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Shirakura Mineral Rock for crystal shrimp

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OK so having not heard of this


I had a quick look. Apparently its a type of bentonite clay known as montmorillonite. There are a few types of bentonite clay (aka fullers earth) used in aquariums E.G. koi clay aka easy life aka geo-liquid.

Its a very interesting group of clays, and I say that with all honesty.

Anyway have a look at this

Mineral Location Search

and then at this

Redbank Plains, Ipswich City Shire, Queensland, Australia

and then at this


Montmorillonite: Montmorillonite mineral information and data.

whose a clever boy?

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Ok so we got a local source of smectites .

Next step is to find out if Sodium montmorillonite or Calcium montmorillonite is preferred for use with crystals.

I am thinking it will be the calcium one (Terramin) as that is the 'wonder clay'.

Hmmm wonder what the iron content is of the local stuff?

But ya will have a dig and see if its the good stuff.

I have read the white clays tend to be a lower pH, so that helps, altho still would need to be tested.

Anyway, anyone down for trying to find some fancy pants special shrimp rocks?

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OK maybe not so much use, but interesting paper none the less.


a paper presented by Gamble (1978) to

a seminar on foundations on expansive clay entitled “Design and construction

techniques adopted by Ipswich City Council in the construction and maintenance of

road pavements on expansive clay subgrades”

Madden Lane was a lime stabilisation project performed in 2001. The lane is

notoriously flat with only 0.3% grade on the kerb and channel. The blacksoil in this

area is typical of that which Gamble described in his paper, clays hundreds of metres

thick. The pavement design consisted of a 6% lime stabilisation of the subgrade to be

followed by 3 layers of gravel incorporating the kerb. Job records show that on the

day of the stabilisation works the job was hit by an unexpected storm event and the

boxed construction filled with water. Popular folklore in the area tells of how the local

young aboriginal children delighted in going for a swim in their new swimming

pool/road only to come out white from the lime.

The available literature goes in to great detail to explain the various classes of clays

which causes the swelling problem, however the one class of clay which causes the

majority of problems in Ipswich is Montmorillonite.

Gamble (1973) took tests on the Montmorillonite clays in the Ipswich area and found

the material to have the following properties.

Insitu Moisture Content 55 to 70%

Liquid Limit 87 to 110%

Plasticity Limit 33 to 40%

Plasticity Index 50 to 80%

Liner Shrinkage above 30%

The extent of the clay problem in Ipswich is greater than most people realise. To

quote Gamble (1973)

“ … a band of Montmorillonite clay …. A minimum depth of approximately 15m

and is known to be in excess of 100m in depth at some locations.”

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A little book excert on the Japanese stuff

Surface mining - Google Books

and on the ipswich stuff

Surface mining - Google Books

Looking into the gov files, probably pointless but heres a soil map

Powered by Google Docs


these guys are after the wrong type of rock

Rocla Quarries - Queensland

Industrial Clays of the Brisbane – Ipswich Area, Queensland. Geology, Mineralogy and Appraisal for Ceramics and other Industries. By: J.A. Ferguson. Reprint: 'Australian Journal of Applied Science', Vol. 5, No. 1, pp 73-88.

lol no super easy bullseye

but basically half the district is made of clay.

Might just go for a randon drive and pick up white rocks lol

sigh cant procrastinate any longer

better go do a water change

but links that may point the way.....

http://www.qld.gsa.org.au/TQGApr2005.pdf "Triassic plant fossil locality at Dinmore clay pit," sounds rather worthy!

http://www.vnc.qld.edu.au/enviro/college/env-ch1b.htm "Fossils (especially ferns) typical of the time are found in shale and claystone. These rocks are quite soft and hence readily weathered. Plant fossils can be readily viewed and collected in cuttings such as that shown below."


http://www.clays.org/journal/archive/volume%204/4-1-196.pdf looks like a dry but thorough read

http://www.startlocal.com.au/home/brickpaving/qld_brisbane/Claypave_Pty_Ltd__1483190.html or I could cheat and call someone who would know, someone who works with clay... eg

Edited by DeadFishFloating
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For those curious the "Shirakura" refers to the japanese Red Bee breeder Takayuki Shirakura. Its not a geographical mine location.

SHIRAKURA - Information on successfully keeping and breeding bee shrimp

The idea of adding anything to this tank is only to raise the GH and leave the KH as low as possible really.

Something I like to post when GH and KH come up.

GH is the amount of magnesium and calcium ions in the water

KH is the amount of Carbonate ions in the water

follow me on this

adding CALCIUM chloride will raise GH but not KH

adding SODIUM bicarbonate will raise KH but not GH

adding sodium chloride will raise neither.

adding magnesium sulphate will raise GH.

KH provides PH buffering

So I am still leaning heavily towards Calcium montmorillonite clay as being the best choice here.

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Problem is there are so many crazy natural medicine hippy websites advertising Calcium montmorillonite as a wonder cure it gets dam hard to find where to buy it in bulk. They all want to sell it to you for $100 a kg, when you could probably buy a 10 tonne truck load of it to seal a dam for $100!

The difference?

One is 'edible grade" dirt and the other is not.

To save $100 I think I am happy to bake some in an oven to steralize it meself lol

Calcium bentonite

Calcium bentonite is a useful adsorbent of ions in solution, as well as fats and oils, being a main active ingredient of fuller's earth, probably one of the earliest industrial cleaning agents. Calcium bentonite may be converted to sodium bentonite (termed sodium beneficiation or sodium activation) to exhibit many of sodium bentonite's properties by a process known as "ion exchange" (patented in 1935 by Germans U Hofmann and K Endell). In common usage, this means adding 5–10% of a soluble sodium salt such as sodium carbonate to wet bentonite, mixing well, and allowing time for the ion exchange to take place and water to remove the exchanged calcium. Some properties, such as viscosity and fluid loss of suspensions, of sodium-beneficiated calcium bentonite (or sodium-activated bentonite) may not be fully equivalent to those of natural sodium bentonite. For example, residual calcium carbonates (formed if exchanged cations are insufficiently removed) may result in inferior performance of the bentonite in geosynthetic liners

Bentonite - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

map of where most the worlds stuff comes from


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frikken Jesus.. that's some research DFF! lol

I know of the calcium bentonite being used in a huge variety of different herbal/hippy type drugs that claim to cleanse the body/detox and so forth... no sure on its effectiveness, but that's beside the point.

I would put your guesstimate on using the calcium variety correct, the Sodium montmorillonite doesn't have a lot of uses from what i know and is much to harsh to use in an aquarium environment, But my knowledge of the stuff is limited to a half arsed piece of research/assessment done in first year uni a long time ago :P

def let us know how you go

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Wow the first 3/4 of this I made perfect sense to being a geotechnical engineering student in my final semester at university, until you started talking about medicines haha! All the atterberg limits results got me excited haha!

Funnily enough we are having lengthy discussions at university at the moment about Montmorillonite and bentonite clays, perfect timing for me to ask my lecturer for a source for you Donny. And also since he is always on field investigating various slope failure sites around the world I am sure he is sure to come into contact with Montmorillonite in the near future and can probably bring some back for me if I asked kindly if that is what your trying to find out? Or are you trying to find a source for the exact same stuff as

Shirakura Mineral Rock.

Send me a PM with the type of rock you are exactly chasing and I will see what my lecturer says and do some research of my own in my spare time since rocks and soil are of high interest to me.

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Basically as far as I understand it, we are looking for Calcium bentonite or Calcium montmorillonite clay compacted hard enough to be placed into an aquarium, have them expand, but not fall apart. White is the prefered colour of clay for this. The closer we can get to that mined in Yasawagi district in Akita prefecture, Japan the more authentic it will be.

This was the link posted by a member here David! Amazon.com: Shirakura Mineral Rock - Aquarium Live Cherry Crystal Red Bee Shrimp: Patio, Lawn & Garden

Product Description

-Help maintain a good water quality - The pure natural Montmorillonite mineral rock is a lump of useful mineral groups . - Contains 16 necessary minerals such assilica acid, aluminum,calcium,magnesium, sodium, ferrous etc. around the core. These effective minerals keep water clean and help to supply nutrition dissolving slowly into water through ion exchanges Before using it, hold the stone under water for a short time about 4 times every few minutes to let it soak. This prevents later cracking and breaking. Just place about 200g Mineral Stone per 100 l water into the aquarium. Replace after about 6 months. There are no disadvantages to the shrimps in case of over-dosage. If the mineral stone is covered with algae, it should be removed from the aquarium and the algae should be brushed off softly. Afterward the stone can be placed in the aquarium again.

Mineral produced in Limited Mountain at Yasawagi district in Akita prefecture, Japan. Those who live at the district used to take this clay as secret medicine for diarrhea, injury, toothache etc.They call the clay marvelous soil or magic white soil. It is a wonderful gift from the earth, which cannot be produced artificially.
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I picked up a lot of Shirakura products in japan last year, customs didn't mind and i'm going back at the end of October so I will grab a nugget and bring it in to Pet City if you'd like.

You can get it on ebay and stuff like that, but there are a lot of "Panaphonics" style knock off products.

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The montmorillonite can't be disssolved in water and changed the pH of water. Because of its strong adsorption, it is a good additive for feeding Crystal red shrimp and fish.


First, the purity of montmorillonite is between 95-98%, that it is the best condition for feeding the Crystal red shrimp and fish. It also has whitening effect. It can redye and keep healthy of crystal red dwaf shrimp. Because of this, the white part of crystal red dwaf shrimp will become denser and denser. It could put into the flume directly and the effect will last for six months. When the montmorillonite is used as feed additive for crystal red shrimp, it also can be call as nutrition stone.

Second, stabilizing water. Montmorillonite can activate nituifying bacteria and stabilize water for a long time, it is the best bacteriam bed of nitrifying bacteria. If the pH between 6.5-7.5, by ionization, the water will be clearness and deodorization. The heavy metal hydronium and the float deleterious bacterium will be absorbed and killed.

Third, the montmorillonite contains more than 50 mineral nutriments.

Fourth, the float grass can adsorb varied of nutriment in montmorillonite. So the montmorillonite can promot the growth of float grass root system.

Appearance: Nubby shape, but the effect doesn't depend on its shape.

It has two types. There are instant and long-acting.

(1)Instant type: The purity is about 98%, dissolving and quickly in the water. Generalizing from Hongkong.

(2)Long acting type: The purity is about 98%, wetting slowly and keeping the shape in the water. Generalizing from Taiwan.

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