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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some clay and I would prefer to use something dry, but I know there are still many types of clay that are still not high in Iron. Is there something that someone can vouch for that would fit that job requirement? I am in Salem Oregon and cant seem to find a Pottery store nearby. What about clay kitty litter? Does it have Iron? I dont mind going online but would rather not.
 

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Go to hobby lobby or a craft store. Typically the mexican red clays are what you are shooting for. UNfortunately they come in 5 lb boxes(all of 10 bucks, maybe) and would be enough for about 10,000 gallons.
 

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What is this for? (Noob here, sorry). I take it you do need a clay that is high in iron? I'm a potter, but unfortunately I work in buff stoneware with magnesium which isn't one of the highest iron content clays. You are probably looking for red earthenware or low-fire clay. That's the type of clay that clay plant pots are made of. But if you want to try my clay I'd be happy to fill one of those little $5 flat rate boxes for you.

I use Laguna stoneware #60 but the specks are actually magnesium:

This clay is compounded to be a stoneware clay with specks that bleed through the glaze, giving the appearance of iron burning through, typical of reduction glazes and clays. A very popular throwing clay for production potters who want to add the speck dimension to their ware.​
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Junko thank you for the offer but I would not know if that would be good or bad in an aquarium. It is used when making MTS(see sticky at the top of this forum) I went to an art supplie place today and they sell play clay? low fire, it is gray, and it is 25lbs for 16$ Waaaaaay too much clay. I dont even know if it is the kind I need as I dont know what kind of clay is high in Iron. Thanks anyways Junko.
 

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Terra Cotta is a low fire, iron rich earthenware clay- just what you were looking for! I don't know how it is used for aquarium soil (I'm still learning and for now just use eco-complete) but if I had to guess, I think you made the right choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It is an air dry clay which from what I understand needs other synthetics or polymers or something in order for it to have any stength without firing. I found what I want from a place in portland. It is Redart clay in a powder. That way it is easier to mix in with dirt.
 

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Terra Cotta is a low fire, iron rich earthenware clay- just what you were looking for! I don't know how it is used for aquarium soil (I'm still learning and for now just use eco-complete) but if I had to guess, I think you made the right choice.
As I understand it, there are 2 ways to go about adding it to the soil.

let it air dry and crush it into a powder, or water it down so much it turns to mush and then you add it to soil.

The point is to add an iron source for plants. while it acts as a glue to keep the soil somewhat fused together for when you pull plants out and loosen the soil bed.
 

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Yes, if this is regular plain old terra cotta clay, once it's dry it's very easy to crush into powder form and this will mix quickly with water. Just don't breathe the dust! Silicosis is nasty business, though you have to work in a dusty studio for years for it to be a problem. Still, be safe!

However! If this clay is something designed to be air dried and that is all it needs, then I wouldn't chance using it. Regular clay once dry (and before being fired) is extremely brittle and fragile. Like Lugnut said- there may be other additives in there if this is the case.
 

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The advise about Hobby Lobby, Michaels is a waste of time & gas. I've not only done it I went to two of each and found no one has a clue what is in those clays if they even know where they are in the stores. Also, there isn't a lot of info on the labels either. After all the time & effort I'm not about to get cheap on the clay for my MTS.

I found a pottery suppler talk to him, told him I wanted 100% organic, higher Iron content. He told me it's Art Clay I want. At the his level it only in 50#s but that was only $19. Of course that would be just the excuse I need to get a 180 aquarium:icon_mrgr

That said, I did the SMART thing:


http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/s...topsoil-supplies-muriate-potash-dolomite.html

I've made to purchases from Colin...great forum member he will do good for you.
 

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Yes, if this is regular plain old terra cotta clay, once it's dry it's very easy to crush into powder form and this will mix quickly with water. Just don't breathe the dust! Silicosis is nasty business, though you have to work in a dusty studio for years for it to be a problem. Still, be safe!

However! If this clay is something designed to be air dried and that is all it needs, then I wouldn't chance using it. Regular clay once dry (and before being fired) is extremely brittle and fragile. Like Lugnut said- there may be other additives in there if this is the case.
It says air dry on the label.

Looks like I will be doing an art project and still hunting down some clay. ;)
 

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Another alternative to iron is organic charcoal, which is sold at ACE hardware store. You have to crush it though. Best to soak it over night and then crush it. Done by rapping in towel and hitting it against something or with a hammer.

 

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I disagree with Michael's and Hobby Lobby not being the right place, it's with jewerly, and is this:

http://shop.hobbylobby.com/search/d...A986B2A&searchTerm=Amaco+Mexican+Pottery+Clay

Usually comes in a white box without the fancy labeling shown there. $10 or so for 5 pounds wet. They have others as well, just look for the ones without polymer. Usually found on the bottom shelves as it is a heavier item.

See it all the time at both stores, I practically live at craft stores.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I disagree with Michael's and Hobby Lobby not being the right place, it's with jewerly,
Usually comes in a white box without the fancy labeling shown there. $10 or so for 5 pounds wet. They have others as well, just look for the ones without polymer. Usually found on the bottom shelves as it is a heavier item.

See it all the time at both stores, I practically live at craft stores.
I would not disagree that it is there. I have used the stuff from Michaels. Everything I have read leads me to believe it has no Iron in it though. After talking to a pottery warehouse in portland it seems that the hobby clay has something un-natural in order for it to hold its shape without firing it. Without someone testing the stuff I just dont know if it is of any use for us.
 

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sewingalot - Your stores may be better stocked & staffed with better educated employees. Or, I just visited the the two worst locations of these chains...or maybe both?

What ever the combination, I'm not about to trust my Aquarium to a part-time employee's "guess this will work" answer.
 

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Nah, the employees really suck overall. I just really know my way around craft stores. :D They are probably better stocked given the crafty nature of most people in this area, but it is also possible it's there, just the employees are clueless. If you are not certain, it's wise to be safe than sorry.

However, this particular type of clay found at most craft and school supply stores and is pure red clay as provided by their MSDS: http://www.amaco.com/files/MSDS-Mexican-Clay-AP.pdf and the red of the clay is created from both manganese oxides and unhydrated iron oxides. Natural red clays is high in iron and will hold shape as it dries. If you get it wet after it dries, it becomes a moist clay again unless you add a shellac or other means of making it water proof. Not saying you can't buy the fancy clays, but this is the stuff that has been used safely for years in aquariums. You just have to look for the natural clays.
 

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I bought the amaco stuff from Michaels but I happened to be really lucky. It was the only one of its kind and it seemed like they only had it the one time I took the trip there. Usually they always have that sculpey crap. If not you can just buy those powdered clays that people use for cosmetics. They are a little pricey though
 
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