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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am constructing my first vivarium... and I am reading mixed information pertaining to the substrate to use.

I have created a false bottom, used the landscaping fabric but now I am trying to figure out what substrate I will put on top.

I read that a lot of people use ABG, but then found this forum

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/ge...0-ultimate-clay-based-substrate-thread-3.html

Where everyone starts discussing using Laterite & Redart in place of the ABG.

Can anyone make any recommendations?

Thanks :confused:
 

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Can't go wrong with either. ABG is simple, quick, and fairly cheap (you can order it ready to go online). With the clay you have a little more work to do and may have to source the ingredients, and you can't always get them in the small quantities you may want to do a single tank (I bought my bentonite and redart in 50lb bags). I use both, clay with my obligates and thumbs, and ABG with my larger frogs.

Pat
 

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well the true AGB is the old design thats tried and true. there is a movemnet to the the clay subs, this is up to you. if you read the link itll make sense why some of us are trying this. i think its more or less for you to choose which works best for you.

EDIT: patm you got it in while i was typing hahahah
 

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My opinion is that a calcium enriched clay substrate is the best substrate you can use. It has benefits for your frogs that no other substrate will supply. My second choice would be straight up Turface (a fired, hardened clay particle kind of like kitty litter) and my third choice would be ABG mix. I see you already found the Ultimate Clay thread. I've condensed much of the hard work that was done by others in that thread and come up with this easy to follow clay substrate guide. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/63732-clay-substrate-how.html
Here is my son's thread on ABG mix. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/63915-truth-about-abg-mix.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks guys...

can anyone make any recommendations for the clay substrate? where to find it? a brand name? manufacture? location? anything

I am sure calling around asking for a clay substrate is going to get me no where.

oh ... can i just buy some clay substrate in a broken down form ready to be poured onto my false bottom? or does it all require you to make and bake it?
 

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In a deep spectral voice.. Read the Ultimate Clay Thread....

With the clay substrate you either make it yourself following one of the various recipes.. or you order a partially fired clay substrate like Turface from a John Deere Landscaping store....

Ed
 

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In a deep spectral voice.. Read the Ultimate Clay Thread....

With the clay substrate you either make it yourself following one of the various recipes.. or you order a partially fired clay substrate like Turface from a John Deere Landscaping store....

Ed
Scary, Ed! :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
In a deep spectral voice.. Read the Ultimate Clay Thread....

With the clay substrate you either make it yourself following one of the various recipes.. or you order a partially fired clay substrate like Turface from a John Deere Landscaping store....

Ed
If i order a partially fired clay substrate such as Turface it is ready to be put on top of my false bottom? or do you have to do something to it?
 

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If i order a partially fired clay substrate such as Turface it is ready to be put on top of my false bottom? or do you have to do something to it?
No it can go right ontop of the false bottom.. Search turface and in those threads there are examples of it being used in that manner. It can hold a lot of water so you really don't want the water in the false bottom contacting the bottom of the substrate layer. Due to it's high water holding ability, many bromeliads don't like to be planted in it inside of the tank. It isn't as useful (in my opinion as a good clay mixture) but it is a good substrate.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the replies... sorry if it dont seem to be completely grasbing this concept yet.

I found a supplier of the Turface products. They said they carry two types

1) Turface MVP which is kitter litter size and Turface Pro League which is coffee ground size. What would be the ideal size?

2) so you can't plant bromeliads into the clay substrate? That kind of sucks

3) I saw in Pumilo post he actually has some soil on top of his clay substrate or in front of it. Do you lay leaf litter right over top of the clay substrate or do you put some ABG or other soil over top of the clay substrate followed by the leaf litter?
 

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1) Turface MVP which is kitter litter size and Turface Pro League which is coffee ground size. What would be the ideal size?

2) so you can't plant bromeliads into the clay substrate? That kind of sucks

3) I saw in Pumilo post he actually has some soil on top of his clay substrate or in front of it. Do you lay leaf litter right over top of the clay substrate or do you put some ABG or other soil over top of the clay substrate followed by the leaf litter?
1) I use the All Sport Pro which is kitty litter size. You want to have some space between particles. The coffee ground size would not have much of that.

2) You probably can't plant them into Turface, but depending on your misting schedule, you may be able to plant them straight into a homemade clay substrate. I know Ed has.

3) I don't put any dirt on top of my clay substrate recipe. I have, however, used a handful of ABG mix only around the roots of each plant. Perhaps you saw a couple of vivs where I put ABG mix over the top of Turface?

4) No matter what substrate you choose to go with, it should be topped by a healthy layer of leaf litter. I try to keep a couple inches deep of leaf litter.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Where do the guys with clay substrate plant their bromeliads then? Can anything be planted into a clay substrate? such as orchids?

I have been learning a lot from this thread...

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/members-frogs-vivariums/76255-how-build-viv-motydesign.html

and he used a clay substrate but i notice he has a lot of things planted into his substrate.

I just want to ensure I can use the ground of tank to plant some stuff as I dont want it to look completely empty!

Pumilo you said you may be able to plant the bromeliads into a homemade clay substrate? how is a homemade clay substrate different than the clay substrate from turface
 

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Sorry, but there is no super shortcut to clay substrates. If you can't take the time to read the clay threads, you are not going to want to make it and nobody sells it. The closest thing to a shortcut on clay substrates is most likely my thread that I already linked you to. If you read it, it will answer those questions.
Broms don't like Turface because it hold to much water and broms are epiphytes. They normally grow on tree branches. Therefor most of us mount them on cork bark, ghost wood/driftwood, tree fern panels, and backgrounds. Plenty of other plants will grow in Turface or clay.
 

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Frank
im happy my thread is helping you, HOWEVER! a LOT of thought went into that build and the sub and everything top to bottom was researched and planned for almost a year (it took a lot of reading and learning to understand what would do what and why)
the plants in the turface for the most part are FAST growing plants. however putting them in a rich clay sub slows them down and they have to use as much of the leaf litter and frog waste as they can find in order to grow. the orchid though is on a bed of hard wood charcoal with some orchid bark. this orchid has done VERY well and now is in spike (it will be probably th second most difficult orchid ive had to work with due to its planting)
as Doug has said, there are NO short cuts in this hobby and you should understand whats going on or you could waste the health of plants and possibly frogs. on top of that your money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Not sure why one is assuming I have not read the clay threads as I had posted originally that I have. They are very, very technical and I am trying to learn from them. I am also one who learns by asking questions which is why i joined Dendroboard.

I am simply trying to ascertain if the home made clay that Pumilo made in his thread is just a substitute for the Turface Pro League or Turface MVP clay substrate. If they are one of the same then my personal preference would be to spend the money and buy one already made.

HOWEVER, if they are not the same and members are making their own because of that then it is a different story.
 

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Turface is partially fired making a lot of the "goodies" in the clay less available for microfauna or plants. The home made clay substrate is not a fired clay (drying in the oven is not nearly as hot as firing.)

Home made clay substrate is also a larger particle size than kitty litter (most people make it about 1/4" since that's a common size of chicken wire available.) This means that the bulk of water will drain through it more quickly than smaller particle substrates such as the turface. This drainage of water is important for many plants, especially epiphytes (most broms) because they're prone to root rot if in constant contact with water.

Hope that clears some stuff up.

Edit:

Just a helpful tip. Asking for clarification is fantastic and encouraged but people get frustrated when they have to repeat information that's already readily available in other threads. I'll admit though, that the clay thread is a very dense read. I've read most of it and understand little of it, so I trust in members such as Doug to simply things for me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Turface is partially fired making a lot of the "goodies" in the clay less available for microfauna or plants. The home made clay substrate is not a fired clay (drying in the oven is not nearly as hot as firing.)

Home made clay substrate is also a larger particle size than kitty litter (most people make it about 1/4" since that's a common size of chicken wire available.) This means that the bulk of water will drain through it more quickly than smaller particle substrates such as the turface. This drainage of water is important for many plants, especially epiphytes (most broms) because they're prone to root rot if in constant contact with water.

Hope that clears some stuff up.
NOW THAT clarify a lot! I didn't understand the difference which seemed to be my biggest issue. Turface has two difference sizes of clay substrate, kitty litter size and also coffee bean size. The coffee bean size being bigger and closer to the 1/4" size may be better than the kitty litter size for drainage.

Thank you parkanz2


again, I am posting very little little on this site because I am reading and finding most of my questions answered in threads such as motys build. HOWEVER, as you said and I am sure with every other beginner... that clay thread is crazy and hard to understand.

Edit:

My mistake i just got off the phone with turface... not sure where I got the coffee bean size but they just said the largest they have is the turface MVP which is about cat litter size
 

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Keep in mind many broms in my experience will do better near the upper canopy anyway so finding a way not to plant them in the substrate, no matter how well it drains, might be better. Like others have said, there are several species of plants that will do quite well in the substrate.

Check out Anubias nana. I have most of mine mounted to the background, but if enough light hits the substrate they would probably do quite well in the substrate as they can grow aquatically.
 

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Not sure why one is assuming I have not read the clay threads as I had posted originally that I have. If they are one of the same then my personal preference would be to spend the money and buy one already made.

HOWEVER, if they are not the same and members are making their own because of that then it is a different story.
Post number 6 on page one of my thread describes how you put down an inch of Turface, followed by an inch of my clay formula. Why would you possibly do this if they are one in the same?
I told you in this thread that they are different. "2) You probably can't plant them into Turface, but depending on your misting schedule, you may be able to plant them straight into a homemade clay substrate."
Ed has already told you that they are different. "It (Turface) isn't as useful (in my opinion as a good clay mixture) but it is a good substrate."

I told you again in this thread that they are different. "My opinion is that a calcium enriched clay substrate is the best substrate you can use. It has benefits for your frogs that no other substrate will supply. My second choice would be straight up Turface (a fired, hardened clay particle kind of like kitty litter)"
Further, I explained in this thread how Turface is HARDENED clay and on post number 1 of my thread I explain how a homemade clay formula stays moist and can clump. 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.
I do my best to answer questions but I'm not going to write the whole thread all over again. You are not fully reading and studying it. These questions are all answered in the provided threads. It is going to take some time and studying. If you aren't willing to spend the time, you really should just go with ABG mix. You can order it from Josh's Frogs.
 
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