Georgia red clay and MTS questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-19-2010, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Georgia red clay and MTS questions

Hello! I live in georgia and was wondering if I can use the red Georgia clay that is so prevalent in this area? This is the kind of clay that makes our rivers turn red when it rains and will stain your clothes orange.

Can I use only Georgia clay since I wouldn't be using the type of clay you use for pottery? I would just be digging it up from the yard. Could I get away with only a 1/4 inch layer of pure ga clay with 2 inches of fluorite over that?

Also, assuming i can't use Georgia clay place of garden center topsoil, can I use silt from a pond? We have a cabin on a small lake that's being filled in with silt from erosion upstream (construction). There is a lot organic matter in this silt since the lake has basically become a bog. Would using this organic rich silt be preferable? It doesn't appear to be clay-based because it's dark brown and clay isn't common at our cabin.

The silt seems to be extremely low in nutrients and minerals, and seems to be primarily organic matter because sphagnum moss and pitcher plants grow well in it, and sphagnum moss and pitcher plants can not tolerate nutrients or minerals. I'm unclear as to whether it's desirable to start with soil that's mostly organic matter so that you'll end up with more mineralized media in the end, as opposed to substrate that is mostly inorganic to start with. This stuff is thick silty muck.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-19-2010, 04:38 PM
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I just followed this:

except instead of using clay and all that I just ordered "Green Start" from root medic along with some caps too. I also mixed some sand into the mineralized soil.

the green start you just sprinkle on the bottom of the tank like it says to do with the other stuff in the tutorial. then I just made an aesthetic border like its says added some water to my mineralized soil and put that in then capped it in flourite.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-19-2010, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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I saw that, but was wondering if I can just dig up some dirt from my yard, mineralize it, and not add anything since it's already clay based and georgia red clay is high in iron anyway so I thought that would be ideal instead of adding potting clay to garden-center topsoil.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-19-2010, 10:27 PM
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Hello. You can probably get away with using just the clay rich soil as long as you mineralize it. On a side note, actual Pottery clay is the real deal. I went to a place that only sold pottery supplies here in Portland. They had a ton of different colors of clay so i asked if the clay was natural or a dye was used. The guy said it was all natural just mined in different parts of the states, he told me the Red iron rich clay was from Georgia. You should be good to go
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-20-2010, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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I sifted about one gallon of yard dirt. There was almost no waste... Only about one cup of rocks/debris were thrown away and when I added water I skimmed off only about a tablespoon tiny particulate floating debris.

Sure enough once I added water it became slip more or less. There is quite a bit of mica in the clay.
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