of the ammonia is in the 
form of ammonium ions at that pH range, and yes, it is largely nontoxic.  
Yes, the ammonia numbers that you measure on your system will scare the 
hell out of you if the pH of the tank is 5.x, and no, ammonium ion is 
not as membrane-permeable or as available to nitrifying organisms at 5.x 
as it is at higher pH values.  No, the scarey low pH values will not 
affect fish that are accustomed to such low pH values, yes, it will be a 
problem for fish that are adapted to higher pH ranges.

Yes, there are ways of stabilizing clays against dissolution and fine 
formation, no, some of them won't affect their abilities to be substrates 
too much.  Yes, you can treat clays, even depletion clays, in such a way 
that they won't be an enormous problem for alkalinity and pH levels in 
the system.  Yes, clays that are depleted in Ca++ and Mg++ will have 
tended to accumulate protons.  Yes, that is important for the alkalinity 
of the oceans.  Yes, that has implications for freshwater tanks where you 
put pounds of cheap clays rather than ounces of expensive clays.

Yes, some cat litters tend to disintegrate when placed in water, and I 
really wish the person who said that some don't had named names, along 
with other relevant resulting water parameters.

No, I don't think that empty flicking of bic lighters is a way to advance 
the hobby.  Yes, there was some nice data in raw form in this thread.  
Yes, aquarists can make valid observations on their systems.

And finally, I don't get around to this group more than once every few 
months, so if you have something that really needs to be said, it should 
be carbon copied from the newsgroup to cbingman-at-netcom.com.

Craig


Kitty litter???

by bae/cs.toronto.edu (Beverly Erlebacher)
Date: 27 Jan 98
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

In article <cbingmanEnGD3w.LG5-at-netcom.com>,
Craig Bingman <cbingman-at-netcom.com> wrote:
>
>Yes, the post that you just read was a troll of sorts.  I've done some 
>work with clay, and it can take control of the water chemistry in 
>freshwater tanks in ways that people probably don't realize yet.  There 
>can be large effects on pH and in some cases nitrification, and other 
>extremely interesting ways as well.
>
>I'm hoping to figure out what people know and what people are interested 
>in knowing about clay in aquaria.  If it looks like there is enough of a 
>gap, then I'll try to fill it.  I don't know how far people have gone 
>besides Dupla brainwashing and the discovery that some substantially 
>less expensive clays can support plant growth quite nicely.

Well, I'm not a soil scientist but I did read through a textbook on
soil science, including the part about clays and CEC and such.  This
book was oriented toward agriculture, and it didn't say much about
aquatic plants.  I've always had adequate plant growth with small gravel
or coarse sand, but I'm thinking of experimenting with kitty litter or
the glacio-lacustrine yellow-brown fine silt subsoil I have in my backyard,
which was under Lake Ontario's predecessor about 15,000 years ago.

Having seen pictures of huge areas of bare laterite in the tropics,
including vast tailings dumps from aluminum plants, yes, I distrust
Dupla selling laterite at gemstone prices.  

I understand that laterite and similar tropical clays tend to be leached
of most elements, leaving mostly iron oxide and alumina, and have a very
low CEC compared to most temperate climate clays.  Can you explain what
happens in immersed clays of each type?  I assume that they become anaerobic.
This should reduce ferric iron to ferrous and make it more available to
plants.  A high iron content would also be helpful in fixing toxic H2S
as insoluble iron sulfide.  Does this happen to any significant extent?
What happens to other cations in temperate clays?  How mobile are they?
How is the low CEC of laterite beneficial, if it is.

I assume that calcareous clays can harden water and raise pH.  Which 
kinds of clay would have an acidifying effect?  Can one reliably lower 
and maintain a lowered pH with such a clay in the substrate?  How can 
one select a clay (perhaps from a pottery supply catalog) with various
desired properties?

The original idea of using kitty litter is that it is a cheap source of
pure clay with no organic matter, readily available even to apartment
dwellers, and somewhat more standardized and less likely to contain 
pesticides and herbicides than subsoil one might dig up in the backyard.

Can you suggest a method of testing kitty litter to determine what effect
it will have on water quality?  Is just mixing it with water, letting it
stand, then comparing hardness and pH with the original water adequate,
or are there more subtle interactions that make a test like this a poor
predictor of action in a substrate?

Anything else you'd like to tell us about the chemistry and effects on
water and plants of submerged clays would be appreciated.  



Need some advice!

by Steve Pushak <teban/nospam.powersonic.bc.ca>
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

Kudzu wrote:
> I have a 60G 18"W x 24"D x 36"L. It has 120 watts of Fluorescent light. I
> used kitty litter with #3 Sandblasting sand over that. Osmocote time release
> fertilizer, 18-6-12, in the clay. The last time the water was checked it was
> 7.4 pH and moderate hardness.  DIY Co2.
> 
> I bought plants from Dan at All Aquatic plants. They all looked good when
> they arrived. Shortly after planting that changed:
> 
> Corkscrew Vals died. -One floated loose and I put it in the 20G and it is
> doing great.
[snip]
> The 20G that everything is doing so well in is the same setup as the above
> except it has a 60 watt incandescent bulb. The sand was collected locally
> from a creek. Is it possible that the sand has something to do with this?

Is there KL in the 20G? Some KL has very low pH which can cause toxicity
problems i.e. aluminum toxicity starts at pH 5 or lower. Also some KL
may contain heavy metal impurities. There are no regulations concerning
the suitability of KL materials for use as growing media. If you must
use a layer expanded clay, I suggest you choose a neutral pH vermiculite
in preference to KL. 

Personally I don't think its worth it. Ordinary dirt is far superior
because:
1) it already contains many of the micronutrients you will require
especially iron
2) it has good CEC
3) it contains low concentrations of humus which is beneficial
4) it contains critical populations of anaerobic bacteria which are
important for the mineralization and solubalization of nutrients in the
substrate!!!

Another possibility is a heavy metal toxicity from the KL such as
copper. Valisnaria are very susceptible to copper.

A third possibility is excessive concentrations of ammonia being
released by bacterial action upon the nitrates in the Osmocote which can
be high enough to BURN the roots of your aquatic plants or prevent root
formation from cuttings. Healthy rooted plants can tolerate higher
concentrations of ions in the substrate because they feed oxygen through
their roots into the substrate. That's another reason why I recommend
waiting until your plants and tank are established BEFORE adding
substrate NPK fertilization. Ordinary soil will have sufficient
nutrients to establish your plants for several weeks or months.
-- 
Steve Pushak teban-at-powersonic.bc.anti-spam.ca 

Visit "Steve's Aquatic Page" http://home.infinet.net/teban/
 for lots of pics, tips and links for aquatic gardening

Aquatic Gardeners Association


laterire, clay litter or both?

by John Pitney <pitney/uiuc.edu.nospam>
Date: 31 Mar 1998
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

T. Young <tyoung-at-sprintmail.com> wrote:
: Which is better, a laterite/sand, clay (kitty litter)/sand, or both?
: Anyone with experience with one or both of these?

I only have experience with my one planted tank, but you can see
the results of my kitty litter plus Dupla laterite plus gravel on my 
web page:

 http://www.physics.uiuc.edu/~pitney            

I think that the next tank I set up will not have kitty litter in it.  
It makes a mess when I uproot plants for trimming.

John



Need some advice!- Kitty Litter PO4 Woes

by "Chucker" <Chucker/servtech.com>
Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

Be real careful of your kitty litter brands!  The stuff I got here in
Rochester, NY at Wegmans was chock full of phosphate!  (I have to double
check on the brand name, which I will post as soon as I go shopping again.)
Naturally, I didn't find this out until my plants, sand, and tank walls were
covered with green goo.  After I got a PO4 kit, I put one grain into the
tube with some phosphate-free water, and blew the test off of the scale!  I
ordered some Bacterblend since I can't tear down the tank.  Will also post
results of Bacterblend experience.


-EC
E-mail me at: chucker-at-servtech.com.com
                     (Remove spam bait- 2nd ".com")




Kitty litter & fertilizer

by "Chucker" <Chucker/servtech.com>
Date: Fri, 1 May 1998
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

Dan Q. suggested Osmocote with the lowest "P" value that one could find- the
18-6-12, which is what I used.  Personally, my real problem stemmed from
using "Soft Paw" brand kitty litter, which was full of phosphorous by
itself.  Red Sea's test kit gave a result of over 2.0 ppm PO4, with one 2mm
granule of litter (straight out of the bag) dissolved in 12 ml
phosphate-free water!

--

-EC
E-mail me at: chucker-at-servtech.com.com
                     (Remove spam bait- 2nd ".com")




Kitty Litter Warning!!

by "Chucker" <Chucker/servtech.com>
Date: Thu, 9 Apr 1998
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

Be extremely careful of "Soft Paw" brand kitty litter.  I used it for my
planted tank, and have now found that it is full of phosphorous.  I used Red
Sea's PO4 test, and blew clean off the scale at a 2:1 dilution.   Algae
blooms galore!

-EC




laterire, clay litter or both?

by John Pitney <pitney/uiuc.edu.nospam>
Date: 31 Mar 1998
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

T. Young <tyoung-at-sprintmail.com> wrote:
: Which is better, a laterite/sand, clay (kitty litter)/sand, or both?
: Anyone with experience with one or both of these?

I only have experience with my one planted tank, but you can see
the results of my kitty litter plus Dupla laterite plus gravel on my 
web page:

 http://www.physics.uiuc.edu/~pitney            

I think that the next tank I set up will not have kitty litter in it.  
It makes a mess when I uproot plants for trimming.

John



Need some advice!- Kitty Litter PO4 Woes

by "Chucker" <Chucker/servtech.com>
Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

Be real careful of your kitty litter brands!  The stuff I got here in
Rochester, NY at Wegmans was chock full of phosphate!  (I have to double
check on the brand name, which I will post as soon as I go shopping again.)
Naturally, I didn't find this out until my plants, sand, and tank walls were
covered with green goo.  After I got a PO4 kit, I put one grain into the
tube with some phosphate-free water, and blew the test off of the scale!  I
ordered some Bacterblend since I can't tear down the tank.  Will also post
results of Bacterblend experience.


-EC
E-mail me at: chucker-at-servtech.com.com
                     (Remove spam bait- 2nd ".com")




Kitty litter & fertilizer

by "Chucker" <Chucker/servtech.com>
Date: Fri, 1 May 1998
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

Dan Q. suggested Osmocote with the lowest "P" value that one could find- the
18-6-12, which is what I used.  Personally, my real problem stemmed from
using "Soft Paw" brand kitty litter, which was full of phosphorous by
itself.  Red Sea's test kit gave a result of over 2.0 ppm PO4, with one 2mm
granule of litter (straight out of the bag) dissolved in 12 ml
phosphate-free water!

--

-EC
E-mail me at: chucker-at-servtech.com.com
                     (Remove spam bait- 2nd ".com")




Kitty Litter Warning!!

by "Chucker" <Chucker/servtech.com>
Date: Thu, 9 Apr 1998
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

Be extremely careful of "Soft Paw" brand kitty litter.  I used it for my
planted tank, and have now found that it is full of phosphorous.  I used Red
Sea's PO4 test, and blew clean off the scale at a 2:1 dilution.   Algae
blooms galore!

-EC




Water polishing (kitty litter mistake)

by "Kudzu" <Kudzu/airnet.net>
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998

>>Do many people really need to use a polishing filter with
any regularity? <<

Well I have to because of not following my own advice! I
like kitty litter substrates. First time I used Hartz as Dan
Q. recommended. It worked great! I had to redo the tank and
the store was out of Hartz and I used another brand. BIG
MISTAKE!!

I had to remove a very large Sword and it had a root system
just as large. Now I have lots of clay on top of the sand.
It can get stirred up easy and very cloudy. For example the
other day someone laid eggs and the other fish were having a
caviar feast and on the bottom and just that little bit
stirred up it. I never had that problem with two different
tanks using Hartz.

Moral: If you use Kitty litter use Hartz pH5!!

Jeff <*\\><
Old Bedouin saying: "Trust God, but tie up your camel, lest
you lose it."


Kitty Litter composition

by Steve Pushak <teban/powersonic.bc.ca>
Date: Fri, 04 Dec 1998

I found a website that might provide some interesting information about
the composition of kitty litter, that is, if we knew what the fancy name
for the stuff is. I seem to recall the term "Montmorillonite" used in
association with the popular brand of KL. Anybody know?

The website is: http://www.gly.uga.edu/schroeder/gly630/CM10.html

I got to this website from
http://shadow.agry.purdue.edu/clay/claymin/claymins.html where you can
find ALL KINDS of scientific stuff. The link page on the Purdue site is:
http://shadow.agry.purdue.edu/clay/claymin/site_lis.html and it is a
great point to start information mining about clay.

- -- 
Steve Pushak                              Vancouver, BC, CANADA 

Visit "Steve's Aquatic Page"      http://home.infinet.net/teban/
 for LOTS of pics, tips and links for aquatic gardening!!!


Kitty Litter Brigade

by "Jamie Johnson" <jjohnson/davisfloyd.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999

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. 
TA-DA...

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@davisfloyd.com
(864)229-4413 work
(864)229-7119


Acidic kitty litter (was KH Buffering)

by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/rt66.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000

On Tue, 11 Jan 2000, Sylvia wrote:


> I was equally impressed by this, as I have to use peat to acidify the water
> for cardinals and neons. I've tried various brands, but filter media capacity
> prevented me from using a sizable enough amount to achieve anything much in
> the line of acidifying the water . . .

Use a low pH kitty litter with caution.  The kitty litter isn't acting as
a buffer.  It's a cation exchanger that releases acid into the water as it
is exchanged for other ions (principally calcium and magnesium) in the
water.  The substrate pH can reach levels that aren't particularly good
for plants.  Also aluminum ion is often part of the acid held by the clay.
With the aluminum ion is released at low substrate pH it can cause
elevated aluminum concentrations in the water.

Aluminum is toxic to plants, and that may contribute to some of the poor
growth that Michael Tipton reported in his original letter.  Probably his
main problem was with low CO2, but aluminum toxicity is a possible
contributer.

This potential problem isn't limited to certain brands of kitty litter.
If you live in the southeast and want to use some of those nice clay soils
in your tank then you may want to first check it's pH.  I recall reading a
few years ago on a web site at Clemson that aluminum toxicity from acidic
clay soils was a fairly common problem in the south.


Roger Miller


kitty litter substrate

by Augie Eppler <augiee/bellsouth.net>
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000

Roger miller wrote: <snip>
 
> When Dan Q. originated the kitty litter substrate idea I thought his
> intent was that a small amount of litter should be mixed (along with
> Osmocote pellets) into the bottom layer a sand or gravel substrate.  I
> don't have his original article anymore, so I can't check what he actually
> wrote.  I don't know where the idea came from to build substrates with
> solid beds of kitty litter. Several people have tried it; have any
> experienced long term success with it?
 
Dan's concept was 1.5 inches of kitty litter, topped with 1.5 inches of
sand. Osmocote was mixed into the kitty litter. I had a 29 gallon with
kitty litter and medium grit concrete sand, that ran for over 3 years. I
never liked the way it looked, or the mess, and replaced it with Turface
last year. I used DIY CO2, the occasional Jobes spike, and potassium
chloride added weekly. Never found a plant that wouldn't grow in it. The
kitty litter was a non clumping store brand sold by the Food Lion chain.
I played around with the lighting quite a bit, from a low of 2
watts/gallon, to a high of 5 watts. Well water parameters: kh 5, gh 7,
ph out of the tap at 7.4, reduced to 7.0 with CO2. No heater, temp.
fluctuated from low 70's to mid 80's (I'm in Florida). No liquid iron,
or any other liquid fertilizer, with the exception of the potassium, was
ever added to the water column. I also have a fish less 10 gallon that
still has kitty litter. No filter, no powerhead, no CO2. It sits on a
counter and is lighted by a shop light approximately 15" above it. All
it ever gets is a weekly 25% water change, and the very seldom added
Jobes spike. Plants grow very slowly, but they do grow. Dwarf Sag is
steadily taking over. Again, the only things I didn't like about it was
the appearance, and the mess when plants were uprooted. If it wasn't for
that, I'd still be using it on all of my tanks. I have some lousy scans
of the 29 if you'd be interested in seeing it.

Augie Eppler
Green Cove Springs, Fl


kitty litter substrates

by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/rt66.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000

On Thu, 15 Jun 2000, Augie Eppler wrote:
  
> Dan's concept was 1.5 inches of kitty litter, topped with 1.5 inches of
> sand. Osmocote was mixed into the kitty litter.

I found the Quakenbush's web site and reread his article.  Augie is of
course right.  He called for 1-2 inches of kitty litter mixed with
Osmocote pellets.  After my original letter it should be clear that I
don't think this is the best way to use kitty litter.

Roger Miller


kitty litter substrates

by Heide Li <boingy/ugcs.caltech.edu>
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000

> Aquatic Plants Digest      Friday, June 16 2000      Volume 04 : Number 348
> Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 16:20:52 -0800
> From: "II, Thomas Barr" <tcbiii@earthlink.net>
> Subject: Re: Substrates & Roger's ?

I'm piggybacking on Tom's post since I don't the original APD this
was posted in:

> >When Dan Q. originated the kitty litter substrate idea I thought his
> >intent was that a small amount of litter should be mixed (along with
> >Osmocote pellets) into the bottom layer a sand or gravel substrate.  I
> >don't have his original article anymore, so I can't check what he actually
> >wrote.  I don't know where the idea came from to build substrates with
> >solid beds of kitty litter. Several people have tried it; have any
> >experienced long term success with it?

Last week I tore down my 29-gallon tank which had a kitty litter
bed (90% litter, maybe 10% sand) 2 inches deep, topped with 1 inch 
of sand.  The tank was 3 years old and still doing great, though I 
don't know if this qualifies as "long term".  (I tore it down to make
room for a new 75 gal.)  When scooping out the substrate, there was
just one small, dark grey, slightly rotten-smelling spot which had been
directly under a piece of driftwood.  Plant roots never seemed to
have a problem growing into the litter.

You can see photos and tank specs at
http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~boingy/aquaria.html

- -Heide


kitty litter substrate

by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/rt66.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000

On Fri, 16 Jun 2000, David A. Youngker wrote (quoting me):

> > Some clay products - including some types of kitty litter -
> > contain plant-available calcium and magnesium carried
> > over from its previous environment.  Other clays -- notably
> > the sodium bentonites that may be used for clumping kitty
> > litter -- may contain no nutrients at all.
> 
> What nutritional value does laterite hold? Or is its appeal in the iron
> content alone?

None I know of other than the iron, and no-one but Tom Barr responded on
or off the list to tell me that they were able to run a tank with laterite
as the sole source of iron, so I don't know how good it is as the sole
iron source. And I think Tom could probably grow plants in a bed of broken
glass.  But what does that have to do with kitty litter?
 
quoting Dan Q.:

> "Kitty Litter allows the plants to grow healthier roots, but also root
> hairs, that they won't grow in sand or gravel."
> 
> Why? Simple. I've tried everything from gravel to marine sand, and the one
> thing I personally have found to be true is that the finer the substrate,
> the more well-developed the root system. Including the "root hairs" that Dan
> mentions.

Many silty soils would provide the same advantage.
  
> So here comes Dan, talking of things I'd already known but hadn't "clicked
> on" because I was too entranced by what I was reading in the aquarium trade
> up until then. And he only points out the obvious - most aquatic plants do
> *not* grow in sand or gravel. Yet we beat our heads against the wall in a
> constant effort to get the best results from the most barren of substrates,
> constantly adding this and that just to get it *prepped*.
> 
> Did'ja ever go wading for plants and *not* get stuck in the muck at some
> point or other?

Yes, I have.  I've seen large, burgeoning stands of Heteranthera dubia
growing out of submerged cobble banks cemented solid with calcium
carbonate.  I've seen a wide variety of aquatic plants from small
potamogetons to large water lilies growing in fairly clean, firm sand.
I've even seen Elodea growing out of cracks in bedrock.  Aquatic plants
aren't that picky about what they grow in.

Dave Huebert pointed out over and over that aquatic plants grow best in
silty soils.  Most places where I see lush stands of aquatic plants the
substrate is silt or fine sand, but often covered with a layer of stinking
organic muck supporting a whopping huge population of creepy-crawlies.  
Almost as often the substrate contains layers of calcium carbonate slime
originating from biogenic decalcification.  That doesn't mean that I want
any of those things in my aquarium.

And none of those natural substrates are pure clay.  Pure clay is a fairly
poor soil.

> Another point to consider - why would aquatic plants have developed the
> ability to transport water, air and nutrients down to a well-aerated,
> circulating substrate?

Aquatic substrates are often quite rich in organic matter.  Even a coarse
substrate with a substantial organic content and some water circulation
can be anaerobic.  Conversely, a fine-grained substrate without organic
matter in it (like a clean kitty litter substrate) may never get
anaerobic; anaerobic conditions are created by bacteria dining on organic
matter.
 
> > In order to allow circulation, the substrate needs to be built of a
> > small amount of kitty litter mixed with a larger amount of medium
> > to coarse sand or fine gravel.  Kitty litter probably should not
> > exceed 10% of the mix by volume. The sand or gravel allows water
> > to move through the substrate and the circulating water can reach
> > and replenish the clays.  With more than about 10% clay by volume
> > the circulation may be substantially blocked by the clay.
> 
> Fortunately, this is not the case in practice.

I don't know how practice establishes this.  
 
> My substrate begins with around 1-1/2 inches of kitty litter, mixed only
> with Osmocote and Iron sulfate. (I used to use Tetra Initial Sticks, but
> dropped them in favor of the sulfate.) The low end of the tank has another
> 1-1/2 to 2 inches of straight, fine sand as a sealant/cover. Total depth at
> the high end can reach over 8 inches. My only concession to "turnover" is
> the introduction of Malaysian Trumpets.

The plants themselves can generate water turnover in the sand part of the
substrate by actively pumping water from their roots to their shoots. The
water they lift from their roots is replaced by water moving down through
the substrate to the roots.  This water can't circulate through clay
unless you have somehow left continuous openings through the clay layer.

> As to how well my plants fair - well, stay tuned for the CD that will be
> available with an entry into the AGA's International Aquascaping Showcase
> and Contest. That will be the first public introduction to my tanks after
> all these years. Once that's settled, I'll finally start illustrating my Web
> site.

I guess that answers the question about whether anyone has had success
using a solid layer of kitty litter in their substrate.  I'm not about to
disagree with your success.  Lots of people on this list can claim great
success with a variety of different substrates.  That's partly because
aquatic plants will quite happily grow in a lot of things, so success
alone doesn't differentiate between substrates.

My point is that if you want to use kitty litter there might be better
ways to do it.  I've used it mixed in small quantities with sand/gravel
both as an amendment for individual plants and as a full tank substrate
and I didn't have the problems that others responding on this thread
described.


Roger Miller


APD V4 #352 - Two Points on KL (2nd Post)

by "David A. Youngker" <nestor10/mindspring.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2000

I'm uncertain as to why this didn't show in the PM edition. If it shows
twice for the AM, my apologies...
*****************

> From: Bob Dixon

> There was aposting on the list a few months back where someone
> had tested several clays that were purported to be effective in aquarium
> substrates.  If I recall, there was actually more iron in the kitty litter
> than the laterite.
> Perhaps the iron you add is not needed.

That could well be true. And as if that weren't enough, it's been suggested
that the amount I use probably wouldn't run short for about 1500 years ;-)

I started because of the Cabomba furcata - wanted to make sure plants like
that had "enough". One day I'll sit down and actually determine a more
proper dosage, or even if it's necessary...

>> From: "Roger S. Miller"
>>
>> I've worked with the stuff too. The first batch of kitty litter I used
>> broke down into a sticky paste very soon after contact with water.
>>  The paste was not at all gritty...In a substrate that would be
>> sufficient to block water circulation.
>>
>> Clumping cat litter is worse, as it hydrates rather quickly, expands
>> and forms thick gels very easily.

I have to concede that point well enough - as well as the fact that this
could be a *potential* problem were it an intermediate layer. As a -bottom-
layer, especially at the depth I've been working, it seems to work fine as a
rooting medium however.

The difference in root development becomes more readily apparent as the
depth of the covering sand becomes thicker. The sand above produces a
noticeably thicker, stockier root system than that which develops within the
silt of the litter. When I first began to notice so much of a difference, I
thought perhaps it was more easily explained by the presence of the
nutrients within the litter itself. But then, as I said, trials with
differing grades of sand alone were leading to the same results for me - the
finer the substrate, the more well-developed the roots. The silt layer at
the bottom produces root systems with a *huge* amount of surface area within
a very fine webbing.

The next trick was in learning how to uproot a plant without bringing the
litter with it. This is another time where the covering sand comes in very
handy...

- -Y-


Kitty litter substrate

by WEREED5518/aol.com
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000

I've also found that in my 55 gallon with almotst exclusively kitty litter 
that plant roots penetrate eagerly.  I have a friend with a 125 gallon all 
kitty litter substrate with 1.5 inches "gravel" on top.  He had to tear it 
down when he moved.  The plants had grown so well that the substrate was 
almost one large mass of roots!!!  I've noticed in my kitty litter substrates 
that the 'soil' is actually not very compact.  In fact it seems to be almost 
in a state of suspension.  It woldn't take much water flow to greatly disturb 
it.  However I also notice the roots on the side of the aquarium (looking 
through the glass) growing very well, especially with my Glosso which has 
rapidly grown through the 1.5 inch of "play sand" into the kitty litter.  
This glosso, from several 'sprigs' has grown into a virtual carpet in only 4 
months.  And I haven't added any CO2!!!  I love my kitty litter substrate!!!
Eric


kitty litter substrate

by Loui Polic <lpolic/canada.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000

Hi

While a number of people have written about the success that they have
had with kitty
litter my experience has been mixed.  I have to agree that fundamentally
it is a
great idea for the various reasons discussed in the various postings
recently and in
the KRIB archive.  The one problem that the method does have is the
variability that
exists in kitty litter.  The properties of kitty litter will differ from
brand to brand
and geographic location.

My experience has been as follows.  I have a 29gal tank with 2-3in of
kitty litter
topped with 1.5in of gravel.  In the kitty litter I have some peat mixed
in and some
slow release fertilizer pellets (similar to Osmocote).  The problems
that I have been
having is various nutrient deficiencies.  

Initially it was iron, so I started dosing with PMDD.  Then it was
potassium, increase
the dosing of PMDD.  Now it's Ca, I think that I have a Mg/Ca imbalance
as my leaves
show Ca deficiency but my water is very hard (KH=14  GH=28 and the area
is full of
limestone). The Ca deficiency is only a recent occurrence and my PMDD
formulation has
Mg.  Therefore I suspect that I overdosed with Mg.  Still in the process
of figuring
this one out.

When I started with kitty litter substrate I was hoping not to have any
deficiencies.
Though on the positive side I have not seen any serious algae in my
tank.  Just a bit
of green spot on the glass and gravel, and a few strands of staghorn
algae that I
manually remove (id? the algae is brown/black and looks like a root
structure with only
one attachment point).

My other tank specs are, 40W, pH=7.4, CO2 yeast method, NO3 < 10ppm, a
bunch of fish.

Would I use kitty litter again? yes if I could find somebody who has had
success with a
brand that I can get my hands on.  Otherwise the next time I redo the
tank I'm going to
try the vermiculite/dirt substrate discussed by Jim Kelly (in the KRIB
archive).

Loui


Kitty litter substrate

by busko/stsci.edu (Ivo Busko)
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000

Since everybody is talking about kitty litter substrates, I'll throw in
my 0.002 cents. Just anecdotal evidence, but goes against other reports
though. I keep some anubias nana in emersed form in a sterilite box.
Each plant is potted in a plastic container about 3" deep and 5" wide,
with perforated bottom. Water level is kept at the pots' upper lip level,
such that only the roots stay underwater. A 20 watt Plant & Aquarium bulb
provides ligth 11 hours/day and a powerhead provides some water circulation.

I've been keeping this setup for more than one year, using a mix of coarse
and fine aquarium gravel as substrate. Standard daily PMDD fertlization and
monthly 100% water changes. The growth has been phenomenal, I more than
tripled the amount of plant mass since I started the experiment. The roots
grow to the point that when uprooting a plant a large mass of gravel comes
entangled in the roots.

About two months ago I replaced all gravel by plain Hartz (sp ?) pH5 kitty
litter. I kept the same maintenece regimen otherwise. I yet have to see any
new growth. The plants just stopped on their tracks. Even a new flower that
attempted to bud is just melting now, with the usually nice white-yellow
part just turned into brown mush. Plants didn't root at all, they are still
dangling over the kitty litter. At first i thought this was just transplant
shock, but even for anubias two months is too much. 

Another problems was the strong tendency of the kitty litter to induce
foaming. This probably never happens in totally submersed environments, 
but in my setup the powerhead outlets act as tiny waterfalls over the pots,
and the splashing action builds up so much foam that the entire box got 
filled with white foam the first time. I kept removing the foam and now 
the buildup takes place at a much slower rate. Anyways, so much for the 
kitty litter, I'll be replacing it back by good olde gravel soon...

Btw, the kitty litter itself didn't turn into a mushy mass, it still looks
and feels as gravel.

- - Ivo Busko
  Baltimore, MD


lessons learned

by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/rt66.com>
Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2000

Folks,

I have two "twin" 10 gallon tanks that I have been using for comparative
experiments for a long time.  A couple (or maybe three) years ago I
decided to use them for a long-term substrate experiment.  This rather
long letter summarizes the result of that experiment.

In one tank I used Dan Q's kitty litter and osmocote substrate.  I used a
washed mixture of Tex-blast, coarse sealed aquarium gravel and a small
amount of very fine sand, all from a previous setup.  The lower 1 1/2 inch
of the substrate consisted of that mix with about 10% by volume plain
kitty litter.  I sprinkled general-purpose Osmocote pellets over the top
of the layer and covered that with another inch of the plain gravel mix.

In the second tank I used a variant on a soil substrate.  The lower 1 1/2
inch was sandy sediment from the nearby river.  It was mostly fine sand
with a small amount of silt and clay.  The top inch was the same plain
gravel mix that I used in the first aquarium.

Both tanks had an undergravel filter plate under the substrate.  The UGF
was not used and the tanks weren't otherwise filtered.  I covered the
plate in the second tank with some of my wife's old nylon stockings to
keep the fine river sediment from filtering through the UGF plate. I just
slid the plates into the nylons, then cut them to length.

Both tanks were initially populated with the same mix of plants (C.
wendtii, Val. americana, Anubias barteri nana, Egeria densa).  Initially I
got better growth from the osmocote and kitty litter substrate.  Growth in
the tank with the river sediment substrate caught up after a few months
and through the rest of the period the river sediment tank produced more
and better growth than the osmocote and kitty litter substrate.

The test wasn't completely static.  I changed the plants in the tanks as
time went by, and the plant populations themselves changes as some plants
burgeoned and others failed.  I changed the lighting, the methods of
fertilizing the plants, and I added CO2.  Every change was made to both
tanks at the same time, so there was never much difference in the way the
tanks were maintained.  I even kept the fish, snail and shrimp populations
as similar as I could.

Several weeks ago I pulled a large C. wendtii from the river sediment tank
because it was blocking the pump outlet.  That unleashed a huge cloud of
mulm that took a long time to settle out.  When it did settle it settled
on top of everything and even after weeks of cleaning it was still there.  
That was followed by an outbreak of both beard algae and a type of green
hair algae.  Then blue green algae reared it's ugly head.

Today I decided to take those tanks down, look things over and summarize
the results.  Both tanks had problems over the period.

The osmocote/kitty litter tank grew C. wendtii relatively poorly, but
supported a huge stand of vals.  At the same time the river sediment tank
grew a big stand of C. wendtii and the vals went into severe iron
deficiency.

The huge growth of vals in the osmocote/kitty litter tank was followed by
a bluegreen algae outbreak.  I beat the bluegreen algae and spurred a
burst in the C. wendtii growth by clearing most of the vals, adding E.
tenellus and DIY CO2.  In the river sediment tank I fixed the iron
deficiency with iron gluconate tablets, and got in addition a huge burst
in growth from a previously struggling C. retrospiralis.

More recently, I used both tanks to grow out a lot of young Barclaya
longifolia.  Both tanks produced good growth, but on removing the plants
today it appears that I got better tuber development in the river sediment
tank.

It appears that the very little of the mulm settled through the river
sediment; most of it all packed up in the top layer of the substrate.  
The vals, barclaya and C. retrospiralis all kept their roots mostly in the
layer above the river sediment.  The C. wendtii sent it's roots mostly
straight down and spread them out under the river sediment inside of the
nylon stocking on both sides of the UGF plate.

By contrast, roots of all plants in the kitty litter/osmocote tank seemed
to spread through most of the thickness of the substrate.  C. wendtii in
the kitty litter/osmocote tank had its roots through the UGF plate, but
not anything like the mess in the river sediment tank.  When I pulled C.
wendtii out of the river sediment tank the roots were badly broken.  When
I pulled the C. wendtii out of the kitty litter/osmocote tank the roots
were in much better shape.

The mulm produced in the river sediment tank was very light and fine, and
there was a huge amount of it.  The mulm in the kitty litter/osmocote tank
was coarser, settled more easily and there wasn't as much of it.

While the river sediment tank did produce better growth than I got in the
kitty litter/osmocote tank, the difference was not large enough to offset
the final instability in the river sediment tank.  I'll never again build
a substrate with a layer of such fine material.


Roger Miller 


Kitty Litter / Osmocote

by "Sylvia Kohler" <skohler/entermail.net>
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001

This is a good recipe for disaster. I set up a KL/osmocote & sand substrate.
Green water ensued. I cleaned up the tank, dumped it, and got rid of the
visible pearls of osmocote, kept the KL and put more sand on top. I have the
tank packed
with plants (1 betta in there, doesn't have room to swim) and I still grow
green water. My advice is, don't do it.


> Am  considering a trial tank with WalMart Kitty Litter seeded with
Osmocote
> as first layer, Flourite as middle layer , then sealed with gravel (and
maybe
> coarse sand) .
> 1. Any recommendations as to the amount of Osmocote to use in the KL layer
> (Per unit surface area)?
> 2. Comments re the adviseability   of this whole approach?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Norb Spitzer
> Carlsbad, CA
>


Kitty Litter / Osmocote

by "Keith and Lisa" <kandl/net-link.net>
Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001

I set up my first planted tank ever, just about a year ago,  using a
layer of laterite with Hartz Ph5 on top then covered in sandblasting
sand.  I have nothing but success and healthy plants. The worst
problem I have had is a bit of brush algae and learning how to dial in
my CO2.

Just goes to show you how different everyones experiences can be in
spite of the same methodologies.

Good Luck,

Keith and Lisa                         ° o
                            `·...·´¯`·..><(((,º>°
www.leafandpaws.com
Natural products for the life of your pet.

Aquariums
www.net-link.net/~kandl/

>This is a good recipe for disaster. I set up a KL/osmocote & sand
substrate.
>Green water ensued. I cleaned up the tank, dumped it, and got rid of
the
>visible pearls of osmocote, kept the KL and put more sand on top. I
have the
>.tank packed
>with plants (1 betta in there, doesn't have room to swim) and I still
grow
>green water. My advice is, don't do it.


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