The Planted Tank Forum - View Single Post - Using Oil-Dri for cheap substrate?
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post #44 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2012, 04:45 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NE TN
Posts: 588
Originally Posted by celaeno View Post
Can I speed up the carbonate absorption process by dumping in a lot of baking soda? I plan on pre-treating the STS in the 40g this way before adding plants and livestock. Also, about how long does it take for the STS to stop affecting the KH, GH, and pH? What happens to the carbonates that're absorbed? Are they ever released back into the water?
I don't know the answers to your questions, unfortunately. Was hoping someone a lot more knowledgeable would chime in to help you out.

I've seen people mention can keep sucking up the KH for several weeks to several months. ???

I haven't seen a drop in KH .. YET. It's only been about 11 days so still waiting to see if that happens. I soaked mine in rainwater for several weeks. Then drained the rainwater & because the rainwater was roof runoff, soaked, then rinsed it a bit with tap water ... we had a lot of very heavy rains before & during that time so was hoping not much bad roof stuff hurt it but rinsed some anyway just in case. Then it sat in containers for several more weeks until I got time to change the substrate so it dried out some. All that soaking time probably is what has kept the KH from dropping. I mean there's really not much difference between "soaking" it in the tank or buckets when no plants or livestock are involved.

As I said in my previous post, I wouldn't pre-rinse it if I had it to do over again. But since I was using the rainwater it didn't cost anything. Nor did it take much effort since the tub was tilted slightly to allow the rainwater to spillover with the muddy water.

When I first put it in I did add a bit of baking soda (I think it was 2 tsp in my 75 gal) immediately after filling the tank. My tap and tank both are 2-3 dKH so figured it probably needed it anyway. But I think instead I should have just waited to see what it would do. I ended up checking the KH every few days anyway. I haven't added anymore since. I do have some oyster shell grit in the filter though. I had it in there for at least a month before I changed my substrate.

Originally Posted by kingfisherfleshy View Post

Im setting up a SA cichlid tank, and I want a dark substrate.

Saw a post where this stuff was it?

Do you think it will work with fish that are moving the substrate around all the time?

Our pH hardness and alk is all slightly above what I would describe neutral, and well buffered to its current point.

If I run this for a few h2o changes will the negative effects go away?

No this is NOT a black substrate. It's brownish, tan. On Page 1 of this thread there's a picture of it in Seattle Aquarist's tank: Using Oil-Dri for cheap substrate?

I accidentally scared my Bluegills last night when I came home early. They ALL took off like they was shot from a canon and stirred up the substrate a LOT. The particles settled back pretty quickly but the water stayed cloudy for a bit longer. I've been messing around in it re-arranging plants or rocks and it will stir up easily but again, it settles quickly and depending on how much mess I made might not even cloud the water. My fish stir it up quite often just chasing each other but that doesn't seem to make the water cloudy .. just can see the smaller particles rise and fall back down. But they're not really rooting around in it, more their powerful movements stir it up. Not sure what it would be like it they were rooting around in it ALL the time. I guess it might depend on the size of the fish, mine range from 4"-7".
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