montmorillonite safe t sorb

Discussion in 'Growing Organic Marijuana' started by Navarone, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. Anyone use this product? The planted aquarium forums say it's great, and It's been recommended to me as a soil additive.
    I've got Moltan 7941 Universal Absorbent to use if I want it.
    What would it replace in a soil grow? Rock dust? Or does rock dust offer more than just a home for mycos?
    Could it be used by itself as a hydro media like coco or hydroton?
    I'm using Kellog's Patio Plus and was going to add more perlite and maybe this clay stuff.

  2. Montmorillonite is essentially Azomite.... they are both volcanic clays.  It is safe to use 1 cup / cubic foot as a rock dust / mineral amendment.  But don't use it the way rock dust is recommended (4-5 cups per cubic foot).  Here is an excerpt on Azomite and DE, and why to be cautious with them.  Everywhere it says Azomite, just think montmorillonite (DE is diatomaceous earth, which also has a fairly high aluminum content):
    Here is a statement from Dr. Faust at BioAg on the alumina-silicates in Azomite, and the effect humic/fulvic acids can have on them: "Typically, aluminum constitutes about 10-20% of these clays. The claim made by sellers is that the aluminum is bound in the silicate structure and is therefore not biologically active. This may be true from a chemistry standpoint, when only examining the clay itself, but is not the case when it is reacted with fulvic acid. So the caveat here is that fulvic acid is well documented to dissolve silicates as well as mono, di, and polyvalent cations (positively charged ions). This means that fulvic acid binds and retains these minerals in a bio-available form for cell penetration or uptake. Now the aluminum has a very high biological significance, unfortunately a toxic one."
    DE is only 3-4% aluminum, but the science is the same.  Regarding that DE only has 800 ppm of Aluminum, here is a website which discusses soil aluminum and toxicity (http://www.spectruma...erpretation.htm).  
    Here is an excerpt: Very little Al+++ in the soil solution is required to cause damage to most plants. Few, if any plants grown for commercial purposes in this country will tolerate more than 1.0 ppm of soluble Al+++, and most will have some problems at levels greater than 0.5 ppm. Since Al is the most abundant element in the soil, but the soluble Al+++ is the toxic form, we need to know how much Al+++ is present in the soil and what controls its availability to plants. The availability of Al+++ is not completely understood, but certain soil factors are known to have a significant effect.
    • The total amount of Al present in a particular soil type
    • The soil pH
    • The types and amounts of clay in the soil
    • Soilorganic matter
    The last one, soil organic matter, is important because organic matter produces humic and fulvic acids... which are chelating agents that break apart the alumina-silicate bond.  If you start adding more humic/fulvic (which is normally good), you are going to drastically increase the soluble Al+++, which is the toxic form.
    And you may not even recognize it as an Aluminum toxicity problem... Here's another excerpt:
    Excess soluble/available aluminum (Al+++) is toxic to plants and causes multiple other problems. Some of the more important problems include...
    • Direct toxicity, primarily seen as stunted roots
    • Reduces the availability of phosphorus (P), through the formation of Al-P compounds
    • Reduces the availability of sulfur (S), through the formation of Al-S compounds
    • Reduces the availability of other nutrient cations through competitive interaction
    So it may appear to be a Phosphorus deficiency, when it is actually aluminum toxicity interfering with P uptake.
  3. #3 Navarone, Feb 12, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
    Oh, eeek. I used it at way higher a concentration. Maybe about a %15 mixture.
    It was approx 10 cups per 1.5 cu ft.
    From what I'm reading Azomite is not the same as montmorillonite. What I'm using isn't a powder, it's like 1/8 inch rock, and it's baked to harden so that it doesn't leach. They say its a product like Soil Master Select or turface. It's main use is it's high Cation-exchange capacity CEC.
    Here's the first link from google I found. I'm using specifically the safe t sorb product. Moltan 7941

    I mean that's a lot of it lol.  If I were you, I'd try to make more soil to dilute down the concentration of montmorillonite.  Also, I wouldn't use humic and fulvic acid products with that soil.
    They are both volcanic clays.  It would appear, however, that your montmorillonite has not been crushed into a powder.... which is interesting because most agricultural montmorillonite is powder.  Does the package specifically say "baked so it doesn't leach"?  I would be rather surprised if it had been baked. All clays have a high CEC.
    Ah.... you're using an Oil-Dri product as aeration..... I get it now.... I mean I personally wouldn't use a product designed to clean up oil spills in my garden.  "Leaching" is not something the manufacturer is concerned with, because they never intended this product to be used in food/cannabis production.  Having said that, this is better than using the powder.  
    I would hesitate to use this as my only aeration due to the aluminum content, but it should suffice.  I wouldn't be concerned about what is already in your soil, but I wouldn't add more.
  5. I'm using this for the CEC, not airation. I also added more perlite, which this product has a similar data sheet to, except that perlite is kiln fired into glass, this product only seems to be kiln dried. The data sheet says <1% breakdown in water, and the planted tank people say they've used it for a few years submerged in tanks with no breakdown, just that it lowered hardness and PH.

    I won't be adding any more, that's for sure, but I'm interested in how it's going to work out. And I'll hold off on adding any acids. I feel like I'm trying to justify it somehow since I already used it, but I am taking what you're saying to heart. Thanks again for the help.
  6. #6 Navarone, Mar 24, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
    2 Weeks in to flower, haven't had a single problem except for fungus gnats. This stuff takes a WEEK to dry out at least! Next time around going to use 10 gal (~1.5cu ft) smart pots. I drilled holes all around the sides of the 15 gal nursery pots and it was like a beach front condo sex party for the gnats. Wrapped them in old tshirts to cover the holes, made my own sticky traps, let the soil dry out well, and used mosquito bits and there are almost zero gnats now. Traps caught like a thousand million billion gnats!
    I'm very happy I switched to soil! (except for the damn gnats!) If anyone is wondering, it's just organic Patio Plus, Perlite, Safe t Zorb, hygrozyme, great white mycos, mosquito bits and filtered water 6.5-6.8 ph. It's 6 (legal number) Blue Dream clones, minor LST, 4 weeks 18/6 florescent in chrome fixtures nearly touching plants, 2 weeks 12/12 600w HPS in sealed hood about 12-18 inches above tops, and just added the floro back because plants are too wide for just the HPS. Hopefully it ends well, don't want to jinx it, crossing my fingers :)
    Thanks for the help!

    Attached Files:

  7. Nice to see something a little different working out. You might consider having a little EWC on hand in case they need a little boost.
  8. Neem meal is extremely effective on fungus gnats.  Since you seem to have a particularly bad infestation, I would make a neem meal tea, drench the soil with it, then topdress the soil with a few more spoonfuls
    Neem meal/cake is available at,, and  Anywhere else is likely 1/3 the potency or less because it's almost certainly not organic cold-pressed neem.
  9. Hey thanks! I got them under control now, only a couple left buzzing around, but it was very bad for a week or so. I'll use a third treatment of mosquitoes bits next week just in case. Next time I'll get some neem. They're also drying out a lot better now that I'm not overwatering. I'm putting in about 1/3 gallon of water every few days, but I'm going to probably double that amount now that the roots are more established. Think it's better to deep soak them once a week or just lightly top water them every day? They're in 15 gallon nursery pots with a bunch of holes drilled in the side for air. Plants are 2.5' tall under 600w hps and day night temps of 68-78 and about 40-50% rh. Still no signs of any problems, and I'm watering based on how dry the soil is.

  10. @(The Guns of) Navarone
    Turface has been around forever and is good stuff. The planted tank people are more than correct. I had access to it from working landscape on a golf course.
    I also quit using it (along with vermiculite), for the same thing you noticed. In a peat based mix, it simply retains too much water. Peat does well enough all on its own. Peat's CEC is decent enough by itself also, and I really never noticed any 'lack of' anything when I quit using it. This was also well over 30 years ago and the memory is ?????????
    Perhaps cut down a bit? Keep the CEC you're looking for, but reduce the waterlogging aspect a bit. Like perhaps 4 or 5 cups/cf and see what that does for the water retention?
    A week between waterings and fungus gnats=a too dense mix and even more perlite doesn't do too much for it. I know, that's the first thing I tried when I did something similar to your mix.
  11. Haha I haven't even seen the guns of navarone :(

    Good to know there is some crossover from aquariums and cannabis! I wonder how aquaponics or even SUBMERGED aquascape cannabis would grow. 100 foot tall kelp forest of cannabis, think about that!
  12. I got this tip from Yoda so I can't take credit, but put a small cup of apple cider vinegar in your grow tent and it attracts the gnats. I just top dress with neem meal or DE. You can do both and it will get most of them out.
  13. Yeah I've heard about that too, and I like that it doesn't use poison! But too bad it's only for flying gnats and not in the soil like the mosquito bits. Neem seems like my next purchase for next grow. (if this one finishes well and I don't commit sudoku.)
    I made my own sticky traps with a box of fly paper tape and a sheet of neon green/yellow card stock from walmart. Total cost about $5 and killed literally thousands of gnats. I made about 10 of these and they were completly filled like this one. I only did it this way because I couldn't find yellow traps ANYWHERE local.
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  14. #14 Navarone, Mar 28, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
    Does this look right for 3 weeks from the switch to 12/12? Blue Dream from clone. I thought they would be bigger, but maybe it's just my eyes.
    I'm using over 1 cu ft of patio plus soil in 15gal nursery buckets and vegged for 4 weeks. Do you think I'll need to add nutes? Only signs right now are some red leaf stems on upper half of plants, and (maybe it's in my head) slow growth. I thought with this much soil that I wouldn't need to feed. I trimmed off very little of the undergrowth just so I could water easier. What do you think?
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    The buds look like they're coming in fine to me.  If you mean the overall size of the plants, it would depend on how long you let them veg for.  I've seen plants 3 weeks into flower that looked much smaller, and some that looked much bigger.  It's all about how long you veg them for.
    Red stems aren't a reliable sign of anything.  It's not about how much soil you use, it's about how quality of a soil you use.  I don't know much about Patio Plus.... I think I've heard good things.... someone else can chime in on that, but your plants look good to me!
  16. #16 Navarone, Mar 28, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
    I think the plant size seems just fine for 4 weeks veg from clone with a little LST, but the buds seemed small for three weeks 12/12. I'm debating flushing and adding some epsom salts for the red stems because I thought my water had a high calcium content.
    My water after a smallboy carbon filter is 220ppm (cheap .5 pen tester) and comes from the water company 250-300ppm, 7.5-8.2ph with carbonate 4 - 5 dKH, general hardness 4 - 5 dKH, 4-5 calmag dKH (so about 30-50ppm calcium?), sodium hydroxide added for high PH 1ppm chlorine 1ppm ammonia for chloramine.
    For the soil I figured 1 gal per month per foot of plant so 3 foot, 3 months so about 9 gallons. They're in 15 gallon nursery pots, but those aren't actually 15 gal. It took 5 * 1.5cf bags plus the perlite and safe t zorb to brim 6 pots. If I need to feed that's not a problem, just that I hoped I wouldn't have to.
    Thanks for all the help:)
    Have you been using ferts at all thus far?
    Are you trying to have a living organic soil?
    Flushing..... measuring PPMs.... measuring pH..... measuring hardness.... these are not organic mindsets.  You're still working with the hydro and synthetic nute mentality.  Forget all of that gunk, especially flushing.   And forget about how much soil you used.  It doesn't matter in terms of whether or not you should feed the plant.
    You may have to feed, you may not.  Just keep an eye out for your plant telling you it needs something.... it may or may not.  If it does.... try to use something organic, like kelp/alfalfa tea...... or comfrey tea.... 
  18. I haven't used any ferts, just what's mentioned in this thread. The most living I have is the plant, great white mycos, whatever the patio plus came with, and some fungus gnats.
    I want to keep it organic, so all i've been doing is adding ph'd, filtered water, mycos, hygrozyme. The red stems and what I thought was slow growth is what I got worried about. I would keep it organic with nutes/teas if I needed any. I didn't make my own soil so I knew I might have some shortcomings, I just want to catch it early.
  19. lol living organic soil refers to healthy and diverse populations of microbes..... but it's funny you included fungus gnats lol
    Much better post in general.... no references to flushing, pH, or PPMs lol.  You can stop pH'ing your water.  Hopefully someone will show up and tell us whether Patio Plus can go the whole grow or needs help.  If it does need a boost..... I'd probably top-dress with some quality EWC, and give it a kelp/alfalfa tea.  Here's a good recipe... you don't need the silica, aloe or fulvic acid.... but they are good.  I would recommend getting at least the silica, and maybe the aloe.  In terms of silica, it doesn't need to be Dyna-Gro..... AgSil16 is a great powder you can buy and just mix with water to make your own.  Available cheaply at so is the aloe, come to think of it.... and the kelp and alfalfa, in case you don't have those lol....

    My start tea is this recipe and this is for 5 gallons.

    1 cup of Alfalfa meal
    1/4 cup Kelp Meal

    Bubble for several hours - 24 - 36 something like that.

    Drain & strain then add the following:

    2 tsp. of Dyna Gro Pro-TeKt (liquid silica)
    1.25 cups Aloe Vera juice
    1/2 cup BioAg Fulvic Acid

    Apply to soil and spray the plants until completely drenched.

    That's it.


  20. #20 Navarone, Mar 28, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
    Haha yeah, I know this doesn't compare to a built living soil!
    So no more PHing starting now or when I build a new soil? If now, could I water straight from the carbon filter into the soil or should I still let it sit out overnight?
    From what I've been reading, people do amend their PP, so I'll get ready with that tea just in case. EWC is worm poop right? how much should I use? Like how deep a top dress layer should it be? Top dress then water to soak it into the soil?
    Not to detract from the whole organic soil program, which I really do like, but it seems amending, building and cooking soil just moves all the work from the middle-end of the grow to the beginning, then making teas is the same work as mixing chems to fix shortcomings. So as a way to make growing easier, I don't think so. I totally support the natural, living, synthetic chemical free style of growing though.
    I understand I could be TOTALLY WRONG, since I'm a total noob. Is a living organic soil really bulletproof, just add water? I may be brainwashed still from all the techno mumbo jumbo that the chemical companies sell us.
    Thanks again!

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