Does anyone use laterite anymore? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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Does anyone use laterite anymore?

I'm planning a planted betta tank (10 gallons) and I'm on a bit of a budget. I had a planted tank years ago that did OK in plain gravel but I'm ready to go to the next level and enrich my substrate this time. I've priced out Flourite and Eco-Complete (and AquaSoil) but is there anything wrong with ye olde gravel and laterite? Is it out of favor because of cloudiness in the water column, or some other reason?

Thanks for any input!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 08:03 PM
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Welcome to TPT!

You can do fine with just gravel and laterite, provided it's pea gravel and you provide other nutrients, especially macros. I personally just don't like the color of laterite, I prefer a dark substrate.





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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Ah, OK. Yeah, I was planning on using root tabs and supplemental fertilizers (though don't the fish take care of a lot of the N?) And the laterite would just be about half a pound mixed into the first 10 pounds of gravel, with another 15 pounds or so on top of that. So I don't think it will make a difference aesthetically. My LFS sells an almost-sand-sized washed gravel in bulk, I'll look more closely at that and maybe explore some landscape suppliers and Lowe's and such.

Thanks for the welcome!
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 09:11 PM
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If you're going to Lowes you might take a look in the pond section for Schultz Aquatic Soil. Very similar to laterite in high iron content, and much better than gravel in that it will absorb nutrients from the water column and hold them available to the plants through the root zone. Pretty cheap, too.





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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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I've seen that product mentioned here and elsewhere, I'll look into it.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-10-2008, 02:54 AM
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I have a mix of 1-3mm gravel, laterite and Schultz Aquatic Soil in my tank. Plants are doing very well. I use root tabs and dose ferts.

John



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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 10:09 PM
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I second JJP2 , I have use #1 & #3 gravel mix bottom layer with laterite and had good growth in all my plants including crypts
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 10:55 PM
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I use laterite! And flourite and river clay aaand gravel. Works great.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-16-2008, 02:17 AM
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i don't get much access to enriched substrate so i'm stuck with laterite. i'm happy with the results though.


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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-16-2008, 03:10 AM Thread Starter
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Great, thanks!

I guess the next question is where to source gravel! My LFS sells it in bulk but I'm not in love with the color. No luck so far at hardware stores either. Next I think I'll look for landscape suppliers.

I'm going to have to search the forum to see the consensus on the size of the gravel, too, the LFS offers about a 1-2 mm and a 3-5 mm I'd guess.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-17-2008, 05:16 AM
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I'd go with 1-3mm, "pea gravel" Too large and it will inhibit good root growth.





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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-17-2008, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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Hm, the bulk stuff looked a bit smaller than "regular" aquarium gravel, and then the other was almost like rounded sand (that was the stuff I'd call 1 mm.) Everything I've found from landscape suppliers labeled "pea gravel" has been screened to 3/8" (~10 mm). About pea sized.

The LFS stuff is really quite light colored. I guess I'm planning to plant pretty heavily though, so hopefully it won't be too unattractive!
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2008, 01:03 AM
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My gravel is 1-3 mm. It's more like a large grain sand than gravel. Pea would be large as you've pointed out. If you have a lot of plants, you will not notice the gravel too much.

John



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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-18-2008, 04:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much, I think I'm finally feeling confident about my substrate choice (and can stop googling obsessively for landscape and gravel suppliers, or pricing and re-pricing Flourite!) Can't wait to go shopping.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 06:12 PM
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I'm using fluorite covered with a layer of sand for my 10g betta tank. The fluorite I use is Special Kitty (cat litter) from Wal-Mart. It has no additives and was the only fluorite I was able to find close to my home. It costs 3 dollars for 25 pounds of it so..not bad..
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