Turface Pro fired clay substrate--does it wear out, or go bad? Mine is ~8 years old. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-17-2019, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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Turface Pro fired clay substrate--does it wear out, or go bad? Mine is ~8 years old.

Subject says it all. Is there ever a need to replace a fired clay substrate?

I do not have a lot of root-feeding plants. In fact, I can barely keep floating plants alive. But it was suggested to me that my substrate could be part of my troubles.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-17-2019, 11:41 PM
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It stops buffering, but I believe the CEC capabilities still remain. The bigger question is, how well do you clean the substrate? Over that long of a period, mulm tends to build up to levels that can cause issues.
@Seattle_Aquarist has some tanks with STS that are quite old. Roy would probably have some good insights on this.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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It's hard to say how well it can be cleaned. I don't have big snowdrifts of mulm. Things look pretty clean and when I stir it up, the debris produced seems ... reasonable. But I don't know how to quantify it.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 04:01 AM
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Hi @Cyano,

Here is how I test it, if I can take a grain or two of the substrate and squeeze it between my thumb and forefinger and it doesn't turn into 'mush' or break apart it is probably still good. If it does break apart don't reuse it. It does still have the CEC properties as @natemcnutty stated, but planting in mush is not fun. I just broke down two tanks that I set up in 2010 (9 years) that have Soilmaster Select Charcoal Grey (discontinued) calcined clay and the substrate is still as good as new. Last spring I broke down a tank with Safe-t-sorb that was set up in Feb. 2014 (5 years ago) and the substrate was starting to become soft. I tried to re-use it and that was a poor decision, because I will now have to break down that tank after a year and replace the substrate. Hope this helps! -Roy

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks @Seattle_Aquarist!

My Turface still looks and feels new, no signs of it turning to mush.
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