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Vermiculite and Laterite

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by Aquabee, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. Aquabee

    Aquabee Junior Poster

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    I have had aquariums for a long time. I am going to start a planted aquarium. I recently moved to India. I dug up some laterite from an area nearby - it's available in plenty and free :)

    I'm also buying some vermiculite.

    I need help with the following:
    1) Which form of vermiculite to buy - this link has a few forms available.
    http://www.vermiculitemanufacturers.com/exfoliated-vermiculite.html

    I guess it's a choice between the agriculture vermiculite and the horticulture vermiculite. Let me know which one to order. A friend of mine is going to ship this to me.

    2) How do I mix laterite, vermiculite, and gravel.
    My friend indicated that laterite and vermiculite is a good combination as vermiculite slowly releases nutirients and laterite absorbs the nutrients and makes it available for the plant roots.
    Do I mix all the three - laterite, vermiculite and gravel as bottom layer, and top it up with gravel.

    Please let me know. Appreciate your clarificiations...
     
  2. argnom

    argnom Guru Class Expert

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    Hi there Aquabee,

    For the vermiculite, I think that stuff floats. I've heard of people soaking it for a while prior using it in an aquarium, but I've never tried it myself since it has a tendency to float. Picking up floating bits in the tank everyday for a couple of months is a pain...

    As for the mix, you got it right. I just mix about 1/3 to 1/2 of the gravel with laterite and then cap it off with the rest of the gravel. It's that simple. You can always add a layer of Osmocote in the bottom to enrich the substrate, it doesn't do any harm.

    Has anybody here tried to use vermiculite with success?

    Cheers!
     
  3. Crispino Ramos

    Crispino Ramos Guru Class Expert

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    I have used vermiculite in making a home made substrate. I used equal parts of vermiculite, sand, peat moss and soil (not potting soil or composted organic mulch). It required a lot of mixing, kneading, rubbing with enough water to make the texture like dough until the vermiculite is powdery (no longer granular). The tank water will be cloudy but it settles after 3 days. Now, I would rather buy a packaged substrate to avoid all that work. :)
     
  4. Aquabee

    Aquabee Junior Poster

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    Hi there - Thank you for your replies.
    I'm a little confused now. I was planning to use both vermiculite and laterite as part of the substrate. Is that a good thing? Is laterite redundant if I were to use vermiculite?
    Let me know.
     
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