For those concerned about adding chytrid there are seed mycorrhizal products available through some venues. Just do a search for them.
You got itbbrock said:Sarah,
The first batch of this I made was during the winter in my garage. It is really just a drying process so heat isn't important. That step is just to get the clay to a point where you can break it into aggregates of about the right size before treating with the acrylic. Of course you are welcome to come over and mix up a batch in our garage anytime. Just bring some of that delicious antelope! ;-)
Nothing wrong with that mix. That is more similar to what most people use. But I do think as more people start experimenting with these clay-based mixes, they are going to become much more common. They are heavy and a pain to mix up, but those are the only disadvantages I've found (actually, I don't rank heavy as a disadvantage but some do). But bear in mind that these soils are just about the exact opposite of what horticulturists recommend so plants behave differently in them. But vivaria ain't no gardens and we shouldn't treat them as such ;-)hopalong said:So are you saying that my orchid mixture w/ added peat moss, sand, and sphagnum isn't good?
Yeah, I think I had just been curious about using calcium carbonate or a different source of lime as opposed to hydrated lime, which I believe is pulverized limestone. I'm not sure if it would make a bit of difference. Although I wonder if there is any particular form of it that is more readily consumed and retained by the isopods. That would be an interesting experiment for someone to try that had access to the ability to measure calcium levels in isopods raised in different lime bearing soils.bbrock said:Sarah, was it you who suggested a different type of lime? I picked mine up at a local hardware store. Lime is commonly used as a soil ammendment to adjust pH so check the lawn care department.
At this stage clay based substrate is more experimental than "better". Several people have tried it, and had good results, but if you're happy with the performance of your current mix, then stick with it, unless you're an experimenter at heart.hopalong said:So are you saying that my orchid mixture w/ added peat moss, sand, and sphagnum isn't good?
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.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.
The article has some good information but wikipedia has an equally good cited article.iljjlm said:Here is a link to a page on rainforest soils.
The article starts out by talking about how and why the soils are poor in nutrients.
This is true but makes it sound as if the plants grow roots into the decaying plant material. This is not the case in most of the tropical rainforests. It may happen in the case of decaying trees, but for most of the floor space int he forest it is covered by just fallen leaves (and flowers and fruit depending on season). It is however very typical in other forests, particularly temperate and boreal forests (without earth worms).iljjlm said:"Since the first six to eight inches (15-20 cm) of soil is a compost of decaying leaves, wood, and other organic matter, it is the richest source of nutrients on the ground."
"Many tropical species have roots that actually grow out of the ground to form a mat on the forest floor in order to more efficiently collect nutrients. These tiny roots form a network that, along with the mycorrhizae fungi, rapidly absorb nutrients."
Actually if you read back to the inception of this concept, or even perhaps just this thread, the original idea was the leaves being present. The mineral soil was added as a way for the arthropods decomposing the plant material to get a better calcium balance (among other things). Together it is meant to better mimic a natural system. The importance comes int he soil and the leaves. The interface of the soil and the decaying leaves is an important junction. In some systems it is a fairly discrete line, other times the macroinvertebrates actually mix the two layers making it hard to say where one begins and the other ends.iljjlm said:So a question I have is: If we use these clay based soils should we also have a small layer of organic matter on top for nutrients/isopods/springtails etc?