Best Montmorillonite Clay?
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > Specific Aspects of a Planted Tank > Substrate


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-22-2013, 12:11 AM   #1
Novice Murray Turtle Man
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: South Australia
Posts: 13
Default

Best Montmorillonite Clay?


Hi, I am planning on re-doing my turtles 'feeder' tank and I was planning on using miracle grow and then capping it with SafeTSorb but it looks like I can't get that in Australia. Turface 'seems' to be easier to find but I haven't really have a great look for it online. I live in a small rural city in Aus and would probably have to order it online. Does anyone know any good sites that ship to Aus or a list of stores that may have it?

Also, it seems SafeTsorb is prefered? Is this true? Can anyone give any opinions as to which montmorillonite clay they prefer?

Or does anyone else have any options for capping miracle grow? I have sand currently and I don't really like it, for a few different reasons. I like the fact that montmorillonite clay has a high CEC. It makes more sense to have a CEC, I guess.

Any general tips for montmorillonite clay?

And another thing, where do you buy your dry fert ingredients?

There's a few questions there but i'd appreciate if you helped with any, thanks.
Novice Murray Turtle Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 11-22-2013, 01:11 AM   #2
Tzac
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Posts: 303
Default

I ordered my dry ferts from greenleafaquarium and was very happy with pricing and delivery. Also I capped my MGOPM with a standard but natural look "softer edges and earth tones" aquarium gravel and it has been great.
Tzac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-22-2013, 01:20 AM   #3
scotty b
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: denver Colorado
Posts: 924
Default

i use sapecial kitty organic cat litter from walmart, love the results, seems that the fish/shrimp grow a bit quicker with it also
scotty b is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-22-2013, 04:03 AM   #4
Mizuhuman
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Mizuhuman's Avatar
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 406
Default

I have only used SafeTsorb and not Turface, but I can say you really need to rinse STS very well. Also, it is sometimes hard to keep plants like dwarf sag rooted in place because STS is pretty light stuff. Other than that, its great. my plants have very nice root growth.
Mizuhuman is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-22-2013, 04:34 AM   #5
Novice Murray Turtle Man
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: South Australia
Posts: 13
Default

Thanks, I appreciate the input guys. I have some elodia densa (or something similar), so hopefully I can get that to stay put long enough to get a good hold. I'm still open to other montmorillonite clay options, but I think STS would be the go. Now I just have to find it in Aus! It will probably be a bit of a challenge...
Novice Murray Turtle Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-23-2013, 04:32 AM   #6
Diana
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Posts: 7,295
Default

In general these materials are used for 3 purposes here in the states. Perhaps looking in the same industries in Oz will help you find something similar:

Sports fields. These materials help dry the fields, and keep them in good condition for play. Turface, Soil Master Select (no longer available) are the 2 that are most often discussed for aquariums. Check the available colors. Here, they are sold through companies that sell to greenskeepers (golf, parks, schools...) and irrigation stores (Landscape, other)

Kitty Litter. Watch it! Some kitty litter falls apart faster, and may have other ingredients like perfumes. Color will probably be off white.

Oil and spill absorption: Look in janitorial, automotive and similar stores. Repair places that service cars, tractors and similar things will probably have sources for this sort of material. Oil Dri, Safe-T-Sorb and other products are sold for this purpose. Again, look at the colors. Safe-T-Sorb is highly thought of for aquariums because of its natural soft grey and tan blend.
Diana is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-23-2013, 05:02 PM   #7
mossback
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Georgia
Posts: 54
Default

What you are actually looking for is fired ('calcined') montmorillonite, aka arcillite, rather than the raw clay. So you might want to expand your search terms to include arcillite as well as montmorillonite.

In addition to being used as a large-scale soil amendment, it has a variety of specialty horticultural applications, including things such as bonsai, orchids and cacti. So those would be some other possibile sources to check out.

Turface vs STS: If you look at individual grains, STS has slightly more variability in both grain size and color. This might be the reason that some folks think STS has a more naturalistic look. If you step back and look at overall color, STS is slightly grayer than natural buff-colored (it's also available in a ghastly shade of red) Turface. This might make STS marginally more suitable for a tank with a black background. But the differences are small.

In general, montmorillonites work well. However, they aren't the perfect answer. They aren't heavy enough to hold unrooted stems, and they will mess with your water chemistry for a while. Workarounds for both are described in various other threads.
mossback is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2013, 10:38 AM   #8
Novice Murray Turtle Man
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: South Australia
Posts: 13
Default

Wow, some great information there! Thanks so much. I've been looking at some cat litter I can get locally. Cat Litter wouldn't be my first choice but it's very simple to get. Another person on a forum recommended it and said it was ok but that's the only info I have really fond on the product. Here are some links: www2.woolworthsonline.com.au/Shop/ProductDetails?Stockcode=95423&name=chandler-cat-litter&search=cat%20litter
http://www.qldaf.com/forums/general-...-litter-31775/
http://www.aquariumlife.com.au/showt...tapulgite-clay

So does anyone know anything about attapulgite clay?

Any other current (not discontinued) clays I can look at? There must be a fair few of them because I keep finding alterations of them. Turface, STS, Schultz Aquatic Plant Soil, cat litter, etc.

Plus, it's 1" for both the soil and capping material, right?
I'm planning on using miracle gro, should I add any other fertilizers? Like, clay, sulfate of potash, etc.?

Thanks
Novice Murray Turtle Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2013, 10:42 AM   #9
Novice Murray Turtle Man
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: South Australia
Posts: 13
Default

Mossback, when you say they aren't the perfect answer, are you suggesting there is something better or just that the clay has it's inherit problems?
Novice Murray Turtle Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2013, 02:28 PM   #10
Diana
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Posts: 7,295
Default

Every substrate material has plus and minus factors.
If you can make it work for you and your fish and plants, then that is good.
Diana is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2013, 03:23 PM   #11
mossback
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Georgia
Posts: 54
Default

Internet forums aren't the perfect communications medium. They give the appearance of being interactive, which discourages the hard work of editing a post before committing it. However, in general, they work well, and it's usually possible to revise a poorly phrased post after the fact. So:

"Montmorillonites aren't the perfect answer. They aren't heavy enough to hold unrooted stems, and they will mess with your water chemistry for a while. However, in general, they work well, and workarounds for both problems are described in various other threads."

Also applies to spelling errors, eg "possibile" for "possible".
mossback is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2013, 04:55 PM   #12
Seattle_Aquarist
Planted Tank Guru
 
Seattle_Aquarist's Avatar
 
PTrader: (34/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 2,527
Default

Hi All,

This is an interesting discussion. I have used Montmorillonite clay substrates for about four years now starting with Soilmaster Select Charcoal (discontinued), then Turface Pro League Grey (grey discontinued - other colors still available) and now Safe-T-Sorb #7941. In addition I use Walmart Special Kitty (non-clumping; unscented) as a cap for the Miracle-Gro for my emersed growth plant bank. I have also used ADA Aquasoil Amazonia. Prior to using the aforementioned products I used natural medium fine gravel with good results.

What I like about the Montmorillonite clay substrates is their ability, with their high cation exchange capacity (CEC), to absorb the nutrients I add to the water column and make them available to plants in the root zone. They are also inexpensive, typically STS #7941 costs me about $11 for a 40# bag.

Montmorillonite clay substrates are not perfect, all of them I mentioned are extraordinarily "dusty" and require extensive rinsing prior to first use. In addition they do effect water properties for several months when first used; they lowered both the dGH and dKH (and corresponding PH). I compensated by Seachem Equilibrium and adding bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to raise the parameters to the levels I needed.

Since I like 2" -3" of substrate I have never had an issues planting unrooted stems; I just plant them deeper. Obviously the different Montmorillonite clay substrates have some variation in weight, I find STS #7941 to be heavier than most and comparable to ADA Aquasoil Amazonia weight-wise.

Natural Gravel


Soilmaster Select Charcoal


Safe-T-Sorb #7941


Emersed Plant Bank
__________________
Roy
45 Gallon Tall; 96 Watt AH Supply CF; 6700K; & 30 Gallon Long; 2X36 Watt AH Supply CF; Press. CO2; UGF; Heat Treated Montmorillonite Clay
Greater Seattle Aquarium Society (GSAS)


Last edited by Seattle_Aquarist; 11-24-2013 at 08:43 PM.. Reason: ..
Seattle_Aquarist is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2013, 04:56 PM   #13
mossback
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Georgia
Posts: 54
Default

"So does anyone know anything about attapulgite clay?"

Was not aware that it was used for kitty litter. But you could give it a try. You might find yourself in a position to contribute some useful information to the hobby. Of course, Diana's caveats re kitty litter would apply.

"Any other current (not discontinued) clays I can look at?"

Shale and slate are both geologically processed clay. So you could also look for fired shale or slate. In the US, this would be Haydite and Stalite Permatill, among others. You might have better luck finding locally manufactured equivalents.
mossback is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2013, 09:48 PM   #14
Novice Murray Turtle Man
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: South Australia
Posts: 13
Default

Thanks once again guys. I understand what you mean when you say it's not perfect. If there was a perfect one, I wouldn't need to be in this forum

Thanks for the pics Seattle. I like the look of all the substrates but the STS looks like it has a nice particle size to it. Wish I could get it here, would make things easier. However, the cat litter I mentioned seems to be an ok option too. I may have to test it out. Not sure what the colour of it is though. I'll sift it first and then wash it a lot. That should help, hopefully. We have a new kitten, coincidentally, so it may be worth a try anyway. Even if I just mixed it in a glass of water and had a look at the colour, etc. I saw someone use it in their layer of miracle grow in a video and in a post on a forum. But someone else said they capped with it. I'll have to read the bag too, hopefully that has some answers.

Hmm slate? I thought that would be fairly inert. Didn't know about that. I'll look into it. Might even have to check out the local baseball fields...

I won't be able to do any elaborate tests when I use the clay, so I am hoping it won't change the chemistry of the tank too much. I will have a continual drip system for water changes and the tank will probably cycle like 4 times a week or more (couldn't get a slower dripper), so hopefully the extra water changes negate the litter's high CEC.

Then my next problem is making diy root taps!

All this for a turtle I got when I was young....
After this last year I have learnt so much but it always seems there's another problem around the corner!
Novice Murray Turtle Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
capping, dirted, montmorillonite clay, substrate

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 10:34 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012