|The Krib Plants Fertilizer||[E-mail]|
Note, this page was swiped, with the author's permission, from her web site. You may find a more updated version there!
This page documents my experiments with various kitty litter brands in June 1997, when I was setting up a freshwater planted tank using a substrate of kitty litter with sand on top, a la Dan Quackenbush. It took me a while to find a couple of brands which worked for me without raising the tank's pH - Hopefully this info will save some work for other folks trying to do the same thing!
For pictures and descriptions of my two freshwater tanks, you can look at my aquaria page.
Read on for a description of how the results were obtained, or skip straight to the summary at the bottom of the page.
(Very unscientific. <grin>)
Note: pH tests were made with Aquarium Pharmaceuticals pH test (range 6.0-7.6), and Wardley's High Range pH test (range 7.6-8.4).
|Ingredients as listed on package||Water cloudiness|
|Hartz pH5 Scooping Cat Litter||6.6||6.0-||"a special clay mined in Georgia"||Clouds slightly when stirred; settles out in a few seconds Made of fine chips (~1mm diam) which soften but stay separate in water.|
|Lasting Pride Scoopable Cat Litter||6.8||6.0-||Ground Clay||Clouds slightly when stirred; settles out in a few seconds Made of fine chips (~1mm diam) which soften but stay separate in water.|
|Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Premium Cat Litter||7.0||8.4+||Natural Clay||Clouds a lot; turns into a mushy clay mass.|
|Care Free Kitty Scoopable Cat Litter||6.8||8.4+||Ground Clay||Clouds a lot; turns into a mushy clay mass.|
|Scoop Away Free||7.8||-||Natural minerals and clays||Clouds a lot; turns into a mushy clay mass.|
|Natural Select Scoopable Cat Litter||7.8||-||bentonite clay; sodium bentonite||Clouds a lot; turns into a mushy clay mass; also swells up a lot more than the other brands.|
|Pet Gold Plus, Scoopable Cat Litter||7.2||-||Ground clay||Clouds a lot; turns into a mushy clay mass.|
|EverFresh, Premium Clay Litter||6.8||7.4||Clay||Clouds slightly when stirred; settles in a few seconds. Made of coarse chips (1-4mm diam) that remain separate and hard in water.|
Only two brands are acidic instead of basic: Hartz pH5, and Lasting Pride. I used Hartz pH5 in my 29-gallon planted tank, and the results have been great. The plants don't seem to mind the acidity of the substrate.
One interesting detail was the "mushiness," or tendency to cloud the water, of many of the kitty litter samples. Both Hartz and Lasting Pride consist of small grains about 1mm in diameter. They feel slightly mushy (i.e. not hard as rock) under water, but still remain separate grains, and don't cloud the water very much when disturbed. This is a great advantage when uprooting your plants! Most other brands immediately released clouds of very fine particles into the water which could take hours to settle. (After being in my tank for a while, the Hartz pH5 does cloud my water somewhat with fine particles, when I uproot plants. It's still nowhere near the cloudiness that the other brands caused.)
The pH5 doesn't actually affect the pH of my tank water very much. It's sealed off from the water column pretty well by a 1 inch layer of #16 silica sand.
I got Hartz pH5 at the Sav-on market on N. Lake Ave in Pasadena (or maybe Altadena - I'm not sure just where the boundary is). Lasting Pride can be found at Wal-Mart.
Distributor of Hartz pH5:
The Hartz Mountain Corporation
Harrison, NJ 07029
St. Thomas, Ontario N5P3W7, Canada
Distributor of Lasting Pride:
Oil-Dri Corporation of America
Chicago, IL 60611
Feel free to email me with any comments or questions about this page. I'd be interested in knowing other folks' results with different brands of kitty litter, or the same brands in different parts of the world.boingy-at-ugcs.caltech.edu / 13 Dec 1997
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