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I'm about to do a 65 column paludarium, the water area will have a concrete wall but for the land area I want to do kitty litter, because it is a much more natural medium.

All of the "my clay wall fell down" posts have me a little nervous so I'm thinking of ways to increase the structural stability of the clay wall.

What do you think of this idea:

Silicone a bunch of pieces of lava rock or large driveway gravel around the tank randomly to act as ledges to support the clay above it. That way instead of one big hunk of clay pulling down on itself, each support ledge would be supporting the weight of the clay above it.

Same with a few pieces of driftwood, silicone them to the glass, then put clay above it.. thicker at the top of the driftwood, going to thinner just under the lava rock ledge above it, then thick on top of the piece of lava rock and thinner going up from there...

thoughts?
 

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See http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/33471-red-clay-substrate.html#post298882 for some ideas.

After working with clay for a number of years now, I would not use kitty litter and instead go with a redart clay/bentonite mix (about 75/25) as this provides a more stable clay that doesn't swell and contract when moistened (fully hydrates sodium bentonites can change thier volume significantly and shrink as they dry) and are less likely to fail if overly hydrated.

Ed
 

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It will definately be better than nothing, but if you really want to have some confidence in your clay background you should look into redart/bentonite clay as opposed to kitty litter. Every single one of my kitty litter vivs has had a collapse/litterslide at some point.

Haha...Ed beat me to it!
 

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I've been using kitty litter because I've yet to find a good, local, source for clay. Once I do, no more litter.

The litter is ok. I haven't had any problems with it. However, looking at Ed's vivs, and others who use good clays, I can see a real difference in the quality and look of the tank.

As for securing the clay, I haven't had an issue with it falling down. I don't put it on really thick, though. Only thick spots where I want contour or want to stick a brom. Be sure to let it sit a few days before you start misting it, to let it set up.

I've seen some people adhere eggcrate to the back wall before applying the clay. Something like that might help to keep it in place.
 

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Try a well drilling supplier. Drillers use pure bentonite during drilling. Just make sure it isn't a bentonite/polymer blend.
I've been using kitty litter because I've yet to find a good, local, source for clay. Once I do, no more litter.

The litter is ok. I haven't had any problems with it. However, looking at Ed's vivs, and others who use good clays, I can see a real difference in the quality and look of the tank.

As for securing the clay, I haven't had an issue with it falling down. I don't put it on really thick, though. Only thick spots where I want contour or want to stick a brom. Be sure to let it sit a few days before you start misting it, to let it set up.

I've seen some people adhere eggcrate to the back wall before applying the clay. Something like that might help to keep it in place.
 

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I have a kitty litter idea too. Of course mine involves a cat. Hmmm, maybe I won't post that idea.
Seriously though, Ed's suggestion of 75% Redart to 25% bentonite is the way to go.
 
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