- Rasputin wrote:
- You do substrates too? I've been working on the same thing this year.
Well, if you need formula info, let me know; I just went for something which uses the least amount (by weight and volume, take your pick) to do the most work, which means essentially zero-toxicity to macro-organisms (think yourself, or a given scorpion), but which has and retains even in a broad range of temperatures & pH ranges, antifungal & antimicrobial activity.
I've got what I *think* is the most synergistic mixture of low (to virtually non) water-soluble parabens (think TegoSept-P on steroids due to potentiation) so I can make my 'stock' solution, from which I can add a few milliliters to a gallon of water which I can then use to reconstitute coco coir/bedabeast/eco-earth/what-have-you; I use a higher concentration as a soak for cork bark/etcetera to 'proof' those as well.
In summary, I've now got a substrate which is
-Non-toxic to you, I, or inverts (even if consumed - something they aren't prone to doing in any event);
-A non-food item for fungi and bacteria.
Once treated, thanks to the heat & pH stability, the substrate should retain antimicrobial and antifungal activity for longer than the lifespan of any captive-kept invert which I'm aware of (at least it has so far). This was the *EASY* part of the "tackling fungal pathogens" problem, believe it or not: it is invert-safe systemic treatments which are still a bit of a ragged edge, as it were.
The stability and activity over a broad temp & pH range is important for obvious reasons (e.g., putting a heat lamp & boosting the ambient temps to 130 degrees F isn't a problem, nor is the addition of mild buffers/bases/weak acids -- IOW, don't mist with drain cleaner or battery acid, either, but even *vinegar* should be OK -- not recommended for the pet, but you get the picture...)
Of course, while many (MANY) people have inquired about this, I'm at a bit of a loss, here, as while I'm honestly not out to gouge anyone (in point of fact, while the materials cost are relatively cheap, even on a small scale -- it's the hours of time, research, testing, and the fact that it is a specific process I have to subject the substrate to and which is time consuming, as I'm not running a factory -- that guarantees that not only is it not profitable for me to sell the stuff, but even to recoup JUST the materials cost alone, I'll have to put a price higher than the average hobbyist could or should have to pay; for me to actually be fully reimbursed for time spent, I'd have to price it somewhere below about 1/3'rd the raw market price for Gold), I'm also not keen on making 20 gallons of the stuff, prepping it up, packing it, and having to eat some of the materials cost, to boot.
I'm not trying to sound petty (though I probably do), but you should see my point: for every $100 in materials spent, in addition to hours of work in preparing it, I'd get $50 back? Basically, on a small scale, and sans patenting the process (which is expensive in & off itself), if I could, there's really no way I can price it competitively with Bedabeast/etcetera without taking a serious cash-hit...And that defeats the purpose of trying to make back some of the monies already spent in my current endeavors, which I'm doing with the full intent of making available for the public/community at large. So, huh.
Sorry if I come off as irritated; long day and night before, two more long ones ahead. Feh.
Any thoughts you have on the matter are welcomed; I know what it costs in raw materials to make the stuff; what I've no solid idea on is what to price it at (beyond ideally at least covering the materials alone). Feedback is appreciated.