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Zeolite sand used as a N fertilizer retainer

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Tom Barr, Sep 21, 2007.

  1. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I was looking for some info on Zeolite release of NH4 and found this:

    Controlled-Release Fertilizers Using Zeolites

    Interesting.

    Seems it woulkd a good thing to add to an aquarium sediment as well in place of plain sand and is pretty cheap.

    Makes good filter media as well.

    Seems zeolite is a nice addition and could become more widespread in the hobby.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
    .
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Very interesting! Is this just CEC, but much more of it? Home - KMI Zeolite is a website for one relatively local source of zeolites. What products are now available that are actually zeolites? I notice that some kitty litter is made of it.
     
  3. FacePlanted

    FacePlanted Guru Class Expert

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    What a cool article. That is a very interesting way of controlling the release of nitrogen, phosphate, and trace elements.

    Are there any other uses of the regular zeolite we find in the LFS, other than putting it in the filter? Or does it have to be a specially prepared kind like mentioned in the article?

    Mixing regular zeolite into a substrate like aquasoil wouldn't help in the way mentioned, right? It seems like it might help with ammonia leaching into the water column in the initial phase of setup, but wouldn't bacteria eventually convert the ammonia in the zeolite to nitrate--and then nitrate would leach into the water instead of ammonia? It wouldn't really capture any of these nutrients for slow release use by the plants, right? Unless is was a specially prepared kind like mentioned in the article? Just eventually turn into biomedia, like as if it were in the filter. I don't really know what happens to the zeolite after it abosrbs the ammonia, in a filter or anywhere else.

    -Mike B-
     
  4. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    Zeolite/Clinoptolite soil amendments

    Great article Tom, Zeolite/Clinoptolite soil amendments are a mainstay of turf professionals and Gospel for most any golf course. I have been using them for the last 5 years and the results are pretty impressive. It acts as a reservoir/ sponge for fertilizers/ water/mineral supplements. I started out laying down 2- 40 lb bags each year front and back, but at appx. $36.00 each I finally went to organic clinoptolite kitty litter @ $6.87 per 30 lb. jug at Costco and the larger granuals actually seemed to be an improvement for water retention.

    Our plains soil is basically Silt W/ little or no nuitritional value. This development used an avg. 6" to 12" fill of top soil for each home. After the 3 or 4 years the fill was pretty much exhausted, and the yards started to whither. Combine that with or local water (
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think the zeosand etc is ideal for filters.

    Cheap, lots of surface area, binds NH4 initially.

    After some time, generally about 1 month, the zeolite is all bound up, all the active binding sites are filled.

    But after 1 month, the tank is cycled anyway............
    And the bacteria can and will go after the NH4 on the zeolite(but at a slower rate than free NH4 in the water column)

    So can roots of plants.

    Perhaps adding a 1" layer on the bottom of a SMS, or sand type of sediment, or heck just use this entirely as a sediment might work fine. I think a RFUG set up with this would do very well.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    There's another pool place at Garfiled just North of Auburn that sells another brand of the zeosand.

    Likely about the same price, it's cheap stuff so a good item and far less messy than kitty litter.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I have more tanks than most anyone at the lab:)
    I can get a bag for the yard and use the rest for the weeds.

    We use it at the lab in our sand filters.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    My curiosity finally got the best of me. So, I headed to a Leslie Pool Center a few blocks away and purchased a 25 pound bag - about $25 with the tax.
    [​IMG]

    To see what was in the bag, I opened it and scooped out a handful onto a white plate:
    [​IMG]

    It is advertised as being from about .5 mm to 2 mm dia pieces, and it looks like it is. It has a faint green color when dry, and looks a bit dusty. So, I added some water to the plate to see how it looks wet:
    [​IMG]

    It just looks like a medium grey color when wet, and doesn't generate a lot of cloudiness - far less than Soilmaster does. This could be expected since this stuff is sold to be used as a filter sand in a swimming pool filter.

    Now, my curiosity is burning some more! I know I will be using this in a tank before too long. The idea is extremely appealing! And, the 25 pounds looks like nearly a cubic foot in volume, which would be about 3 inches deep in my 45 gallon tank. If I add another inch to this, made up of river bank silt, its enough for the tank - all for $25.

    Then I could try the emersed start to a tank, too! But a few more questions: are the grains sharp enough to harm digging fish, like Cory Cats? Does it affect the KH or GH? Does it need a cap of something else? Would it be easy to plant in?
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Zeolite is a mineral so all the questions can be answered there(Geology).
    I do not think it'll mess with GH/KH, because they would no use it on greens otherwise, if it did, it'd kill the grass.
    Cories are fine either way, Flourite does not seem to bother them.

    It ought to be a good SMS replacement and cost a tad more, but has better properties in many respects.

    I'm just suggesting it as a filtration media really, but while I'd considered coating it with clay and ferts for my own sediment brand, I decided against it.
    Too much work, not much $, and took up a lot of space which I do not have.

    There are white sand versions that would work nicely if you like white sand.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. naman

    naman Prolific Poster

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    The main advantage of zeolite and calcined clays is NH4 retainer mostly, some NO3 and PO4.

    Couple of years ago I happened to find research paper comparing zeolite Ecolite with calcined clay Profile, Greenchoice, and Isolite CG.
    Inorganic Soil Amendments in “New Sand-Based Rootzones Can Reduce Nitrogen Loss”, Cale A. Bigelow, TurfGrass Trends; Dec 1, 2004

    On phosphate fixation:
    Again Topics in Fertilization and Plant Nutrition, SEVEN LECTURES ON IRRIGATION", By Prof. Uzi Kafkafi;
    Complex Humic Argilo, The Calcic Bridge by Harry Proton;
    Jim Kelly, Substrate Ideas, Oct. 1998.

    That is ALL we need to know on zeolite and calcined clays, I guess ;-)

    Any agricultural zeolite will be OK for a planted tank, the same as any calcined clay (Turface, Soilmaster etc).
    I think we can use "dust" zeolites (powder) to mix with neutral gravel we like to increase CEC.
    In Europe calcined clay is packed by Poland company MHK®, it’s called Floran (while they do not admit this, I asked them ;-)).
    Diatomite is another alternative to zeolite.
    Isolite CG virtually has no CEC and is not suited for a planted tank.

    BTW, ELOS Terra seems to be the same as ADA Aqua Soil.
    Similar to Akadama + Un "Olimpo" para mis Rasboras + A piece of Sintra - 180L.
    Soilmaster® Select Charcoal give the same plant growth as ADA Aqua Soil - Substrate - Plant Growth Comparison.

    naman
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    SMS gave the same growth as ADA AS, however, that was for one species of plant.

    We must be careful not to apply such studies too broadly, it might suggest for some plants, but certainly not for all, there's always exceptions.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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