Alternative to laterite for iron in substrate plus other additives? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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Alternative to laterite for iron in substrate plus other additives?

I'm just wondering if there are cheap alternatives to laterite. I'm looking for things like potash and dolomite that you can add to your substrate for good root supplements. Also are there any other good cheap additives to also use for good plant growth.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2011, 03:48 AM
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An easy and costly method is to purchase red potting clay. A free method, is if you live in an area where the native dirt is red-clay based, you can simply dig it up, rinse a pile of dirt and separate out the clay chunks. I don't know how the dirt is in Canada, but here about 1,000 miles south of you, that is what I did. Went out to the back yard and just dug up a bunch of red clay.

I've even heard of people using rusty nails and screws under their substrate for an iron source. Some even claim that locally dug dirt will have enough iron in it naturally and that the only purpose of supplementing is if you use inert gravel.

Another option is to just use root tabs. API and Seachem make good root tabs formulated carefully. There are lots of options available.

Just make sure you don't use alot of iron supplementation if you have acidic water. That can cause excessive amounts to get into the water column and can kill everything in the tank.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2011, 04:35 AM
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An easy and costly method is to purchase red potting clay. A free method, is if you live in an area where the native dirt is red-clay based, you can simply dig it up, rinse a pile of dirt and separate out the clay chunks. I don't know how the dirt is in Canada, but here about 1,000 miles south of you, that is what I did. Went out to the back yard and just dug up a bunch of red clay.

I've even heard of people using rusty nails and screws under their substrate for an iron source. Some even claim that locally dug dirt will have enough iron in it naturally and that the only purpose of supplementing is if you use inert gravel.

Another option is to just use root tabs. API and Seachem make good root tabs formulated carefully. There are lots of options available.

Just make sure you don't use alot of iron supplementation if you have acidic water. That can cause excessive amounts to get into the water column and can kill everything in the tank.
Why do you think that excessive iron in the water will kill everything?

CSM+B, a powdered trace element mix, and powdered iron chelate are available so cheaply I don't see any reason to concern ourselves with having good amounts of iron in the substrate. Plants take up nutrients through the leaves as well or better than they take them up through the roots.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2011, 04:42 AM
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It's something I read on a couple of occasions that high iron in acidic water is toxic. I do not speak from experience.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2011, 09:24 PM
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"Too much" of anything, including water and oxygen, is toxic. The amount of iron we can reasonably get into tank water is not toxic.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2011, 12:24 PM
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An easy and costly method is to purchase red potting clay. A free method, is if you live in an area where the native dirt is red-clay based, you can simply dig it up, rinse a pile of dirt and separate out the clay chunks. I don't know how the dirt is in Canada, but here about 1,000 miles south of you, that is what I did. Went out to the back yard and just dug up a bunch of red clay.
To make a long story short. A long time ago I was a volunteer at the Baltimore National Aquarium. I brought some red clay in and they analyzed it with a machine they called an atomic analyzer. No Iron was detected even though it was red in color.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2011, 12:51 PM
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Why do you think that excessive iron in the water will kill everything?

CSM+B, a powdered trace element mix, and powdered iron chelate are available so cheaply I don't see any reason to concern ourselves with having good amounts of iron in the substrate. Plants take up nutrients through the leaves as well or better than they take them up through the roots.
I think saying that all plants take up nutrients in their leaves as well as or better than through the roots is way off. Underestimating the role of roots is all too common it seems.

Even plants with smaller root structures can feed rather heavily from their roots. Root size is usually more relative to anchoring, in aquatic plants.

A nutrient rich soil(from ada, mts, or other root nutrients) helps to provide a stable gap free source of nutrients(i get that EI does this too). Some nutrients are more easily taken up by roots, as well.


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"Too much" of anything, including water and oxygen, is toxic. The amount of iron we can reasonably get into tank water is not toxic.
This. In fact, you're much more likely to have a deficiency than a toxic level.

Has anyone ever had a documented case of copper poisoning in inverts due to fert dosing? Other than copper based meds I am not sure anyone has ever actually harmed inverts with copper, yet we see questions on it all the time.

These are about the same as the people who don't understand why they have algae with 200 watts of t5ho lighting on there 29g tank.

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To make a long story short. A long time ago I was a volunteer at the Baltimore National Aquarium. I brought some red clay in and they analyzed it with a machine they called an atomic analyzer. No Iron was detected even though it was red in color.
And this. Red does not mean high iron. Having worked with some high iron substrates in the development of RM, I've sampled a lot of commercially available natural red clays and have found most have essentially nothing but highly degraded nutrient devoid dirt in them.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2011, 03:16 PM
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To make a long story short. A long time ago I was a volunteer at the Baltimore National Aquarium. I brought some red clay in and they analyzed it with a machine they called an atomic analyzer. No Iron was detected even though it was red in color.
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And this. Red does not mean high iron. Having worked with some high iron substrates in the development of RM, I've sampled a lot of commercially available natural red clays and have found most have essentially nothing but highly degraded nutrient devoid dirt in them.
What about this ? I think if you reread this again you'll see that I said just what you said. Red clay does not indicate the clay contains Iron
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2011, 03:32 PM
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Steve001




What about this ? I think if you reread this again you'll see that I said just what you said. Red clay does not indicate the clay contains Iron
I believe he was backing you up and adding a bit more support.

So what would red potting clay contain?


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2011, 03:45 PM
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What about this ? I think if you reread this again you'll see that I said just what you said. Red clay does not indicate the clay contains Iron
I was backing you up.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2011, 04:23 PM
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I think saying that all plants take up nutrients in their leaves as well as or better than through the roots is way off. Underestimating the role of roots is all too common it seems.

Even plants with smaller root structures can feed rather heavily from their roots. Root size is usually more relative to anchoring, in aquatic plants.

A nutrient rich soil(from ada, mts, or other root nutrients) helps to provide a stable gap free source of nutrients(i get that EI does this too). Some nutrients are more easily taken up by roots, as well.
This isn't something we can only speculate about. There is data available for at least some plants. I don't have the data. I do know that even terrestrial plants can be fertilized very well by spraying the nutrients on the leaves, instead of soaking the soil with them. Some farm crops are fertilized that way.

I agree that the common belief that aquatic plants with extensive root systems are "heavy root feeders" is incorrect. Most aquatic plants with large root systems are plants that spend a lot of their life living out of water, and/or live in fast flowing water, where it takes a robust root system to hold them in place. Also, stem plants reproduce well by pieces breaking off and floating elsewhere to grow, but plants like swords and crypts can't do that, so they need to stay put to reproduce. Sometimes the obvious isn't true.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-22-2011, 01:27 AM
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And this. Red does not mean high iron. Having worked with some high iron substrates in the development of RM, I've sampled a lot of commercially available natural red clays and have found most have essentially nothing but highly degraded nutrient devoid dirt in them.
Which is why it is hard to find a substitute for laterite which does have iron in it. I originally got past this by emulsifying the red potters clay with Ironite. Since I found out what kind of slag Ironite is I switched to using the micro-mix dry fertilizers.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-24-2011, 12:36 PM
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I was backing you up.
Ok. I wasn't sure.
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