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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-16-2013 03:49 PM
Seattle_Aquarist Hi dastowers,

Thanks! Corydoras sterbai juvies (regular and albino)
01-16-2013 03:41 PM
dastowers I have used the "red bag" liter in several tanks. Works well. BTW...your cories are ADORABLE!!!!
01-16-2013 03:26 PM
Seattle_Aquarist Hi greenmeanies,

I think you may have picked up the wrong litter; Walmart carries several products called 'Special Kitty'. The one that folks seem to have the most success with comes in a 25 pound red bag.

I use Montmorillonite clay substrates but personally I'm not a big fan of kitty litter; the tan color just don't look natural to me. I've used Soilmaster Select Charcoal (discontinued) and Turface Pro League Grey (discontinued) and currently I have been using Safe-T-Sorb #7941 in my planted tanks. It has a nice natural color, a variety of grain sizes, and plants root well in it. It is dusty and requires a good cleaning prior to first using it. I ordered mine through WW Grainger and it cost me $9.38 per 40# bag and I had to pick it up. It is also available online at Drillspot for $9.29 per 40# bag with free 3-day shipping included. A 40# bag will provide a 2"+ layer of substrate for about six (6) square feet of area.

Here is a picture of my 10 gallon, with Safe-T-Sorb substrate. This tank has no CO2, just Flourish Comprehensive and Flourish Excel. The baby Corys have been in there for over 3 months and have doubled in size.


Safe-T-Sorb #7941
01-16-2013 06:27 AM
auban one thing that people should keep in mind is that kitty litter often comes from different sources, depending on what is cheapest for the manufacturer to acquire and ship. as kitty litter, it doesn't have to be free of dust or hold up very well when wet, since it is expected that you will only use it for a cat to do its business in. oil-dry on the other hand, needs to be as free of small particles as possible. the large clay pieces have to hold up so that they can absorb oil without turning to mush. otherwise, you wouldn't be able to sweep it up. this is a big part of the reason that oil dry generally receives higher ratings, its more consistent and is designed to NOT fall apart easily. having worked in a transmission shop when i was younger, i can tell you that kitty litter is often a pain to work with when cleaning up larger oil spills because of its properties. makes sense, its made for a different purpose.

some plants actually prefer the "mud" that some of the softer kitty litters produce, but very few aquarists are willing to deal with the hassle it causes. personally, i have a mix of special kitty cat litter, aragonite, and cow manure. it works pretty well for me, better than any substrate i have tried in the past.

the point? kitty litter may work, but you cant be sure unless you know where the manufacture got it from, while oil dry will consistently be the hard type of baked clay most people prefer.

as for me, i like the mud that the kitty litter makes, so im going to stick with it.
01-16-2013 06:07 AM
greenmeanies First post from a budding planted tanker here.

TL;DR: Stupid Kitty litter dissolves into mud. Plants and fish love it. Pics incoming.

I read that Special Kitty All Natural Unscented Nonclumping from Walmart (hereafter called "the litter") was good, and like an idiot I didn't test my own purchase before scaping a 29G with special kitty capped with Fluval Stratum. Unlike every experience with the litter on the net, I noticed a distinct scent (the jug LIES!) and as soon as I added water the litter turned into a fine white mud instantly. However my 400gph filter cleared up the water overnight, and with a few stems and ~30 watts of daylight fluorescent, (one T8 and one CFL) I added livestock in 24 hours. Obviously I seeded the filter with well-aged mulmy media from a 55G, but testing and my perky Endlers fry showed zero cycle and no ammonia spike

Anyway, I was concerned about the effects of the mud below the Stratum, but after a month or two the stems are now exploding with growth in the high-light areas the tank. No black brush or green hair algae on any leaves or glass, and only a couple spots of the green spot algae. Endlers, Platys, red cherry shrimp, ramshorn and pond snails all thriving in a heavily overfed kitty litter tank and it still shows zero nitrates two weeks after a 30% water change.

I had been worried my first post might be a tragic failure of the litter, but as long as I don't stick my finger in the substrate, the litter stays under the Stratum cap. I should note I deliberately did not move malaysian trumpet snails over from my 55 because I didn't want mixing in my substrate. Vigorous root growth is visible in the litter layer, and fish waste clearly falls through the Stratum to reach the interface. I haven't done a full water parameter test yet, but preliminary quick-strip tests put hardness and pH in normal expected ranges for Seattle tapwater treated with Prime.

Just wanted to add my experience with this particular combination (and my first real planted tank). Pictures will come soon if anyone cares.
11-15-2012 07:20 PM
lochaber Most of these calcined clay type substrates (turface, safetsorb, oildry, kitty litter, flourite, etc.) just provide an inert (won't dissolve/breakdown/affect H2O chemistry, etc.) substrate that has a high Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC).
This means that cations will temporarily bind to the substrate, and from there the plants can make use of them.

So the substrate is inert, and doesn't contain nutrients itself, but helps convey nutrients in the watercolumn (or added to the substrate) to the plant via the roots.
11-15-2012 08:26 AM
GeoJB A newb question, Just what does the cat litter or Safe-T-Sorb oil dry do? I'm a little fuzzy on the concept.

Or a link with the explanation.
11-15-2012 05:25 AM
deathdealerdelta Hey guys, I need some info. I am from TankOutlaws.com and I am restarting my 30 gal. I have flourite in my planted 10 gal but heard from a fellow member that I could use cat litter. So I got 3 7lb bags of the 98 cent litter from Walmart and put it in there with about a 1" cap of black sand/gravel. At it's deepest part the litter is around 4", I created a nice slope, and at it's shallowest the litter is 1". Once I got the substrate in order and started running my canister I got another message from that member stating that too much litter can cause a certain type of bacteria to crop up and kill the roots of my plants.

How much is too much litter and what have you guys used/been successful with?

Thanks,
Ray
11-11-2012 05:30 PM
Algae Beater i have set up numerous tanks using 2/5 kitty litter 2/5 sterilized peat moss, 1/5 sand with some potash and dolomite added to prevent severe pH drops . all were rather successful. the clay acts as a flocculant and helps keep soil substrates together.
11-11-2012 04:44 PM
xxUnRaTeDxxRkOxx
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoJB View Post
I like this, gonna be setting up a 70g.
I'm trying to glean as much info as I can.
How does this sound, Special kitty as a base, on top of that play sand, for the final topping, gravel that I have from the old set up.

Sounds good to me, I just cap it with play sand from homedepot and let the tank run it's course. Of course I follow EI dosing for fertilizers, but my plants are healthy with good strong roots.
11-11-2012 02:16 PM
GeoJB
Quote:
Originally Posted by xxUnRaTeDxxRkOxx View Post
I have cat litter in my 55 gallon tank, been almost a full year now, and I love the results from it. I use a specific brand called

Special Kitty: All Natural Kitty Litter - Find it at Walmart for a couple $.

It 100% all natural clay, doesn't crumble like other litters, and has a nice high CEC rate. Never effected my Ph, haven't lost a fish, or shrimp because of it, it's very cheap, and you get a lot for low the price.
I like this, gonna be setting up a 70g.
I'm trying to glean as much info as I can.
How does this sound, Special kitty as a base, on top of that play sand, for the final topping, gravel that I have from the old set up.
10-19-2012 03:19 AM
xxUnRaTeDxxRkOxx I have cat litter in my 55 gallon tank, been almost a full year now, and I love the results from it. I use a specific brand called

Special Kitty: All Natural Kitty Litter - Find it at Walmart for a couple $.

It 100% all natural clay, doesn't crumble like other litters, and has a nice high CEC rate. Never effected my Ph, haven't lost a fish, or shrimp because of it, it's very cheap, and you get a lot for low the price.
10-19-2012 01:56 AM
lochaber A long time ago, I had used the Hartz ph 5 (or 5.5? I can't remember...) as a substrate.

It seemed to work pretty well, got soft, but did hold together.

The Safe-T-Sorb seems to get pretty good reviews, is pretty inexpensive (I think Grainger's carries it, and they have locations all over the place), and from the photos I've seen, it looks pretty nice, but I haven't used it myself.
10-18-2012 07:46 AM
zankotsu That's an awesome method. The litter falls apart very easily. I'll scrap it and use something else. Generally, oil absorbent materials win over cat litter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmagerl View Post
You need to test whether it will fall apart under water. Just take a small amount and put it in a cup of water and lt it sit for a week. If it turns to mud, dont use it. If it holds it shape and it wont pulverize under finger pressure, its good to go.

I used this technique to add Hi-Dri to my tank. Didnt even wash it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-XB0...eature=related
10-18-2012 12:54 AM
dmagerl You need to test whether it will fall apart under water. Just take a small amount and put it in a cup of water and lt it sit for a week. If it turns to mud, dont use it. If it holds it shape and it wont pulverize under finger pressure, its good to go.

I used this technique to add Hi-Dri to my tank. Didnt even wash it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-XB0...eature=related
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