Considering using Safe T Sorb in a planted tank. I've read the CEC is great, and it help drop the KH of the water drastically. Now the real dilemma. ITS DIRTY. LOL Just wondering if anyone has experience with using this product in their planted tanks. If so were the tanks hard to clear up after installing this stuff? Everything sounds like pros with this product except the cloudy water.!!
Unless you already have soft water...that can be a detractor also.
I will tell you a tale of 2 bags. (actually 3, but we'll go with 2)
The first bag I got I sifted and placed in the bucket. Washed, washed, washed, washed. Let it sit, washed it again. Let it sit, washed. Repeated this for about 2-3 months (cause I didn't have a tank for it yet). I would top off the water as it evaporated and then rinse it again until the water ran clear. I then added it to a tank. It felt "softer" to me, and I have never gotten the dirt out of it. I added it to the tank, it was extremely cloudy, and I have to deep vacuum it every week and get out the dirt that accumulates. looks like muddy water. I'm not happy with how cloudy it gets, and how the dust settles on the plants.
But it does clear up.
I bought 2 more bags of it, sifted it, washed it until it ran clean and added it to a different tank as a dirt cap. It's harder, doesn't cloud the water, and "so far" has been great! It seems like it was harder (baked longer) and therefore doesn't break down like the first bag.
Moral of the story....with cheap substrate you might get a winner or you might get a dud. It depends on the bag. If you don't like how it's turning out, buy a different bag from a different store or wait a little bit if you can to see if you've got a bad batch like I did.
I also use ProsChoice SoilMaster Select Red in 2 other tanks, and I really like it. The color is really light for most substrate choices, maybe an amazon or african tank biotype, but the grain size and hardness is fantastic. I wish they made it in Black. I'm using it as a cap in a growout tank so the color doesn't bother me.
The STS and ProsChoice Red are both montmorillionite clays. I'm also interested in AgSorb Gray since it comes in a variety of sieve sizes. All the listed products are part of the Oil-Dri Corporation.