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Old 09-13-2003, 07:19 PM   #1
Barristan
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I am in the process of setting up my first planted tank (75G) and am looking for some advice. After doing a bit of research on the internet I have decided to go with "Schultz Aquatic Plant Soil" or kitty litter (the Walmart special kitty brand) or maybe mix a little of both. I am assuming this goes on the bottom ~1.5 to 2". Then some sort of gravel on top. Does this sound about right?
I didn't want to spend the big bucks on Flourite.
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Old 09-13-2003, 07:25 PM   #2
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Barristan,

Check out my 10 gallon on the cheap post located in the Photo section for information on the kitty litter/sand/gravel etc.

You can use laterite (walmart unscented kitty litter) and gravel. You have to be aware that laterite (kitty litter) is a claylike substance that will turn "gooey" when wet. I rinsed the kitty litter for a bit in a bucket to get alot of the dust out. I recommend that you mix this kitty litter with some sand or gravel to prevent it getting compacted into a clay barrier at the bottom of your substrate. Your gravel and kitty litter will mix as time goes on and some people suggest mixing it right off the bat.

Also be advised that the substrate you make will cloud due to the kitty litter. This is ok and will eventually subside through filtration and through water changes.

Good Luck!

Mike
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10 Gallon...20 Endler's live bearers planted, peat/kitty litter/sand substrate

15 Gallon...Just Schultz Aquatic Plant soil
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Old 09-13-2003, 10:36 PM   #3
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Schultz Aquatic Plant Soil is fired clay, and does not disintegrate in water like Kitty Litter. You can mix the two, and cover with gravel, no problem.
If you do a lot of gravel vacuuming you will pull up the lighter Schultz and mix it with the gravel, but it looks still fairly natural.
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Old 09-13-2003, 10:48 PM   #4
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Thanks Wasserpest...wasnt sure what the Shultz's stuff was or where you could get it at!

Mike
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10 Gallon...20 Endler's live bearers planted, peat/kitty litter/sand substrate

15 Gallon...Just Schultz Aquatic Plant soil
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Old 09-14-2003, 01:20 AM   #5
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Where can you buy this Schultz aquatic plant soil :?:
I'm planning another tank for "grow out" and experimenting and for keeping and collecting different plant species.
This "extra" tank will probably be at least 55 gals and used primarily to keep "orphan" fishies and an in house inventory for sale and trade to the LFS and Planted Tank buddies and a place for me to keep extra species of plants on hand.

Marcel
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Old 09-14-2003, 03:51 AM   #6
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I bought some at Home Depot a couple of months ago. I think it was outside in the pond area next to the pond pumps.
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Old 09-14-2003, 07:16 AM   #7
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I wouldn't see any need to mix the Schultz with kitty litter. The only thing about Schultz is that its very light weight. It helps to mix it with a little gravel just to give it more weight. One tip, Schults also makes something called clay conditioner, same exact stuff, but a lot cheaper. 40 pound bag for about $12. You find it in garden centers.

BTW, kitty litter is NOT laterite. Laterite is simular to clay, but is mostly aluminum oxide and very high in iron. Its dark red in color. Its mostly found in the tropics. Not all kitty litter is made of clay. Some is just processed paper or wood pulp.
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Old 09-14-2003, 11:06 AM   #8
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This stuff aint very cheap I have found, for an extra few bucks I would just go with Flourite or Eco-Complete.
I found it priced at 23.95 for 25 lbs :shock: Unless its much cheaper elsewhere...

http://www.pondbiz.com/home/pb1/page/264/8
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Old 09-14-2003, 01:26 PM   #9
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Thanks for the info!

I found the ECO complete at a LFS but it was ~$37 a bag and I would need at least a few. I refuse to believe that I need to spend over $100 bucks for dirt.
Although I did like the color.

I paid $17 for a 40lb bag of Schultz.
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Old 09-14-2003, 01:51 PM   #10
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Robert,

The laterite I saw and the Walmart Special kitty look IDENTICAL IMO. It is not pulp from paper whatsoever. From readings and a little research on the net from my end I would not pay for laterite when you can use the Special Kitty for WAY less price. Just my opinion though. Oh yes the color is different...so perhaps it does contain more iron in the laterite but the consistency is the same.

Mike

PS here is a good link for some discussions on the merits and disadvantages of kitty litter....

http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertil...at-litter.html
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10 Gallon...20 Endler's live bearers planted, peat/kitty litter/sand substrate

15 Gallon...Just Schultz Aquatic Plant soil
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Old 09-14-2003, 03:44 PM   #11
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The Schultz/Profile is good stuff, although a bit light. It works better and looks nicer when mixed with matching(or close) gravel or especially Flourite.
Around here you can pick it up at many garden centers, some Lowe's, and some Home Depots. 40# for around $15 - 20.

Len
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Old 09-16-2003, 02:42 AM   #12
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i use the clay conditioner check out my pic on my site and you can see the color of it
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Old 09-17-2003, 02:22 AM   #13
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Ok everyone....I just picked up 3 bags at Lowes in the pond section. It was $6.83 a bag....going to run this in my 15 gallon I picked up for free last night. Rinsed it off...works well....does not clay up like Laterite or Kitty litter.....

Ill let you know how it goes....so far havent mixed it with anything...might try some sand see how that goes.

Mike
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10 Gallon...20 Endler's live bearers planted, peat/kitty litter/sand substrate

15 Gallon...Just Schultz Aquatic Plant soil
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Old 09-17-2003, 03:17 PM   #14
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I use this in my 10 and 20 gallon tanks. It works pretty well. I haven't tried to use a gravel vac on either though. I suspect it would just suck the stuff right up the syphon hose.
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Old 09-17-2003, 04:51 PM   #15
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Under normal suction it won't get sucked up into the tube. It is lighter than flourite and somewhat larger in diameter, but the CEC factor is great.
I've found that as it loads up with bacteria and mulm it gets heavier and easier to deal with.

Len
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