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Cat Litter - Cheap, but be careful!


23 May 2009
Following on from the Cat Litter discussion, I decided to take the plunge and set up my 2ft with Tesco Cat Litter as a substrate. It was really easy to wash, and very easy to plant in - all the plants stayed where they were put - even the Cabomba and no lead required :) The water was almost clear in an hour and very clear in 24 hrs. Crystal clear in 48 hours.

Being cautious, I didn't put fish in straight away, but I put 2 old Amano shrimp in - they must be about 3 years old!
No shrimp were harmed during this experiment!

Once the water settled, I tested it. I was amazed to find that the GH was off the scale of my eSHa dip tests (I've found these very reliable and they've always 'agreed' with the master test at MA ;) ) So, thinking they may be wrong I bought some API dip tests (all I could find on a sunday) and they were off the scale on those too :wideyed: Not to worry - the shrimp were fine and I could do water changes. It took 2 weeks before the GH went back to normal! At no time did the KH change.

Following this, I soaked the Cat Litter in a jar for a week and changed the water every other day, making sure it was all rinsed through every time. This was successful and the GH returned to normal in a week. I've now planted up a 125 Rio after soaking the Cat Litter in a large tub for a week and rinsing through every other day. Water tests are fine.

The 2ft tank was doing well but after 2 weeks hardly any growth and no measurable nitrates (only a few Embers and Threadfin Rainbows in there so little bio load) So I've now added Westland Plant tabs (Like MiracleGrow) and liquid ferts and they are growing much better, Cabomba has had to be cut in half and is also growing from the bases - I haven't been able to grow this plant before! Now all I need to do is sort out that bit of BGA!

After a couple of hours

After about 6 weeks - Cabomba halved and replanted
i want to set up small tank and use cat litter as substrate.
What is your expierence using it?is it still solid after few months?

Thanks for that :D

I started adding KNO3 and also made sure that the window was properly screened in the early mornings - the tank was getting too much sunlight. Glad to say that the BGA is gone :D But so is the Cabomba - have never had any long term success with it and it just melted after I put in a new filter with much better flow. Now have Hygrophila Diformis (sp?) growing very nicely - and the fish like it too :)