Can I pre-charge Fluorite? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
EdC
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Can I pre-charge Fluorite?

I am probably a month or two away from my next setup. I understand that fluorite absorbs, and slowly releases nutrients.
Could I spend the next month or two soaking some in a bucket with liquid fertilizers at double strength before adding it to a new tank? Would that achieve anything?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 03:38 PM
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Hi @EdC.

Flourite has a very low cation exchange capacity (CEC=1.7) compared to a calcined clay material with a high CEC (CEC=>41) so it's ability to absorb and release nutrients to plants in the root zone is low compared to high CEC substrates. I would save my money (and time) on trying to pre-charge flourite and plan on using root tabs and dosing fertilizer in the water column.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you.

I am not dead set on fluorite. I just like that it is clean and permanent.
What about something like STS? It's a real pain to get in Canada, but doable. If I got hold of a bag of that, would it be worth pre-charging with liquid ferts. I still have some natural red clay left over from a previous build that I can put underneath it, and a small amount of well-conditioned fluorite/dirt mix that I could stir in.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 07:31 PM
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Hi EdC,

I use STS in three of my tanks (75G, 20G, 10G) and it is a good substrate, certainly well priced here in the U.S. where it is 40# for $6.49 at Tractor Supply Company. It does have drawbacks, basically because it is clay it never washes 'clean'. Also, even though it is a calcined clay product and initially very hard it does soften over time, not as bad as cat litter and seems to even be better than ADA Amazonia, but after about 3 years it needs to be replaced....not re-used. I do pre-charge it, typically just with GH Booster because my water is extremely soft. I don't pre-charge with nitrogen, potassium, or phosphorus because I like to know how much of those I am making available to my plants.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi EdC,

I use STS in three of my tanks (75G, 20G, 10G) and it is a good substrate, certainly well priced...... Snipped for brevity....... Also, even though it is a calcined clay product and initially very hard it does soften over time, not as bad as cat litter and seems to even be better than ADA Amazonia, but after about 3 years it needs to be replaced....not re-used.
I've had STS/oil sorb in my tank since January 2012....

I am anticipating replacing it. I bought 6 bags of Fluorite Dark when it was on sale over boxing day.

Maybe old STS is part of my problem... Particles are getting to fine for good aeration of the substrate....

Waiting til it warms up a bit more, as I will be rinsing it outside....


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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 02:36 AM
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I have flourite and don't like planting in it, but it does perform ok for plant growth. As Seattle_Aquarist said it has a pretty lousy CEC. I think what it does do well is hold some mulm which has a higher CEC. So as your tank ages and settles in it does end up with a higher CEC.
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