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Thread: Hydrogel crystals/water absorbing crystals

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    It's been one of dem days BigCarnivourKid's Avatar
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    Red face

    Posting this because several of us were thinking about using them in our CP soil. The problem with them is that when they break down, they may fertlize the soil. According to the Gardener's Supply catalog I got today, Terra-Sorb is potassium-based and breaks down into fertilizer. Other types of these water absorbing crystals are sodium-based and break down into salt compounds. While some CPs are tolerant of fertilizer, like some Nepenthes, others like Venus Flytraps aren't. So be aware of this if/when you use them.
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    SirKristoff is a poopiehead Ozzy's Avatar
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    I saw these crystals in Lowes about a year ago. I got the company name and I looked them up and I called them. I explained the situation, about cp's and they told me that there is nothing toxic in them. They said that every ingredient was completely inert. They even sent me a free sample.
    With the claims that they make it seems to be perfect for cp's. I don't remember all the claims now, but I think it says that they can hold like 3 times their volume of water, and slowly release the water so that you won't have to water as often. I think there was other claims too, but I don't remember. I went on the cp listserv and asked if anyone knew anything about it.
    I got one reply that said don't use it it'll poison cp's. If I remember right she said about the same think that you're saying, except she said it was some nasty chemical. So I never even opened the bag. I decided that it wasn't worth the risk.

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    What's the benefit of using theese?
    Trinity NIghts is Nethaniel, (which you all know by now right?) He is banned.

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    I think I'll give it a try with some d. spatulata.
    I can't see the chemical breakdown occuring to quickly. I generally use sodium based crystals, so I'll try those.

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    N=R* fs fp ne fl fi fc L Pyro's Avatar
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    The crytals will break down in about a years time. They are a two part compound, one is the potassium or sodium based compound and the other is acrylamide. Obviously the potassium/sodium is toxic to CPs but few people know about the acrylamide. Acrylamide is a potent neurotoxin/carcinogen. In low doses it is generally tolerable by the body but the higher doses can get nasty. Because of the acrylamide the manufacturers of these products recommend they only be used for ornamental plants in situations where you are looking to have to water less often. Keeping them constantly wet will leach the acrylamide out faster and if you grow your plants on a tray system it will just be hanging around there. My advice would be to forget using it.

    There is rumor of one company that makes a starch only based water gel but I have yet to find it.
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    The benefit is you don't have to water as often. They are like magic, I love them and used them for indoor plants when I was working in that industry. I've often thought they'd be helpfull, and I think I'll try to get some to try on some CPs. I believe the good quality brands are carbon based, but I'll have to look into it.

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    Doesn't spaghnum absorb three times its volume in water? Seems like a safer alternative perhaps.

    Also on the topic of growing media, i just picked up a bag of rockwool that somebody was throwing out, vaguely recalling a discussion of its use in CP culture. Does anybody use rockwool for CPs? I tried mixing a bit in when i uppotted my ventricosa, but i wasn't sure what properties it contributes.
    There's no 'a' in perlite.

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    SirKristoff is a poopiehead Ozzy's Avatar
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    D muscipula,
    You're right spaghnum does absorb alot of water and act similar to the crystals. You're also right about it being safer to use with cp's. But there is a problem with spaghnum. It grows in wetlands just like cp's, and it's habitat is being destroyed just like cp's. There are farms that produce and manage the growth and harvest of spaghnum, but there are also sources that take it from the wild and sell it for a profit. I have read alot of stories about people opening a bag of spaghnum and finding a whole pitcher plant.
    You're right spaghnum is probably the best growing media that we'll ever have. But if we could find a safe alternitive, then we could reduce the damand for spaghnum. Which is the first thing I thought about when I read the claims of the crystals. Too bad we don't have a crystal that has a acidy ph and breaks down safely or better yet won't break down at all.

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