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Thread: Crushed lava rock instead of sand?

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    Nepenthes newbie
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    Crushed lava rock instead of sand?

    I've been thinking about repotting my nepenthes lately, which is in a mixture of sphagnum, peat and orchid bark, and I don't have much clean sand to mix in. Would it be possible to crush up some red landscaping lava rock into bits, and use it as sand? I'll most likely wash the minerals out of them, but I'm worried about how well it holds water or drains it. Also, how small should I crush it to?

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Do you have a rock crusher? I do not advise trying to crush rock with a sledge hammer. 1) it is hard work. 2) the splinters get all over the place (you'll put out an eye!). Anything from aquarium gravel to perlite bit size should be ideal.
    Last edited by Not a Number; 04-12-2014 at 09:10 AM.
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    I smash my basalt in a heshen bag with a sledge hammer, no flying rocks, there is basalt country near here so I collect some now and then, the bag stops rocks attacking you and the materials of the bag are strong, but more importantly plants are not poisoned by any of its components, otherwise (although not suggested) we have also used a small cement mixer to break the rocks up, but the machine was pretty hammered after.

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    divaskid's Avatar
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    I know others just use the lava rocks as is without crushing them. Seems to work fine with Nepenthes.
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    The lava rocks are rather large, because they are landscaping rocks, and although there are some smaller ones, I was thinking about placing them into a plastic bag and hammering them. I'm just a bit concerned about the mineral content ; I've been running it through hot water until it is clear, but I'm not quite sure if that's enough.

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    I spent the last two days washing and separating out some black lava rock I got. I use it in my ping mix but this time around I saved the sand that was left over. I am interested to see how that works. It took forever to get out all of the cloudiness though. I had to have looked like I was panning for gold those couple of days in the driveway lol.

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    I frequently use what is referred to as "lava gravel" in my Nep mix. I believe it's the same as what is referenced here, albeit a little finer. You can find it under that name at Home Depot/Lowes/Ace/Wherever. I find that it's a good addition, and does no harm to my plants. I don't see why you couldnt' add it, even it it was rather large. The smaller parts of your mix will fill in the gaps and it should work well.

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    Enthusiastic Enthusiast Zath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dante1709 View Post
    I've been running it through hot water until it is clear, but I'm not quite sure if that's enough.
    I don't have much to contribute, but I will share a tip I learned during my vivarium phase. When washing / rinsing media, always use -cold- tap water; the reason being, your hot-water heater adds some undesirables, salts and metals, etc, that build up inside it over time.

    (Edit) Damn, sorry for the necro-post...I should know better by now. I was using the search function for something and then forgot this wasn't an active thread. >.<
    Last edited by Zath; 07-30-2014 at 10:46 AM.

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