Hydroton clay pellets as a Substrate for P. waltl

YGDS

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Hi all. I am considering the acquisition of some Spanish ribbed newts, and I'm planning an enclosure. I am considering using a large black plastic bin (like this https://www.homedepot.ca/product/hdx-102l-strong-box-tote-in-black-yellow/1000706729), with a number of aquatic plants and a spigot sealed into the bottom side edge to allow for easy water changes, as I don't plan on using a filter to avoid stress from water flow. I wanted to ask if anyone has used hydroton pellets as a substrate rather than just a drainage layer for this species? Of course I'd prepare the utilized beads before hand to make sure I removed dust and floating pellets. The ones I have seem to be around 0.5-0.75 inches in diameter. My concern mainly revolves around potential swallowing of the pellets. I know I could go "bare bottom", but I'd prefer it if the animals have some sort of ground to grip, and I've got a massive amount of the stuff, so I'm looking for a good use for it. I also like the idea of an adsorbent substrate, something that might sequester ammonia and other contaminants. I understand clays tend to do a pretty good job of this.

Any advice would be helpful. I've looked through several threads, but most seem pre-occupied with its use as a drainage layer, rather than as a substrate unto itself. If I'm mistaken in this, I apologize.
 

dendromad

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If you can find any that sinks it may work but in my experience I find it would be too lightweight and mostly bouyant. Turface would be a better option if you wanted to go the clay route, plants love it too.
 

MnGuy

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I don’t think they’d be good at all because as you noted, they absorb the water and therefore, all the nutrients (nitrates) in the water and would hold onto it.

Clay balls used in canister filters to increase the surface area for beneficial bacteria are regularly rinsed out for this very reason.
 
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