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ADA product analysis test

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Tom Barr, May 8, 2007.

  1. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    After listening to these folks whine about "how we really do not know what is in the ADA ferts, the powersand" and what not, rather than doing like them, I'll walk the walk.

    Test time.

    I have a nice spect
    I have reference standard solution/can make them with high precision.
    Have DI water
    Have more glassware than I'll ever use.

    Can measure NO3, NH4, PO4, K+, Fe.
    The pumps on the ADA dispensers are also easy to measure.

    I also have a new bag of the Powersand so many seem to claim it does miracles.......
    I'll use standard methods for soil analysis as well as plant extractable N and P.

    This will be either this month's or the fiollowing months newsletter.

    Otherwise you'll see algae articles for the next 5 months.
    You might likely have algae over load.:p

    I ought not to do that to you.

    So what is the goal here?
    Take 150$ worth of ADA products, test them well and accurately, so we know what is precisely in each product and then we can make that same ratio of NO3/K/PO4 etc from the basic chemicals such as KNO3.

    NO3 is still NO3, K+ is still K+........... no matter who sells it.
    Now if you want to pay 25$ for a 500ml bottle of some K+, that's up to you.

    However, I will show what is in the products, the methods, and results, and then will discuss it.

    Then you will no longer need to listen to the windbags who talk but seldom, if ever, do
    You'll know.

    I'll take the photo's of the process as well.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  2. George Farmer

    George Farmer Lifetime Members
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    Looking forward to that, Tom.

    You won't convince the die-hard ADA fans though. They love the pretty packaging too much..... :)

    Oh, and what about those special secret indgredients that won't show up on your fancy tests. You know, the ones that you need to believe in for them to work.... :lol:
     
  3. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    George, that is an easy test to run. First you force yourself to believe, really believe in the powers of the super ingredients. Observe the tank. Once you see how that goes - undoubtable exceptionally well - then read Tom's posts debunking the magic secret ingredients, convince yourself that he is never wrong, and repeat the test. Of course the plants will all be stunted. End of test.
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Why would anyone use the ADA line if the KCl is the same as the KCL you can buy anywhere for 40,000X less?

    That's no longer a rational argument, it's just brand loyalty without merit.
    The rest of the aquarists will have a much more powerful argument as to replicating and DIY any such product lines.

    They are still just guessing.
    When you press them to say what it is they give you this Baloney about not really being interested in the technical aspects, the science etc, they just want something that works. That's fine, but they still do not know what part is working however.

    They want to claim it's something yet cannot support that claim with any test or are too lazy to test it themselves to confirm. You do not get to flip flop back and forth to suit your argument's belief's.:rolleyes:

    You do not get to act like an expert if you have not tried it.

    They love to piss and moan to other people/newbies who have not tried the ADA line.
    Ever notice that part?

    "You have not tried it, so how can you say that it's no good or does not make the plants grow better or scaping easier?"

    I've heard them say that, then in the next breath when I say they have not tested it and isolated it to see which part/aspect is doing the effect, they frickin hedge and play all stupid and do not want to test nothing.

    So just like those they accuse of ignorance, they, ironically, are also ignorant.

    But boy, do they get mad when I attack them on that issue.
    I guess it's okay to give a good argument but it's no fun to have it done to you?

    Hummm.............
    They do not take their own advice.........

    We also will see how the ADA line works in detail, however, I already know what is likely to be the outcome.

    Still, rather than assuming like the ADA die hards, I'd rather test and prove my contentions(or not).

    The arguments as to some "secret" is bogus.
    You need to offer the alternative and the reasonable thing that might help plants grow better vs the alternative.

    I can say "secret" anytime I want I create speculation, it does nothing to resolve anything. As such, unless they test or actually do something, such comments are essentially meaningless and worthless.

    These types of comments do not move the hobby forward nor yield any new information. All they do is add doubt.
    No solutions.

    Nothing wrong with doubt, but try and see if such doubts are reasonable, and try to figure a way around them, not just creating them and that.........gets back to the common sense idea.........

    Just like they tell newbies all the time "You have to try to see".

    Funny how that does not work on them when it comes to science:mad:
    They do not have the time, money etc....yet have the time to monkey with tanks, blow big wads of cash for an entire line up..........sure you do not have the time........

    That is often why they get pissed at me, I'm a thorn in their side that takes his own advice, unlike them.............

    I'm not some nice passive scientists type.

    We know why plants grow, that is not proprioritory information.
    It's been well researched by folks far wiser and more astute than myself or anyone working at ADA.

    And when this is growth issue is addressed, then you apply it to all 300 species of aquatic plants with their individual variabilities, for something to work over such large broad patterns, it has to be something fairly universal and obvious.

    Thus whatever the effect is, it must be robust and significant enough to be seen over a large variety of situations, it's not some subtle difficult to measure effect.

    There are no secrets there, I think you end up looking pretty much like the fool that bought the snake oil if you buy into that, like I did when I bought some heating cables many years ago.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. shake

    shake Lifetime Charter Member
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    Tom,

    Are you telling me that ADA AS is not the best substrate around? That I could use something cheaper and get the same result. :D

    Only joking.

    I was one of those suckers that believed if I used AS, I could grow anything.

    I had gravel and laterite and grew fantastic plants. Picked up AS Amazonia about 7 months ago cheap.

    Re-did my tank about 7 weeks ago and this time used AS. Besides the look of it (which I like) I see now difference in plant growth. Actually I think my crypts grow slower with AS than with gravel and laterite.

    Everything else is same as before. Same fert routine, same ferts.

    In Australia AS is so expensive. Over $60AUD for 9litres.

    We don't have much to choose from here. ADA, Eco-complete, Dupla and plain gravel.

    I wish there was a cheaper alternative to AS that was similar in appearance and make.
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I've certainly found using ADA As is better than Flourite and EC.
    I have no issue suggesting that.

    I've tested it and it's generally pretty common observation.
    Yet many ascribe all their success to the "complete system".
    They suggest that you must use all of it to have a good measure of success. They suggest it can be done without it, but with it it makes things "easier".

    Really?
    Compared to their last tank?
    What makes it "easier"?
    What specifically is "easier"?
    What are "easier" units also?

    Have they really tried to learn how to manage their last method, gravel type etc?
    I've been well able to do well with plain sand, and soil, and ADA AS or AS+PS, or Flourite, Kitty litter, non CO2 methods, Marine methods and so forth.

    I know those methods pretty well and am able to do well with them, so is it the method, or the person when they claim they cannot grow some plants?

    I wonder.........what ruler are they using to compare to?

    You need to be able to grow something well and have success to fairly compare two methods, if you only give one a chance because you put the effort in it or just got lucky with your habitats, that does not fairly judge the method.
    1/2 butt tries are not acceptable as a comparison.

    Less algae?
    Better, meaning faster growth vs another method?
    Easier to manage? How? Slower growth? What units are they using here?
    Slower growth is easy, use less light:cool:
    How is that ADA's method or secret?
    It's not, nor is it a "secret" ingredient.
    Nutrients are not either, nor is soil nor is peat nor is clay.
    Neither is CO2.
    We can add lean nutrients to the water column and add soil + sand and get similar results, the soil is an unknown for many and poorly used these days.

    Would an ADA person stoop so low as to use soil in a CO2 enriched tank?
    Generally not.

    They tell folks "you have to try it to see", then do not bother to try it themselves when I ask what part of the system is actually doing the work/causing the effect. I have bothered to try it and see... and they have not. They fall back on the same old lines but do not take their own advice.
    It's a real pattern and I am active enough on the web to see this same old thing many times now.


    I agree with the ADA As being a great substrate, I like it and suggest it, however, I have compared the individual parts myself several times with ADA PS.
    I also know a lot about water column dosing and testing/methods.
    ADA has not come out with anything new there. Their best ideas are the ADA AS, tanks and nice styling.

    Kudos for those. I've not evaluated everything they make, nor plan to test each little bottle of Penac, Tourmaline etc, I already know from studies and basic science the reasoning cannot be what is claimed.

    But I do not buy all the rest of that stuff.
    I do not pay for bad poetry as some rational for buying a product.

    Dupla brought CO2 to the mainstream, but we did not need Dupla Daily drops (this was about 30$ for a tiny bottle, much like ECA by ADA), nor "KH tablets", nor 150 $ CO2 Reactors, nor 500-700$ heating cables.

    But many thought and argued that those where all part of the system and you had to use all of it for success. And...........History repeats itself and folks waste $ on stuff that is really not helping them.

    But I'm a bad guy for pointing that out, I'm bad for suggesting other methods or cheaper methods that do the same thing. I'm a bad guy for daring to question Amano or ADA's marketing?

    Right, like saying that crap is ever going to stop me, I ask questions and try and find out things, no matter how uncomfortable some might feel about it.
    I'll ask point blank what is in it, what it cost etc.
    You bring it up, it's fair game to ask.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. Moody

    Moody Prolific Poster

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    Will you be doing a test on the pulsar puls stick that ADA have released?
    It seems a very strange object to add, almost psychicly powerd or something, what is it all about. I mean an orange stick that brings a syncrinised puls back into the tank to help plants grow, blah!!

    Regards,
    Graeme.
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I will not do any test on Penac, if you believe that monkey business, it's pretty obvious you'd believe just about any marketing baloney.

    Don't like what I said?
    Prove me wrong and test it.
    Show me those biological "oscillation waves" and their units of measure.
    I dare ya.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. cousinkenni

    cousinkenni Prolific Poster

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    Hey Tom,

    will you be testing everything......step 1, 2,3, lights, shade, ECA and green gain?
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I am testing Steps 1-3, bright special lights/shade and brighty K.
    So 6 products and then the powersand.

    I am not testing the ECA, and the rest of the little bottles of juice.
    I know what is in those for the most part and know their concentrations are much less critical than NPK etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. blackBRUSHalgae

    blackBRUSHalgae Junior Poster

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    I would certainly believe competitors have already bought each other's product and cross examined them down to every atom. Certainly big player like Seachem, ADA, Azoo, Dennerle and Tropica have "understood" each other very well.

    Giants like Budweiser, GM, Pepsi, Nike don't just spent $20M for a 30sec air time during superbowl for nothing. And that is only peanuts compares to the total amount of $$$ they spent each year just to brand and market their image. Renault is losing market share every single minute to japanese car makers, but yet they are still spending tons of money into F1, why? Branding. Television and advertising owns and so does your ABC, CBS, CNN, BBC, etc. Every single politician in every nation knew that. Monkey see, monkey do. Very simple. All the information is out there, and all you have to do is choose what you want to believe in.
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Or as Political Scientists well know:
    Perception sells, not the facts.

    Add enough confusions and speculation, even hard science is diluted by an unwitting public. Of course some folks in this hobby poo poo me for trouncing on their baloney.

    I speculate, but not to confuse other folks. That is a massive difference. I am also quite aggressive about such behaviors and I think most folks can tell when they are trying to confuse and BS you, versus actually try and understand things.

    I'm not out to be a jerk or stifle discussion, I am out stifle BS, baloney and hacks too dang lazy to test and try out their own dang ideas to support them what are willing to talk smack about mine without ever bothering to look into it or test a single thing.

    Heck, you make a speculation/hypothesis, go try and see if it holds true or not, it's your idea, you go figure it out and just don't sit on yer hiney whining about what everyone else is actually doing.

    I really do not think many of these companies really measured and test some other's things. They often just embellish some of the products. Adding a little less of this or that. Maybe adding some humic acids to a trace, a different chelator etc.

    Then marketing kicks into high gear and suggest that these are differences that warrant your $ and brand loyalty. Each has a unique product at some point, ADA has the ADA AS and nice glassware, tanks, Seachem: Flourite, excel, Flourish etc, not so sure about Azoo/Dennerle, Tropica has TMG and nice plants.

    The rest of the stuff, that is where folks start seeing marketing and less product development. I actively support these companies though.

    But I also am not blind either..............

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. blackBRUSHalgae

    blackBRUSHalgae Junior Poster

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    Amen. Seeing is believing, but what you have seen is it really what it is? :) and I choose to believe in EI dosing and it is working beautifully. $XX for a bottle of brigthy potassium? Erm... maybe not.
     
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, that's where a simple test comes in and settles the issues.

    However, the faithful brand loyalist shall not waver, they will come up with some criticism.

    Therefore I try and be thorough and make it very difficult to argue with the test results. Then it becomes of an issue of what is reasonable and likely, there is always room for some doubt. The goal is to reduce it down and rule out the main issues.

    From there they have to show that since now we do know a fair amount through test, that their ideas of doubt have merit. If they are unwilling to test and learn more about the product they so cherish, and we have bothered to test, it's speculation without test, which is fine, but brings nothing new to the table and they really just do not know.

    By making a hypothesis and testing it, we know a lot more than observationalist.
    Also, plants grow for defined reasons, not magic.

    So we have a simple easy place to start when isolating and choosing a likely nutrient or compound that may be causing an affect. I just want to see what I can know and what can be ruled out.

    Back some years ago, many of the folks on the APD actually did test and while they also speculated, they followed up on the speculation. Some such as Ivo and Jamie actually tested and did a lot of work to show their points.

    They had jobs that allowed it also, much like me.
    Paul and Kevin gave a very thoughtful approach to DIY macro fertilization.
    Karen Randall and Roger Miller offered a lot of good sound advice.

    George Booth was the Dupla Brand loyalist.
    But he was/is honest and a good debater about it also.

    These groups of folks taken together provided a powerful tool for understanding plants. We also had a local club that was very interesting in testing an measurements.

    This way, folks knew what was useful in the Dupla line and how we might improve upon it given each aquarists conditions.

    We know that the Fe used in the dupla Daily drops 24 was ETDA Fe and we did not need to pay 30$ for a little bottle. We see a similar knock off in the ADA line, ECA.

    Of course some brand loyalists that has not gone through this, might have 4-5 years in the hobby or even is aware of the test we did 15 years ago may think I'm just knocking their loved product line and feels they can argue with me at the same level through semantics :cool:
    And without doing much testing, if any themselves.

    We often see the classic fall back defense after you press them for test and some measurement data etc, some justifications..........."I am just a hobbyist, I'm not an expert". Nothing wrong with that, but taken together with the semantics and the tangent confusion arguments?

    It really does nothing to help resolve anything.

    Most do not come to the forums and boards to have a belief based support group, some do, but most do not. They come to get information, to learn, to figure things out and why they work, to reduce the hassle and cost involved in the hobby.

    A few like to test and can help the rest of the group.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  15. cousinkenni

    cousinkenni Prolific Poster

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    Tom,

    Are you going to test the ADA products for Ca++ and MG++?

    Thanks,

    Ken T.
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Probably.

    I'll be doing this test next month, I just do not have time with finals this month.
    The Newsletter will be a couple of days late and on a different topic.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  17. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    I think a cheap topsoil substrate with judicious water column dosing will produce as good results overall as will any of the expensive designer substrates, most of which (or all) require water column dosing anyway.

    I haven't done head-to-head comparisons but the neither have the vendors of the designer substrates. They put there funds into advertising and promotion.

    Tom may be conducting such tests.

    Bill
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I actually am with the plants right now but only with sediments, no other comparisons(eg water column + sediments, roots/no roots etc)

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  19. Martin

    Martin Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'm really looking forward to hearing news on these tests.
    Finding good ways to increase Total Tank Happiness is the finest and brightest goal for plant geeks such as you, me, him, her, them etc.

    The composistion of ADA AS should be easy to find, and finding another similar product should be easy. Perhaps not in the small granules, but a product made from the same compounds should be out there.
     
  20. Martin

    Martin Lifetime Charter Member
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    I've heard from a russian planter that he has a recipe for ADA soi.
    Unfortunately he hasn't sent it to me.. yet..

    Anyone here know it? Tom?

    In Denmark we have nothing... we have gravel in different wonderful colors.. but that's it. No soils, no flourite, no eco, no nothing..
    So a recipe for DIY'ing would greatly enhance the hobby.. for some anyway.!
     
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