Darrell's (dw1305's) soil thread

ghostsword

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With too many other projects the soil took a step back.. until now.

I purchased 25kg of clay, so now I got enough clay to make wabi balls, plant pots and some soil.

The plan is to mix clay with some hydrocoton, and add some iron fillings to it, then cook it on a kiln to 1000C, break it in to small pieces and use it.

Would I be able to add nutrients to the clay, would it survive the high temps? At least trace I would like to add.
 

TYB

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Hey Darell, I’m new to this soil thread but I find it fascinating. You wrote that depending on the iron content there will be different colour to the soil, any idea how to get it to turn black? Keep it up with the experiments!

TYB
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
You wrote that depending on the iron content there will be different colour to the soil, any idea how to get it to turn black?
The red colour is the ferric oxides, iron is a constituent of most clays, so the calcined soils are usually red. There may be clays that have a lot of manganese in them, as well as iron, and these would produce a clay pellet that is naturally black (manganese di-oxide is black). I think if you fire "Gault" clays at high temperature they produce black bricks, so higher temperatures may also produce a darker soil grain.

You may be able to get additives for pottery clay that turn it black, I've just Googled this, and there are and it is manganese di-oxide they use.

If you calcine clay at lower temperatures then a carbon compound would do as an additive, either "carbon black" or graphite powder, although these will burn out as the temperature increases.

cheers Darrel
 

sanj

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So Darrel when are you starting up your own Aquarium substrate business? The market could probably do with a little competition. :D
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
So Darrel when are you starting up your own Aquarium substrate business? The market could probably do with a little competition.
I don't think I will be, although I do think there could be an opening. Entirely hypothetically I would buy a bulk load of moler clay granules, and then re-package them in smaller visually attractive bags with a celebrity endorsement.

cheers Darrel
 

nayr88

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Hello Darrel, that's a shame would of been cool to have someone from the forum do something like that. Is that all the fancy substrates are? Moler clay? How do they get the nutrients in? Or does it have enough in already.

Maybe one day therell be a ukaps line of basic products aye :D
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Is that all the fancy substrates are? Moler clay? How do they get the nutrients in? Or does it have enough in already.
I think nearly all the complete substrates are calcined clays, the amount of nutrients they contain would depend upon the clay (some would be potassium rich) and how hot the calcining temperature was. Very hot temperatures will produce a harder fired product, and the heat of firing would also burn out most nutrients and any organic matter.

In some ways the initial nutrient content is a bit of a red herring, what is more important is the Cation and Anion Exchange Capacity of the clays (CEC and AEC), the capacity to retain and exchange positively (Ca++, K+) and negatively charged (NO3-, PO4-) ions.

Details here: <http://www2.nau.edu/~doetqp-p/courses/env320/lec13/Lec13.html>.

Moler clay is a calcined "diatomaceous earth" <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatomaceous_earth>. Which means that it has both a very complex internal structure, and a reasonable CEC of about 50 meq/100g (http://www.jbhs.ccs.k12.nc.us/Facul...l Notes For APES/cation exchange capacity.pdf).

I also think that this capacity to hold onto compounds is the reason it is so difficult to remove the odour from moler clay based cat litter.

If you wanted a "complete nutrient rich substrate", you could soak the calcined media in a fertiliser solution before you sold it, but this would be a bit hit and miss. Better would be to have a small pack of Osmocote (or other "controlled release fertiliser" <http://www.springerlink.com/content/u702t10765qp7164/>) and possibly some organic matter (peat or leaf mould) included in separate packs with-in the bag. You would sprinkle these on before use (a bit like the little blue bag of salt in an old packet of crisps).

cheers Darrel
 

plantbrain

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The Rice paddy soils and the delta soils in CA, USA and ADA AS 1 are very similar.
ADA As has NH4 added, but otherwise, they are very similar in all ways.
 

plantbrain

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Pot experiments work pretty good also BTW:

hARDWATERCuba.jpg


Ugrammi-1.jpg


giantpondweedpot.jpg


All non CO2, sunlight with shade cloth, continuous flow through water supply so no water column ferts influence the growth. The tap used is dechlorinated prior and has some NO3 and a few other ferts, but not a lot.

You place different species in different pots and then gauge growth.
You can measure roots vs shoots, root shoot ratios etc, stem length, leaf no# etc.

Ideally, you'd allow the test to run 1 full year or season, not just 4 weeks.
It takes about 8-10 weeks for anaerobic hydric soil to settle down to a good consistent Redox value, so longer than 8 weeks is wise for growth test since everything is controlled via the Redox in soils and most folks keep planted tanks with soil longer than 10 weeks.
 
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dw1305 said:
Hi all,
So Darrel when are you starting up your own Aquarium substrate business? The market could probably do with a little competition.
I don't think I will be, although I do think there could be an opening. Entirely hypothetically I would buy a bulk load of moler clay granules, and then re-package them in smaller visually attractive bags with a celebrity endorsement.

cheers Darrel
You can use my name.

Thanks.
 

niru

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I have seen farmers burning their lands after a harvest and a few rains.. Does burning/roasting soils give same effect like baking it? Or why they do it? And would it be a good idea for aquarium substrates?

A question by a dummy: would pumping some H2O2 for O-radicals help fasten the oxygenation/combustion/fixing of nutrients? Can one do this O-firing, then roast the soil/clay in an open space (so no wife oven-smell issues) to achieve this?

-niru
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
"Morgan Freeman" definitely sounds like a celebrity endorsement, Paul Newman did it with sauces and George Foreman with grills, so why not?

I haven't had a look for a while, but a tonne of loose Moler Clay was about £400. I'd reckon 1 litre weighs about 750g, so that would be about 1300 litres, so £0.35 a litre for raw material, plus the cost of packaging and Morgan's cut for his celebrity endorsement. I'm not sure it is a huge money spinner, might be cheaper to buy the cat litter.

cheers Darrel
 

plantbrain

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There is not much money in sediments, ADA really does not profit much from them at the end of the day, hence miracle cures in little bottles. Best $ is from growing the plants and selling those and then maintenance contracts.
Driftwood is okay, but you need to the fortitude and the location to get it.

None of it is easy work really.

With sediments, you have to sell a lot of it to make hardly anything.

I think Darrel would make more working at a pizza shack for his time :oops:
Small DIY kits sold to folks is not a bad idea if you already are doing it.

Kitty litter threads go back on the APD to the mid 1990's, Dan Quackenbush(now decreased) was one of those kitty litter proponents, I tried it, worked well.

I bet I could make a real nice tank with the method today.

But........I likely will not anytime in the next 1-2 years.

But it could be done at the low tech or the high tech level.

Burning the chaff is common practice, unfortunately it adds a lot of CO2 and reduces air quality a GREAT deal. It is much wiser and maintains your soil and enahnced bacterial cycling and other fauna in soil if the chaff is reused and plowed back into the soil as "green manure". Rice farmers flood their fields in the off season to prevent soil loss and oxidation. Burning releases some of K+ and other elements, hence rapid regrowth after a fire, but so does allowing the bacteria to do this and sequesters more Carbon this way.

The farmer would be wiser to plow it back under.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Burning the chaff is common practice, unfortunately it adds a lot of CO2 and reduces air quality a GREAT deal. It is much wiser and maintains your soil and enahnced bacterial cycling and other fauna in soil if the chaff is reused and plowed back into the soil as "green manure".
They used to do it in the UK, when straw wasn't worth much, most of the farmers used to burn the straw and stubble and we used to have some very big fires.

Now they have to chop the straw and re-incorporate it if they aren't baling it and they aren't allowed to burn the stubble.
Details here: <http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/netregs/businesses/agriculture/93431.aspx>

cheers Darrel
 

plantbrain

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Good to know they are doing the right way.....big issue here in CA.

Air quality gets bad due to smog and the mountains catching it along with a high pressure system which is common in the summer + nature fire ecology.
 

kirk

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just a thought if you dont mind me adding to this. you can buy boily and pellent rolling tables and sausage guns to make pellets fast. basically make mix of soil fert put in gun squeeze into sausages onto table then roll. rolling tables are cheap and come in different sizes. if you know a carp fisherman he may lend you one.:)
 

Pinkmummy79

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Re: How its made - Oliver Knott's NatureSoil

Wessex Water calcine dried sewage sludge at about 500oC and used to sell it as fertiliser - "Biogran", so it must retain some nutrients. I'll need to look into this, it may be the secret ingredient we need to mix with the terracotta clay. I saw the plant at Avonmouth and I'm pretty sure it was very hard, black shiny pellets.

Aha! so that's what the smell is whenever I drive past on the M5, always thought it was an open sewer:confused:
 

BigDaddy

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just a thought if you dont mind me adding to this. you can buy boily and pellent rolling tables and sausage guns to make pellets fast. basically make mix of soil fert put in gun squeeze into sausages onto table then roll. rolling tables are cheap and come in different sizes. if you know a carp fisherman he may lend you one.:)
Got this equipment myself and to achieve pellets or 'dumbells' as we'd call them use a diameter of 2-4mm smaller then your tables diameter as the same size would produce round balls or 'boilies'
 

rebel

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Has anyone tried to bake soil in the oven? If so, a word of warning....it can smell a little.
 
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