Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

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Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

Post  Pippi on Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:20 am

In my neverending quest for Bonsai soil components, I came across "Fluval Stratum ...is a volcanic soil collected from the mineral-rich foothills of the famous Mount Aso Volcano."

Here's a post from someone using it to grow plants in their aquarium, they report a PH of 6.0 - 6.5 and it does not break down into a mush.

Thoughts?

Thanks!!

Pippi

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Re: Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

Post  jgeanangel on Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:57 am

I use the Fluval stratum in a couple of my planted aquariums. I think you have been misled about it not breaking down...it will turn to mush in your finger tips straight from the bag...and breaks down considerably in the aquarium with nothing more than water and aquatic plant roots. Plants do seem to like it but I have little faith that it will work well as bonsai soil. I think Flourite would hold up better but I am not real sure of the advantages....it is not cheap so it would need to bring some other positive factor to be worthwhile. I was surprised by how popular akadama is as a tank substrate, but most report that it also breaks down over the course of several months in water.

John


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Re: Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

Post  Pippi on Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:20 pm

Thanks John, that's disappointing news. The only lava rock I can source here is large chunks and rather ugly!

I'm also considering Seachem Flourite and Seachem Onyx Sand.

As I mentioned in  another post, our nurseries have not heard of decomposed granite or pumice (except in spas). I've seen "bricklayer's sand" but I don't know what's in it and am afraid it will compact like cement. We have an aggregate supplier but most of the finer materials are either limestone or materials used to compact surfaces.

Edit: Thought this comparison was funny, from an aquarium forum post.

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Re: Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

Post  M. Frary on Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:33 pm

I'm in the same boat Pippin. Luckily there's Napa auto parts stores here. I use Napa floor dry and turkey grit from the feed store. I did read somewhere that some orchid growers use lava for a planting substrate. I'm going out and talk to some florists about this. Maybe something you could try. Also I don't know if you can ship from U.S.A. but dry stall horse bedding is pumice and can be ordered.

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Re: Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

Post  Rick36 on Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:01 pm

Interesting discussion! Have you considered cat litter? Lots of chat about it - including differing opinions, but it is readily available and easy to use. I think I'm getting good results after a couple of years and so far no decomposition problems. Try googling " cat litter bonsai" and keep an open mind. The only (slight) problem is the perfume, but after an initial rinse to get rid of dust that seems to disappear. I mix with leafmould and multi purpose compost in proportions suitable for the species. And oh! yes - feed and water heavily as per Walter Pall advice. Good luck - whatever you end up with! Cheers. Rick.

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Re: Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

Post  KennedyMarx on Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:54 pm

Rick, the cat litter you guys get in the UK is different than what we have in the US. yours is diatomaceous earth, which is what the NAPA Floor Dry we get is. But it seems the litter particle size is larger. That's my biggest grope about the diatomaceous earth. Not sure what access to either one is like in Canada.

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Re: Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

Post  kevin stoeveken on Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:38 pm

glad you jumped in re: the napa DT earth... i have been using that since i started a few years ago with great results.

pippi - not sure what you mean by "decomposed granite"... scratch 
i dont believe granite can decompose into any thing other than smaller granite...
(of course if i'm wrong, it wouldnt be the first time)

anyways... you should be able to find diatomaceous earth at an auto supply store (in place of akadama)

my basic mix is DT earth, chicken grit (which is cherry-stone granite or quartz i believe) and AGED pine bark (by fafards)
i have now also begun incorporating the "dry stall" (which is a brand name)
if you have a farm supply type store around, you should be able to find the dry-stall and grit there...

different proportions depending on the species needs.

oh, and all that ugly lava rock ?
makes a great base layer in the bottom of your pots and i sometimes use it as a top dressing to discourage squirrels...
(if i'm going to stick a tree in "the contest" it is easy to remove)




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Re: Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

Post  Pippi on Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:18 pm

M. Fray: Today I picked up a big bag of Ultrasorb which is 100% diatomaceous earth and a nice size, yay! Sadly I wasn't able to find Dry Stall despite the fact that we have a race track and a number of horse breeders in the area. The only thing farm supply carries here is wood shavings.

Rick: I found a non-scented, non-clumping kitty litter at Walmart but after some research, discovered that it turns to mush. Sad

beer city snake: the chicken grit I found is made of calcium carbonate, the "active ingredient in agricultural lime", I think I'll pass on this.

I did pick up a bag of Seachem Flourite and I have a bit of Fafard pine mulch so I think I'l all set to put up my Mugo Pine after some serious rinsing!

Thank you all for your wisdom and suggestions!

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Re: Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

Post  Leo Schordje on Sat Jul 05, 2014 5:52 pm

Pippi wrote:M. Fray: Today I picked up a big bag of Ultrasorb which is 100% diatomaceous earth and a nice size, yay! Sadly I wasn't able to find Dry Stall despite the fact that we have a race track and a number of horse breeders in the area. The only thing farm supply carries here is wood shavings.

Rick: I found a non-scented, non-clumping kitty litter at Walmart but after some research, discovered that it turns to mush. Sad

beer city snake: the chicken grit I found is made of calcium carbonate, the "active ingredient in agricultural lime", I think I'll pass on this.

I did pick up a bag of Seachem Flourite and I have a bit of Fafard pine mulch so I think I'l all set to put up my Mugo Pine after some serious rinsing!

Thank you all for your wisdom and suggestions!

Actually if you found the calcium carbonate for poultry, usually crushed oyster shell, you were in the right type of store, usually on the shelf below, or a pallet out back, you will find the bags of crushed granite grit.  Very Happy  Poultry need an inert stone to use in their crop as grit, any place that is a complete supplier of supplies to a poultry farm will carry a crushed granite. Crushed limestone or crushed oyster shell is not enough for poultry, so the same places that carry one, will carry the other - it is almost always crushed, sifted for size, pure granite. You really have almost found it. Keep looking, I bet it was in the store with the crushed limestone - the clerk just didn't realize they had it or did not quite know what you were looking for.

If you end up in a "bird shop", a specialty pet shop dedicated to people keeping caged birds, pigeon grit is a nice fine shohin size granite, but this will have oyster shell mixed with it, also it will have some fragrant seed mixed in, like senna, or some other seed with a strong fragrance to attract the pigeons. So don't use pigeon grit unless you have a tree that tolerates alkaline soils and don't mind weed seeds (the attractants) sprouting in your pots. The pigeon grit sold near me is a beautiful dark red brown color, too bad it is too much a pain to clean out the additives. Canary, budgie, and finch grits are too fine grained for bonsai use.

Much of the granite grit sold in the USA east of the Mississippi comes from quarries in Georgia, and it is white, bright white to gray-white with dark flecks in it, I don't really like this color in my bonsai mixes, though it is cheap and works well. In Wisconsin and Minnesota, parts of Iowa and west most of the grit sold is quarried in Minnesota, one label is Cherrystone, and it is a beautiful purple - brown - gray color. Really looks quite natural as a potting mix. It is worth seeking out.

@ Beer City Snake - Decomposed granite is not often seen east of the Mississippi, but it is granite that has been weathered for a few million or more years, and due to freeze-thaw cycles over the eons has many fractures in it. It looks like your "Cherrystone" brand grit, but you can often crumble the particles into smaller particles. It is about a quarter of the way from granite grit toward becoming something like Akadama. I am not claiming it has Akadama like properties, but the way the particles break down in a bonsai pot remind me to some degree of Akadama breaking down. A bag will contain the chips, and sand size particles and coarse silt size particles. It is quarried in California, and other southwestern states, and has a nice light brown to dark brown color. Where your "Cherrystone" is purple-gray, decomposed granite from California is very brown, yellow brown to dark red brown, more like the colors one sees in Turface. But you won't see Decomposed Granite offered anywhere cheap in Wisconsin, it just isn't used here, too expensive to ship this direction when we have all that wonderful cheap "Cherrystone" close at hand to use.

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Re: Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

Post  kevin stoeveken on Sun Jul 06, 2014 4:19 am

damn, leo... i already said it once on a different thread you replied to, so i wont repeat my self...

but still, gott damn !!! Shocked

oh, yeah... whats with this @ bear chitty shakes crap ???
you know my name !  Wink 

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Re: Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

Post  Leo Schordje on Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:20 pm

beer city snake wrote:damn, leo... i already said it once on a different thread you replied to, so i wont repeat my self...

but still, gott damn !!! Shocked

oh, yeah... whats with this @ bear chitty shakes crap ???
you know my name !  Wink 

Hey Kevin
You can tell I was avoiding working on something odious, like paying bills, etc. I wax lyrical when avoiding tasks.

Ok, wasn't sure you wanted your "Real Name" out there, glad you don't mind. Some people really don't like their real names out there. I'm not one of them, hence my screen name.

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Re: Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:04 pm

yeah, no worries... i even added it to my signature...
but last names are for friends, and i dont mean fakebook "friends"
(beer city snake is just for consistency with some other endeavors i have going  Wink  )

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Soil

Post  raymb1 on Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:22 am

I just got into bonsai a few months ago.  I have two ficus trees, a ponytail palm and a braided money tree.  I know the ponytail and braided money tree aren't bonsai, but I like them just the same.  I repotted all 4 with a 25% potting soil and 75% aquarium gravel (1/8") mixture.  So far they all seem to be doing very well.  Has anyone else had any experience with a similar soil mixture?  Ray

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Re: Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

Post  Precarious on Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:06 pm

I am posting to say that #1 cherry stone chicken grit has worked well for me, mixed with sifted pine bark. One caveat, it is very heavy in a pot of any size.

BTW, chicken grit? Pine bark(AGED pine bark for the upper crust tongue )? Oil dry? Cat litter? Bonsai people are very adaptable, heh.

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Re: Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:03 pm

Ray,

this is what Bonsai works on - ability to drain well until the time of repotting  - and - water retention until the next watering.
Which also depends on air humidity, exposure to sunlight [ how much ] and how you water - watering can or hose [ and with a hose - fine rose or finger blocking the mouth of the hose .]
Add on renewal of air - as seen in the ball bearing principle [ thank you, Ms. Cohen ] where the round particles can only pack so tightly and air spaces are left for continuous refreshing after watering.

That said - I have used the acrylic coloured smooth aquarium stone something like  3 mm to 5 mm. As well as marbles at 12 mm to 10 mm to 5 mm and down to 3 mm.
Leca hydroponic fired clay balls at 12 to 10 mm [ than you, Yvonne G. ] and hand-made fired clay balls at 5 mm to 8 mm - earthenware.
Additionally, builder's silca based gravel at 3 mm to 5 mm.
Also crushed, red earthenware hollow clay building blocks at 3 mm to 5 mm, but not without the builder's gravel, holds too much water for the Chinese serissa.

The organic is home made compost / with some coco -peat or sustainable peat moss/ perlite from Canada.

Grows anything [ save Bougainvilleas - have to talk to Sam - but Bougs are not rare down here ] well and with no problems.
Have fun.
Khaimraj [ just in case you need to read it, coming up on 35 years of growing trees - started around 17/18 years of age.]

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Re: Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

Post  raymb1 on Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:24 pm

Thanks Khaimraj, for your comprehensive post. At the very least I know I'm on the right track with the soil and watering. Later, Ray

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Re: Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Aquarium Soil

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