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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I just registered my membership. I have a 75g tank that I think I'd like to plant. My Uncle has boat loads of Red clay at his place. Would this make a good substrate for a planted tank? I trust it as a source because the ground out there is an old cow pasture and hasen't been used for cattle in over 20 years. And with no crop dusting or fertalizing it should be ok for my aquarium. But I just need to know if its ok to use by itself. In fact he has two ponds out there that we go fishing in occationally. ;)

Thank you!

And best to you all!
 

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I like my dirt substrate to have more organic matter in it than red clay does. I would think it might compact too much. That's not to say you can't use it, I honestly don't know if you can or not. It will make a heck of mess if you go to move plants around later, but that's most dirt substrates. You'll want a cap of gravel or sand. wknracer has experience trying straight from the ground dirt, hopefully he will pop on and give his thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Messy water isn't my greatest concern at least for now. I'm using a sump and at the moment my return pump offers a return of a little over 12 times the tank volume per hour. So I'm hoping that at that rate a bit of mechanical filtration and activated carbon will help keep the water fairly clear.

For now, though, if I can use red clay it will be my cheapest option. And I might simply cap it with a thin layer of play sand.

Those are my initial thoughts. lol, and this will be my first planted tank, so if there are any problems that I'm missing please bring them out.

Thanks again!
 

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Baked clay products are good substrates, but plain, out of the ground clay will be such fine particles that it will make a very poor substrate. No matter how much you filter it you will still have cloudy water, and if you keep at it most of the clay will be filtered out. If you want to use some of the clay, add it to mineralized topsoil, and cap it with at least an inch something like pool filter sand. (See the sticky in this forum for more about mineralized topsoil.)
 
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