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pdludbrooke 03-07-2012 01:42 PM

Just started a new tank using kitty litter, need help!
3 Attachment(s)
I have never set up an aquarium before, I bought an aquarium which was a marine tank converted to a normal tank for 3.00 from the boot sale, it's just been sitting empty in my shed since I got it (12 months ago)

I decided to see if it was ok so I filled it and left it for a week or so, it doesn't leak so I decided to try and setup a planted aquarium using this kitty litter made from molar clay here's how far I have got (see pics)
The water is a little cloudy at the moment, I did clean the kitty litter thoroughly, it has been used by other people as a cheaper alternative too caribsea and other plant substrates.

The tank holds 125 litres, it has 2 T5 lights and a blue LED for night time and I am using a Fluval U2 filter, I still have a heater to get.

Any advice on plants and fish suitable for a beginnerr willl me much appreciated.

Byron 03-07-2012 02:07 PM

I've not used kitty litter, this was more common a while back but I stayed with plain gravel then. Maybe some other members have and will be able to offer suggestions on this or that. I'm going from memory, but I think you need to put a cover of fine gravel over it, but wait for someone who knows to chime in.

As for suitable fish, it would help to know your tap water parameters (GH, KH and pH).


redchigh 03-07-2012 02:23 PM

I've never heard of anyone using cat litter by itself. Usually it's placed under the gravel and then capped.

Many of us have also had good results with plain gravel/sand.. I make my own substrate (similiar to cat litter), but it's fired and won't get soft.

pdludbrooke 03-07-2012 02:43 PM

The litter has been fired
2 Attachment(s)
The cat litter has been fired (see pics) it's rock hard.
I would like to have some plants, I really wouldn't know where to start concerning them

pdludbrooke 03-07-2012 02:45 PM

Thanks, how do I find out the GH KH and PH, I know what the ph is, but what is GH KH ?

Byron 03-07-2012 02:50 PM


Originally Posted by pdludbrooke (Post 1006192)
Thanks, how do I find out the GH KH and PH, I know what the ph is, but what is GH KH ?

GH is general hardness, KH is carbonate hardness or sometimes called Alkalinity. Your municipal water supply folks should be able to tell you the GH and KH of your tap water; they may have a website with water data posted. You local fish store may know the GH and KH of local water.

The pH is tied to these, usually, but still distinct. You might find this article informative:

Some fish have defined preferences for GH and pH, others are adaptable to various degrees depending upon the species. As it is easier to have fish that can manage in your local water, this is worth knowing. Adjusting parameters can be done, but may be involved, depending upon the GH and KH in particular.

redchigh 03-07-2012 02:54 PM

One trick I've learned, is that if you add dry fresh fired clay to a fertiliser mixture, it absorbs it.
If you add (unwashed) fired clay to an aquarium, the Kh goes down.

Anyway, back on topic.
basically, we need to know how hard your water is. If you can, go get a (reagant-based) water test kit. Not the strips.

Also, depending on your lighting and fertilisers you want to use, we can reccomend some plants.

Reading Byron's stickies on the subject will definately get you off to a good start.

pdludbrooke 03-07-2012 02:54 PM

Ok I will find these out, you learn something new everyday Thanks

pdludbrooke 03-07-2012 03:07 PM

Redchigh, thanks very much for your help.
The fired clay has been washed thoroughly, will the KH still go down ?
The water was a bit cloudy at first as you can see in the photos from my first post, but it is clearing up nicely and it has only been 4 hours or so.
I have gone and done it again, I tend to just jump in to things without proper knowledge, I tried to read up on things, fishless cycle etc
I have not ever really been a good learner when it comes to studying things before I do them, I find the hands on experience to be the way I learn, so having you guys here to help is appreciated very much.
I'll find out the KH and GH for here and then get back to you, thanks again for helping me

redchigh 03-07-2012 03:15 PM

If you washed it enough, it shouldn't affect the kh. Just to be safe, after your fishless cycle is over, do a complete water change before you add fish.

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