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Analysis of EcoSystem's Miracle Mud

Testing Performed by Inland Reef and Lars Sebralla.

Due to all of the controversy flying around about EcoSystem's Miracle Mud, both Inland Reef (a Nashua, NH based LFS and sponsor of ) and Lars Sebralla (a German hobbyist) performed independent elemental analyses of the product in question. Inland Reef used Northern Analytical Laboratory based out of Merrimack, NH to perform Glow Discharge Mass Spectometry to analyze a sample of Miracle Mud. According to N.A.L.:

"GDMS is the most comprehensive and sensitive technique available for the analysis of solids. .... It is amenable to solids, powders, crystals, wafers, and many other sample forms. Its elemental coverage encompasses lithium through uranium with the ability to determine impurity levels from the sub-ppb range to the percent level. GDMS advantages include total elemental coverage, high precision, low detection limits, quantitative accuracy (+25% on average), without the use of standards and its high resolution capabilities eliminate most spectral interferences."

Lars Sebralla employed X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry to analyze their sample of Miracle Mud. According to Lars, the sample was washed three times with DI water, heated to 105°C and then analyzed by their laboratory.

Results (compiled table courtesy of Inland Reef)

NOTE: All data presented in ppm (parts-per-million)

Lars Sebralla Inland Reef
Aluminum 53,200 approx. 70,000
Antimony <100 0.85
Arsenic <100 1.0
Barium <100 60
Beryllium not tested 0.75
Bismuth not tested <0.1
Boron not tested 3.7
Bromine <100 <1.0
Cadmium <100 <5.0
Calcium 24,300 approx. 40,000
Cerium not tested 8.0
Cesium not tested <0.05
Chromium <100 19
Chloride 232 200
Cobalt <100 6.1
Copper <100 6.0
Dysprosium not tested 1.5
Erbium not tested 0.95
Europium not tested 0.5
Fluorine not tested 4.4
Gadolinium not tested 2.2
Gallium not tested <2.0
Germanium not tested <2.0
Gold not tested <0.1
Hafnium not tested 0.45
Holmium not tested 0.35
Indium not tested <0.1
Iodine <100 <0.05
Iridium not tested <0.01
Iron 38,900 approx. 40,000
Lanthanum not tested 3.5
Lead <100 0.95
Lithium not tested 3.5
Lutetium not tested 0.2
Magnesium 11,000 approx. 20,000
Manganese 649 700
Mercury <100 <0.5
Molybdenum <100 40
Neodymium not tested 4.6
Nickel <100 5.0
Niobium not tested 1.0
Osmium not tested <0.01
Palladium not tested <5.0
Phosphorus 4,621 (as PO 4 ) 600
Platinum not tested <0.1
Potassium 4,830 1,800
Praseodymium not tested 1.0
Rhodium not tested <0.5
Rubidium not tested <1.0
Ruthenium not tested <0.5
Rhenium not tested <0.01
Samarium not tested 1.3
Scandium not tested <10
Selenium <100 <5.0
Silicon 262,578  (as SiO 2 ) approx. 300,000
Silver <100 <5.0
Sodium 6,820 approx. 10,000
Strontium 174 <20
Sulfur <100 32
Tantalum not tested <1.0
Tellurium not tested <0.5
Terbium not tested 1.0
Thallium <100 <0.05
Thorium not tested 0.24
Thulium not tested 0.1
Tin <100 0.5
Titanium 5,390 3,000
Tungsten not tested <0.1
Uranium not tested 0.076
Vanadium <100 100
Ytterbium not tested 1.2
Yttrium <100 <10
Zinc <100 30
Zirconium not tested 15

As can be seen, there is a large amount of Aluminum (~70,000 ppm), Calcium (~40,000 ppm), Iron (~40,000 ppm), Magnesium (~20,000 ppm), Silicon (~300,000 ppm), and Sodium (~10,000 ppm).

To quote Inland Reef:

"The analysis indicates that Miracle Mud is 30% silicon. This mostly likely exists in Miracle Mud as silicon dioxide, which is found in nature as quartz. As pointed out by Randy Holmes-Farley [a contributing author to Advanced Aquarist ], the molecular weight of silicon makes up less than half the molecular weight of silicon dioxide. So if the silicon present is all in the form of silicon dioxide, Miracle Mud is more than 63% quartz."

What is also suprising is that there is almost 40,000 ppm iron (almost 4%) in the samples. What is the need for iron in a marine substrate???

In addition to having the substrate analyzed via GDMS, photomicrographs of the substrate were taken using a Nikon microscope at 40x using a Fuji 1.5 megapixel camera. Visual evaluation of the photomicrographs seems to support the supposition that the product could be heavily laden with quartz crystals.


Created by liquid
Reefs.org
Last modified 2006-11-24 22:25
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