Hobby laterite balls? Any reviews?

Discussion in 'Substrates' started by Sarpijk, 10 Jan 2019.

  1. Sarpijk

    Sarpijk Member

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    Hi all, I came across this product

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobby-laterite-balls-strips-alkalinity/dp/B00CDNOG98

    lately after getting really frustrated with problems growing Rotala sp. and Limnophila Aromatica I started looking into simpler ways of fertilization. My substrate is Seachem Flourite.

    Is there any benefit to adding this product? I already insert individual Osmocote+ balls under rooted plants.
     
  2. Edvet

    Edvet Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Should be a Fe source and clay, not much else.
     
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  3. Sarpijk

    Sarpijk Member

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    Hi, I got said Laterite balls last week and based on the instructions I placed them deep in the substrate. In the package there is no extra information other than the fact that this is a source of long term nutrition.

    How soon can I see results, if any ?
     
  4. zozo

    zozo Member

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    From an Iron (Fe) perspective in relation to plants the Red Laterite Clay containing an Iron 3 Oxide (Fe2O3) is a bit of an Urban myth.. Because the plant roots can't do much with this Iron if it first isn't processed to Iron 2 Oxide (FeO). This process only occurs biologicaly in a Anaerobic invironment, thus it needs to be very deep into the substrate in anaerobic pockets.. As long as it stays Fe2O3 it's pretty inert and insoluble into water.

    Tho it is and stays a clay, most likely containing other beneficial micro elements and it still has a good CEC, no problem and it can't hurt using it as addition in any type of substrate for plants.

    The only questionmark - Putting it in a well oxigenated substrate type it likely will not solve an Iron defficiency in plants. :)

    Only in the tutorials from hobbyist knowing this from the sold red clay powder or balls, recomend putting this clay layer in first in the deepest part of the substrate preferably capped with a layer of sand. Than still we don't know if the Iron in it ever becomes available to the plants.

    This depends on the type of defficiency and what does the clay contain. If the defficiency from a mobile element such as NPK and Mg it could be pretty quick within days. non mobile elements (Micros) can take a few weeks to show. This again can depend on other factors such as Light intensity, duration, type of substrate, plant sp. and overall plant health.
     
    Last edited: 7 May 2019
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  5. Oldguy

    Oldguy Member

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    Always thought this was a laterite. The only useful thing with this product is that being crushed the plants stayed anchored. Would not buy it again.

    I see these products as snake oil.

    Iron and trace elements best dosed as chelated compounds that you buy as dry powders and mix yourself. Low cost and controlled dosing.

    Plants with submerged leaf development absorb nutrients from the water column.

    Always suspicious of anaerobic substrates, the largest of home aquariums is minute compared with even small natural ponds which sit in a large and hidden water table.

    Sometimes find that 'difficult' plants thrive while 'easy' plants in the same tank just never get going. Makes the hobby interesting, if frustrating.
     
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  6. Sarpijk

    Sarpijk Member

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    I like Flourite for the same reason, it keeps plants planted! On the other hand although I have dry ferts and know what and how to dose but lately I have realised that I like a simpler approach to fertlising. I have another tank that was set from the beginning with two centimetres soil for gardenias and the crypts thrive in it. The reason I got these balls was to add iron in the roots and stop dosing if it were possible.
     
  7. zozo

    zozo Member

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    Sorry wrong topic.. :rolleyes::D Good murning!...
     
    Last edited: 7 May 2019
  8. zozo

    zozo Member

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    I got them for the very same reason and doing some redeang after that it might simply do not. For the simple reason it might not contain the Fe the plant can use. Still put it in the substrate and use all kinds of clay tabs and none of them say on the label what it contains specificaly. Used the HS Aqua, which is a light brown tab, the Velda a grey tab (blue clay) the laterite the Red one. It likely contains mainly miro elements maybe also some iron.

    I never realy added any iron specific fert, but do add complete micro solution in some.. I guess it highly depends on the plant sp. and its iron requirment. For example Zosterifolia heteranthera even tho flaged as easy it seems to be a rather Fe loving plant especialy when growing high tech. I once grew it and it indeed turned white tips after it grew bigger, typical iron defficiency,even tho the substrate contained laterite clay tabs all over. It still showed this defficiency while other plants where thriving mad. I swapped it with an other plant and never grew it again.

    Iron defficiency is pretty uncomon with normal fert schemes, even never had it in tanks i never fertilized a drop. Adding it without any obvious reasons seems redundant to me.
     
  9. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    That is the one, it is why all these old tropical soils are red and quartz rich, everything that is potentially soluble has been washed away, just leaving insoluble quartz and iron (& aluminium) oxides & hydroxides. The iron can't be plant available, or it would have been leached away over the millennia. You can legitimately call "Flourite" "iron rich", but so is a <"red house brick"> and the iron is equally soluble in either case.
    It probably is, possibly naturally heat treated by volcanic action.

    This is alluded to in this old <"Seachem Flourite"> thread quote from Seachem's Dr Greg Morin.
    Which sounds very much like the description for <"Akadama">.

    The description of the <"Akadama/Kanuma mining process"> in the link, and the pictures of the underlying layer of pumice (below), made me wonder whether Seachem might have originally sourced their "Flourite" and <"Matrix"> from the same hole in the ground.

    [​IMG]

    cheers Darrel
     
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  10. Sarpijk

    Sarpijk Member

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    Enlightening as always Darrel! So as I see it it would be better to just rescape using some "dirt". Would adding pumice at the base provide any benefit? I realised that Ada's Power sand is a type of pumice as stated by Amano in one of the books. Also what about the school of thought that a really deep substrate can cause denitrification?
     
  11. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    @Oldguy's suggestion of adding chelated iron is an easier solution.
    It definitely wouldn't do any harm.
    It probably will and that might become more likely with micro-porous pumice. Have a look at @Manuel Arias's comments in <"Which filter media...">. Iron will become available under anaerobic conditions.
    If it iron deficiency only new leaves will be normal, the plant can move the iron from older to newer leaves. Do the plants look iron deficient? Like these, with pale growing tips? (from <"Micronutrient toxicity or deficiency....>")

    [​IMG]

    cheers Darrel
     
    Last edited: 7 May 2019
  12. sparkyweasel

    sparkyweasel Member

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    Any idea what "naturally mined" means?
    Do they wait for badgers to dig it up? :)
     
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  13. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    You can ask Seachem, but I'm pretty sure they won't confirm, or deny, it.

    cheers Darrel
     
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  14. zozo

    zozo Member

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  15. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    The montmorillonite clays (like calcium and sodium bentonite) are also of volcanic origin, but they are physically unstable (they expand when wet) and have a very high CEC, so I don't think that is the right clay.

    On our campus they've just used injected bentonite clay ("drilling mud") in the dam of the lake to stop the leak. It is also what they use for "clumping cat litter".

    cheers Darrel
     
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  16. Sarpijk

    Sarpijk Member

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    Hi all,

    Resurrecting this Laterite related topic bacause I stumbled upon the instructions by the manufacturer. What drew my attention was the reference to the " slightly anaerobic" and the " organic acids". Does it hold any true or is it just a convenient explanation for marketing?[​IMG]
     
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  17. Edvet

    Edvet Global Moderator Staff Member

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  18. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    It is certainly true more generally. Ferrous (Fe++) ions are only likely to become available in acidic reducing conditions.

    Plants are very interested in controlling iron levels in the substrate, mainly because it combines being an essential micro-nutrient, at low levels, with being toxic at higher ones. Roots are leaky structures, and plants that are tolerant of water logging in acidic substrates often successfully oxidise iron in their rhizosphere to control toxicity.

    The real question with lateritic soils would be whether they have any potentially soluble iron compounds present. If all the iron is bound in insoluble compounds, than it might need to be severely reducing conditions before any iron ions become available.

    Cheers Darrel
     
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