Using Oil-Dri for cheap substrate? - Page 7
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:10 AM   #91
sowNreap
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Originally Posted by Grundy View Post
Good news: it has finally cleared up and I can see into the tank for a change. I threw my driftwood into the tank to start that process (though I have been soaking this entire time outside the tank) and was moving some of the substrate around. It made a small cloud but settled quickly. From your statement above I too started wondering if the more I did with it the more it would break down so that could make sense.

This will be a low light tank for my 6 yo son in his room and plan on doing just moss attached to the driftwood and maybe something in the substrate. I have one piece of driftwood that I plan on suspending in the water column so that it looks like a root wad suspended from the bank and to allow the fish to swim under and through the “roots”.


The important thing is he is as excited as I am.
That's so great to hear it cleared up! Wish I would have remembered that earlier (about messing around with it too much it) .. might have some you some time & aggravation.

It seems once it gets more settled you can disturb it more and not cloud the water. It will create a little dust cloud where you are disturbing it but it doesn't seem to cloud the whole tank anymore. I still mess around in my tank way to much.

As for buying plants like the Anubias mentioned check the For Sale/trade forum. I also like to buy from http://www.plantedaquariumscentral.com . Even now you might still be able to get some delivered .. just try to time it with the warmer weather. He insulates the plants really good & guarantees live delivery with some caveats and special rules .. read the Store Info page for the particulars). Or email him. He's in AZ and you being in TN the package should stay on the southern route and you might not have a problem. Just noticed you're not too far from me. I'm up in the Tri-Cities area. My last order shipped 11/14 and was delivered 11/16 so should be similar for you .. EXCEPT for this week which is the busiest week of the year for shipping. Wait until after Christmas.
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:49 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
Importing plants from outside the United States is illegal without proper phytosanitary certification.
So you are saying it is illegal to buy plants on Ebay that are imported?

If I just need a small amount of plants it is more economical for me to buy on Ebay.
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:58 AM   #93
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So you are saying it is illegal to buy plants on Ebay that are imported?

If I just need a small amount of plants it is more economical for me to buy on Ebay.
Hi Hilde,

Yes, somewhatshocked is correct.

Quote:
Importing plants from outside the United States is illegal without proper phytosanitary certification.
When you order plants from outside the country you become an 'importer' and are responsible for the shipment (not the seller). The vendor you mentioned does not provide phytosanitary certificates and tries to get around government regulations by labeling the shipment 'glassware' or anything but live plants. If it is caught by U.S. Customs and/or the USDA you will be contacted. My favorite story what when the feds showed up at a hobbyist's place of work because that is where the shipment was delivered.

If you do a search on this forum under phytosanitary certificate you will find multiple threads dealing with this issue.

If you want more information on the subject start a new thread, this thread deals with Oil-Dri.
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Old 12-22-2012, 03:23 AM   #94
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Yes, it's illegal.

Saving a couple bucks to break a multitude of laws is hardly economical. Encouraging such behavior is not acceptable.

People can and do face criminal charges all the time for improperly importing and handling plants.

You should visit a port of entry where mail is handled sometime. There are huge operations where fruits, vegetables, plants are dissected and catalogued. Any time plant matter is detected without proper documentation, red flags get sent up in multiple government systems. Repeat offenders receive special attention... to say the least.

If you think it's easy not to get caught? You're mistaken.

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So you are saying it is illegal to buy plants on Ebay that are imported?

If I just need a small amount of plants it is more economical for me to buy on Ebay.
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Old 12-22-2012, 03:39 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
Yes, it's illegal. Encouraging such behavior is not acceptable.
Oh!! Well didn't mean to get off the topic.

I had no idea it was illegal. I thought sales on Ebay were regulated by moderators.
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Old 02-23-2013, 03:05 AM   #96
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Default STS Giving a False KH Reading?

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Hi Diana,

I realize that baking soda will raise the dKH, and I use an online calculator to determine the amount of baking soda to add to accomplish the desired change.

How were you able to determine the dGH (General / German) change that would occur by adding the two tablespoons of baking soda?
I recently set up a planted tank with STS. This stuff is awesome and I want to thank everyone for the valuable information here.

Here's my issue: After 1 week with the STS tank set up, I decided to test the KH while testing the cycle progress (adding food, planted, fishless with seed media). The tap water I use measures 1dKH. I was expecting my tank to measure the equivalent or less considering that the STS might have absorbed the KH and I have not added any KH buffers. On the contrary, I could not, no matter how many drops added to the vile, get the test liquid to change from yellow to blue... At this, I performed a 50% water change and then ran the KH test again. This time it changed blue on the first drop, as did the tap water.

Out of curiosity, I took some fresh STS out of the bag and put it in a small container, added water, rinsed it, and added water and let it settle, so the water was clear. After approximately 5 minutes, I tested to KH. Again, I could not get the liquid to turn from yellow to blue. Side by side I tested the tap water without STS and it still measured 1dKH. Surely, the STS can't be increasing the dKH to 30++ (I gave up adding drops) immediately after adding it to the water! It's supposed to be inert right? If anything it should decrease the KH... I thought...

Lastly, I had some API 5 in 1 test strips handy and tried that. With this the KH square tested the same from both the tap water and the water with the STS in it. ~20-30ppm (as inaccurate as the strips are they were, at least, matching). This result lead me to believe that KH in the STS water is not affected, rather the liquid test was somehow affected.

My STS tank is at school, so I have to wait until Monday to test the KH again since that 50% water change today. I am really curious to see if the KH will still read 1dKH as it did immediately following the water change, or if the test will continue to be flawed somehow after 2 days time.

I thought I'd put this out there to see if anyone else has experienced the phenomenon with STS and the API liquid KH test.

Any ideas? Thanks for your time
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Old 02-23-2013, 04:50 AM   #97
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Hi TylerD,

Very, very unusual.....have you by any chance added any stones or other items into the tank?
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:34 PM   #98
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Default I Caught My Error in Reading the KH Test...

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Originally Posted by TylerD View Post
I recently set up a planted tank with STS. This stuff is awesome and I want to thank everyone for the valuable information here.

Here's my issue: After 1 week with the STS tank set up, I decided to test the KH while testing the cycle progress (adding food, planted, fishless with seed media). The tap water I use measures 1dKH. I was expecting my tank to measure the equivalent or less considering that the STS might have absorbed the KH and I have not added any KH buffers. On the contrary, I could not, no matter how many drops added to the vile, get the test liquid to change from yellow to blue... At this, I performed a 50% water change and then ran the KH test again. This time it changed blue on the first drop, as did the tap water.

Out of curiosity, I took some fresh STS out of the bag and put it in a small container, added water, rinsed it, and added water and let it settle, so the water was clear. After approximately 5 minutes, I tested to KH. Again, I could not get the liquid to turn from yellow to blue. Side by side I tested the tap water without STS and it still measured 1dKH. Surely, the STS can't be increasing the dKH to 30++ (I gave up adding drops) immediately after adding it to the water! It's supposed to be inert right? If anything it should decrease the KH... I thought...

Lastly, I had some API 5 in 1 test strips handy and tried that. With this the KH square tested the same from both the tap water and the water with the STS in it. ~20-30ppm (as inaccurate as the strips are they were, at least, matching). This result lead me to believe that KH in the STS water is not affected, rather the liquid test was somehow affected.

My STS tank is at school, so I have to wait until Monday to test the KH again since that 50% water change today. I am really curious to see if the KH will still read 1dKH as it did immediately following the water change, or if the test will continue to be flawed somehow after 2 days time.

I thought I'd put this out there to see if anyone else has experienced the phenomenon with STS and the API liquid KH test.

Any ideas? Thanks for your time
Clearly, I mistook to the instructions on the API test kit. I was accidentally expecting the water to turn from yellow to blue... Oops. Now it all makes sense. The KH in the STS water is zero, hence why I am never seeing any blue. The STS is extracting the KH as would be expected...

Great stuff, BTW. Very easy to work with, looks great, and economical...
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:25 PM   #99
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My original experience with a substrate that removes carbonates was in 29 gallon tanks with a Fluval 204 canister, and not much substrate or decor. I was calling the volume 30 gallons. I also had SMS in several other tanks from 10 gallons to 45 gallons. Varying amounts of non-water stuff taking up the room in the tank.
At the same time I was running a Lake Tanganyikan tank of about 60 gallons (Sump + tank, but there was a lot of rock in this one. Actual volume was closer to 50 gallons). I needed to prepare the water for water changes by raising the GH and KH of the tap water. I would mix a garbage can full and use it for several tanks with hard water fish.

Soil Master Select as the substrate in the 29 gallon tanks would remove the carbonates, per API liquid test and dip stick test (Probably Jungle, but there are several companies that make them). As near as I could tell the KH was 0 degrees (0 ppm on the dip stick test)

When I added 2 teaspoons of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda to the 29 gallon tanks these tests would both show 2 dKH. I realize the dip stick does not have a "35 ppm" color, so this is interpolating between the colors. It was really close to the 40 ppm shade of green.

I run SMS in many tanks of different sizes, and multiply or divide the dose to get the results I want depending on the size of the tank.
I got the same results when I was preparing the water for the Lake Tang. tank. 30 gallons of new water, starting with tap water KH 4 degrees. Add 2 tablespoon and the KH would rise to 16 degrees.

Then I set up an 88 gallon tank with Safe T Sorb. I found it also dropped the KH to what I called 0 degrees.
I added varying amounts of baking soda and tested the results. I found the math holds true:

1 teaspoon of baking soda added to 30 gallons of water raises the KH by 2 German degrees of hardness.
I also altered the test by mixing 50/50 distilled and tank water then multiplying the results by 2. I was measuring the water to fill the test tube using a syringe with markings to .5ml.

You can multiply or divide this recipe to suit any size tank, any desired change in KH.
However, if I was going to attempt a much larger change I would probably work it part way, then test again. I was not measuring the baking soda by weight, which is the more accurate way to do this sort of thing. I know when I got a bit careless mixing water for the hard water tanks the KH did not exactly match the tank.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:14 PM   #100
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Default STS API KH Test False Alarm... Sheesh...

Thanks for your time, Roy and Diana.

Finally, I realized that I mistook to the instructions on the API test kit. I was accidentally expecting the water to turn from yellow to blue, instead of blue to yellow... Oops. This is pretty ridiculous especially considering I have run this test quite a few times... User error. Maybe it's having two kids under 2 that is sapping my intellect. Anyway, Now it all makes sense. The KH in the STS water is zero, hence why I am never seeing any blue in the test liquid. The STS is extracting the KH as would be expected...

Now I added a small bag of crushed coral to the filter in the STS tank. I am thinking that this carbonate buffer will "feed" the STS until it eventually stops pulling it out of the water...

Great stuff, BTW, STS. I followed your advice and went through W.W. Granger to get a bag locally in Portland. Thanks for the tip! Very easy to work with, looks great, cleared up fast, and so economical...

Here is a pic of the STS tank:


Last edited by TylerD; 02-25-2013 at 09:16 PM.. Reason: Include all helpful parties
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:49 PM   #101
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Is the use of cat litter give the same results when it comes to KH/GH dropping?

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Old 02-25-2013, 10:07 PM   #102
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Is the use of cat litter give the same results when it comes to KH/GH dropping?

Jnad

According to my research, any of the high CEC clay-based substrates, i.e. kitty litter, Safe T Sorb, Turface, or otherwise chemical absorbing materials will initially lower the KH/GH by leeching it out of the water. Eventually, the material reaches an equilibrium wherein it stops absorbing KH/GH and matches the KH/GH of the water column…

Of course, the pay off of this initial KH withdrawal side effect, is the long term CEC benefit of the material storing nutrients for the plants to use over time.

I am currently buffering my new Safe T Sorb tank with crushed coral and will be testing to see how long it takes for the STS to stop absorbing the KH. I am considering adding baking soda to expedite this process as well.
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Old 03-18-2013, 02:20 AM   #103
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Does this stuff work good with ground cover plants such as HC/Glosso? How heavy is it? Similar to flourite?

Also to charge the substrate could I pour some osmocote plus on the bottom of the tank and then cover with STS? Or does it have to be put into 00 size capsules?

Last edited by latchdan; 03-18-2013 at 02:21 AM.. Reason: addition
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:57 PM   #104
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hello I bought Safe T Sorb from the website that Trickerie provided on the first page. How long does it take to clear up? Should I turn on the filter to speed up the process? or should I leave it alone and let it settle and keep changing the water?
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:07 AM   #105
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Hi Mizuhuman,

Definitely use a filter to speed up the clearing process. Here is a 20 gallon I set up the first of the month.

Rinsed 5X per gallon of substrate in bucket; After filling


After 24 hours using Marineland C-220 with polishing pad
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