Clay Kitty Litter Alternative


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Really liked the suggestion of using plain (unscented) kitty litter as an alternative to the pricey bagged pond soil. We tried it this weekend for the first time to repot some lilies. We mixed about 75% litter, with 25% top soil and hand mixed it with water outside of the pond. The consistency seemed ok and we put a thin layer of pea gravel on top to hold it all together.

Lowering it to the bottom (4.5ft) worked just fine and there was minimal dusting happening in the water.

The following day however, our entire pond is immensely cloudy so water quality is certainly suffering. We've repotted lilies using the expensive bagged pond soil and I don't recall any cloudiness.

Just wondering if anyone else has had any experience with using clay cat litter as an alternative?

Wammy
 
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years back I tried that route for some lilies... got the plain old nothing litter that was just clay. We got the cloudy water.. and then noticed the clay had softened and expanded so much it was coming out of the pots. So we pulled them up and it was a mess... so i dumped it and went back to the pricey stuff.

I have seen the hydroponic media recently and wondered if that could be used as a replacement. Might be cheaper if you can find a store locally.
 
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Interesting. I only use kitty litter for my lilies and never have had trouble with cloudiness once the initial settling takes place. I wonder if your fish are rooting around in the pots and stirring things up? I top my pots off with small cobblestones or gravel to keep them out of the pots. Pea gravel may not be enough to keep them out.

I also wanted to add that cloudiness is not indicative of water quality, so I wouldn't worry about that part of it. Kitty litter (bentonite clay) is actually a good pond additive. It's good for the fish and will actually help settle any tiny floating debris if you use it on a regular basis.
 

j.w

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I use kitty litter in my big pots for the Mare's tail and the Parrots Feather plants and sometimes when you add the litter it will poof up a cloudy gray for a bit but it goes away and like @Lisak1 said it is good for your pond and will not hurt the fish. It will eventually settle. I have never mixed soil w/mine, just use it plain. I have pea gravel and flat stones on top in between the plants to keep the goldfish from digging. If you have koi tho you might need a more heavy duty topping to keep them from tearing things up.
 
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I thought i hunted down the bentonite clay litter when I tried.... maybe i got something else. It puffed up a few inches out of the plastic mesh basket.

Wammy, what brand of litter did you get?
 
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I potted two water lilies and three pickerel rush using Walmart kitty litter, added water and put pea gravel on top. I shook the pots a bit after putting them into water to get the air bubbles to release.
 
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I too bought the Wal-mart litter, called Special Kitty 100% clay but that was a few years ago and they could have changed the name by now.
 

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A couple of years ago I decided to try using Oil-Dri instead of kitty litter. It is the same ingredient but baked at a high temperature. After a year when I pulled the pots up, no nasty stinky mess. I don't use soil anywhere in my pond plantings. Use larger stones on top of clay as I have large koi that like to dig. Bought 50lb bags, a little more in cost than Walmart litter.
 
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A couple of years ago I decided to try using Oil-Dri instead of kitty litter. It is the same ingredient but baked at a high temperature. After a year when I pulled the pots up, no nasty stinky mess. I don't use soil anywhere in my pond plantings. Use larger stones on top of clay as I have large koi that like to dig. Bought 50lb bags, a little more in cost than Walmart litter.
Oil - Dry, I'm curious. I use clay kitty litter but agree the pots get to be a stinky mess :(
 

addy1

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Nothing but kitty litter used, the stuff does stink I just wear gloves, the lilies do great in it.
Every spring or fall I lift them out of the oil pans and add around 1/4 cup of osmocote to the bottom of the pan under the litter. That is the only fertilizer they get.
The ones in the hot tub get tabs now and then.
 
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A couple of years ago I decided to try using Oil-Dri instead of kitty litter. It is the same ingredient but baked at a high temperature. After a year when I pulled the pots up, no nasty stinky mess. I don't use soil anywhere in my pond plantings. Use larger stones on top of clay as I have large koi that like to dig. Bought 50lb bags, a little more in cost than Walmart litter.

I second the use of oil-dri. I use the stuff from NAPA. Make sure you check the granule size and if there are any additives before you buy.

It's good for bonsai too... If you need another hobby.
 

j.w

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Wal-mart kitty litter that I bought a couple years ago said only 100% clay. Oil-dri says silica and can harm your lungs if you breath it. Possibly carcinogenic. I'm sticking to the kitty litter.
 

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Oil-dri says silica and can harm your lungs if you breath it.

This is why I recommended reading the label first. The NAPA stuff I use has <1% of silica and lists 100% Diatomaceous Earth as ingredients.

Regardless, I rinse it thoroughly to keep down the dust and remove any residue.
 
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Could it be the type of potting pot used allowed too much kitty litter to seep out causing the cloudiness? When I used kitty litter I used a nursery plant pot (black with 3/4 drainage holes on outside bottom rim). I also covered the holes with coffee filters allowing water to circulate but keep in the kitty litter. I never used a mesh basket.
Just my 2 cents!
 
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Could it be the type of potting pot used allowed too much kitty litter to seep out causing the cloudiness? When I used kitty litter I used a nursery plant pot (black with 3/4 drainage holes on outside bottom rim). I also covered the holes with coffee filters allowing water to circulate but keep in the kitty litter. I never used a mesh basket.
Just my 2 cents!

Good catch! A mesh basket would have a hard time holding almost any plant media inside, unless it was hard packed.
 
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When I replanted my lilies this year I didn't have any kitty litter so I used regular dirt. What a mistake. The next day the pond was so muddy I couldn't see an inch down. After running the filter for a week I resorted to having to set up a separate two stage filter to clean up the mess. I did a youtube video on it. Once cleaned up I headed to Walmart and bought a bag of kitty litter. Even with some of the litter spilling out the pond remained crystal clear so clear in fact that the only thing I see is the white kitty litter on the bottom. I'll never make the mistake of using dirt again!
 

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