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Discussion Starter #1
I've been mixing clay for a few hours now and can't seem to get the right consistency. I'm going for the consistency of sculpting clay. It was to mud like at first so I added a pinch more then it began clumpy. Any tips from the clay pros? At this point I'm just letting it sit hoping it solids up a bit.
 

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it's easier to let the mass of clay absorb the water, once you've got different consistencies it's harder to work with, just try adding more water or letting it absorb the water thats already there.
 

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I make a slurry that I can mix with a paint mixer and then filter it until it's the consistency that I want. After that I push it through some mesh and let it dry.

Ed
 

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In my kitty litter method... I mix it with water and rinse until its clay like in a 5 gal bucket. Then I mix in soil (100% sphag/peat organic), sometimes loose sphag or coco fiber til it is the thickness that I like. Then slap it on. If it gets a little sloppy and starts running I will just toss some of the substrate from the tank up on it until it thickens up a bit. Have done several tanks this way.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Is there a way to test it? Like should it roll into a ball or stick to something? Mine was so busy sticking to me I could hardly get it to stick to the glass.
 

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No its messy.. and not an easy job. I slapped mine on the tank. If it was too runny it would fall into my substrate. Which would make it thicken up. So I woudl just pick it back up and slap it back on.
 

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If your patient, what I do is when its runny just let it dry out in the sun. Mix it every half hour until its about good. I go for molding clay consistency and press it hard onto the glass. Never had a problem.
 
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Pretty much what we do here. Not quite a slurry. About like very wet snow (you can make a good snowball with it ;) ).

Flatten in to little pancakes and have someone else push it through (it's really a 2 person job).

s

I make a slurry that I can mix with a paint mixer and then filter it until it's the consistency that I want. After that I push it through some mesh and let it dry.

Ed
 

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A few questions about kitty litter.

First, I tried this method on tanks I was getting ready to build but didnt have the materials. I got the consistency jst right and pushed it into place. It looked great!! But I left it sit for a few days and didnt mess with it... and wasnt misting the tank or providing and humidity. It got very hard and cracked and started falling off...

My question then is... do you not want it to dry? If it stays "wet" all the time wont it wash away over time with misting and so on?

What about a water feature that partially runs down the back... will that not was it away as well?

Thanks in advnace!
 

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Just thought of one other question.

If you do keep the consistency wet and 'moldable' the entire time will broms and plants take root in it??
 

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Kitty Litter:
No you dont want it to dry out.. or it will crack and fall off. No it wont wear away with basic misting. It will cause an issue with a water feature though. Water feature will wash it away and stay dirty. Yes plants will root to it very well. Mine is actually covered with moss for the most part in one of my tanks. Looks awesome.
 

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If it is sticking to your hand like glue, that's when I know it's good to put on. Use powder free latex gloves, the clay will stick to the glass and not the hands.


Casper
 

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if you're using a paint mixer and drill, be careful not to run it as fast as it can go. with thick clay, the drill will be working so hard that it can burn itself out. I had one smoke on me and about melt, so mix for only a short period of time and let it cool down after. drills are expensive these days!
 

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if you're using a paint mixer and drill, be careful not to run it as fast as it can go. with thick clay, the drill will be working so hard that it can burn itself out. I had one smoke on me and about melt, so mix for only a short period of time and let it cool down after. drills are expensive these days!
Yes, it makes my drill smoke and burn! I use a 20 year old drill so I won't shed any tears when it dies. An honorable death though, he will give his life for the frogs!!
 

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I take it then great stuff is a better option for a water feature... or at least for that area of the tank.

Not to get anywhere near off topic but curious if anyone knows why I'm not able to post replies in the market section?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
This stuff was so busy sticking to me I couldn't get it to stick to anything else. I was going for a playdough like consistency but couldn't get it. No way you could mold anything with my stuff. To sticky. What does pushing it through mesh do for for you? I use window screen for my false bottom is this what your using or is it a larger mesh?
 

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Great stuff.. most people use concrete or mortar for waterfalls etc..
As far as your market question.. I think it may be due to your post count.

Rentapig: Yeah... its a mess.. I dont use gloves. I just get nasty.. slap it on.. if it falls.. put dirt in it.. slap it on again... lol.
My tanks turned out great though. I have all various size tanks with kitty litter. Couple 10 verts, 18x18x24 exo, 55g..
 

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Yes, it makes my drill smoke and burn! I use a 20 year old drill so I won't shed any tears when it dies. An honorable death though, he will give his life for the frogs!!

I use a heavy duty hammer drill that has no problems with mixing it..

Ed
 

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it seems there may be a mix up with the question...are you talking about clay for a background? or for substrate?

for a wall, i make it a bit more liquidy, then let it dry a bit before putting the viv right side up...

for substrate, I have no idea :p


*edit* for the wall, i use a mix of kitty litter, shredded leaves, sphagnum moss [whole, not ripped up] and peat...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
This question is for a background not substrate. I hope to make substrate soon but right now I'm just trying to figure out the right mix for backgrounds. The fist one I used 100% bentonite and it wasn't this sticky and unmanageable. This time I used 75% redart 25% bentonite and about 1/4 of a ff cup of ground sphag.
 
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