Newbie Mistakes -- Handle Laterite With Care! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie Mistakes -- Handle Laterite With Care!

So I made a real newbie mistake(s). I'im setting up a 3G display tank (a very nice desktop one, made by Picotope), in which I plan to put a betta and maybe a snail (plus shrimp?).

I thought I'd make it a moderately planted tank, having heard that bettas like plants to hide out in (and I like plants, too ). So I installed a half-inch of laterite, covered with an inch of black gravel, and set up the tank for a fish-less cycle.... I had visions of a betta frolicking above a tight green carpet of vegetation, nourished by my plant-friendly substrate!!

The tank cycled, but the water just remained totally cloudy. At first, I hoped it was 'bacteria bloom'; then I realized it was a fine layer of laterite, suspended in the water. Water changes didn't help; as soon as I put my filter back on, I got a cloud of gunk in the water and the filter didn't seem to do anything to clean it up.

Finally, after several 80% water changes, I gave up. I got out as much of the gravel as I could rescue and rinsed it with tank water. I dumped the rest of the gravel plus laterite and washed the tank under the tap, to get the rest out. A lot of work went down the tubes.....

I suspect I just didn't rinse the laterite enough. But it seemed to keep dissolving into silt and washing away, until I called a halt. Or maybe it was just a bad idea to put laterite into such a small tank, to start with...

Just wanted to share my experience.

GB
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 12:18 AM
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I washed my laterite many times and it never did come completely clean; and it did make the water cloudy when I added it. It never made my tank cloudy again after it settled, but there was laterite dust that would get stirred up for a couple months when I messed with stuff.

But I only added a thin layer in my 10 gallon; it could be that a 1/2 inch in a 3-gallon was overkill.

I washed mine in a fine mesh strainer, so anything smaller than like 2 mm was washed away.

Joy to the fishes!
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 02:30 AM Thread Starter
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Laterite!

Thanks, Jadelin!

GB
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 03:29 AM
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Laterite is yesterday's substrate layer. Today we use other stuff.

Seriously, laterite made sense back when people had problems finding a way to give their plants enough available iron. Today we have many options for iron, most of them much easier to use and better than laterite.

Hoppy
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 03:37 AM
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getting ready to set up new tank,used red flourite in last tank with pretty good results. was wandering what recomendations other than the flourite, or mixing something with it.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 04:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Laterite is yesterday's substrate layer. Today we use other stuff.
Which is why it's really hard to find good info about it!

Joy to the fishes!
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 11:38 AM
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I used laterite long, long ago in a tank. It was effective but very, very messy and stained badly. I'd never use it again for that reason. The general recommended application was to mix it LIGHTLY with the bottom 1/3 of the substrate layer, not to use an inch of it like you would other substrates. I NEVER washed it. It would just wash away.

As Hoppy said, I wouldn't use it these days. It belongs in the dustbin of planted tank history.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
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It belongs in the dustbin of planted tank history.
Ha, 'dust'bin.

Joy to the fishes!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bloo View Post
I used laterite long, long ago in a tank. It was effective but very, very messy and stained badly. I'd never use it again for that reason. The general recommended application was to mix it LIGHTLY with the bottom 1/3 of the substrate layer, not to use an inch of it like you would other substrates. I NEVER washed it. It would just wash away.

As Hoppy said, I wouldn't use it these days. It belongs in the dustbin of planted tank history.
I wish I'd known... I guess it's a learning experience

GB
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-07-2011, 12:19 AM
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At least you only did it in a 3 gallon! I could've been a lot worse (and wasted a lot more money).

Joy to the fishes!
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-07-2011, 12:46 AM
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So laterite is for the dustbin only because you don't know how to handle it. I will wait till you guys tell me that wheels are for dustbin because levitation is here.

If you have a choice, you have a problem, till you elect your choice. No choice, no problem, only consequences, learn to live with them.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-07-2011, 11:54 AM
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A single 3 liter bag of Amazonia works perfectly in those 3g picotopes.

"Aquarists are a brave lot. We mix water and electricity every day."
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