What is 'clay'? - Page 2 - Substrates - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 05-18-2020, 08:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is 'clay'?

Great post Sherry. I also have a strong background in clay and ceramics, but as an artist who's excavated and processed their own for forming and firing art of dubious distinction.
But I also have been keeping two community tanks with a baked clay product as a substrate and I'm mostly satisfied with how it's worked out.
I was inspired to try this by the likes of Jalabert, Novak and Jay of Jay's Aquarium. Especially Jay who very cleanly described why it's valuable. But in all cases the point of using baked clay was to promote the growth of anaerobic bacteria for denitrification.


From an aquarist's standpoint I just want to point out the distinction between clay and baked (fired) clay. Raw clay probably has no place in an aquarium because it basically remains as a dense mush and that's what'll happen (as many have found out) if you use a kitty litter product that's not explicitly baked. When clay is fired it becomes a porous stone which provides a good habitat for anaerobic bacteria. I suspect the "biological media" we all get with our filters that we carefully age is an attempt to accomplish the same thing. I've chosen to make that concept into a deep bed (3") substrate with a 3:1 ratio of Oil-Dri and Eco-Complete (with a 1" plenum). My nitrate levels run between 20 and 40 ppm depending on the test I use, and apparently the phase of the moon.
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is 'clay'?

Welcome to APC! We have been discussing the use of non-aquarium substrate materials in place of the very expensive substrate materials as long as i have been playing with planted aquariums. People seem to switch back and forth on whether they like using things like cat litter or not. My experience with Safe T Sorb (baked clay) has been very good for the past 5 months, but that's not a long time.
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