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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first post......

I have been running my tanks with live plants for well over 2 years now, nothing serious just never liked the look of plastic. Recently caught the bug on dwarf shrimp and decided to take a deeper dive into the whole planted scene. I already have my shrimp tank up and running used fluorite mixed with regular gravel as a substrate. Only a couple of weeks in but seeing some growth... anyway to my point/question.

In the garage I use a product from EP Minerals its called "floor-dry". I was checking it out. its 100% natural product. Its Calcined Diatomite with <1% silica content. VERY light and VERY cheap. (especially since they sell it where my wife works) Is this a suitable thing to use as a substrate? Its an off white so I will be putting something overtop of it. I have a 180g that I am going to be building into a wall and going crazy with plants so the more I can save on setup is the more I can spend on plants.

anyone with any experience or words on this? sorry if its been talked about before I did try using the search but you can imagine how many results i got by searching for "floor dry"..... and another sorry to all those who sprung leaks.
 

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How off white?
Pink is heat treated diotimite.
White would be heat treated and soda ash added.
The problem I see with using this material is that you don't know what else is in it. The allowed minor metal and mineral content literally ranges from Arsenic to Zinc.

The raw material, crushed very fine and cleaned, is diatomaceous earth used in micro filtering water.

Swimming pool filer sand is a great inexpensive substrate. Oil Dry clay works but it will mess with your pH for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
How off white?
Pink is heat treated diotimite.
White would be heat treated and soda ash added.
The problem I see with using this material is that you don't know what else is in it. The allowed minor metal and mineral content literally ranges from Arsenic to Zinc.

The raw material, crushed very fine and cleaned, is diatomaceous earth used in micro filtering water.

Swimming pool filer sand is a great inexpensive substrate. Oil Dry clay works but it will mess with your pH for a while.
I washed some and set it in a glass jar, actually pinkish-brown. I REALLY like the color.
Here is the web site http://epminerals.com/ab-industrial.html
Here is the MSDS http://epcontainer.com/msds/msds-floordry.pdf

Looks to me like the only issue is the dust, which I will be rinsing away anyways. its got a neutral pH so it should not affect it other than in they way I want (we have HARD water here, pretty much the first place it comes out of the river after melting off the glacier, out of the tap its 7.6-8 pH) I want to be running more in the 7.2pH range maybe even lower.

a big bag of it retails for $9 but my wife gets it for $3/bag. 22.7 liters/bag
 

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You do understand how DE kills bugs, right?

It is like tiny razor blades. Literally chops through their exoskeletons and shreds them, or rips apart their guts if ingested.

Are you at all concerned about what it'll do to baby shrimp? Even after a rinse, shrimp pick at substrate particles constantly... are you sure it will not break down?
 

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Put some of it in a bucket of water and let it set for a few days and then take a sample for ammonia and pH (and everything else your particular kit has) and see if it's usable.

If that's fine setup a 10gal tank dump two inches in and cap it with a 1.5 inch cap of PFS and then plant the snot out of it and see how that works.

The hard part is finding out how sharp it is and whether it will rip the barbels off of rooters.

- Brad
 

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sorry if its been talked about before I did try using the search but you can imagine how many results i got by searching for "floor dry"..... and another sorry to all those who sprung leaks.
sorry, no advice but i thought this was hilarious. :icon_mrgr

welcome to TPT! :red_mouth
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Put some of it in a bucket of water and let it set for a few days and then take a sample for ammonia and pH (and everything else your particular kit has) and see if it's usable.

- Brad
That was my plan with the jar. After rinsing I used distilled water. 7.0pH 0 ammonia. Just tested (been 24hours) still 7.0 and no ammonia.

again I am going to say I LOVE the color. not so hot on the smell. (musky earth)

im gonna give it a few more days and test again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Tested my sample jar again this morning. Everything is good. Gonna rebuild my newt/dwarf frog tank with this in it tonight. I will try and get some pics and post so you can see what I mean about the color and texture of this stuff.

also found this link in my web travels this morning

http://amania.110mb.com/Chapters/Tech/sub-aquasoils_en.html

9th paragraph down.....

"Calcined clays combined with earthworm castings at the bottom is the best DIY alternative to any “aquasoils”. Combined with good water column fertilization and addition of nutrients into substrate as earthworm castings they give exactly the same growth rates as ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia – the most nutrient rich variation of ADA’s line."
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Pictures

Finished this off the other night and gave sometime for the cloud to settle.

Pictures as promised








larger images viewable here
So far my "test" jar has still not waivered from what it was originally. I don't think it will at this point.

I like the color but I know most prefer something darker, one could cap it with something else though.

I will see how things grow and report back.

kinda off topic but can anyone tell me if I have Fanwort or is it Hornwort?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
HOLY SMOKES!!!
I went away for the weekend and came back 3 days later. The lily has grown an inch, wisteria is coming out like crazy, ive got half a dozen new spawns of duckweed and the pellia I was considering moving to another tank is finally starting to show growth. Me thinks I found a standard base for all my aquariums. I need to do some cleaning/maint on my 26gal bow front in the next week and will be putting it down as a base. its got 2 crypts and some java ferns that have been going steady (other than the damn goldfish.... this bastard is mean. I bought the smallest one they had it was like 1/2" long in january, it was for my son to have a tank in his room (2gal) but it was too loud for him to sleep so the fish moved to the bigger tank. now the thing is about 6" long and literally devours all he can put in his mouth.) anyways. on the cheap, floor dry is kickass.
 

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this is the same stuff we use at work for cat litter (i work at an animal hospital). you didn't have an issue with how dusty it is? it seems like a mess dry but maybe not so much when it's wet.
 

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Cleaning substrates is easy as long as you do not have a bag of fish setting next to the tank when you set it up ;)

I don't rinse any of my substrates I just dump it in the tank until I have an even 3 inches, then put a dinner plate in the middle and start my water pump up and keep the hose in the middle of the plate. Once the water hits the substrate it kicks up the really fine dust up into the tank which I blow out into the air.

Once the tank is full (and cloudy) I hook up one or two small power heads down near the substrate pointing up and towards the middle that keeps the partials in the water column and out of the substrate then it's just a matter of turning on the canister filter and walking away for a day. I also plant my tanks after I fill them with quick growers (I keep a tank full of them just for new setups) after the water is clear I add a well colonized sponge filter to get the canister populated quicker.

The trick is to plan ahead and not get the fish until you have the tanks ready. I will admit to keeping a couple emergency/hospital tanks cycled just encase of the dreaded impulse buy.

- Brad
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Just as a bit of an update to this. I now have this in three tanks and am really liking it. A few drawbacks.... 1. If your a rinser (like me) this takes what seems like FOREVER to run clear. 2. Its very light, and easily tossed up by anything that goes rooting. I set up my 26g bowfront and capped with 1.5" of geosystem black all was beautiful until I put the fish in. I have 2 dragon goby's that love to burrow.
My next re-scape will be my 20gal shrimp tank, I think I will try 1" of floor dry as the bottom and then 1" of sand then 1" of whatever I can find that I like (diggin the geosystem, its black, cheap and bottom feeder safe)
 
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