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Clumping Or None Clumping Cat Litter?

Smells Fishy

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I understand that cat litter has a high CEC so its good for planted tanks but if its the clumping type does it make any difference?
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I understand that cat litter has a high CEC so its good for planted tanks but if its the clumping type does it make any difference?
You need the lightweight Moler clay based cat litter.

I think TESCO sell it as <"Tesco low dust cat litter">. "Sophisticat" sell it as well <"Sophisticat Lightweight Pink Clay Non Clumping Cat Litter">

It takes a long time to remove the perfume from it.

The clumping cat litter is <"Fuller's Earth" based">, so it does have a high CEC (calcium bentonite clay), but it would make the most awful mess.

cheers Darrel
 

Smells Fishy

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Hi The only down side to using cat litter as a substrate. Its so light any water fish shrimp movement and it moves about.

I plan on putting it very finely as the bottom layer for a CEC boost and then topping it with proper aquarium substrate, then ground root tabs sprinkled evenly as another layer then more aquarium substrate finally. Hopefully it should work out fine.
 

Rahms

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If the top layer is heavier than the cat litter, you'll end up with cat litter on the surface.

I don't really see the point anyways...
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
If the top layer is heavier than the cat litter, you'll end up with cat litter on the surface.
I don't think you can cap it successfully without a permeable membrane to separate the two layers, as others have said it is very light.

cheers Darrel
 

hanssg

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I use cat litter in 2 tanks great stuff even with corrys the brand is sophisticat most pet shops do it

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
 

dino21

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Hi,

Have been rinsing/soaking, in our soft tap water, some of the Tescos Low Dust Cat Litter for a couple of days and there is still a slight perfume to it and the water .
While @dw1305 mentions in another post, leaving out in the rain for six months ! - wondered if others have put it in the tank without such a lengthy treatment and had any problems with it either from any perfume smell coming into the water or affecting the plants or fish ?

The similar Tropica Plant Growth Substrate gets a lot of mentions about not removing plants from the substrate because it causes problems with nutrient release and cloudiness, are things as critical with this type of Cat Litter / Molar clay, just cannot believe folk never move the odd plant around during the life of a tank ... or is the nutrient release etc really that hamful ?
 

foxfish

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The best way to clean hard cat litter is in a large bucket of water with an outside hose pipe.
The bigger the bucket the better, half fill it with the litter and run the hose to overflow the water.
keep going until it runs clean and it is then safe to use.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
While @dw1305 mentions in another post, leaving out in the rain for six months !
It was just because we have really hard tap water and washing it in the way that @foxfish mentions just filled up all the cation exchange sites with Ca++ ions. I use rainwater in the tanks, so I keep "soft water" fish. @foxfish will have soft water out of the tap, because Guernsey <"is a "granite" island">.

The real advantage of the <"rain method for me"> was that it was soft water "on tap", so that the cation exchange sites were initially filled with hydrogen ions (H+) and it didn't harden the water in the tank.

If I'd used tap water in the tanks washing it in the tap water would be fine, it wouldn't change <"the water chemistry in the tanks"> they are already at the full saturation for calcium carbonate, about 18 dGH & 18 dKH.

cheers Darrel
 

dino21

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The best way to clean hard cat litter is in a large bucket of water with an outside hose pipe.
The bigger the bucket the better, half fill it with the litter and run the hose to overflow the water.
keep going until it runs clean and it is then safe to use.
Thanks both.
Yes the water is still a little bit brown/pink, though was not sure if this media would run totally clear or always give off a little colour.
Had just put it in a 30ltr container outside to soak, but will try the hose pipe method, or probably just leave the top off with this weekends weather forecast !

Any comments about removing plants later on in this kind of substrate, is it really a danger / toxic to the fish or plants if the substrate is disturbed in this way on the odd occasion ?
 

foxfish

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Leaving it to soak will not remove all the dust, you need to aggravate the media in the bucket with the hose full on, it will just leave you with clean dust free grains.
Once it is clean you can replant and move it around as much as you like, over time the media will attract lots of organic matter and is no different than any other media in that it will make a mess if you disturb it!
I don’t think there is much risk involved, certainly no more that any other media type.
 

Tim Harrison

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Holy ancient thread revival batman....

I've used Tesco cat litter before in the past but not on its own, as an additive to soil substrate instead of grit to improve structure. I washed it thoroughly for ages and gave up on completely eradicating the perfume and dust; i didn't have the benefit of foxfish's sage wisdom, unfortunately. At the time I concluded that both would probably persist after a nuclear strike and throughout the ensuing nuclear winter of a post apocalyptic era.

But neither seemed to make one iota difference. However, I was using it differently to the way you intend. Out of curiosity are you set on just using cat litter? There are many alternatives. If you haven't already perhaps check out the soil substrate tutorial...

 

dino21

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@foxfish
Ah, thanks, will use the hose as you suggest.
So I was told, see below, to use either Tesco Low Dust Cat Litter or Sanicat Pink which is now rebranded as Kitty Friend Pink as they were both 100% molar clay, though both perfumed.

@Tim Harrison
Well a bit of a long story as what substrate to use, last year a member of a Gardening forum detailed how he had used Cat Litter for many years and showed the photos to prove it.
He recommended the above brands of Cat Litter and suggested how it was mixed with natural peat and topped with sand,
Was a little dubious about that method and had looked at the seemingly similar Tropica Plant Growth Substrate, but then when spending some more time looking at the few posts on the subject by your good self and JamesCs Sticky etc thought the Cat litter way might be best ?
Appreciate there is no 'best' in that sense, but for our new 40cm cube with Co2 thought it might be good simple system without getting engrossed in the hi tech, hi priced solutions, which seems they can not last that long before they need replacing ..?
( our existing 40cm cube tank is just plain gravel and sand)

Any pros and cons of Cat Litter vs Tropica PGS would be welcome .... the cat litter was only £5 so no problem in moving to something more suitable if suggested.
 

Tim Harrison

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Try 1:1 mix of moss peat and aquatic compost capped with sand or gravel. However, buying an all in one Gucci substrate for a 40cm cube ain't going to break the bank. So if you're looking for an alternative you can't go far wrong with Tropica AS either. TBH I don't think cat litter on its own is ideal.
 

Franks

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I had this in my 155L tank for about a month. The smell of Brut goes after a week. The grains are too large to use as a complete substrate, it's a pain to plant in because of this. I ended up tearing it down and using some as a high CEC baselayer with Osmocote, John Innes Number 3 as substrate and then capped with JBL Manado. This is much lighter, much finer and perfect for planting in imo. Growth is superb.
 
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