Using Oil-Dri for cheap substrate? - Page 5 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #61 of 108 (permalink) Old 10-12-2012, 08:53 PM
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Hi FORREST3320,

I set up the 10 gallon approximately the 1st of August and it is still holding a slope 2 months later. STS seems to be a little heavier than Soilmaster Select or Turface and it has multiple grain sizes from small to larger and I think those aspects help it to maintain a slope.

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post #62 of 108 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 12:00 AM
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Ok thank you
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post #63 of 108 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 12:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FORREST3320 View Post
I just want to make sure i am understanding this correctly with this safe-t-absorb that is all you need for plants no root tabs or anything?
I am not sold on this as a great substrate because -
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Originally Posted by Trickerie View Post
It sucks carbonates out of the water like a vacuum. My suggestion is to buffer it quite high each water change to let the sts charge itself quicker. I used only a cap of it, and it still took a few weeks to stop
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post #64 of 108 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 01:11 AM
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Hi Hilde,

Soil (CEC= 24+) has a CEC almost as high as any of the Montmorillonite clay substrates (CEC= 27) such as Soilmaster Select, Turface, and STS. Sand has a CEC of basically "0" and Flourite has a CEC of about 1.7. As I understand it, it is the high CEC that causes a substrate (or soil) to absorb minerals and nutrients and make them available to the plants in the root zone.

Lots of our members like the ADA Aquasoil products like Amazonia which has a high CEC. What are aquasoils?
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aquasoils are not gravels. They are made by mixing nutrient rich tropical soils with colloidal clays (totally “dissolving” in water) as bentonite/montmorillonite/fuller’s earth/palygorskite or akadama like clay, or volcanic ash soil, than dried at moderate temperatures, i.e. they are NOT “fire kilned”. Clay surves as a binding agent, but the main thing such clay gives to substrate is a high CEC - ability to hold nutrients and releasing them only when plants needs them. Tropical soils is a source of nutrients stored in organic form. They also have very high humic substances content which enables aquasoils to lower pH and GH for a big time frame creating mild acidic environments for keeping water plants and shrimps. Organics and humics also creates perfect environment for bacteria and protozoa greatly facilitating cycling all natural processes of a tank. Tropical soils and humates have very high CEC also.

Roy
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post #65 of 108 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 04:20 PM
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Safe-T-Sorb, Turface, Soil Master Select, and many other substrates do not come pre-loaded with fertilizer. You need to add the nutrients plants need.

Sort of like buying a set of dishes and hoping they came pre-loaded with dinner.

Substrate is the holding material, it is not the food.

High CEC substrate will hold onto the fertilizers and release them slowly as the plants need them. But you need to keep on top of adding more fertilizer. The plants are sequestering fertilizer in their leaves, roots and stems. When you prune the plants you are removing the fertilizers from the system. You need to put some fertilizers back.

This is true of ALL substrates. Some come with certain amounts of some nutrients pre-loaded, but these nutrients get used up and removed from the system. They need to be put back. The high CEC substrates provide a very good cushion, an excellent reserve of fertilizers so you can be a bit forgetful about dosing and the substrate provides the back up. Doing an 'overdose' sort of fertilizer regime like EI can really add lots of fertilizers to the substrate. Then, when you go on vacation you do not need to worry about dosing. You have built up a reserve that the plants can call on while you are gone.
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post #66 of 108 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 09:37 PM
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I bought a 40 lb bag of STS at the local Farm & Fleet store for $4.50.

The attached photo shows the test I'm running in my 55g tank. Only a tiny corner of the tank was converted to STS. The black stuff is black Flourite. I've been really disappointed in the growth I've been getting from the Flourite. I had previously used Hi-Dri as a substrate and plant growth was phenomenal. I only changed to Flourite because I got tired of a beige substrate. It just seemed that Hi-Dri did better at growing plants than Flourite did so I'm testing STS in parallel with Flourite.

The STS is just planted with a few micro chain swords. Normally they grow like crazy and take over the tank but I didnt see that with Flourite. I use both root tabs (aquariumplants.com tabs) and EI dosing. There are 4 tabs buried under that patch of STS.

I'll know in a few weeks how well the STS works.
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post #67 of 108 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 09:56 PM
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Hi dmagerl,

Please post some results in 2-3 weeks!

Roy
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post #68 of 108 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 11:07 PM
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wish I could buy this
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post #69 of 108 (permalink) Old 10-16-2012, 12:28 AM
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Check my drill spot link a few pages back
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post #70 of 108 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 02:17 PM
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Its been roughly 6 weeks so I thought I post another picture. Scroll up a few postings to see the original picture just after planting.

I actually stopped the test in the corner of the tank and did the entire tank in STS. I've gotten more growth in these 6 weeks than in 6 months with Flourite. Fertilization is with aquariumplants.com root tabs CO2 too. Lighting is 25 umols

There was a Sword in the background of the first pic. I pulled it up and replanted with a smaller one and its now happily sending leaves out.

There's no sign or crumbling or disintegration of the STS. I really like this stuff.
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post #71 of 108 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmagerl View Post
Its been roughly 6 weeks so I thought I post another picture. Scroll up a few postings to see the original picture just after planting.

I actually stopped the test in the corner of the tank and did the entire tank in STS. I've gotten more growth in these 6 weeks than in 6 months with Flourite. Fertilization is with aquariumplants.com root tabs CO2 too. Lighting is 25 umols

There was a Sword in the background of the first pic. I pulled it up and replanted with a smaller one and its now happily sending leaves out.

There's no sign or crumbling or disintegration of the STS. I really like this stuff.
Hi dmagerl,

Wow, nice improvement in the last 6 weeks; thanks for the update!

Roy
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post #72 of 108 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
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wish I could buy this
I believe you can get SafeTSorb through Graingers, although it may be a bit more then what some of the people here find it for (still way less then flourite or anything similar).

They've got outlets all over the place, see if there is one near you.
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post #73 of 108 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 03:05 AM Thread Starter
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Just looking at the drill spot and saw this. What does this mean?

DESCRIPTION

This item is manufactured or supplied by a minority, woman or disadvantaged business
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post #74 of 108 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 05:51 AM
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There are a lot of organizations that try to give preference to businesses owned by women, minorities, disabled, etc.

I believe some government organizations may be required to contract a certain % to such businesses, but I'm not sure.

I've also heard (can't remember the source) that with the use of various shell corporations and what not, this distinction has become nearly meaningless in some areas/by some definitions.
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post #75 of 108 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 01:44 AM Thread Starter
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Okay I just bought a 40 lbs bag of the SafeTSorb. I have begun to rinse small amounts using a strainer and laying it out on a big piece of cardboard to dry. Could I use Seachem's Equilibrium (poweder) and mix it with some water in a bucket and then add the cleaned STS to it to "charge" it. I thought since it restores minerals and balances GH it would be good to do. Is this okay to do or should I just mix some aragonite in it?
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