Re: Clay Substrate How-To
The clay provides several different functions..
1) the interaction between the clay and the leaf litter is typically very dynamic in the form of biological productivity.
2) clay that contains calcium can have the calcium taken up by the frogs either through thier drinking patch (if there are free calcium ions) or as calcium particles stuck to the inverts or in thier digestive tract.
3) mold may not "like" clay as clay as it stands does not contain organics to encourage the growth of molds.. I suggest taking some red art clay and mixing a bunch of corn starch and sugar into it and throughly wetting it and seeing what happens then... (don't add any mycrorhizzoids as they can inhibit how dramatic it can look...)
4) there are significant differences between the productivity of a disturbed system and the productivity of a mature established system. In addition to these two differences, they tend to support different species and in different numbers (as a suggestion, look up R/K selection theory and R/K species selection). Your comparision is an incomplete one.. (I have no objection to the use of charcoal etc as it has good effects in tropcial soils.. but you are using an incomplete decision... )