Aquasoil + Diy Substrate ?

Nathi Kaminski

New Member
Jan 25, 2020
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Hello! My name is nathalia and im from uruguay. Here it is very hard to find commercial substrates for planted tanks thats why I brought a 9L ADA Amazonia Aquasoil bag from brasil in my bag . The thing is that im setting a tank with this base dimentions: 40cmx80cm (16inx32in). For that size i would need 20 Liters of soil or more. And i only have 9. I was thinking in using the ADA aquasoil as a top layer and under it doing a homemade substrate for planted tanks. This mix would be something like red clay + worms hummus + vermiculite + perlite + inert gravel/sand. Would this be ok? I read somewhere that i shouldnt mix basic and acidic substrates (vermiculite and aquasoil perhaps) but i dont know. Please help me. Thank youu! And sorry for my english .
 

bshenanagins

Junior Poster
Mar 3, 2017
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I’m actually doing something similar, soil bottom capped with safe t sorb and a layer of aquasoil. It wasn’t on purpose, but it’s just working out that way. Just make sure you have a good cap, either sand or gravel, then AS on top. The only downside to dirt is uprooting, it’ll get messy if your not careful. Also, do not add perlite, it’ll float out of the substrate and is unnecessary.
 

EvolvedThreads

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May 28, 2022
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I'm testing a homemade base mix of crushed lava rock and pumice stone mixed with some crushed nutrient tabs under the aquasoil. Not an experienced tank keeper, but since it seems to be the base of things like ADA powersand and it works great on regular soil mixes for plants growing out of water seemed like a logical choice. Had to wash it thoroughly and paid attention to make sure there were no additives and that it was quality stuff though. That said, I've been able to add a nice amount of height to the tank and then covering it with aquasoil on top. Been using mesh bags to fill with the pumice/lava mix to build terraces. Definitely a cost saver and adds a lot of volume.
 

Mooner

Lifetime Charter Member
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Jun 9, 2006
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Aqua soil can be very dirty as it breaks down. Use AS under the inert substrate as it has high CEC and leaches ammonia. This would be similar to root tabs or dirt capped tank.

Cheers
 

EvolvedThreads

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May 28, 2022
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Aqua soil can be very dirty as it breaks down. Use AS under the inert substrate as it has high CEC and leaches ammonia. This would be similar to root tabs or dirt capped tank.

Cheers
Sounds like you're suggesting also capping the aquasoil with inert sand or gravel to ensure that the nitrogen doesn't leech into the water column. I've seen a lot of aquariums managed with aquasoil as the top layer so long as there is heavy plant volume and the water changes are managed properly in the first four weeks or so. Something like 50% daily for the first 2 weeks and then progressively reducing the water changes while introducing algae eaters like amano shrimp or ottocinclids into the tank. Would you say that is accurate?
 

Mooner

Lifetime Charter Member
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Jun 9, 2006
332
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Colorado
Sounds like you're suggesting also capping the aquasoil with inert sand or gravel to ensure that the nitrogen doesn't leech into the water column. I've seen a lot of aquariums managed with aquasoil as the top layer so long as there is heavy plant volume and the water changes are managed properly in the first four weeks or so. Something like 50% daily for the first 2 weeks and then progressively reducing the water changes while introducing algae eaters like amano shrimp or ottocinclids into the tank. Would you say that is accurate?

Sure, this is the common thinking.

Consider this, why spending all the $$ for AS, put it in the aquarium only to do 50% daily WC's for weeks to rid the substrate of ammonia(plant food)? Seems like a waste of water and nutrients. The OP has limited access to AS, layering it to the bottom as a root tab, standard weekly WC's, good light and CO2. Saves water and uses the ammonia as plant food. You would be surprised how much more you will get from AS doing this vs massive daily WC's and keeps the mess at bay. Capping AS will not keep it from leaching, what is in the substrate will be in the water column. As the AS runs out of nutrients, there is EI and/or recharging substrate with new AS. The bonus is not throwing out the inert substrate one already has. Just my thoughts, search the internet for all the problems aquarists have with a full tank of AS substrate, look at all options. Any substrate used in the aquarium is only part of the equation, CO2 is far more important and challenging.

Cheers
 

EvolvedThreads

New Member
May 28, 2022
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United States
Sure, this is the common thinking.

Consider this, why spending all the $$ for AS, put it in the aquarium only to do 50% daily WC's for weeks to rid the substrate of ammonia(plant food)? Seems like a waste of water and nutrients. The OP has limited access to AS, layering it to the bottom as a root tab, standard weekly WC's, good light and CO2. Saves water and uses the ammonia as plant food. You would be surprised how much more you will get from AS doing this vs massive daily WC's and keeps the mess at bay. Capping AS will not keep it from leaching, what is in the substrate will be in the water column. As the AS runs out of nutrients, there is EI and/or recharging substrate with new AS. The bonus is not throwing out the inert substrate one already has. Just my thoughts, search the internet for all the problems aquarists have with a full tank of AS substrate, look at all options. Any substrate used in the aquarium is only part of the equation, CO2 is far more important and challenging.

Cheers
I agree that it is a bit odd to put the nutrients in just to pull them all out. I imagine it has to do with getting the beneficial bacteria to equilibrium although I would love to better understand what the reasoning is for the method of the heavy initial water changes which seems to be common practice. But I see what you mean here given the OP's comment. Using the aquasoil under and then putting the homemade clay based soil on top.