Dendroboard banner

The ultimate clay-based substrate thread

115108 Views 345 Replies 64 Participants Last post by  Ed
With the recent discussions on a few posts concerning Brent's redart clay substrate I was wondering if anybody is thinking of switching to this substrate and how you were planning on doing it.

Merged Red-Art Clay thread and part of Husbandry improvements thread from Science and Conservation - Oz
  • Like
Reactions: 1
1 - 19 of 346 Posts
Flora Base, interesting, let us know how that works out. I just ordered some Fluorite to give that a try.
I know tree fern (loose) is an organic substrate, but it seems to hold up well over time for me. Would making a mixture of that and the clay still defeat the purpose of using the clay?

KRM, I too would like to hear more about any comments you might have on laterite vs. redart, thanks.
I was told fluorite is the one that's fired and even though laterite is sold in a granular form for aquarists it isn't fired and will not hold it's form once wet. Not to doubt the above info, just trying to get to the bottom of what I was told and where the misinformation lies.
I did a search on the soilmaster select mentioned above and it is montmorillonite clay.. interesting
When using water for the boiling part, are you using tap water or RO?

What is the pH of the soil when it's done? Would it be bad if I wanted to add more calcium carbonate? other than the fact that I'll have to readjust the pH in case it gets too high from it.
I believe hydrated lime is calcium hydroxide while agricultural lime is the pulverized calcium carbonate.
kyle1745 said:
I have also tested an aquarium clay based product with rather poor results. It did not hold well and too much residue. Im sure it was a great product under water.
I had similar (poor) results with the laterite I tested. The fluorite is holding up well, but I don't like it enough to use it again. I have some of Matt's recipe made that I'm testing, but would like to try Brent's recipe as well.
iljjlm said:
I guess you could add a <1 cm layer of organic matter between the leaf litter
Just to clarify.. leaf litter is the organic matter, or at least one type (so you don't need to add 'organic matter' between the leaf litter.. just the leaf litter will be fine).
Ed said:
They also have pretty much every other ingredient in Matt's recipe if anyone was interested in replicating it. I think they're about 2 hours north of me, going to have to drive up one of these days and pick up a batch to work with.
Here is a 2.5 gallon springtail culture I made with some clay via Matt's recipe (haven't added the springs yet ;) ).

See less See more
I'm loving Matt's recipe, and while I didn't like the Fluorite I tried, I still want to try another 'premade' product so I'm going to try montmorillonite clay (Soilmaster Select).

What would be the best method to 'spike' it with calcium? Just mix in some calcium carbonate? Or soak it in a liquid with dissolved calcium?
Just picked up some Soilmaster Select (montmorillonite clay) to mess around with.. it was dirt cheap :wink: . This is what the 'red' looks like when wet:

See less See more
Aaron, I got it from my local Lesco.. here is the item number:

Go to the page and type in your zip code and you'll see the nearest one to you.

Even though it's fired, it absorbs a decent amount of water, and if 'spiked' with calcium, it could be interesting..
You should try the florabase and let us know how it goes.

I've been adding beneficial fungi & bacteria inoculants to all my tanks, clay or not, with great results.
Turns out the clay I posted above as soilmaster select was actually just the red infield conditioner (I misread the label). They are both the same type of clay and manufactured in the same way, just different particle size, Matt called oildri (the manufacturer) and found out. The infield conditioner is the largest particle size, soilmaster select behind it, and rapid dry the smallest particle size. It's summed up here:

Well I wanted something less gravel like and more 'soil' like in particle size so I grabbed some of the rapid dry today. It has a consistency like sand but is clay, pretty interesting.

50 lbs for 9 bucks.
See less See more
Not yet but I'm setting up a few tanks this week with it. Some I'll use straight infield conditioner, others I'll have straight rapid dry, and might try a mix in another. I just want to see if the plants and springtails like it before moving to froglets.
Just keep in mind it is a hydrophobic foam so it won't wick any water.
how did ed talk you out of it? I was planning on using infield conditioner next time.
See some of the first few posts on calcium/clay substrates here :
You can check to see Welcome to 's distributors, but just to sum up my last link, we don't think the infield conditioners, soilmaster selects, and rapid drys, hold as much calcium as we thought past the initial inoculation. Still a good substrate that will last forever and a nice LECA substitute in some cases, but not enough info to verify how much calcium it's actually "holding" long term.
1 - 19 of 346 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.