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-   -   Clay Substrate How-To (https://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/63732-clay-substrate-how.html)

Pumilo 02-07-2011 09:54 AM

Clay Substrate How-To
 
3 Attachment(s)
I was asked a couple times recently for a guide on my clay substrate. I have copied the emails I sent on those, along with a few pics. Want to thank Matt, Brent, Jason, Ed, and others, for all the info they were so willing to share on clay substrates. Here is what I came up with.

My clay supplier is Mile Hi Ceramics, INC. 77 Lipan 303-825-4570
You are looking for RedArt and Bentonite.
Clay Recipe
3 Quarts RedArt powdered clay
1/2 Quart Sodium Bentonite powdered clay
1/2 Quart Calcium Bentonite powdered clay
1 Quart Brown Peat OR Coco Fiber (ground up like dirt)
1/2 Quart Fine Aragonite Sand
1/4 to 1/2 cup Calcium Carbonate
2 TBSP Sugar
2 TBSP Corn Starch
Mix all ingredients except sugar and corn starch in a 5 gallon bucket. Dry mix it. Boil Sugar and Corn Starch into water. Use water to hydrate mix. I use about 3/4 of a 2 quart container. Mix like crazy. I use a drill and a paint stirrer from WalMart. The better ones don't work as they get bogged down in the thick mix, get the cheapy with the red plastic stirrer on the end from WalMart.
Grab a handful of clay maybe about the size of a couple of golf balls. Squish clay into about 1/4 inch thick patties. Place patties onto 1/4 inch screen. I made a screen box out of four, 20" 2x4's with the screen nailed to the top.

Pumilo 02-07-2011 10:02 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
3 Attachment(s)
Place a cookie sheet or a disposable aluminum cake pan under the screen so that your little cubes of clay will fall straight in. This will help to reduce the sticking together that you are going to get. Push clay patties through screen to make into little cubes. I like to use this rubber sanding block that I got at WalMart. I push down and then slide the block towards me while still pushing down. Doing small sections at a time makes it easy.

Pumilo 02-07-2011 10:06 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
2 Attachment(s)
Bake at about 300 until dry. Or you can just just air dry. After it has cooled, you will break up the chunks. It breaks up into small 1/4 inch cubes pretty easily. Some people don't bother with the cubes as it is the hardest part. I think it is important because it makes for lots of gaps between particles for springtail growth, soil aeration, drainage, and root growth.
Here are a couple pics before baking.

Pumilo 02-07-2011 10:08 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
2 Attachment(s)
Here are pics after baking. Note all the space between particles for microfauna growth.

Pumilo 02-07-2011 10:25 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
2 Attachment(s)
Here it is in the viv and ready for the last step. This was in my brothers viv and we decided to hide the edges of the clay with ABG mix. For the last step you dissolve some mycorrhizae inoculant into water and begin misting the viv to re-moisten the clay. Some of the best mycorrhizae inoculants can be found at hydroponics shops. I used a brand called White Widow because it contains 12 different types/species of inoculant.
You want to moisten the clay gradually. Mist it down and wait five minutes for it to soak in. Mist it again and wait 5 more. Continue until clay is fully moistened.
NOTE: Once clay is hydrated it should be disturbed AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE! Too much handling will clump it together. Because of this, I choose to plant it while it is still dry and then quickly mist that planted section. If you need to add plants later, it is best done as cuttings so you can just poke a hole with a piece of wire or a drill bit and stick the cutting right in. You can also just lay the cutting on top and it will eventually take root and begin to grow upright.

Pumilo 02-07-2011 10:35 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Some explanations:
The bentonite you get at the pottery place is sodium bentonite, 50 lbs is about $12. That's what most people work with. Calcium Bentonite is available on eBay. It's more expensive at about $32 for 16 lbs shipped. The Calcium in it adds some obvious benefits but since you add calcium Carbonite anyway, You could really substitute and use just Sodium Bentonite.
Calcium Bentonite links 16.5 #'s Calcium BENTONITE Clay KOI ponds & plants WW - eBay (item 260711386448 end time Feb-20-11 21:22:42 PST)
5.5 lb Calcium BENTONITE Clay KOI ponds & plants - eBay (item 250616134654 end time Feb-09-11 16:10:19 PST)
The 16 lb size will last for quite a few tanks.
Aragonite sand is available at coral reef pet shops. (aquarium stores) You are looking for the smallest size of oolitic sand or sugar five aragonite sand. Again, you could just sub regular fine sand but I like the extra calcium and I had a bunch lying around.
Calcium Carbonite. I use the NOW brand with the orange label available at Vitamin Cottage.
The sugar and corn starch are to help in establishing a Biofilm which helps keep the particles, or cubes, of clay separate. It may mold just a little but springtails and isopods will help keep that in check and it will stop pretty quickly.
This recipe would also make a fine background mix although the cornstarch and sugar are probably unneccessary there. You could probably skip the sand too. The calcium may still prove beneficial to frogs but could be skipped. For a background recipe I would sub some of the coco/peat for some ground sphagnum moss to try to encourage future moss growth. My last batch I blenderized some live sphagnum and some live sheet moss in as part of the coco/peat/sphagnum. Time will tell how that works out.
Lay down an inch of Turface before the clay just to cut down on the amount of clay you need. Turface is available at a John Deere Landscaper. Ask for TURFACE or INFIELD CONDITIONER. The grade you want is ALL SPORT PRO.
Drainage so far has been excellent. I think the cubes method helps with this. Also, this is my RedArt clay. I do NOT trust a bentonite based clay (but obviously, I like it as an ammendment.) It is important to NEVER go digging around in your moist clay mix. If you need to plant something, either poke the stem down in or even just lay it on top. It will root and eventually grow standing up.
When I plant mine, I like to use a handful or two of ABG mix around the roots of each plant. I put some clay cubes over the ABG.
Remember to use LOTS of leaf litter!!

Sorry if we got a little scattered there, as I said, this is translated from a series of emails.

xBUBBLESxoOo 02-07-2011 01:27 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
YESSS!!!
Thanks For the info Doug, Its nice to have the instructions from beginning to end, and pictures make it better..:)

Mr. elder 02-07-2011 11:00 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
got a few questions.So is the mane reasons for the clay substrate, to boost calcium in inverts .in nature the clay that walls up and bellow the wall aren't to many inverts . but in the moss and rotting logs and leafs . seem to a great amount more inverts .if most are eating fungi . mold doesn't like clay . here in the northwest seen mold in leafs and the ground spread for seemingly for every . the mold is keep in check buy lower humidity and heat from the sun . when it rains it has the ability to come up and form mushrooms and other type of fungi. just asking because when herping in the rain forest hear , that notice all i can and the most productive places are burned forest and volcano zone . after 80 eruption of st Helen . the zone now is super productive . sounding lakes are very productive. the fish in the nearest lake ,fish grow up at twice the rate of other lakes in area . just throwing my two cents in . I think I'm going to burn that cherry wood. use the ash and charcoal mix with fresh and rotting leafs coco peat ect. and may be some clay to hold the charcoal down . and has any used egg shell power as calcium upper in substrate . and fungi stains .I have power fungi stains about 16 in one power . think i going trow a spoon full in the mix to . for the plants mostly ,but the invert will eat the rest . and lite tank sit for month or two see it does . these is my two cent , if i'm wrong lite me know ,these is info from living hear not there.

Ed 02-07-2011 11:56 PM

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... )

Ed

Ed 02-07-2011 11:59 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Nice summary Doug..
I mix it all wet into a slurry and then filter it through some news paper over a screen. When it is the consistency I want I simply turn it over on the screen, pull off the newspaper (any that doesn't come off is simply invert chow) and push it through the screen with a putty knife although I want to see if any of the tools used for spreading tile grout would work better.
We both get the same basic results.

Ed

alex111683 02-08-2011 12:04 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
So those that use the clay substrate have a much better pumilio froglet success rate?

Pumilo 02-08-2011 12:11 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. elder (Post 556254)
got a few questions.So is the mane reasons for the clay substrate, to boost calcium in inverts .in nature the clay that walls up and bellow the wall aren't to many inverts . but in the moss and rotting logs and leafs . seem to a great amount more inverts .if most are eating fungi . mold doesn't like clay . here in the northwest seen mold in leafs and the ground spread for seemingly for every . the mold is keep in check buy lower humidity and heat from the sun . when it rains it has the ability to come up and form mushrooms and other type of fungi. just asking because when herping in the rain forest hear , that notice all i can and the most productive places are burned forest and volcano zone . after 80 eruption of st Helen . the zone now is super productive . sounding lakes are very productive. the fish in the nearest lake ,fish grow up at twice the rate of other lakes in area . just throwing my two cents in . I think I'm going to burn that cherry wood. use the ash and charcoal mix with fresh and rotting leafs coco peat ect. and may be some clay to hold the charcoal down . and has any used egg shell power as calcium upper in substrate . and fungi stains .I have power fungi stains about 16 in one power . think i going trow a spoon full in the mix to . for the plants mostly ,but the invert will eat the rest . and lite tank sit for month or two see it does . these is my two cent , if i'm wrong lite me know ,these is info from living hear not there.

The main reason is to supply tiny froglets, like pumilio, who are too small to take dusted fruit flies, with a source of calcium. When they eat a springtail, they will sometimes ingest a bit of clay along with it. The clay, of course, has been enriched with calcium.Pumilios are known for having calcium deficiencies and dropping dead after a few months. People who have been using the clay substrates for a while are reporting good results getting past this problem. When used with good amounts of leaf litter, and the occasional grape, bit of apple, mushroom, etc., Clay substrates have been proven to be very conducive to good microfauna growth. Microfauna, referring to springtails, isopods, and various assorted bug-beasties. These questions have been answered by people more knowledgable than I, in this thread. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/gen...te-thread.html It's a long thread, but I encourage anybody interested in clay substrates to read it once or twice.

Pumilo 02-08-2011 12:18 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 556289)
Nice summary Doug..
I mix it all wet into a slurry and then filter it through some news paper over a screen. When it is the consistency I want I simply turn it over on the screen, pull off the newspaper (any that doesn't come off is simply invert chow) and push it through the screen with a putty knife although I want to see if any of the tools used for spreading tile grout would work better.
We both get the same basic results.

Ed

Thank you Ed. Of course my method directly evolved from your screening method. On mine I just slap the screen a few times to release the cubes instead of slicing them with a putty knife. So yes, just two different methods for the same result.
Thanks again for your help in my earlier batches of clay substrate and forming this method.

Ed 02-08-2011 02:28 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 556306)
Thank you Ed. Of course my method directly evolved from your screening method. On mine I just slap the screen a few times to release the cubes instead of slicing them with a putty knife. So yes, just two different methods for the same result.
Thanks again for your help in my earlier batches of clay substrate and forming this method.

No need to thank me.. I gave you thanks for the good explination..

Ed

Mr. elder 02-08-2011 10:05 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
I read allot more. and it make a little more scene now. just got to the substrate on my tank and just wandering whats the best for these tank . it make scents what ed said by being incomplete . what is the PH after done with your substrate ? It seems to only benefit every thing . the only thing I wonder if the PH is higher . thanks for the feed back

Pumilo 02-08-2011 06:23 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
I'm afraid I've never checked the PH. I admit to going off others research as far as that goes. It was pointed out in one of the threads that calcium carbonate is probably a better amendment than your typical garden lime for just that reason.

Mr. elder 02-09-2011 12:56 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
between the calcium boost and allot of trace elements. It seems that clay is the only medium that can hold all those elements (in place). the only thing I don't have is calcium clay . have to of allot of eggs shell powder and fine aragonite . wood ash is also 25 to 45% calcium carbonate, less then 10% potash and less then 1%phosphates .and allot of trace elements . seem that it wouldn't hurt any thing . and charcoal could help keep the clay from clumping ,while still having some air space for inverts. tell me what you think, if doing pretty much your clay recipe ,with the use of ash in the clay and adding charcoal in between the clay .and think I'll be alright not using calcium clay with adding so much pure calcium with egg shell, aragonite and ash , to the c-clay and standard bentonite i have.sorry if annoying you guys with a all the questions. thanks Theo

patm 02-09-2011 02:29 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Pumilio, just curious how the clay holds up over time. With heavy misting and high humidity, would it naturally clump and become impermiable over time? Also, how do you think the nutrient base would hold up over time? Would this have to be replaced over time, or do you think you could get several good years out of it?

Very informative, thanks for sharing.

Pat

Pumilo 02-09-2011 02:56 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. elder (Post 556755)
between the calcium boost and allot of trace elements. It seems that clay is the only medium that can hold all those elements (in place). the only thing I don't have is calcium clay . have to of allot of eggs shell powder and fine aragonite . wood ash is also 25 to 45% calcium carbonate, less then 10% potash and less then 1%phosphates .and allot of trace elements . seem that it wouldn't hurt any thing . and charcoal could help keep the clay from clumping ,while still having some air space for inverts. tell me what you think, if doing pretty much your clay recipe ,with the use of ash in the clay and adding charcoal in between the clay .and think I'll be alright not using calcium clay with adding so much pure calcium with egg shell, aragonite and ash , to the c-clay and standard bentonite i have.sorry if annoying you guys with a all the questions. thanks Theo

Mr. Elder, I would think that the wood ash could be a good amendment for the calcium and other trace elements. Just be careful that you don't go overboard, as eggshell, aragonite, wood ash, and calcium carbonite can all raise PH. I never considered carbon as an additive. I have always used carbon in the ABG mix I use to help keep the soil smelling fresh and also for better drainage. I don't foresee any problems with using some carbon/charcoal between the clay particles.

Pumilo 02-09-2011 03:11 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by alex111683 (Post 556294)
So those that use the clay substrate have a much better pumilio froglet success rate?

Some are reporting great results with pumilio using the clay substrates.

Quote:

Originally Posted by patm (Post 556817)
Pumilio, just curious how the clay holds up over time. With heavy misting and high humidity, would it naturally clump and become impermiable over time? Also, how do you think the nutrient base would hold up over time? Would this have to be replaced over time, or do you think you could get several good years out of it?

Very informative, thanks for sharing.

Pat

Pat, the first clay I made was based on bentonite and I do not anticipate a long life with it. It seemed to get soft and soggy quickly. The redart based substrate seems much firmer even when wet. The clay substrates are supposed to be beneficial in keeping humidity up. You should be able to cut back some on misting and still get good breeding. I can only hope and guess that it will hold up well as I am a newcomer to clay substrates. Ed, Brent Brock, and Matt Mirabello would be more able to answer these questions. The calcium is mixed in, becoming a part of the clay, so should remain accessible over the life of the clay.
Clay substrates are still to be considered experimental but I do hope to get at least several years out of it.
Can people who have been using clay longer chime in here?

Pumilo 02-09-2011 03:47 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Thanks Jason! High praise indeed. I couldn't have put this together without you.

flapjax3000 02-09-2011 05:15 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. elder (Post 556479)
I read allot more. and it make a little more scene now. just got to the substrate on my tank and just wandering whats the best for these tank . it make scents what ed said by being incomplete . what is the PH after done with your substrate ? It seems to only benefit every thing . the only thing I wonder if the PH is higher . thanks for the feed back

Most clays have an akaline based pH of around 9-10. This includes both sodium and calcium bentonites.

Red Art Clay which is actually Hydrous Aluminum Silicate has an acidic pH range of 4-6.

When mixed depending on your proportions used, you can assume the pH will fall somewhere in the middle (a soil test kit is the only way to get an accurate reading). I personlly use about 1:2 ratio of red art to bentonite clay which would puts my soil pH just over 7 on average.

If you are trying to mimic true rainforest soil then you would need a lower pH. Most rainforest soil has a pH range of 4-5. So a good way to lower the pH of the clay substrate is to add peat moss. Sphagnum peat has a pH of 3.5. When it is added you can drastically lower you pH to an optimum level without having to add an sulfur product. There are other forms of peat that are not as acidic because the soil content contains lime.

I just play around with it and see what pH levels I can get that are best for the plants in the viv. I am not sure if there is an optimum level of soil pH that are trying to achieve for the darts. Ed is there any literature on this?

This is a good thread thank you.

flapjax3000 02-09-2011 09:11 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by patm (Post 556817)
Pumilio, just curious how the clay holds up over time. With heavy misting and high humidity, would it naturally clump and become impermiable over time? Also, how do you think the nutrient base would hold up over time? Would this have to be replaced over time, or do you think you could get several good years out of it?

Very informative, thanks for sharing.

Pat

The clay even under heavy misting retains it shape well. Several people on this board have made drip walls and ponds out of clay and experienced little to no erosion. My oldest viv that contains a clay based substrate is about 18 months old now, and I do not see any signs of the granules clumping. Just make sure to dig around as little as possible. The clay will press together very easily when wet.

One method I use that helps prevent the shape of the clay from eroding is to add Turface into the wet bentonite/red art clay mix before baking. The clay will bond to the Turface during the baking, yet still is small enough to be pressed through a screen.

As for the nutrient base, the frogs obtain calcium when a particle is stuck to microfauna and then eaten by the frog, not by the microfauna eating the particle and then passing the nutrient onto the frog. It is not like an organic substrate where bacteria and micro-organisms break down the organic material. Plants can potentially absorbed most of the nutrients over time, but I imagine by the time a clay substrate would need to to be replaced you be ready to change the viv anyway.

Ed 02-09-2011 02:20 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by flapjax3000 (Post 556955)
The clay even under heavy misting retains it shape well. Several people on this board have made drip walls and ponds out of clay and experienced little to no erosion. My oldest viv that contains a clay based substrate is about 18 months old now, and I do not see any signs of the granules clumping. Just make sure to dig around as little as possible. The clay will press together very easily when wet.

One method I use that helps prevent the shape of the clay from eroding is to add Turface into the wet bentonite/red art clay mix before baking. The clay will bond to the Turface during the baking, yet still is small enough to be pressed through a screen.

As for the nutrient base, the frogs obtain calcium when a particle is stuck to microfauna and then eaten by the frog, not by the microfauna eating the particle and then passing the nutrient onto the frog. It is not like an organic substrate where bacteria and micro-organisms break down the organic material. Plants can potentially absorbed most of the nutrients over time, but I imagine by the time a clay substrate would need to to be replaced you be ready to change the viv anyway.

There are several routes calcium from the clay can end up inside the frog

1) through accidental ingestion while capturing or attempting to capture a prey item. The tongue is sticky and small particles of all kinds adhere to it. This also needs access to bare clay.

2) through accidental ingestion of particle stuck to the prey species

3) through particles that have been ingested by the prey species (clay can be ingested while feeding by invertebrates either accidentally or deliberately (as they need some level of calcium for their own metabolic needs)

4) deliberately by absorbtion through the skin (particularly on thier ventral side (thier drinking patch)). Not that the frog has to have access to the clay for this to work so covering all of the clay inhibits this...

Clay also fosters a microbial enviroment that tends to lock up as much of the nutrients as possible and this along with the continued influx of nutrients (dusted feeders, leaf litter, new plants) makes this unlikely that you decide to break down the enclosure based on aesthetics before you have to break it down based on nutrients. This does not mean that you cannot experience localized pockets of nutrient deficiency for the plants as nutrient input and cycling are not going to have as many processes as those seen in the wild for distributing nutrients but if that does show up it can be handled on a localized level without tearing down the tank.

Some comments

Ed

patm 02-09-2011 04:33 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Thanks, guys, great info!

flapjax3000 02-09-2011 05:27 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 556982)
There are several routes calcium from the clay can end up inside the frog

3) through particles that have been ingested by the prey species (clay can be ingested while feeding by invertebrates either accidentally or deliberately (as they need some level of calcium for their own metabolic needs)

Does this mean that invertebrates pass on nutrients that have been broken down within their own system or it is in their system not yet digested while they are eaten by the frog?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 556982)
Clay also fosters a microbial enviroment that tends to lock up as much of the nutrients as possible and this along with the continued influx of nutrients (dusted feeders, leaf litter, new plants) makes this unlikely that you decide to break down the enclosure based on aesthetics before you have to break it down based on nutrients.

Sorry I am little confused. Are you saying the nutrient base will be used up and will have to be replaced, or the addition of nutrients will sustain it over time except for localized areas? I thought microfauna helps to redistribute and free up nutrients.

flapjax3000 02-09-2011 05:33 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Here is a webpage that breaks down soil and microfauna interaction into an easy read. Its a student wiki article, not a journal, but it seems to be fairly accurate.

Soil environment and physical factors controlling microbial activity - MicrobeWiki

Ed 02-09-2011 06:11 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Sorry I wasn't clear, I was tired when I typed it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by flapjax3000 (Post 557042)
Does this mean that invertebrates pass on nutrients that have been broken down within their own system or it is in their system not yet digested while they are eaten by the frog?

Actually yes to both depending on the species in question.. for example isopods and snails consume calcium containing substrates due to the increased calcium requirements for deposition into thier respective cuticle or shell while annelids (as an example) contain undigested calcium particulates in thier digestive tract. If you look in the bibliography for the Nutritional chapter in Mader's Reptile Medicine and Surgery, there are some great references (One is a thesis I haven't been able to get ahold of yet) as well as some minor discussion in the text.



Quote:

Originally Posted by flapjax3000 (Post 557042)
Sorry I am little confused. Are you saying the nutrient base will be used up and will have to be replaced, or the addition of nutrients will sustain it over time except for localized areas? I thought microfauna helps to redistribute and free up nutrients.

What I am saying that due to the lack of diversity in the microfauna in our enclosures, we may not see the same level of nutrient distribution or movement as is seen in the wild. This may mean that localized spots in the enclosure end up being nutrient deficient compared to other sections of the enclosure. This is probably going to take a long time to occur as clay based substrates are pretty robust.. so a person may want to take down a tank due to aesthetics as opposed to it actually becoming nutrient poor. Even if you do start to see signs of localized deficiency of nutrients top dressing the site should alleviate the issue.

Does that help?

Ed

Ed 02-09-2011 06:13 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by flapjax3000 (Post 557044)
Here is a webpage that breaks down soil and microfauna interaction into an easy read. Its a student wiki article, not a journal, but it seems to be fairly accurate.

Soil environment and physical factors controlling microbial activity - MicrobeWiki


If you search long enough through google scholar.. you can access free journal articles on nutrient cycling of various types of leaf litters..
Or if you have access through as institutional subscription, a lot more articles are readily available.
Ed

Pumilo 02-09-2011 06:37 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Ed, if you did decide that a top dressing was in order after a few years, would you put a small batch of new, complete clay mix over the top, or do you think that you could mix some Calcium Bentonite with a little Calcium Carbonate, both in their dry form. Sprinkle that over the top of your moist clay, and perhaps cut off the misting for a couple days to allow time for the Bentonite and calc. carb. to adhere to your old clay? I guess I'm thinking maybe 90 percent calcium bentonite and 10 percent calcium carbonite.

Ed 02-09-2011 06:38 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 557064)
Ed, if you did decide that a top dressing was in order after a few years, would you put a small batch of new, complete clay mix over the top, or do you think that you could mix some Calcium Bentonite with a little Calcium Carbonate, both in their dry form. Sprinkle that over the top of your moist clay, and perhaps cut off the misting for a couple days to allow time for the Bentonite and calc. carb. to adhere to your old clay? I guess I'm thinking maybe 90 percent calcium bentonite and 10 percent calcium carbonite.

I would probably simply just move where I was dumping feeders into the tank...

Ed

flapjax3000 02-09-2011 07:56 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Thanks Ed, I didnt realize there was a Google journal search engine. I lost my J-Stor password access a few months back, and have been only been able to access abstracts lately.

flapjax3000 02-09-2011 08:09 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 557064)
Ed, if you did decide that a top dressing was in order after a few years, would you put a small batch of new, complete clay mix over the top, or do you think that you could mix some Calcium Bentonite with a little Calcium Carbonate, both in their dry form. Sprinkle that over the top of your moist clay, and perhaps cut off the misting for a couple days to allow time for the Bentonite and calc. carb. to adhere to your old clay? I guess I'm thinking maybe 90 percent calcium bentonite and 10 percent calcium carbonite.

When current leaf litter layer is almost decomposed I sprinkle a small amount of dried clay mixture on top of it before adding a fresh layer of leaves. This helps to ensure that clay will come into contact with the frogs. Also any microfauna that comes to the surface has to pass through this layer. A simple glass salt shaker is a great tool to use when adding the dried clay.

Ed 02-09-2011 08:12 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by flapjax3000 (Post 557094)
Thanks Ed, I didnt realize there was a Google journal search engine. I lost my J-Stor password access a few months back, and have been only been able to access abstracts lately.

This is a problem I can well understand...

Ed

Judy S 02-15-2011 10:08 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
After all the technical information in the four pages...I have a really...really simple question: is the screen that you refer to what I call "hardware cloth" or is it screening material that would be used in a regular screen door..? This is a very informative thread, but I used Ed's method and it was very, very difficult to force the clay through those itsy-bitsy holes... thanks for your patience...

Pumilo 02-15-2011 10:14 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
HARDWARE CLOTH! Yes, that's it! Thank you Judy! That was the name of the product I use. I just couldn't remember it. So what Judy and I mean here is the name of the wire mesh screen product that I force the clay through is Hardware Cloth. If there are different sizes, you need the 1/4" by 1/4" size.

Ed 02-15-2011 10:16 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Judy S (Post 559630)
After all the technical information in the four pages...I have a really...really simple question: is the screen that you refer to what I call "hardware cloth" or is it screening material that would be used in a regular screen door..? This is a very informative thread, but I used Ed's method and it was very, very difficult to force the clay through those itsy-bitsy holes... thanks for your patience...


No, as a cheat I use a screen lid for a 20 gallon aquarium with the larger screening holes.. not the finer one.... (although the finer screen would probably make a good surface dressing..hmm)... It isn't that hard to push it through the larger mesh size.


Ed

flapjax3000 02-15-2011 10:22 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
This tool does quite a good job as well.

Potato Cuber

http://www.webstaurantstore.com/images/5914362_lg.jpg

bbrock 02-16-2011 12:02 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by patm (Post 556817)
Pumilio, just curious how the clay holds up over time. With heavy misting and high humidity, would it naturally clump and become impermiable over time? Also, how do you think the nutrient base would hold up over time? Would this have to be replaced over time, or do you think you could get several good years out of it?

Very informative, thanks for sharing.

Pat

Hi guys, interesting thread here. Nice work on the recipe Doug. I look forward to seeing how it holds up over time. Here's an update on the recipes I've used:

- Cheap non-clumping kitty litter - the first clay substrate I used. I have the original tanks set up in 1995 or 1996 still growing strong. The litter simply does not break down and plant growth remains healthy.

- DOB Redart mix (described in the other clay thread). How long has it been now - 4-5 years since I set that up? I have mixed results to report. The clay remains fairly stable but the sand-like aggregate structure has broken down over time. A coupld times of aerated it by poking holes clear through to the drainage layer to keep it draining well. I still like the look of it but there is room for improvement. I'm curious to see how these newer recipes hold up because they sound promising. Also, this mix does not support as much microfauna as kitty litter substrate. I'm pretty sure that is a function of the aggregate breakdown. There just isn't as much surface area between pore spaces. Again, stabilizing that sand-like structure is an important goal. Also, this stuff eats leaf litter rapidly. I actually think that is a good thing so just an observation. I suspect it has more to do with the night crawlers that were added hoping to maintain porosity than the clay itself.

Someone asked if it helps with pumilio. All I can say is that a combination of UVB lighting and calcium supplemented substrate seems to completely eliminate calcium deficiency issues in froglets. It has now been over 10 years since I've seen a case of hypocalcemia and I would guess something like 40 froglets have come out of that viv.

I haven't tested the pH of my substrate but I did test the effluent water that drains out after water has filtered through. One year after putting the substrate in, that pH was running about 8.6 so the substrate was pretty alkaline. I should test it again as I suspect it has dropped due to leaching. I also used slaked lime as the calcium source in mine which, as has been pointed out, is not the best choice since it is so reactive. But I haven't seen any issues and plants root and grow in the substrate just fine.

Overall I would say that early recipe was a step forward but not perfect. Maybe one of these new recipes will prove to be the ultimate clay-based substrate.

Pumilo 02-16-2011 12:31 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Hey Brent! Thanks for chiming in with an update on yours. This is obviously based heavily on your hard work (and Matt's). I couldn't have put this how to together without you guys being so willing to share your knowledge. Thank you and thanks for the kudos on my guide.

Can I ask about your kitty litter substrate? If that is the old fashioned, non clumping, fired litter, then how do you supplement that with calcium? Or is that not used with Pumilio as a calcium supplementing substrate?

Learning more about the possibilities of UVB lighting is something I want to research more, too. Got ant good threads you might be able to link me to about getting around the fact that glass tops apparently filter it out? My homemade slopefront glass vivs are kind of stumping me there.

Thanks again for adding your input here!

Pumilo 02-16-2011 12:34 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by flapjax3000 (Post 559636)
This tool does quite a good job as well.

Potato Cuber

http://www.webstaurantstore.com/images/5914362_lg.jpg

Hey Flapjax, what size cubes does that make?

flapjax3000 02-16-2011 02:04 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
I found one at the local kitchen store that makes half inch squares. The steel is sturdy and it has handles on the side that help you push it down into the clay.

The pictures that I posted are just for example, but I assume you can get them in varying sizes.

Ed 02-16-2011 02:40 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by bbrock (Post 559675)
- DOB Redart mix (described in the other clay thread). How long has it been now - 4-5 years since I set that up? I have mixed results to report. The clay remains fairly stable but the sand-like aggregate structure has broken down over time. A coupld times of aerated it by poking holes clear through to the drainage layer to keep it draining well.

Hi Brent,

I have some variations on the clay mix and do not have drainage issue with the redart mixes I've tried. The water flows through pretty well even at high misting volumes (3 minutes/2 times a day for 6 months in ten gallon verticles). Under the same conditions with a microfauna population, I lost the ABG style mixes during the same period as they appeared to breakdown and disappear into the gravel layer (the effluent from this tank was full of small particulates and humic acids).
One of the better mixes seems to be where I included a thin layer of clay mixed with organics ontop of the clay layer and included a mixture of cypress fines into that layer with the leaf litter.

Here is a picture of that layer after one year (after I pulled the leaf litter aside... unfortunately the microfauna disappeared while I was getting the camera ready).

ChrisK 02-16-2011 02:47 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 559683)
Learning more about the possibilities of UVB lighting is something I want to research more, too. Got ant good threads you might be able to link me to about getting around the fact that glass tops apparently filter it out? My homemade slopefront glass vivs are kind of stumping me there.

Thanks again for adding your input here!

If I remember correctly, Brent uses a custom made Solacryl (the plastic material used in tanning beds for UVB transmission) top on the pumilio tank.

I'm playing around with using saran wrap on a screen top since Solacryl is expensive, hard to get and supposedly is supposed to be replaced after 2 years.

flapjax3000 02-16-2011 02:52 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
All of my red art clay substrates drain extremely well and have been set up for about 18 months. There is a substantial portion of my mix that is organics (peat, coco fiber, tree fern) and turface.

Do you find that tanks where you have used clay substrates tend to dry out a bit faster? Mine drain quite well, but water also seems to evaporate quicker. I have tanks side by side, one with clay/organic substrate and the other with just sphagnum. They both are the same shape with the exact same ventilation. I constantly have to drain the tank that has pure sphagnum and add water to the one that is clay.

Ed 02-16-2011 02:52 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ChrisK (Post 559904)
If I remember correctly, Brent uses a custom made Solacryl (the plastic material used in tanning beds for UVB transmission) top on the pumilio tank.

I'm playing around with using saran wrap on a screen top since Solacryl is expensive, hard to get and supposedly is supposed to be replaced after 2 years.

You can also use starfire brand glass as it is also transparent to UVB.

ChrisK 02-16-2011 03:06 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bbrock (Post 559675)
- DOB Redart mix (described in the other clay thread). How long has it been now - 4-5 years since I set that up? I have mixed results to report. The clay remains fairly stable but the sand-like aggregate structure has broken down over time. A coupld times of aerated it by poking holes clear through to the drainage layer to keep it draining well. I still like the look of it but there is room for improvement. I'm curious to see how these newer recipes hold up because they sound promising. Also, this mix does not support as much microfauna as kitty litter substrate. I'm pretty sure that is a function of the aggregate breakdown. There just isn't as much surface area between pore spaces. Again, stabilizing that sand-like structure is an important goal. Also, this stuff eats leaf litter rapidly. I actually think that is a good thing so just an observation. I suspect it has more to do with the night crawlers that were added hoping to maintain porosity than the clay itself.

In one of my histrionicus tanks, I used only Matt's from scratch recipe on top of the drainage layer, the particle sizes were ranging from small rock to sand consistency, after lots of misting it pretty much congealed into large wet chunks of clay, this tank has been producing a crazy number of froglets though and supports lots of microfauna, but the walls of the tank are also a good refugium for the microfauna (curved virgin cork bark with sunstrate stuffed behind it etc) so it's hard to tell if it's the substrate supporting it, here's when it was first set up:

http://i462.photobucket.com/albums/q...k/DSC01135.jpg


here's what it looks like now with a froglet on the clay so you can see how it congealed:

http://i462.photobucket.com/albums/q...k/DSC02018.jpg

Lately I started using a thick layer of Turface infield conditioner on top of the drainiage layer for a more stable particle layer (and also because Matt's recipe is such a pain to make :p ), then a thin layer of Matt's recipe on top of the infield conditioner.

bbrock 02-16-2011 04:17 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 559683)
Hey Brent! Thanks for chiming in with an update on yours. This is obviously based heavily on your hard work (and Matt's). I couldn't have put this how to together without you guys being so willing to share your knowledge. Thank you and thanks for the kudos on my guide.

Can I ask about your kitty litter substrate? If that is the old fashioned, non clumping, fired litter, then how do you supplement that with calcium? Or is that not used with Pumilio as a calcium supplementing substrate?

Learning more about the possibilities of UVB lighting is something I want to research more, too. Got ant good threads you might be able to link me to about getting around the fact that glass tops apparently filter it out? My homemade slopefront glass vivs are kind of stumping me there.

Thanks again for adding your input here!

Hi Doug,

The kitty litter was the first substrate I experimented with and yes, it is the old fashioned fired stuff. I actually didn't supplement it with Ca as that was long before we realized there was a calcium issue with pumilio. I had that same substrate in my pumilio viv and did have issues with froglets (and even a couple adults) crashing with hypocalcemia. Adding UVB lighting and being deligent about calcium dusting completely eliminated those problems. I think the lesson here is that UVB may be more beneficial than calcium supplemented substrates for this particular issue. But what I think the enriched substrates do is provide a more steady and natural supply of calcium and reduces or eliminates the reliance on dusting food with Ca (but not other supplements). Getting back to kitty litter, I think you could probably supplement it with CaCO3 just as you do with other clay mixes. I'd mix them together dry and would guess that when the substrate is moistined, the CaCO3 would adsorb to the clay just fine.

As Chris said, I use solacryl tops on all my tanks or I just mount the UVB light bare bulb inside the viv. Either works well although the Solacryl obviously allows you to deal with excess heat more easily. As Ed mentioned, there are other UVB transparent options but the last time I priced starfire glass, it seemed about the price of gold. There is some misinformation out there about transparency of materials. There is an old site that claimed that thin (1/8") plexiglass allowed most UV light to go through. I tested a sample purchased at the local HD and found that transmission was 96%+ through the visible spectrum but rapidly dropped to 5% to 0% as soon as you crossed into UVA and beyond. Clearly there are UV stabilizing additives in at least some of the stuff sold at hardware stores. We also tested Solacryl and it maintained 96%+ transmission through the UVB wavelengths but filtered out all UVC light. The cool thing about that is that you could use Solacryl to filter unshielded halogen or other UV producing light sources to avoid the possiblity of exposure to dangerous UVC.

Of course with any UV lighting, you need to match the right bulb to the viv. I think there is some discussiong in that epic pumilio thread that happend a few years ago.

bbrock 02-16-2011 04:25 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ChrisK (Post 559916)

here's what it looks like now with a froglet on the clay so you can see how it congealed:

http://i462.photobucket.com/albums/q...k/DSC02018.jpg

Lately I started using a thick layer of Turface infield conditioner on top of the drainiage layer for a more stable particle layer (and also because Matt's recipe is such a pain to make :p ), then a thin layer of Matt's recipe on top of the infield conditioner.

Chris,

That is pretty similar to what my aged redart mix looks like. Just to clarify, the mix still drains well without puddling of water on the surface. And I run the misters as much as 5X per day for a minute each. But that congealing you show is what I'm certain limits microfauna. With kitty litter you can look into the substrate profile and see a labyrinth of cracks and fissures that allow microfauna to live deep throughout the soil profile. When those fissures seal up, the area available for microfauna because limited mostly to between the surface and leaf litter. Imagine if you had a 1,000 gallon aquarium but fish only had access to the top 6" of water. That would seriously limit the number of fish the tank could support.

Pumilo 02-16-2011 08:36 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
I looked into the UVB transmittance of glass. I cannot find any spec sheets from PPG about Starphire glass. PPG is the manufacturer. Borofloat is supposed to be clearer, and have more transmittance in th UV range than Starphire. Can't prove this as apparently PPG has not made specs available. Borofloat, however, drops uvb transmittance rather sharply with thickness. By the time you get up to DS, (1/8" or 3.3mm), the UVB transmittance drops clear down to only about 45 percent. It appears that much more testing has been done, or at least made available by the manufacturer, than with Starphire.

ChrisK 02-16-2011 08:40 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 560031)
I looked into the UVB transmittance of glass. I cannot find any spec sheets from PPG about Starphire glass. PPG is the manufacturer. Borofloat is supposed to be clearer, and have more transmittance in th UV range than Starphire. Can't prove this as apparently PPG has not made specs available. Borofloat, however, drops uvb transmittance rather sharply with thickness. By the time you get up to DS, (1/8" or 3.3mm), the UVB transmittance drops clear down to only about 45 percent. It appears that much more testing has been done, or at least made available by the manufacturer, than with Starphire.

That's all true, actually I corresponded with a Borofloat (and other low iron glass) distributor near me and they sent me some info on the UVB transmittance levels, I'll see if I can find it.

koolparrot 02-18-2011 01:45 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
So here is my questions,
Do plants grow well in that soil, compacted or loose
Can you have multi types of springtails and isopods in one tank,
Could you add some peat or coco fiber to the loose clay mix?

Thanks
Kp

ChrisK 02-18-2011 02:31 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by koolparrot (Post 560822)
So here is my questions,
Do plants grow well in that soil, compacted or loose
Can you have multi types of springtails and isopods in one tank,
Could you add some peat or coco fiber to the loose clay mix?

Thanks
Kp

Some yes and some no, it definitely takes a while for them to take off,

Yes,

Yes but it's probably better to add it during mixing process

Pumilo 02-18-2011 04:28 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by koolparrot (Post 560822)
So here is my questions,
Do plants grow well in that soil, compacted or loose
Can you have multi types of springtails and isopods in one tank,
Could you add some peat or coco fiber to the loose clay mix?

Thanks
Kp

I use a couple handfuls of ABG mix around the roots of each plant. I cover thi in a thin layer of clay mix. I think its helpful for the plants to get started. I put multiple types of springtails and isopods in every setup.

bbrock 02-18-2011 05:24 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by koolparrot (Post 560822)
So here is my questions,
Do plants grow well in that soil, compacted or loose
Can you have multi types of springtails and isopods in one tank,
Could you add some peat or coco fiber to the loose clay mix?

Thanks
Kp

One note. If you use organic matter like peat or coco fiber to open up the structure of the clay to create more porosity, it will likely be a temporary solution since the OM will break down into humus and the open structure will collapse. That was one of the main reasons I started using mineral substrates to begin with because I wanted a substrate that would hold its structure indefinately. But a little OM in the mix is still a good thing for a number of reasons. But I would probably keep it to no more than 5% of the mix or so other than the thin layer of leaf litter on the surface.

Because we tend to keep frog vivaria wet (probably too wet), most of the old standards for viv plants that aren't epiphytes seem to be tolerant of constantly wet feet and grow just fine in the clay substrates. I tend to plant few plants in the substrate and instead plant the tank with epiphytes or lithophytes on branches and rocks. For terrestrials that need a more organic substrate, I do like Doug and just make a little planting pocket with the appropriate mix.

tim13 02-25-2011 06:05 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
I have a question, after everything has been mixed and oven dried and split apart, can it then be stored away for later use in an air tight container? I want to make some of this but i won't be ready to use it for a few weeks. Just wanted to know if it would be okay to dry store it.

ChrisK 02-25-2011 06:11 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tim13 (Post 563998)
I have a question, after everything has been mixed and oven dried and split apart, can it then be stored away for later use in an air tight container? I want to make some of this but i won't be ready to use it for a few weeks. Just wanted to know if it would be okay to dry store it.

Yeah .

flapjax3000 02-25-2011 09:00 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tim13 (Post 563998)
I have a question, after everything has been mixed and oven dried and split apart, can it then be stored away for later use in an air tight container? I want to make some of this but i won't be ready to use it for a few weeks. Just wanted to know if it would be okay to dry store it.

I keep a pre-made wet mix on hand in a large tupperware. When I am close to making a tank I just put it out to air dry for a few days to help speed up the baking process.

You can keep it in dry storage forever if you liked, the clay will not break down or need to be sterilized. You can always re-bake it if you are concerned.

Pumilo 02-26-2011 04:39 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
You can store it dry for as long as you want. I would think that trying to store it wet would cause the pieces to clump together badly when you try to get it out and spread it in your new viv. The finished clay product should not be handled when wet or it will clump together.

ChrisK 02-26-2011 05:11 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bbrock (Post 559961)
Chris,

That is pretty similar to what my aged redart mix looks like. Just to clarify, the mix still drains well without puddling of water on the surface. And I run the misters as much as 5X per day for a minute each. But that congealing you show is what I'm certain limits microfauna. With kitty litter you can look into the substrate profile and see a labyrinth of cracks and fissures that allow microfauna to live deep throughout the soil profile. When those fissures seal up, the area available for microfauna because limited mostly to between the surface and leaf litter. Imagine if you had a 1,000 gallon aquarium but fish only had access to the top 6" of water. That would seriously limit the number of fish the tank could support.

Here's a side view from tonight of the tank I pictured (it's about 2" of clay on top, a thin layer of sphagnum under it, landscape fabric, then feather-lite drainage layer), the sand-like particles seem to have "melted" into the larger stone type particles, but those larger ones seem to have kept a nice amount of separation:

http://i462.photobucket.com/albums/q...k/DSC02052.jpg

flapjax3000 02-26-2011 12:14 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 564247)
You can store it dry for as long as you want. I would think that trying to store it wet would cause the pieces to clump together badly when you try to get it out and spread it in your new viv. The finished clay product should not be handled when wet or it will clump together.


I just meant that I have a wet mix on hand. When I am ready I take out what I need, air dry it, press it through the screen and then bake it.

tim13 02-26-2011 02:45 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
I have searched all over, including ebay and craft stores, and no one carries "RedArt" clay. Is there a different name for it i don't know about?

Okapi 02-26-2011 05:09 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 

Pumilo 02-26-2011 06:45 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by flapjax3000 (Post 564308)
I just meant that I have a wet mix on hand. When I am ready I take out what I need, air dry it, press it through the screen and then bake it.

That should work fine for some mixes, although I think with my mix you may have mold problems if you store it wet. The reason would be the cornstarch and sugar in the mix. They are there to encourage a biofilm to help in keeping the clay intact. Eventually, the mold would pass, but then the cornstarch and sugar may be rendered inert.

Quote:

Originally Posted by tim13 (Post 564323)
I have searched all over, including ebay and craft stores, and no one carries "RedArt" clay. Is there a different name for it i don't know about?

The supplier I listed earlier, Mile Hi Ceramics - Ceramic supplies, Pottery supplies , Ships all over the states. I did not see it listed on their website, but I know they have it. You may just have to email or call them.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Okapi (Post 564365)

Thanks Okapi, multiple sources are great to have. Anybody else with a good clay source is welcome to throw it up here.

Okapi 02-27-2011 03:58 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 

tim13 03-05-2011 03:02 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Pumilo, your idea for pushing the clay through a screen was good, I'll give you that. BUT, this is faster!



See that doohickey with the red handle in the center of the box? Yea, that will push clay our in about the same size lines as your screen. Then, just take a straight edge and "chop chop chop" like your cutting vegetables. BAM, you're done.

Disclaimer: May contain choking hazards.

bristles 03-05-2011 03:34 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Clay is very important for cation (pronounced cat-ion) exchange which allows plants to absorb nutrients. I always have clay in my planted aquarium substrate so the plants do not become nutrient bond

bristles 03-05-2011 04:30 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 

GRIMM 03-18-2011 02:47 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Awesome DIY Pumilo! Really helped me out for my next tank. I’m currently finished mixing my batch and I'm about to start the baking process. A few questions first though.

I’m interested in prolonging the life of the clay the best I can, while still maintaining all the positive effects of using this method. You baked your clay at 300 degrees, but have you or anyone else ever tried baking it at higher temperatures?

Here is a clay firing temperature chart...

212° F -Water boils.
212 to 392° F - Clays loses water.
392° F - Typical kitchen oven baking temperature.
705° F - Chemically combined water leaves clay.
932° F - Red glow in kiln.
1063° F -Quartz inversion
1472° F - Organic matter in clay burns out.
1472 to 1832° F - Low fire earthenwares and lowfire lead glazes mature.
Normal firing temperature for red bricks and terra cotta pots.

***as an additional note, most home ovens will reach 700-900 degrees during the self clean cycle***

By looking at the chart I can only assume that at 705 degrees, clay has reached the point where it becomes much more stable and solid, due to chemically combined water leaving the clay. Just to be safe, I checked the temperature at which calcium carbonate will dissociate. It forms calcium oxide at 825 degrees. However even if this temperature is exceeded, all that is needed to reverse the process is some good ol' H2O. I’m unsure of how the rest of the ingredients will act, but the main benefits of this method are calcium absorption and surface area for micro fauna growth.

Anybody have thoughts on this, or has anyone already tried baking at cleaning cycle temperatures? Good, bad, ugly? I’m curious as to if this could help extend the life of the clay.

stevenhman 03-18-2011 03:28 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Thanks for the simple recipe. I was going to make the more complicated version (Matt's), but I wasn't able to find everything locally.

I didn't press it through a screen and then bake it, although after seeing ChrisK's pictures I might just end up doing that. I baked it, then just broke the clay into chunks (1in sq & smaller).

Pumilo 03-18-2011 04:08 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GRIMM (Post 573087)
Awesome DIY Pumilo! Really helped me out for my next tank. I’m currently finished mixing my batch and I'm about to start the baking process. A few questions first though.

I’m interested in prolonging the life of the clay the best I can, while still maintaining all the positive effects of using this method. You baked your clay at 300 degrees, but have you or anyone else ever tried baking it at higher temperatures?

Here is a clay firing temperature chart...

212° F -Water boils.
212 to 392° F - Clays loses water.
392° F - Typical kitchen oven baking temperature.
705° F - Chemically combined water leaves clay.
932° F - Red glow in kiln.
1063° F -Quartz inversion
1472° F - Organic matter in clay burns out.
1472 to 1832° F - Low fire earthenwares and lowfire lead glazes mature.
Normal firing temperature for red bricks and terra cotta pots.

***as an additional note, most home ovens will reach 700-900 degrees during the self clean cycle***

By looking at the chart I can only assume that at 705 degrees, clay has reached the point where it becomes much more stable and solid, due to chemically combined water leaving the clay. Just to be safe, I checked the temperature at which calcium carbonate will dissociate. It forms calcium oxide at 825 degrees. However even if this temperature is exceeded, all that is needed to reverse the process is some good ol' H2O. I’m unsure of how the rest of the ingredients will act, but the main benefits of this method are calcium absorption and surface area for micro fauna growth.

Anybody have thoughts on this, or has anyone already tried baking at cleaning cycle temperatures? Good, bad, ugly? I’m curious as to if this could help extend the life of the clay.

Thanks Grimm, I'm afraid I'm in the dark about trying higher temps. I baked it simply to speed the drying. I would be concerned that firing it too high (and too hard), could lock the calcium up into the hardened clay pellets so that the frogs were unable to digest tiny bits of it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by stevenhman (Post 573097)
Thanks for the simple recipe. I was going to make the more complicated version (Matt's), but I wasn't able to find everything locally.

I didn't press it through a screen and then bake it, although after seeing ChrisK's pictures I might just end up doing that. I baked it, then just broke the clay into chunks (1in sq & smaller).

Hey Steven, in a PM from Matt, he told me he has gone back to locally collected clay which he amends with minerals and calcium. He did not state details why.
Obviously, I don't know the longevity of the clay structure, but I tried both crumbling, and screening, and I really love the particle size of running through the 1/4" screen. It just seems to have so many nice sized cracks and crevasses. I know my isopods and springtails are loving crawling through it! I found that with crumbling, many of the smaller bits, fell into and plugged up much of the open structure that the bigger pieces were creating.

davecalk 03-21-2011 06:03 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bristles (Post 567721)
Clay is very important for cation (pronounced cat-ion) exchange which allows plants to absorb nutrients. I always have clay in my planted aquarium substrate so the plants do not become nutrient bond

Hi all,

Great thread. Just saw it and have been reading through it.

To make different sized chunks, you can get different sized hardware cloth, also know as welded wire mesh.

Hardware Cloth


The sizes that might be relevant to us are 1/8 inch, 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch square openings.


http://www.hardwarecloth.org/hardwar...zed-wire-1.jpg

http://www.twpinc.com/images/product...50W48T-GRN.jpg


You can get them at big box places like Home Depot and Lowes in as small as 10 foot rolls. You may also be able to get smaller amounts from farm and garden stores like Costal, farmers coops, etc. They sell them for building cages for various animals.


The other tool that would be very helpful in making various size pieces easily would be to use a grout float.

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/att...1&d=1300724650


You can purchase cheap ones from Home Depot for about $3.00. It would make it very easy to push the clay chunks through the hardware fabric saving a lot of ware and tare on your hands and fingers. The amount of pressure that you push on the clay will allow you to vary the size of the particles coming out the back side.

Pumilo 03-21-2011 06:32 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by davecalk (Post 574449)
Hi all,

Great thread. Just saw it and have been reading through it.

To make different sized chunks, you can get different sized hardware cloth, also know as welded wire mesh.

Hardware Cloth


The sizes that might be relevant to us are 1/8 inch, 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch square openings.


http://www.hardwarecloth.org/hardwar...zed-wire-1.jpg

http://www.twpinc.com/images/product...50W48T-GRN.jpg


You can get them at big box places like Home Depot and Lowes in as small as 10 foot rolls. You may also be able to get smaller amounts from farm and garden stores like Costal, farmers coops, etc. They sell them for building cages for various animals.


The other tool that would be very helpful in making various size pieces easily would be to use a grout float.

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/att...1&d=1300724650


You can purchase cheap ones from Home Depot for about $3.00. It would make it very easy to push the clay chunks through the hardware fabric saving a lot of ware and tare on your hands and fingers. The amount of pressure that you push on the clay will allow you to vary the size of the particles coming out the back side.

Thanks Dave, that hardware cloth is the stuff I use to mold the clay into proper sized pieces. Ed originally recommended using the 1/4 inch size and I totally agree that the 1/4 inch makes for a very "microfauna friendly" size.
The link to the groat float is not working. Can you try again on that please? I would like to see it.

Scott 03-21-2011 06:50 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Doug - I've got about 5 tanks full of this clay substrate (with turface underneath) at this point.

I've got frogs residing in one of them, and a boatload of frogs due in this week.

Thank you for the thread - it was very helpful.

For the record - I've just been using the Tucson sun to bake the clay. Does the trick in 48 hours or less, and it's not even summer yet. ;)

s

Pumilo 03-21-2011 07:18 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Sweet Scott! Glad I'm able to pass on some of the help that people here have given to me! It's just getting warm enough here in Colorado to try some sun drying. My wife will be glad to get my "mud" out of the kitchen!

slipperheads 04-24-2011 04:44 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Hi Doug,

Was wondering how large an area your recipe covers? Looking into possibly whipping up a clay substrate for a big ole' display tank construction over the summer, and this looks like a much more longer-lasting alternative over ABG.

tim13 04-24-2011 05:01 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by §lipperhead (Post 588494)
Hi Doug,

Was wondering how large an area your recipe covers? Looking into possibly whipping up a clay substrate for a big ole' display tank construction over the summer, and this looks like a much more longer-lasting alternative over ABG.

It covers quite a bit actually, I doubled the recipe, and was able to do about 3/4 of an inch of clay in a 29 gallon tank.

Pumilo 04-24-2011 05:50 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by §lipperhead (Post 588494)
Hi Doug,

Was wondering how large an area your recipe covers? Looking into possibly whipping up a clay substrate for a big ole' display tank construction over the summer, and this looks like a much more longer-lasting alternative over ABG.

It's so dependant upon how thick a layer you want. I think out of a double batch, I did a 24" x 24" bottom and a 12" x 24" bottom nice and thick. Like 1" at the thinnest with other areas pushing more than 2".

slipperheads 04-24-2011 06:38 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Great, that's a perfect point of reference. So with the 2" of clay over the turface, that's only about maybe 3" - this will be enough for plants?

Ed 04-24-2011 07:53 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by §lipperhead (Post 588544)
Great, that's a perfect point of reference. So with the 2" of clay over the turface, that's only about maybe 3" - this will be enough for plants?

two inches is more than sufficient. I have tanks where much less is used with no problems with plant growth.
You just have to make sure the clay can drain throughly. I use an air gap under the false bottom to allow the clay to drain throughly.

Pumilo 04-24-2011 09:02 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 588574)
two inches is more than sufficient. I have tanks where much less is used with no problems with plant growth.
You just have to make sure the clay can drain throughly. I use an air gap under the false bottom to allow the clay to drain throughly.

This air gap is a must have. Your clay will only stand up to the test of time with a false bottom to get the air gap. If it is constantly really wet, it will quickly break down.
So you want an eggcrate false bottom with the air gap. A layer of fiberglass window screen over this. The next part is optional and that would be a layer of Turface (infield conditioner) about an inch thick. I do this for extra root growth and so that I can get away with a little less homemade clay. It makes the batch stretch a little further. Now put your layer of homemade clay substrate on top of the Turface. I do NOT put screen between the Turface and the clay substrate.
I do not use weedblocker instead of window screen. I don't understand why people wish to limit the root growth of your plants. Let your roots go where they will. If they go down into the water at the bottom, fine! It will freshen the water and fertilize the plants. Besides, have you ever tried to run water through a piece of window screen material? It runs right through it! Very well drained. Try that with a piece of weedblocker. You will be amazed at how poorly the water runs through. Very poorly draining material.
I have done tanks with one inch of Turface and one inch of clay and they are doing great. Sounds like Ed has experimented with even less with good results.

slipperheads 04-24-2011 11:23 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 588574)
two inches is more than sufficient. I have tanks where much less is used with no problems with plant growth.
You just have to make sure the clay can drain throughly. I use an air gap under the false bottom to allow the clay to drain throughly.

Excellent - a drilled hole just below the height of the egg crate will work perfectly for that. Thanks Doug and Ed.

Ed 04-25-2011 12:08 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by §lipperhead (Post 588668)
Excellent - a drilled hole just below the height of the egg crate will work perfectly for that. Thanks Doug and Ed.

That is exactly what I do.

Ed

Pumilo 04-25-2011 12:15 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by §lipperhead (Post 588668)
Excellent - a drilled hole just below the height of the egg crate will work perfectly for that. Thanks Doug and Ed.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 588689)
That is exactly what I do.

Ed

Me too. A 5/8 inch hole with a short piece of clear flexible 5/8 o.d. hose through it, silicone it in place inside and out. I don't even bother with a bulkhead and I've never had a leak.

GRIMM 04-25-2011 12:40 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
I posed questions a few pages back regarding firing temps vs clay longevity, but never got an answer. Figured it would be best to do some experiments of my own.

Air dry and 300f - Very quick breakdown and became soft/mushy within 1 minute of being submerged

415f - Same sh*tty stats as above

~800-900f (3 hour oven self cleaning cycle) - It held its shape much better then previous temps. When submerged in water, it will degrade and become soft, but it happens slower then before. This mean that if a heavy tank misting/rain cycle is on, it will be able to withstand this much better, so long as it has proper drainage after the fact. I wouldn't use it near a water feature though, unless you want a large clay clump down the road. Try keeping it in dry sections of the tank, as with all clay substrate.

1800f (typical kiln firing temp) - Clay turned into a ceramic, and after 3 weeks has not broken down at all. This would be good as a substrate additive for high drainage, but I doubt it will ever break down. This pretty much removes all the calcium benefits from making clay substrate, and you end up with expensive rocks haha

Ideally, Im guessing firing at 1000-1200f would be the best option, however it is difficult to fire something in this temperature range while being cost effective. Home ovens will not reach it, and to get a kiln fired at a specific temp costs 50-65$. Im happy with the results using the self cleaning oven cycle though. It definitely beats air drying it, or low oven temps.

Pumilo 04-25-2011 04:40 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GRIMM (Post 588698)
I posed questions a few pages back regarding firing temps vs clay longevity, but never got an answer. Figured it would be best to do some experiments of my own.

Air dry and 300f - Very quick breakdown and became soft/mushy within 1 minute of being submerged

415f - Same sh*tty stats as above

~800-900f (3 hour oven self cleaning cycle) - It held its shape much better then previous temps. When submerged in water, it will degrade and become soft, but it happens slower then before. This mean that if a heavy tank misting/rain cycle is on, it will be able to withstand this much better, so long as it has proper drainage after the fact. I wouldn't use it near a water feature though, unless you want a large clay clump down the road. Try keeping it in dry sections of the tank, as with all clay substrate.

1800f (typical kiln firing temp) - Clay turned into a ceramic, and after 3 weeks has not broken down at all. This would be good as a substrate additive for high drainage, but I doubt it will ever break down. This pretty much removes all the calcium benefits from making clay substrate, and you end up with expensive rocks haha

Ideally, Im guessing firing at 1000-1200f would be the best option, however it is difficult to fire something in this temperature range while being cost effective. Home ovens will not reach it, and to get a kiln fired at a specific temp costs 50-65$. Im happy with the results using the self cleaning oven cycle though. It definitely beats air drying it, or low oven temps.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 573118)
Thanks Grimm, I'm afraid I'm in the dark about trying higher temps. I baked it simply to speed the drying. I would be concerned that firing it too high (and too hard), could lock the calcium up into the hardened clay pellets so that the frogs were unable to digest tiny bits of it.

Actually Grimm, I did post my opinion on firing the clay. I think you are changing it to something you don't find in nature. We are trying to recreate the rainforest clay with this type of substrate. I think that any degree of hardening will make it much less digestible. I'm sure it will still work fine to grow stuff in, but more like a LECA without the calcium benefits. The way we use it now, it is soft enough that bits of it come off and get stuck to the bugs as they crawl through it. Your frogs benefit from that when they eat the bugs. It is soft enough that as the frogs sit on it, some of the calcium can be absorbed right through the frogs skin. I would just be worried that any hardening would cancel these benefits.

GRIMM 04-25-2011 05:09 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
It definitely breaks down when fired at 900f, just not in 1-2 minutes. If you have any extra lying around, toss it in a clean cycle and check it out. Im sure your oven needs it's yearly cleaning anyways, and the wife might appreciate it :D

I had a private convo with Matt Mirabello and at the time he was also trying to find the perfect firing medium between longevity and benefits. Im not sure what temps he came up with, but I wouldnt be surprised if it comes in around 1000f. Ideally it would be perfect to have the clay break down over a few years. I could see that happening as long as my clay is kept on the drier side.

Ed 04-25-2011 05:38 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Why not just use turface then? It is low fired and decomposes slowly over a period of about 20 years.

Ed

Pumilo 04-25-2011 05:51 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GRIMM (Post 588780)
It definitely breaks down when fired at 900f, just not in 1-2 minutes.

Granted, my clay substrates are only a few months old, but they show no signs of collapsing. They have certainly lasted longer than 1 to 2 minutes. If you made my recipe and it's only lasting 1 to 2 minutes before breaking down, then you are doing something very different than what I've posted.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 588791)
Why not just use turface then? It is low fired and decomposes slowly over a period of about 20 years.

Ed

Agreed.

slipperheads 04-25-2011 01:26 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Just to save people some time, here is where you find the closest Turface dealer to you:

Distributors | Turface Athletics

GRIMM 04-25-2011 02:39 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Alright sorry for adding my experiences with it. As I said before twice, it breaks down, just not as fast. I can take pictures if you like. A slimy film forms over it when submerged, but it doesnt become a sloppy mess right away. And I am testing it in the worst possible scenario, when submerged. Not slightly damp as it would when be used as substrate.

Ed 04-25-2011 05:17 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Don't apologize, there isn't any need. I was just trying to figure out if low firing some clay is going to be be better than turface since that is an already low fired clay.

GRIMM 04-25-2011 05:40 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Cool. I'll definitely try and post some pictures of how it acts when moist. The peat no boubt gets burnt off durig the firing process, but the main benefits should all still be there. Just with a little added longevity.

I might just run another test using the 900 degree clay in a clear glass. 1" of water, rocks as the main drainage layer, clay above that and perhaps a few leaves on the surface. I'll mist it daily and keep it covered with saran wrap. Hopefully this will mimic the environment the clay will be in and see how well it acts. I still have a few weeks till I'll be using the substrate in a tank anyways. Cant hurt to try.

I'd like to see the results from Matt's different firing temps and if the clay still retains all it's positive properties. He hasnt posted in a while.

Ed 04-25-2011 10:43 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
One of these days I'll take a picture of some unfired clay that is still holding holes etc down into the substrate. It went two years with a 4 minute misting 4 times a day with a mistking set up,.. I have for the last year only rub the misting for 15 seconds/twice a day.

Ed

davecalk 04-30-2011 03:41 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 574465)
Thanks Dave, that hardware cloth is the stuff I use to mold the clay into proper sized pieces. Ed originally recommended using the 1/4 inch size and I totally agree that the 1/4 inch makes for a very "microfauna friendly" size.
The link to the groat float is not working. Can you try again on that please? I would like to see it.

Sorry I missed the question about the grout float.
We'll see if this reference sticks around.

The following is a google search of "Grout Float".

Google Search for Images of Grout Floats


Grout Floats have a handle and a rubber bottom and are designed to push thick, heavy concrete grout deep into thin, tiny voids or lines which are found between newly installed tile. These grout lines can be as narrow as 1/16 of an inch, but are most common at 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch. This is really the same kind of thing we are doing here as we push thick, heavy clay through the 1/4 inch holes in the hardware cloth.

http://diydiva.net/wp-content/upload...rout_float.jpg

http://www.kitchenbacksplashtileandm...%20film/05.jpg

Pumilo 04-30-2011 04:14 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Nice Dave. Thanks. That looks like the proper tool for what my little rubber sanding block is being used for.

arielelf 05-20-2011 05:20 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Would there be any problem in laying down the clay substrate over a couple inches of ABG mix? I would assume I would need at least an inch or 2 of the clay over it.

Pumilo 05-20-2011 05:41 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by arielelf (Post 599308)
Would there be any problem in laying down the clay substrate over a couple inches of ABG mix? I would assume I would need at least an inch or 2 of the clay over it.

That would probably be fine. Both myself and Brett Brock have used pockets of ABG mix around the roots. It gives them a bit of a head start but is not necessary.

morphman 05-31-2011 01:02 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Thanks Pumilo for this very informative thread. It is solid information like this that gives us amateurs the courage to try out new things. Thank you Pumilo and all contributors. I am working on a tank and it seems to take forever to make up my mind on what to do or use.
Substrate is one of those....... things.
While I have no doubt about the benefits of your mix to me it seems labor intensive and I was wondering if there is a SIMPLE way to possibly incorporate the calcium and other mineral requirements into LECA or Hydrton. If I were to make a liquid with all that and rolled or coated the hydrtons in it and then baked or dried it..... ?? I'm also guessing that the round shape of the Hydrotons would allow for more gaps , "microfauna real estate".

I am aware that there might be something simple I'm missing here that would totally ridicule my suggestion and I'm hoping some feedback will enlighten me.

Thank you.

Ed 05-31-2011 01:42 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Leca/Hydroton are fully fired clays. There are no small particulates that are going to be sticking to the microfauna or ingested by the microfauna that will have mobile calcium. In addition Leca/hydroton are full fired clays so thier ability to retain and release cations like calcium are not the same as a clay substrate.

It may seem like a lot of work but it actually isn't when you look at the lifespan of the an enclosure. There are substrates like this that have been running for more than ten years now.

Ed

morphman 05-31-2011 05:59 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 604032)
Leca/Hydroton are fully fired clays. There are no small particulates that are going to be sticking to the microfauna or ingested by the microfauna that will have mobile calcium. In addition Leca/hydroton are full fired clays so thier ability to retain and release cations like calcium are not the same as a clay substrate.

It may seem like a lot of work but it actually isn't when you look at the lifespan of the an enclosure. There are substrates like this that have been running for more than ten years now.

Ed

Thank you Ed,

It was 6 AM and I had been up all night reading about substrate options so there is a possibility I was delerious when I got the idea. I've had less than 4 hrs of sleep and I'm ready to go again .:D
I thought I could just make a slurry containing the calcium and other needed minerals and then coat the Hydrotons with that mix. I'm hoping this coat will break down into smaller particles that can benefit the animals via ingestion or absorbtion. Like a candy coated apple or something only here the apple

Laziness.......... makes you do things lol.. I already bought a 50 l bag of hydroton.:confused:

Apart from the cation thing I thought maybe the round shape and less weight might be an advantage. Here I was thinking I discovered something :eek:

Either way I've read enough good things about clay substrates to tell you that I will be using one way or another.
Thank you all again.

Pumilo 05-31-2011 07:36 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by morphman (Post 604026)
Thank you Pumilo and all contributors.

Thank you for acknowledging the hard work that others have put into this. Much of what I did here was simply gathering the most pertinent info in all the clay threads, gathering it into one place. There is still some great info in the Ultimate clay thread, too.

Quote:

Originally Posted by morphman (Post 604026)
While I have no doubt about the benefits of your mix to me it seems labor intensive and I was wondering if there is a SIMPLE way to possibly incorporate the calcium and other mineral requirements into LECA or Hydrton. If I were to make a liquid with all that and rolled or coated the hydrtons in it and then baked or dried it..... ?? I'm also guessing that the round shape of the Hydrotons would allow for more gaps , "microfauna real estate".

What Ed said.;) If you really wanted to try it, I think the proper way would be to mix up the whole recipe, thin it out into a much wetter slurry, and repeatedly dip and dry your LECA balls. As far as gaps and real estate, this is why we borrow Ed's suggestion of pressing it through the 1/4" screen made of hardware cloth. The 1/4" pieces allow lots of gaps.

Quote:

Originally Posted by morphman (Post 604026)
I am aware that there might be something simple I'm missing here that would totally ridicule my suggestion and I'm hoping some feedback will enlighten me.

Very few questions are worthy of ridicule. These are the types of questions that allowed clay substrates to be "born".

Thank you.[/QUOTE]

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 604032)
Leca/Hydroton are fully fired clays. There are no small particulates that are going to be sticking to the microfauna or ingested by the microfauna that will have mobile calcium. In addition Leca/hydroton are full fired clays so thier ability to retain and release cations like calcium are not the same as a clay substrate.

It may seem like a lot of work but it actually isn't when you look at the lifespan of the an enclosure. There are substrates like this that have been running for more than ten years now.

Ed

Hey Ed, Regarding Leca, Calcium mobility, and ability to retain and release cations. We discussed this once regarding Turface and it's calcium mobility, and ability to retain and release cation. You had said that Turface may still have some of these abilities. I had thought that Turface was fully fired also. Is Turface perhaps, only partially fired?

Ed 05-31-2011 08:18 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Tuface is fired at a low temperature which allows it to degrade over time (we are talking on the scale of decades..). This liberates small particulates that can be ingested.

At this point, the last several tanks I set up have relatively thin layers of clay over turface. The clay depth is between 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick over about 1/2 of turface. This produces very light tanks once you drain the water and seems to satisfy the needs of the microfauna (and plants can root through the clay right into the turface and water area.

Ed

skylsdale 05-31-2011 09:23 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by arielelf (Post 599308)
Would there be any problem in laying down the clay substrate over a couple inches of ABG mix? I would assume I would need at least an inch or 2 of the clay over it.

This sort of defeats one of the primary purposes of a clay-based, primarily non-organic substrate. Eventually the ABG mix under the clay will break down, decompose and become pretty rank...then you'll have to tear everything out and rebuild at some point. Using all clay helps eliminate that need...unless 30-40 years from now my Turface substrate breaks down to the point of being no good, and then I can swap it out for fresh. ;)

ABG mix was designed to grow great plants. The clay-based soils some of us have been experimenting with over the last few years are an attempt to understand and hopefully mimic more accurately the actual environments and ecological processes taking place in the tropics where Dendrobatids come from. That, for me, is the primary emphasis and concern, and I cater the plants I use to ones that will work well in that context/substrate. Trying to mix the two 50/50, I think, misses some of the major purposes of this method.

arielelf 06-05-2011 02:17 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Thank so much for posting this, I used this recipe to make my own. I bought a play-dough fun factory clay press and made my own die out of brass to create a shape that I hope ill provide some sturdiness and also lots of nooks and crannies for isopods and springtails to crawl all over.
It worked fairly well, but it would have worked much better with a finer peat and finer grain sand, larger chunks of it tended to clog the die quite often. Next time I will use finer stuff.
After squeezing these clay shapes out I would let them dry a little them use a knife to cut them into smaller pieces.
http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/...mbie/clay4.jpg
http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/...mbie/clay3.jpg
http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/...mbie/clay5.jpg
http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/...mbie/clay6.jpg
http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/...mbie/clay7.jpg

Mitch 06-05-2011 02:41 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
I know this is off topic, but is anyone selling a pre-made clay substrate yet? I'm pretty lazy and don't want to make my own :eek:

Pumilo 06-05-2011 10:40 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mitch (Post 605808)
I know this is off topic, but is anyone selling a pre-made clay substrate yet? I'm pretty lazy and don't want to make my own :eek:

I don't believe so Mitch. I have discussed trades with a couple of people but the work involved would make it pricey. To top that off, it's expensive to ship, even though you would ship it dry. Still, for the right trade (thumbs or eggfeeders), I would consider it.

stevenhman 06-06-2011 01:15 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Mitch, it really isn't that bad to make. I can be kind of lazy as well. I just mixed up everything in a bucket, spread it out on a sheet of plastic, let it dry in the sun (and some in the oven), then broke it up into chunks.

The substrate has only been in the tank for a little over a month now but, it seems to be holding up fine. I think that having a nice layer of leaf litter over the clay helps save it from misting.

Mitch 06-06-2011 01:53 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 605908)
I don't believe so Mitch. I have discussed trades with a couple of people but the work involved would make it pricey. To top that off, it's expensive to ship, even though you would ship it dry. Still, for the right trade (thumbs or eggfeeders), I would consider it.

Eh, seems kinda unfair to trade frogs for a bag of clay. Haha :rolleyes:

Quote:

Originally Posted by stevenhman (Post 606107)
Mitch, it really isn't that bad to make. I can be kind of lazy as well. I just mixed up everything in a bucket, spread it out on a sheet of plastic, let it dry in the sun (and some in the oven), then broke it up into chunks.

The substrate has only been in the tank for a little over a month now but, it seems to be holding up fine. I think that having a nice layer of leaf litter over the clay helps save it from misting.

Trust me, I'm lazier than you! :D This is the theme song to my life (not to hijack the thread):
Anyways, how long has it taken you guys to make the stuff? It seems like it could end up taking a few hours per batch.

Pumilo 06-06-2011 02:32 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mitch (Post 606126)
Eh, seems kinda unfair to trade frogs for a bag of clay. Haha :rolleyes:



Trust me, I'm lazier than you! :D This is the theme song to my life (not to hijack the thread): LINK

Anyways, how long has it taken you guys to make the stuff? It seems like it could end up taking a few hours per batch.

Guess that's pretty much my point. Nobody's going to make you a batch for $10. It's pretty much do it yourself, or live without it. Thus, the do it yourself guide!

Mitch 06-06-2011 02:39 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 606137)
Guess that's pretty much my point. Nobody's going to make you a batch for $10. It's pretty much do it yourself, or live without it. Thus, the do it yourself guide!

Yup! Great guide by the way. When I set up my final masterpiece viv (still in the planning stage) I'll definitely consider using a clay based substrate. This guide makes it much easier/more understandable as to how to do it. When people talked about it before I had no clue what they were doing to make the stuff until you made this thread. This should be stickied!

gold3nku5h 06-06-2011 02:58 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Would you ever fire the clay to make a similar product to hydroton or LECA?

Pumilo 06-06-2011 03:10 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mitch (Post 606138)
Yup! Great guide by the way. When I set up my final masterpiece viv (still in the planning stage) I'll definitely consider using a clay based substrate. This guide makes it much easier/more understandable as to how to do it. When people talked about it before I had no clue what they were doing to make the stuff until you made this thread. This should be stickied!

Thanks Mitch.

Quote:

Originally Posted by gold3nku5h (Post 606144)
Would you ever fire the clay to make a similar product to hydroton or LECA?

You might talk to Grimm about that. He was going to experiment with partial firing. Personally, I would be afraid that any firing would tend to "fix" the calcium into the clay so it would not be available to the frogs. Besides, some of the early clay mixes have been up and running for 10 years now so I don't see why it would be necessary or beneficial.

gold3nku5h 06-06-2011 05:39 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
well i was thinking that with constant moisture that you couldnt stop it from compacting.

Ed 06-06-2011 06:24 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
If you follow the recipes, then microbes and microfauna action will keep the clay from compacting.

Ed

flapjax3000 06-15-2011 04:47 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
I never have had compaction issues, unless you physically mash down the mixture. Even with water from misters the clay holds its shape quite well.

Pumilo 06-15-2011 06:41 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 606202)
If you follow the recipes, then microbes and microfauna action will keep the clay from compacting.

Ed

Quote:

Originally Posted by flapjax3000 (Post 609161)
I never have had compaction issues, unless you physically mash down the mixture. Even with water from misters the clay holds its shape quite well.

All you have to watch out for is that you don't go digging around in it. Set your plants in while it is still dry. If you need to add plants later, just push cuttings in, or, lay the root mass on top and cover with leaf litter. It'll root in quick enough.

Armson 07-23-2011 08:06 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
So I am in the planning stages for my first vivs and this thread has been a great read I think the "ultimate clay thread" has gotten a little out of hand(long).

So here are a few questions for the people that are running clay substrates so far.

What types of plants thrive in the clay substrate and which plants do poorly?
Does anybody have pictures of their vivs that have been set up for awhile with clay substrates? I am particular interested in seeing how some of the older systems are still holding up?

By the way, a big thanks to all those who are taking the time to answer questions for us newbies and making sure we get started on the right track.


-Byron

skylsdale 07-23-2011 09:38 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
This is a 20 gal using a locally collected clay/silt based soil, set up for 2+ years at this point:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net..._1140817_n.jpg

And here is a 30 gal tank using Turface as a substrate that has been set up for 3+ years:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net..._1533085_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net..._4323298_n.jpg

Some of the plants are grown in the substrate, but many of the species I use are also epiphytic--I think of the other hardscape pieces (roots, woody debris, etc.) as substrate more than the actual clay-based soil. For that I prefer to have predominantly leaf litter. But, as you can see, even areas of bare substrate are minimal in these tanks so I have to occasionally do some pretty heavy pruning.

Bonobo 08-11-2011 06:41 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Any big differences in what source of calcium? The one I used lists calcium gluconate and calcium lactate, it also has cholecalciferol(Vitamin D) in it..

What ya think?


Hmm.. after doing some research, I would say carbonite is the way to go, it's listed as the most concentrated form of calcium.

Pumilo 08-11-2011 06:54 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bonobo (Post 631152)
Any big differences in what source of calcium? The one I used lists calcium gluconate and calcium lactate, it also has cholecalciferol(Vitamin D) in it..

What ya think?


Hmm.. after doing some research, I would say carbonite is the way to go.. it's listed as having the highest amounts of useable calcium..

Yes, calcium carbonite.

Bonobo 08-11-2011 07:10 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
You think I would be okay if I added more to recipe? Or should I just get rid of this batch? and redo one using calcium carbonate?

It does say calcium lactate and gluconate are absorbed easier.

Paul G 08-11-2011 07:18 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
So reading back at the posts from Brent....would kitty litter make a fine substrate by itself? Anyone try that other than Brent?
(I'm not talking about raising thumbs or egg feeders in these tanks)

Ed 08-11-2011 02:23 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 631154)
Yes, calcium carbonite.

Carbonite? Have you guys started coal mining or have you been watching too much Star Wars? (see Carbonite - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) ;)

Carbonate..... I think is what you mean... ;)

Ed

Ed 08-11-2011 02:26 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul G (Post 631160)
So reading back at the posts from Brent....would kitty litter make a fine substrate by itself? Anyone try that other than Brent?
(I'm not talking about raising thumbs or egg feeders in these tanks)


There have been a number of people with success using it as a substrate. All of the issues around it were mainly due to issues with backgrounds. As a substrate it works well as long as it is well drained.

Ed

Pumilo 08-11-2011 05:51 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 631222)
Carbonite? Have you guys started coal mining or have you been watching too much Star Wars? (see Carbonite - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) ;)

Carbonate..... I think is what you mean... ;)

Ed

Sorry Ed, I though we were referring to freezing the frogs in Carbonite, to preserve the line for future use. :rolleyes: I wonder if it would also produce a frog capable of doing the Kessel spice run in under 12 parsecs?

Golden State Mantellas 08-11-2011 06:54 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 631287)
Sorry Ed, I though we were referring to freezing the frogs in Carbonite, to preserve the line for future use. :rolleyes: I wonder if it would also produce a frog capable of doing the Kessel spice run in under 12 parsecs?

Oh the visuals of a frog room wall covered in miniature carbonite encased frog trophies, whilst the proud owner sits in the corner bellowing maniacally and speaking in tongues.

derail over.

tclipse 08-20-2011 12:21 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 631287)
Sorry Ed, I though we were referring to freezing the frogs in Carbonite, to preserve the line for future use. :rolleyes: I wonder if it would also produce a frog capable of doing the Kessel spice run in under 12 parsecs?

Not sure, but I just sent a solarte out to the Tosche station to pick up some power converters

Neontra 08-20-2011 05:05 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
What's the difference from this and ABG? Couldn't you just use hydroton instead of making your own clay subsrate? Thanks

Pumilo 08-20-2011 06:09 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Neontra (Post 635233)
What's the difference from this and ABG? Couldn't you just use hydroton instead of making your own clay subsrate? Thanks

ABG mix, while I do love it as a simple, workable, substrate, is basically a very well-drained, dirt for very humid vivs.
A good, calcium enriched, clay substrate does a couple of important things. First off, it mimics the nutrient poor forest floor in the areas our frogs are found. This can give us more realistic growth rates without the constant trimming. I'm not saying plant growth will stagnate, but traditional substrates are rather rich compared to a dart frogs natural habitat. Honestly though, that part concerns me very little. What I am in it for, is the calcium.
There is calcium in the clay substrate. When your microfauna crawl around, they get it on them and in them. When your frogs eat the bugs, they will ingest some of this, reaping the benefits of the calcium. Your frogs may also be able to absorb some of the calcium directly through their skin. This can be helpful particularly with eggfeeders and other small froglets that are not taking dusted flies from day one.

tclipse 09-16-2011 10:07 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Neontra (Post 635233)
What's the difference from this and ABG?

Everything Pumilo mentioned above.... plus, it's CHEAP. I just spent ~$20 on enough redart/bentonite/calcium carbonate to do backgrounds AND substrate on a whole bunch of vivs. Premixed ABG would be that much for *maybe* two verts worth.

Would love to see this stickied, very informative & helpful.

gturmindright 02-24-2012 07:23 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Okay, I ordered my supplies. My plant is to make it and then roll it out on a cookie sheet over parchment paper and then cut it with a pizza cutter into quarter inch squares so they break up easy after I bake it. Plan sound like it'll work?

Pumilo 02-24-2012 08:03 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by gturmindright (Post 702775)
Okay, I ordered my supplies. My plant is to make it and then roll it out on a cookie sheet over parchment paper and then cut it with a pizza cutter into quarter inch squares so they break up easy after I bake it. Plan sound like it'll work?

It should work. You might want to do a small test batch first to make sure it is going to release from the parchment paper. Even if it doesn't release right, you could still use it as it's food safe. It would just look funny until it decomposed and was eaten by your bugs. If it doesn't release right, though, it will be a hassle to cut it all up to get it into little cubes.

gturmindright 02-24-2012 08:04 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Do you just put it directly on a cookie sheet or what?

Also, I read this thread a couple times and I don't know if this is addressed, would you use this substrate or this size of substrate for something like terribilis? Can they accidentally eat a chunk or does it sort of get stuck together. I like to keep everything the same way, I was gonna just do a grow out tank but now I think I'm gonna do everything in clay from now on if it's as successful as I hear. I think it would be good for me bc I don't have a misting system, I just mist by hand so it should stay good for a really long time for me.

Pumilo 02-24-2012 08:52 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by gturmindright (Post 702785)
Do you just put it directly on a cookie sheet or what?

Also, I read this thread a couple times and I don't know if this is addressed, would you use this substrate or this size of substrate for something like terribilis? Can they accidentally eat a chunk or does it sort of get stuck together. I like to keep everything the same way, I was gonna just do a grow out tank but now I think I'm gonna do everything in clay from now on if it's as successful as I hear. I think it would be good for me bc I don't have a misting system, I just mist by hand so it should stay good for a really long time for me.

I put a disposable, aluminum, cake pan/roasting pan under my screen and just push it through the screen, letting it fall into the disposable pan. Because it's not rolled out in the pan, I have no issues with it sticking to the pan.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 555983)
Place a cookie sheet or a disposable aluminum cake pan under the screen so that your little cubes of clay will fall straight in. This will help to reduce the sticking together that you are going to get. Push clay patties through screen to make into little cubes. I like to use this rubber sanding block that I got at WalMart. I push down and then slide the block towards me while still pushing down. Doing small sections at a time makes it easy.


Ed 02-24-2012 09:18 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Rolling it out isn't ideal as you are going to remove all of the little air pockets and voids that the preperation methods try to create... those are important for structure and for microfaunal spots (if they open up over time). This is why passing it through a screen, letting that dry and breaking it up accomplishes.

Ed

Robzilla56 04-11-2012 09:38 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
I wouldn't mind seeing some picture of a viv or two that have used your clay substrates. It seems many people are moving to this and I'm also curious whats the longest you guys have had one with the clay in it? Do you plan on cleaning them out after a year or so or just leaving it? Also whats the consensus on false bottoms or drainage layer underneath this?

Just a few questions I had for the experts

Robbie

Ed 04-12-2012 05:44 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Robzilla56 (Post 720158)
I wouldn't mind seeing some picture of a viv or two that have used your clay substrates. It seems many people are moving to this and I'm also curious whats the longest you guys have had one with the clay in it? Do you plan on cleaning them out after a year or so or just leaving it? Also whats the consensus on false bottoms or drainage layer underneath this?

Just a few questions I had for the experts

Robbie

If you set the clay up properly there are people out there with enclosures that were set up more than a decade.
If I remember correctly there are some after shots in this thread http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...tml#post622732

Ed

jejton 07-25-2012 02:49 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Trying to decide on a substrate for my reentry to PDF and this looks worth a try. The main barrier I'm having is buying everything in a cost effective manner for 2 vivs ( no bigger floor space than a 29 gallon ). It seems like the cost of getting everything shipped from different suppliers will cost as much as the material. Anyone in NY area know where I can buy the ingredients locally?
Also, instead of using a false bottom ( I just hate dealing with cutting eggcrate and its getting harder to find anyways ), can I lay the clay on top of hydroton/leica/gravel with windowscreen as a barrier?

tnwalkers 07-25-2012 03:20 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
hey Doug I was curious how would this work as a material to build a 'pond' feature or shallow pools?

Pumilo 07-25-2012 05:28 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tnwalkers (Post 754427)
hey Doug I was curious how would this work as a material to build a 'pond' feature or shallow pools?

I think that your water would remain continually cloudy. I'm really not sure if if would stand up long term. I KNOW that a primarily bentonite clay would absolutely NOT work. It would turn into mush, and then gray water.
I think there are probably better ways to build a pond.

jejton 07-25-2012 09:22 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Can anyone convert the volume measurements in the recipe to pounds? The site I'm trying to order from sells by weight only.

Ed 07-25-2012 09:36 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Sodium bentonite is used as a liner for ponds and retention ponds because as it swells it binds to the soild in the bottom of the pond creating a water proof barrier. This is often impractical in the enclosures

1) the thickness needed for a stable pool and the amount it swells makes it impractical
2) the volume in the enclosure is typically too small to keep the pH swings down


Some comments

Ed

Pumilo 07-25-2012 10:23 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Thanks Ed, and I do remember discussions with you concerning the possibility of using clay for a leaking tank and how it is used for leaks in ponds. Both of those uses, of course, are relying on existing surfaces to bond to and be able to fill cracks. I just wasn't sure it would be the best material to try to build up the bank of a pond for. I'm not sure the wall would hold it's integrity, long term, under constant contact with water.

Ed 07-25-2012 10:59 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 754679)
Thanks Ed, and I do remember discussions with you concerning the possibility of using clay for a leaking tank and how it is used for leaks in ponds. Both of those uses, of course, are relying on existing surfaces to bond to and be able to fill cracks. I just wasn't sure it would be the best material to try to build up the bank of a pond for. I'm not sure the wall would hold it's integrity, long term, under constant contact with water.

I wouldn't try a wall of it in contact with water unless your really serious on taking the long slow route.... I spent more than six months getting some clay to withstand a slow water flow....that means no animals and no messing with it as that disrupts the structure.

Ed

rgwheels 07-26-2012 05:16 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Great thread thanks!

I have two practical questions:
1. How does one make the background with the clay? Does it simply adhere to the glass and hold its form? I'm assuming background clay is mushed onto the glass. Or would you place something like an egg crate behind it.
2. Should microfauna be added as soon as the clay and tank are set or should the tank sit for some time?

Thanks, I'm starting to persuade my wife to let me do a new build with clay!

Ed 07-26-2012 05:23 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
What kind of clay do you intend to use?

Ed

Pumilo 07-26-2012 07:23 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rgwheels (Post 754906)
Great thread thanks!

I have two practical questions:
1. How does one make the background with the clay? Does it simply adhere to the glass and hold its form? I'm assuming background clay is mushed onto the glass. Or would you place something like an egg crate behind it.
2. Should microfauna be added as soon as the clay and tank are set or should the tank sit for some time?

Thanks, I'm starting to persuade my wife to let me do a new build with clay!

Here is how I did my last clay background. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/mem...ilo-build.html

rgwheels 07-26-2012 05:17 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
I was going to use the recipe mentioned at the beginning with the modifications that were discussed in the thread elsewhere. I'm considering starting with a ten gallon vert to get practice. Then moving to a bigger build later.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 754910)
What kind of clay do you intend to use?

Ed


Pumilo 07-26-2012 06:21 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Read through this thread http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/gen...clay-fail.html paying attention to Ed's comments regarding slowing things down and establishing a bio film. It will be helpful for long term success.

gotham229 08-04-2012 11:01 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
I having a hard time finding sodium and calcium bentonate. Dors anyone know where i might be able to obtain this. I found this but not sure if this is correct.

Bentonite 325 Mesh (sold per lb.)
Bentonite - BentoLite L-10 (White) (sold per lb.)

Thank you for you help

Ed 08-04-2012 03:29 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Talk to the pottery suppliers directly. They can usually answer the questions.

Ed

Pumilo 12-04-2012 10:31 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
My pottery store has no idea what Calcium Bentonite is. I get my Calcium Bentonite from eBay seller "doormatz". Here is a link to the product 4 Pounds or 14 Pounds Calcium Bentonite Clay Koi Ponds Plants Worldwide | eBay
That link won't last because it is an eBay item. Here is the link to his seller page. eBay My World - doormatz When you see his listing that shows Koi or goldfish in the pic, you have the right product.

Checking your links, it looks like this one Bentonite - BentoLite L-10 (White) (sold per lb.) will work for your Calcium Bentonite.
This one Bentonite 325 Mesh (sold per lb.) does not state that it is sodium bentonite, HOWEVER, it does state, "The most commonly used bentonite, and is considered a standard glaze and clay additive.", and that is what sodium bentonite is used for. I believe it is the right product, but you might want to contact them and ask.

R1ch13 12-19-2012 05:01 PM

Move to Clay Substrate Thread
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 689137)
It is possible that red art isn't available since that is a specific location harvested in the USA and I've seen some sellers that didn't carry it. I do have doubts that multiple equivalent clays aren't available from ceramic/pottery suppliers.... since high iron clays are some of the most common clays used in making pottery and virtually all will function the same way in the enclosurer.

Ed

Thought I'd somewhat resurrect this thread after yet another reading in its entirety.

Being in the UK myself and having never had any luck sourcing RedArt clay like Gex, are there any substitutes you would recommend?

It is my understanding that RedArt is simply a brand name for a red, high iron Earthenware clay sourced from a particular area within the US.

Would the likes of other red Earthenware clays or even Terracotta suffice as a stand in?

Regards,
Richie

Ed 12-20-2012 07:08 PM

Re: The TRUTH about ABG Mix!!
 
any red earthware clay should be fine.

Some comments

Ed

R1ch13 12-20-2012 08:44 PM

Re: The TRUTH about ABG Mix!!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 798852)
any red earthware clay should be fine.

Some comments

Ed

Cheers for that Ed, will give it a go in the new year and see what I come up with. Had almost given up hope on creating a good clay substrate!

Organics just don't cut it...

Regards,
Richie

Pumilo 12-20-2012 11:09 PM

Re: The TRUTH about ABG Mix!!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by R1ch13 (Post 798579)
Thought I'd somewhat resurrect this thread after yet another reading in its entirety.

Being in the UK myself and having never had any luck sourcing RedArt clay like Gex, are there any substitutes you would recommend?

It is my understanding that RedArt is simply a brand name for a red, high iron Earthenware clay sourced from a particular area within the US.

Would the likes of other red Earthenware clays or even Terracotta suffice as a stand in?

Regards,
Richie

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 798852)
any red earthware clay should be fine.

Some comments

Ed

Quote:

Originally Posted by R1ch13 (Post 798875)
Cheers for that Ed, will give it a go in the new year and see what I come up with. Had almost given up hope on creating a good clay substrate!

Organics just don't cut it...

Regards,
Richie

Just don't try substituting more bentonite, instead of RedArt or other red clay. Bentonite based mixes degraded and turned to mush VERY quickly in my side by side comparisons.

R1ch13 12-20-2012 11:35 PM

Re: The TRUTH about ABG Mix!!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 798920)
Just don't try substituting more bentonite, instead of RedArt or other red clay. Bentonite based mixes degraded and turned to mush VERY quickly in my side by side comparisons.

Cheers for that Doug, I wouldn't consider it. I tried a Calcium Bentonite based mix in a QT tub in 2010, it turned mushy almost instantly -boy was I pleased it wasn't a viv.

Regarding Turface, this is another hard to come by component. However, I have used a clay product in vivs for a few years which has proven to hold its form very well with impeccable drainage. The product is called Akadama and is a reknowned Bonsai potting substrate - does this sound comparable to turface/infield conditioner?

Regards,
Richie

EDIT: Answered my own question

Quote:

"The product manufactured in the United States called "Turface", most often used as a soil amendment and for surface dressing of baseball infields, is often erroneously thought to be a similar material. However, it bears no similarity to Akadama."
I would still be interested in hearing whether you guys think Akadama could play a part in creating a suitable clay based substrate mix. Am I right in saying Turface is mainly used to aid in drainage and to bulk out homemade RedArt substrate mixes?

Pumilo 12-21-2012 12:03 AM

Re: The TRUTH about ABG Mix!!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by R1ch13 (Post 798928)
Cheers for that Doug, I wouldn't consider it. I tried a Calcium Bentonite based mix in a QT tub in 2010, it turned mushy almost instantly -boy was I pleased it wasn't a viv.

Regarding Turface, this is another hard to come by component. However, I have used a clay product in vivs for a few years which has proven to hold its form very well with impeccable drainage. The product is called Akadama and is a reknowned Bonsai potting substrate - does this sound comparable to turface/infield conditioner?

Regards,
Richie

EDIT: Answered my own question



I would still be interested in hearing whether you guys think Akadama could play a part in creating a suitable clay based substrate mix. Am I right in saying Turface is mainly used to aid in drainage and to bulk out homemade RedArt substrate mixes?

Akadama would work just fine as a substitute for Turface. They are both, basically hardened clay. Turface is manufactured and is a fired product. Akadama is a naturally forming, clay like mineral. Turface is used instead of Akadama all the time, by American bonsai growers. In fact, turface is one of the main components of the custom blend sold by Denver's best bonsai greenhouse.
Yes, they are different. But they are also very similar. The similar qualities they share are these:
1) They are both long lasting, and won't turn to mush.
2) They both provide excellent drainage.
3) They are both porous, and will hold some water, while still being extremely well drained.
4) They are both either natural, or made of natural materials.
5) They are both very lightweight.

For all these reasons, I believe that Akadama will work just as well as Turface for a drainage layer.
The problem I would have with Akadama is the very high price tag it carries around here.

Edit: Are you talking about using it as a drainage layer, under your clay substrate, or are you mixing it into the clay? I don't mix any turface into my clay. Here is my clay recipe. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...trate-how.html

R1ch13 12-21-2012 12:15 AM

Re: The TRUTH about ABG Mix!!
 
Thanks very much Doug, really appreciate all the brilliant information! I had a feeling Akadama would serve a similar role as Turface, I really have been very impressed with how it has held up in my vivs over the past couple of years!

Quote:

Are you talking about using it as a drainage layer, under your clay substrate, or are you mixing it into the clay? I don't mix any turface into my clay. Here is my clay recipe.
I would only use the Akadama as a layer underneath my clay to aid in drainage and help lessen the amount of homemade clay substrate used.

I am re-reading your Clay Substrate thread as I type this...

Cheers Doug!

Regards,
Richie

Pumilo 12-21-2012 12:20 AM

Re: The TRUTH about ABG Mix!!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by R1ch13 (Post 798943)
Thanks very much Doug, really appreciate all the brilliant information! I had a feeling Akadama would serve a similar role as Turface, I really have been very impressed with how it has held up in my vivs over the past couple of years!



I would only use the Akadama as a layer underneath my clay to aid in drainage and help lessen the amount of homemade clay substrate used.

I am re-reading your Clay Substrate thread as I type this...

Cheers Doug!

Regards,
Richie

I'd say go for it, then. I would have no qualms about using it in my own tanks.

Ed 12-21-2012 03:19 AM

Re: The TRUTH about ABG Mix!!
 
Digging into Akadema, it is apparently a volcanic clay which is fired to some extent or other (if it wasn't fired it would clump). For a discussion on volcanic clays see http://www.isric.org/isric/webdocs/docs/ISM_SM2.pdf

Some comments

Ed

Judy S 12-22-2012 10:01 PM

More Clay Cleanup
 
So you are supplying it as substrate material, not for clay builds?? Is it like a powder or like a dust???? The wet clay keeps forever in a plastic bag and in a cool place if it does get wet for whatever reason...

Pumilo 12-22-2012 10:09 PM

Re: Pumilo's Clay Substrate
 
Judy, it is a completed and formed, clay substrate. It is not for clay walls, although if you wanted to, you could moisten it and reform it for clay backgrounds. The recipe would work very well for that, but it would be an expensive way to get a clay wall, as much of what you are paying for is the labor to press the clay into substrate cubes.
Here are some pictures of the completed clay substrate, as it is sold. Notice all the voids between particles. This is perfect for microfauna.
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/att...-build-023.jpg
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/att...-build-021.jpg

Here are a couple pics of it in a viv being constructed.
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/att...is-viv-017.jpg
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/att...is-viv-019.jpg

RobR 12-22-2012 10:23 PM

I assume this would be ideal to load up a refugium with as well? If you had an already set up Viv you wanted to add the benefits to without tearing it down.

Judy S 12-22-2012 10:40 PM

Re: Pumilo's Clay Substrate
 
Great question.......and it looks as though you just layered it on top of Turface...So how do you keep the plants and inhabitants misted without making a clay pot???

Pumilo 12-23-2012 12:15 AM

Re: Pumilo's Clay Substrate
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by RobR (Post 799497)
I assume this would be ideal to load up a refugium with as well? If you had an already set up Viv you wanted to add the benefits to without tearing it down.

Yes, it would be ideal for a refugium, but keep in mind that it is the contact between leaf litter and clay, that make such a great bug zone, so you would want to use leaf litter in your refugium, too.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Judy S (Post 799505)
Great question.......and it looks as though you just layered it on top of Turface...So how do you keep the plants and inhabitants misted without making a clay pot???

I'm afraid I don't understand your question, Judy. Why would I need a clay pot? The clay substrate IS your dirt. You don't use ABG or anything, you simply use an inch of Turface, then an inch of clay. Your plants can go directly into the clay. You mist your clay substrate viv just like any other viv.
This is really a conversation that belongs in the how to thread that was linked in the first post. Here http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...trate-how.html I really think that if you look over that thread, as Scott suggested, all your questions would be answered, but I'm happy to answer your questions over there.
Thanks!

frog dude 12-23-2012 11:45 PM

Re: Pumilo's Clay Substrate
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 799528)
I'm afraid I don't understand your question, Judy. Why would I need a clay pot? The clay substrate IS your dirt. You don't use ABG or anything, you simply use an inch of Turface, then an inch of clay. Your plants can go directly into the clay. You mist your clay substrate viv just like any other viv.
This is really a conversation that belongs in the how to thread that was linked in the first post. Here http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...trate-how.html I really think that if you look over that thread, as Scott suggested, all your questions would be answered, but I'm happy to answer your questions over there.
Thanks!

I think what Judy was trying to say was that if moisture got into the clay substrate, wouldn't it dissolve into a clay-mud mess? No, Judy, I think you took the word 'clay' a little to literally. Yes, it once was a soft, squishy clay but after it was baked solid it will remain solid, moisture not affecting it.

Read through the thread that Doug and Scott linked, you'll see what I am saying.

:)

Judy S 12-24-2012 12:22 AM

Re: Pumilo's Clay Substrate
 
For whatever reason, baking must make the "clay" impossible to be made pliable, elastic...whatever...if it were simply dried, it may be possible for the misting of the plants to soften the clay substance....That was the point that I must not have understood...ergo: clay pot comment... I have read, made and used the clay for a couple of vivs...a real mistake with tree frogs...and still have a big clump in a plastic bag...but the baking must change it permanently...Thank you for the clarification...

Judy S 12-24-2012 01:13 AM

Re: Pumilo's Clay Substrate
 
As penance I went back and read the 17 page thread...evidently the other clay threads were similiar to this one, but this thread did have information that filled in the intelligence gap I was suffering from......

frogparty 12-24-2012 01:32 AM

Re: Pumilo's Clay Substrate
 
If you mess with it too much it WILL compress down and squish. You don't want that at all. I have clay substrate and what I do is put my drainage layer down. Then I crush up a bunch of leaf litter, and mix it up with the dry clay pieces and lay it down over the drainage layer. Then I dump a culture of springs, and a culture of isopods over that. Then a 1.5" layer of leaf litter over that. Any planting shoul be done initially, before that substrate becomes moist from misting




Pumilo 12-24-2012 02:39 AM

Re: Pumilo's Clay Substrate
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by frog dude (Post 799795)
I think what Judy was trying to say was that if moisture got into the clay substrate, wouldn't it dissolve into a clay-mud mess? No, Judy, I think you took the word 'clay' a little to literally. Yes, it once was a soft, squishy clay but after it was baked solid it will remain solid, moisture not affecting it.

Read through the thread that Doug and Scott linked, you'll see what I am saying.

:)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Judy S (Post 799807)
For whatever reason, baking must make the "clay" impossible to be made pliable, elastic...whatever...if it were simply dried, it may be possible for the misting of the plants to soften the clay substance....That was the point that I must not have understood...ergo: clay pot comment... I have read, made and used the clay for a couple of vivs...a real mistake with tree frogs...and still have a big clump in a plastic bag...but the baking must change it permanently...Thank you for the clarification...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Judy S (Post 799822)
As penance I went back and read the 17 page thread...evidently the other clay threads were similiar to this one, but this thread did have information that filled in the intelligence gap I was suffering from......

OK, I think you've got it Judy, but I'll clarify for Frog Dude and just to make sure.
It is a formed and DRIED, calcium enriched, clay substrate. It is NOT fired, so it is NOT permanently rock hard. If you abuse it, yes, you will clump it up and mess up the drainage. Thus the directions in the first page about planting it, and taking care not to mess it up.
This is exactly what we want with a clay substrate. We are trying to more closely mimic the clay soils where are frogs are found. If we were to fire the clay, it would lose much of its function. Firing the clay could lock up the calcium, or at least seriously impede it's release.
If you did accidentally mash it together, you could still press it and form it again, and re-use it.

Ed 12-25-2012 07:42 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Part of the reason the clay is worked and passed through a screen and dried is to provide some structure to the clay. The reason for this is that the soils where the frogs are from (and other regions..) have structure that has been produced by action of fungi, microbes, plants (roots for example), and other things.. That structure is missing in the clay we make for the cages so we have to substitute until the natural processes can catch up. Clay in addition to the other benefits is aimed at being a very long-term substrate. The longer it is set up and allowed to function the better it should get...

Working the clay also provides the structure that allows the penetration of air and water to some extent... As test subjects you can see some examples of bromeliads rooting directly through clay substrate, through the false bottom, air gap and into the water... See http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...tml#post484793 I took down one of those tanks (since I was upgrading to large enclosures) but I still have one that has now been up since before that picture with a live growing epiphytiic bromeliad rooted through the clay... no signs of rotting...

Some comments

Ed

Pumilo 12-25-2012 09:05 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
4 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 800241)
Part of the reason the clay is worked and passed through a screen and dried is to provide some structure to the clay. The reason for this is that the soils where the frogs are from (and other regions..) have structure that has been produced by action of fungi, microbes, plants (roots for example), and other things.. That structure is missing in the clay we make for the cages so we have to substitute until the natural processes can catch up. Clay in addition to the other benefits is aimed at being a very long-term substrate. The longer it is set up and allowed to function the better it should get...

Working the clay also provides the structure that allows the penetration of air and water to some extent... As test subjects you can see some examples of bromeliads rooting directly through clay substrate, through the false bottom, air gap and into the water... See http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...tml#post484793 I took down one of those tanks (since I was upgrading to large enclosures) but I still have one that has now been up since before that picture with a live growing epiphytiic bromeliad rooted through the clay... no signs of rotting...

Some comments

Ed

Let's take a further look at what happens while we form the clay structure. Part of the theory of pushing it through the 1/4" holes is to give each and every clay particle, an external structure. When we pile them together, we get all those great gaps in the overall clay structure as seen here http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/att...-build-021.jpg and here http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/att...-build-023.jpg.

OK, now clean your glasses, rub your eyeballs, and let's try to look even closer. We are going inside a single piece of clay. In a small lump of wet, unworked clay, there are many pieces of sand and bits of peat or coco fiber. As this clump of wet clay is pressed through the 1/4" grids, bits of the sand and peat are pushed around, and forced into different positions. This causes many micro-cavitations, in each and every piece of clay. Let's really zoom in this time. This is about as close as we can go with my camera.

Judy S 12-25-2012 10:17 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Dare I ask another question??? Does moss grow on the clay substrate??

Pumilo 12-25-2012 10:26 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Of course you can ask another question. But then, after that, only one more or "they" ban you! ;)
If your lighting were right, I see no reason why it wouldn't. Moss does not grow on my substrate, but 90 - 95% of my clay substrate is covered in leaf litter. The remaining bit is left clear for a feeding area. This clearing is where the dusted flies are dumped, and the dust would tend to kill off mosses.
That is how mine are set up. I prefer not to have ANY mosses on the floor. That is an area I believe is better spent on leaf litter. Instead I'll grow mosses on ghost wood, and on cork bark structures and backgrounds.

Ed 12-26-2012 03:25 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Judy S (Post 800284)
Dare I ask another question??? Does moss grow on the clay substrate??

Yes, see the pictures here http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...tml#post478408

Some comments

Ed

spangberg82 01-10-2013 12:34 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Wonder if it would be possible to use stoneware clay instead of red clay?

Ed 01-10-2013 06:14 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by spangberg82 (Post 805063)
Wonder if it would be possible to use stoneware clay instead of red clay?

The reason red clay is suggested is because this is the one that most closely mimics the soil and clay characteristics found in the same areas as the frogs.

Some comments

Ed

Harpo 02-24-2013 03:54 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
I cooked up my first batch tonight, everything went great. This recipe is super easy to follow. Thank you everyone who contributed. I didn't have any wire screen so instead I used some PlayDoh tools :) It all worked out great.

A tip for cooking if you want to speed things up: use a pizza pan. The holes in the pan will help it dry out in about 1/2 the time (even when using tin foil). I ran 4 trays tonight and the pizza pan was a sprint compared to the 3 way cookie sheet marathon.

Kalakole 02-24-2013 05:06 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
I'm not sure if this was answered previously but, how long would the calcium used in the substrate be viable for? I mean we change our supplements every 6 months.. I'm sorry in advance if this was answered or is obvious.

=D

Harpo 02-24-2013 05:24 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kalakole (Post 819537)
I'm not sure if this was answered previously but, how long would the calcium used in the substrate be viable for? I mean we change our supplements every 6 months.. I'm sorry in advance if this was answered or is obvious.

=D

Good question. I remember at one point in the thread Ed suggesting to Pumilo (when the topic of recharging / amending came about) that he should simply move where he is dumping his feeders. I am assuming he means dumping feeders + dust = excess dust reentering the substrate.

There is a complex set of variables that I am sure has an obvious answer. I would love to hear some science behind the viable calcium saturation levels of the clay, etc (life expectancy of a calcium supplement exposed to air, irrigation, etc). I am sure the variables are far more complex than "dump supplement/amendment here".

To add, if there is a "best" or "better" way to recharge the clay?

Edit: My bad too for possibly overlooking....there are a lot of posts between this thread and the Ultimate thread ;)

Pumilo 02-24-2013 05:45 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Vitamins expire. Calcium is a mineral and should last a long, long time. When speaking about our dusting supplements, calcium is a different story. The reason there is because our frogs (or you, for that matter) cannot process calcium without D3 being present. Most of us do not use UVB producing lights over our frog tanks, therefore, a proper frog calcium has D3 mixed into it, so our frogs can process and utilize it. It is the D3 that expires.

Harpo 02-24-2013 06:22 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 819550)
Vitamins expire. Calcium is a mineral and should last a long, long time. When speaking about our dusting supplements, calcium is a different story. The reason there is because our frogs (or you, for that matter) cannot process calcium without D3 being present. Most of us do not use UVB producing lights over our frog tanks, therefore, a proper frog calcium has D3 mixed into it, so our frogs can process and utilize it. It is the D3 that expires.

Thanks for clarifying.

Would erosion ever play a factor with the calcium level in the substrate? Given the long term success people have experienced I'd assume not much....if any. I am curious if anyone has tracked calcium measurements long term in a typical vivarium enclosure...

Kalakole 02-24-2013 03:10 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Just to clarify, the level of calcium in the mix wont deminish over time other than from the natural consumption by frogs and the bugs?

Pumilo 02-24-2013 04:40 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kalakole (Post 819599)
Just to clarify, the level of calcium in the mix wont deminish over time other than from the natural consumption by frogs and the bugs?

. yes

Ash Katchum 02-24-2013 06:59 PM

Just a thought, would it be bad to make the clay substrate in to a fine powder and mix it with the main substrate instead of leaving it in small chunks? Or spreading it over the top of the substrate?

Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk 2

Pumilo 02-24-2013 07:08 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ash Katchum (Post 819662)
Just a thought, would it be bad to make the clay substrate in to a fine powder and mix it with the main substrate instead of leaving it in small chunks? Or spreading it over the top of the substrate?

Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk 2

I'm lost. It IS your main substrate. I hope you aren't talking about mixing it with ABG or something like that. It would be a horrible gooey mess. All the organics in the ABG would wick and lock up the calcium, making it un-accessable.
Adding calcium to a traditional, dirt like substrate would not work.

Ash Katchum 02-24-2013 07:13 PM

Oo I see, it was just a thought. Thnx for clearing it up. I wanted to see if it was possible to just add some to the substrate instead of using the clay as the main and only substrate but I guess not.

Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk 2

Pumilo 02-24-2013 07:21 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ash Katchum (Post 819669)
Oo I see, it was just a thought. Thnx for clearing it up. I wanted to see if it was possible to just add some to the substrate instead of using the clay as the main and only substrate but I guess not.

Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk 2

I suppose you could mix it with the Turface, as that is simply a fired clay, and wouldn't have the same problem organics would give you. You would simply be diluting the effects of the clay, though. It makes more sense to layer it with the Turface.

Ash Katchum 02-24-2013 09:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 819671)
I suppose you could mix it with the Turface, as that is simply a fired clay, and wouldn't have the same problem organics would give you. You would simply be diluting the effects of the clay, though. It makes more sense to layer it with the Turface.

True but I would rather have it mixed with some type of organic. It was just something I was curious about. It would be great if there was some type of material that could be mixed with organic substrate to add calcium without any ill effects to it.

Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk 2

TDK 04-15-2013 07:52 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
The only fine Aragonite Sand that I found locally is at Petco for salt water tanks. Same thing just rinse it well? Please advise.

Ed 04-16-2013 02:19 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ash Katchum (Post 819705)
True but I would rather have it mixed with some type of organic. It was just something I was curious about. It would be great if there was some type of material that could be mixed with organic substrate to add calcium without any ill effects to it.

Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk 2

As has been mentioned in the past...mixing calcium carbonate or other materials into a substrate that is high in organic materials that release humic acids isn't going to provide the benefit you think it might... The reason is that the particles of calcium carbonate are going to end up coated in insoluble calcium humate salts (one of the reasons black water streams are very low in hardness....)... This is going to render the calcium unavailable for the most part... In clay substrates the calcium held by the clay until it is replaced by another positive ion which is why the calcium is (as I understand it) much more bioavailable.....

Some comments

Ed

Pumilo 04-16-2013 02:27 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TDK (Post 837091)
The only fine Aragonite Sand that I found locally is at Petco for salt water tanks. Same thing just rinse it well? Please advise.

Sounds like what you are looking for. If it's new, in a sealed bag, you shouldn't have to bother rinsing.

TDK 04-16-2013 04:37 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumilo (Post 837216)
Sounds like what you are looking for. If it's new, in a sealed bag, you shouldn't have to bother rinsing.

Thanks. I'll check it out and pick some up.

SAS 05-14-2013 06:23 AM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Has anyone tried mixing calcium carbonate into other conventional substrates to increase calcium intake by the frogs?

slipperheads 05-14-2013 01:01 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Dear Doug,

I normally completely tear apart my tanks after two year and redo them because of the bacteria buildup. Does the clay substrate eliminate the need for this?

Pumilo 05-14-2013 04:30 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by §lipperhead (Post 846032)
Dear Doug,

I normally completely tear apart my tanks after two year and redo them because of the bacteria buildup. Does the clay substrate eliminate the need for this?

If you run it properly, without over misting, you should be able to run a clay substrate for 10 years without teardown or replacement.

frogparty 05-14-2013 04:56 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed (Post 837211)
As has been mentioned in the past...mixing calcium carbonate or other materials into a substrate that is high in organic materials that release humic acids isn't going to provide the benefit you think it might... The reason is that the particles of calcium carbonate are going to end up coated in insoluble calcium humate salts (one of the reasons black water streams are very low in hardness....)... This is going to render the calcium unavailable for the most part... In clay substrates the calcium held by the clay until it is replaced by another positive ion which is why the calcium is (as I understand it) much more bioavailable.....

Some comments

Ed

This is absolutely correct Ed




Ed 05-14-2013 07:40 PM

Re: Clay Substrate How-To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by §lipperhead (Post 846032)
Dear Doug,

I normally completely tear apart my tanks after two year and redo them because of the bacteria buildup. Does the clay substrate eliminate the need for this?


Okay, I have to admit, this reason makes me very curious as to what the reasoning behind it might be.... Why do you feel that the bacteria levels are a problem after 2 years?

As Doug noted, properly set up..clay substrate based enclosures should be stable for as long as you want to leave it set up... At a little more than a decade, that is how long some of the longest running ones I know of have been set up... (and are still going strong and one of them is still producing old line blue jean pumilio with no signs of slowing down....

Some comments

Ed


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