Where do you guys buy clay? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Where do you guys buy clay?

I'm looking at ZOOMED brands, and whatnot, but I was wondering if there's a cheap alternative to buying a large amount of clay. Looking to have it layer into the substrate.


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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-02-2019, 05:14 AM
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Montmorillonite clay? Baked clay?
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-02-2019, 12:17 PM
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Lots of clay options, if you're thinking of potting clay / red clay for nutrients I'm sorry to tell you, but that's a myth and won't really provide much of anything.

Use DIY Osmocote+ tabs instead.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 08:23 PM
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I'm with Quagulator on this. I did a lot of work with clay-based substrates in the past, and while they're useful for going plants for habitat restoration, they're horrible for aquarium use. If you're interested in substrate as a nutrient source, tabs or Osmocote+ are the way to go.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 03:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quagulator View Post
Lots of clay options, if you're thinking of potting clay / red clay for nutrients I'm sorry to tell you, but that's a myth and won't really provide much of anything.

Use DIY Osmocote+ tabs instead.
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I'm with Quagulator on this. I did a lot of work with clay-based substrates in the past, and while they're useful for going plants for habitat restoration, they're horrible for aquarium use. If you're interested in substrate as a nutrient source, tabs or Osmocote+ are the way to go.
wouldnt the pottery clay at least have some cec?


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 03:36 AM
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wouldnt the pottery clay at least have some cec?
If you use legitimate clay rather than a synthetic it'll have some. I highly recommend *against* using clay in aquariums though. It's actually pretty awful for growing plants. If you've got access to it, check out my talk at the 2015 AGA convention where I go over the substrate portion of my old research. Most of the treatment mixtures were clay based and ended up being completely unsuitable for aquarium use.

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 03:57 AM
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I'm with Quagulator on this. I did a lot of work with clay-based substrates in the past, and while they're useful for going plants for habitat restoration, they're horrible for aquarium use. If you're interested in substrate as a nutrient source, tabs or Osmocote+ are the way to go.
Do you reccomend BDBS or a CEC substrate or somethingelse?
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 04:14 AM
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Do you reccomend BDBS or a CEC substrate or somethingelse?
I'm of the opinion that CEC means nothing in an enclosed glass box, but if it means something to you any calcined (kiln fired) clay product such as Turface is good. Otherwise, any 2-3mm non-coated material works just fine if you plan on primarily dosing the water column. I haven't used it myself, but lots of folks have success with BDBS so it seems to be a safe bet. If you prefer nutrients via the substrate then go with an inch or so of 50/50 calcined clay mixed with sieved organic potting soil, such as MiracleGro's Organic Choice product, capped with 2 inches of Turface. Sieving out the large chunks and capping it are essential.

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 05:27 AM
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Pottery clay is crap and can be more of a detriment than a good thing.
Clay derived from one's homestead soil is better, grated and added to a soil mix.

High CEC substrates can be a plus depending on one's situation.

The tighter a cap is over soil the better, less transfer to the water column.
This depends also on the amount of nutrients in the soil.

Don't wish to begin a debate on the soil combinations I've tried up until now either.
Most get at least a 1 year run, some get 2-4 years.

FWIW the number one factor I've seen over the past 2 years is a reduction in KH levels.
Either RODI water introduction or HCl. Experimenting both ways in 2 tanks.
How low? Greater than 0 but less than 1dKH, GH is always under 6dGH.

In a low KH environment an inert substrate is adequate with water column dosing only.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 06:04 PM
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In a low KH environment an inert substrate is adequate with water column dosing only.
I've got kh=4 - 5. Gh=8

What are the problems in moderate or harder water?
I wondered about lowering kH with Acetic Acid(vinegar) seems much safer/easier than HCL.

So far was going to use some coarse cosmetic gravel (really easy to vac and low maintenance).
Not sure if Blyxa Japonica grow okay in it or no. I think S. Repens and other plants like it should be fine.
But if I chose Rotalas or other delicate stems in the future not sure if they would be okay with gravel.

The scape is mostly going to be Crypts, Ferns, Buces, Anubias, Mosses, Fissidens etc. mostly attached to hardscape.

Might want to add some finer sand for more delicate stems at the back. What mesh of BDBS do I want(20/40)?

I'd have to go to the states to get BDBS or pay a rediculous price to ship Black Beauty here in Quebec, Canada, I might do it but its a pain even shipping from Ontario gets expensive.

Last edited by cl3537; 05-11-2019 at 06:43 PM. Reason: ...
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 06:15 PM
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I don't think I mentioned BDBS?

Use the medium if you choose it but I don't remember the mesh/screen. Think the bags say 20/40?

Lower KH allows more efficient of nutrients.

Surely some form of blasting media that is coal slag must be available nearby.


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Last edited by Maryland Guppy; 05-11-2019 at 06:16 PM. Reason: Edit
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 06:43 PM
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cl,

Take a look around and see if you can find 2-3mm coarse silica sand. That's an ideal inert substrate in my opinion and experience.

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 11:28 PM
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cl,

Take a look around and see if you can find 2-3mm coarse silica sand. That's an ideal inert substrate in my opinion and experience.
That used to be a reasonably easy find at dedicated aquarium shops. IMO not so easy to find nowadays. Pool filter sand is of similar size and it's uniform in dimension and a little easier to find at local hardware stores, pool supply places and garden centers. Smoother than BDBS for cories and such. Only potential drawback is that it is pretty white (but some like that)

I've used laterite in the past with good anecdotal results.

Hey Phil - hope all is well
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