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post #1 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-11-2002, 03:55 AM Thread Starter
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I've heard Kitty Litter contains Iron and is a good substitute for flourite... anyone have any info on this theory?
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post #2 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-11-2002, 04:38 PM
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Yes it does. More than Flourite, actually. Some Wal-Mart special has Fe concentrations of 14,500 mg/kg and Flourite has only 9,610 mg/kg.

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Substrates for the Planted Aquarium


You'd be surprised at how overrated Flourite is. Even more important than iron is Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC). Flourite's is 1.7 me/100g while Kitty Litter's is 27 me/100g. Tetra Initial sticks are 83 me/100g, hehe so I use them to supplement my Flourite substrate.

If I were doing another planted tank, it would just be kittly litter.

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post #3 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-11-2002, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info
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post #4 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-11-2002, 11:44 PM
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One of the great things about this hobby is the many different views successful aquatic gardners have about doing planted tanks.

My experience is just the opposite. Kitty litter was a waste of time and money. (though not much money) I have found that Flourite and Onyx are worth every penny. I still do my low light low tech tanks with a sand and laterite mix though. I wound never use kitty litter again.
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post #5 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-12-2002, 01:03 PM
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I agree with Steve Hampton. Theres more than one way to skin a cat ! And thats why I like forums like this. We discuss our experiences and view points and take what we need and leave the rest. Being an old hydroponics "student", I kinda setup my tank with that experience in mind. My substrate is basically inert gravel used mainly to anchor the plants. In my opinion, when you use a substrate that packs tightly such as kitty litter, you limit the roots ability to spread ,and water circulation in the substrate becomes stagnant which can cause root rot and allow anaerobic bacteria to flourish below the substrate. I feed my plants a few ways, by dosing with flourish and flourish iron, I insert jobes spikes into the substrate near the base of the heavy root feeders, and the detritus from the fish and rotting plant material that doesn't get caught in the filter. Also co2 injection. As you can see my substrate doesn't really do anything to feed the plants. It's been working well for me.

On the other hand ,I just ordered 3 bags of flourite to add to my gravel to act as a nutrient storage medium. Kinda like a nutrient buffer, to store excess nutrients when they're not used by the plants and to release them when theres a shortage in the tank.

Growing plants in a closed system is part "science" and part "art". Thats whats so interesting about it.
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post #6 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-12-2002, 02:45 PM
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I just did that exact same thing in my 55 gallon!! I had about 1 inch of gravel in my 55 and ordered 3 bags of Seachem Flourite from Bigalsonline.com. I cost about $17.00 including the shipping. They shipped it on Tuesday and I just got it this Friday!! Good Luck with the flourite!

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post #7 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-14-2002, 12:46 PM
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No doubt about it - Flourite is good stuff. I'm using it in my 55g with great success. But when I mix kitty litter with regular gravel, I haven't seen the compacting that m.lemay mentions. Kitty Litter is fairly soft and crushable, but that also makes it highly porous. It does a phenomenal job at storing nutrients for root feeders. It's higher Catien Exchange Capacity allows it to store the positively charged Ferrous iron (Fe +2) ions far better than Flourite. I'm not convinced that plants are actually able to use the Ferric minerals that actually exist in Flourite (as minimal as they are). The way plants get iron from Flourite is its ability to store the ions in the porous clay structure.

Bottom line - Flourite is still awesome stuff. The one and only complaint I've ever heard in association with Flourite is it's capacity to cloud water for a few days after installation. No big deal in the big picture. But for those on a budget - they don't have to think you are compromising your tank by using Kitty Litter.

I like this discussion - I want to learn more about other people experiences with kitty litter. Steve, what problems did you run into with it?

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post #8 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-14-2002, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Have yet to put it in my tank. While still researching more on the topic, I have a pillow case full of kitty litter that I rinced the other day. Still trying to decide if I want to mix it in just yet.

I'll let you guys know what I find on the net.
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post #9 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-15-2002, 04:37 PM
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I am using kitty litter for the first time also and I can tell you one thing, wash it thoroughly! You will still get cloudy water for a few days but if you don't you will be vaccumming sludge till who knows when! I am putting pea gravel size river rock on top. According to what I've read about thier properties, my plants should be deleriously happy.:hehe:
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post #10 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-17-2002, 01:45 AM
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Sounds like you are not liking it ridns ...
Are you regretting using it ?
Looking at those charts it looks very rich in Iron... I also imagine you cant use just any ole brand... sounds dangerous to me
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post #11 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-17-2002, 03:06 AM
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Your right. Not everykind of kitty litter is aquarium safe. I looked into kitty litter also and if you plan on using it, you have to go for the no name brand stuff with no added chemicals or specials scents. It has to be pure kitty litter.
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post #12 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-17-2002, 03:42 AM
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The only thing I haven't liked about it so far is it took about an hour to wash it! %That has to be the worst experience I ever had washing substrate. Once you get past that, no problem. Be sure to mix it with small gravel to prevent it from packing up to tightly. :hehe:

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post #13 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-17-2002, 07:05 AM
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The thing i did with my litter is after washing it ofcourse was bottom layer of substrate about 25% litter with the rest being small river rock then another layer of rock and any plants that go in i put a handful or so around the plant itself......works good and i guess you can say it matches the rock so you cant really tell its there......

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post #14 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-17-2002, 12:49 PM
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I really like the iron content of this... I might have to think about adding a little at a time and mix in with what I have allready have.
Does this effect PH values in any way or any other water parameters other then Fe ?
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post #15 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-18-2002, 03:22 PM
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No, it shouldn't affect pH or hardness. The only way it can affect other water parameters is by what it absorbs from the water column, given its extremely porous construction.

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