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Could Aquasoil really be Akadama in disguise?

Discussion in 'Sediment / Substrate' started by Homer_Simpson, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    It is rumored that the great Amano Takishi, used Akadama in his tanks prior to using Aquasoil.

    From the information that I have come across, it seems that people are using
    Akadama as a substrate and seeing equivalent plant growth to ADA Aquasoil. The difference being that the Akadema is a fraction of the cost of the ADA Aquasoil.

    eBay Canada – New and used Akadama, Gardening Plants, Home Garden on eBay.ca


    Interestingly, this substrate traditionally used for growing Bonsais, is actually volcanic soil from Japan baked at 2200 degrees farenheit, which would make it very similiar in composition to Aquasoil.
    Akadama
    Akadama - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Just when I was about to set up a test tank to test this substrate, I discovered that someone beat me to the punch. Lol, probably a good thing as I really didn't have the room to set up another aquarium.

    James C, who has some of the most beatiful tanks around, talks about Akadama in detail, set up a test tank himself with amazing results, and references some links from the APC forum re: the use of Akadama in tanks with excellent results. For folks looking for a cheaper Aquasoil alternative with equivalent results, Akadama may well be worth looking into.

    I really wonder if Aquasoil is Akadama in disguise, with the fancy marketing.
     
  2. ccLansman

    ccLansman Guru Class Expert

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    On the ebay posts the cost for shipping was over $20 for only 1 gallon worth. That cannot be more then a few lbs. Are you sure its cheaper then aquasoil?
     
  3. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    Perhaps if shipped you may be correct and I may have overlooked this. However, for some it may be locally available through local bonsai shops. I believe James C was able to obtain some from a local Bonsai Shop in the UK.

    Keep in mind that ADA Aquasoil is harder to come by locally than the Akadama so costwise Akadama may be cheaper if you can locate a local bosai supplies shop that carries it.
     
  4. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    The only question I see about Akadama is whether it loses its hardness and particle texture when under water for a year. From James C's article it looks like it holds up well, but I have read that some of the earlier substrate materials turned soft eventually. Then, of course, ADA AS is loaded with nutrients, where Akadama seems to just be a fired clay product, largely inert.
     
  5. Tobi

    Tobi Junior Poster

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    Hi,

    here in Germany many people tried Akadama as substrate. The majority wasn't satisfied.
    The problem with Akadama is, that you need to fertilize a lot. Many Germans do not want to add abundance of NPK and therefor failed with Akadama.
    ADA Aqua Soil is definitively easier to work with. It is packed with nutrients and guarantees good growth in the first weeks. Therefor Akadama isn't a real alternative to Aqua Soil.

    Best Regards
    Tobi
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    They sell this stuff in the Bonsai trade.
    It's pretty much inert near as I could tell also.

    Whether the fert is in the sediment or water column, it is still in your tank, you just are not able to measure it, so you are adding high ferts to the tank whether you realize it or not.

    That is why plants grow faster in richer sediments.
    There is no choice to add KNO3 etc, you already added a bunch:p


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. JamesC

    JamesC Lifetime Charter Member
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    I often wondered myself if Akadama and AS were similar. If you look in Amano's first book you see he uses it. Akadama is inert when you buy it but you are able to treat it first if you want. As it's a hydrogen exchanger it will take in cations ie, Ca++, Mg++, etc and make these available for the plant's roots.

    Also as Akadama has very similar properties to cat litter in that it will remove ammonium (NH4+) from the water and make this available for the plants. So theoretically you could soak the Akadama in something like ammonium nitrate before use.

    Does anyone know what nutrients AS has?

    I decided to try Akadama because here in the UK it is so cheap compared to all other substrates and easy to get hold of at many Bonsai stores. Even silica sand and plain gravel cost more at my local aquarium store. So far it hasn't crumbled and planting is a pleasure. I'm a water column doser so this type of substrate suits me well. There are different grades you can buy. Some I found to be quite crumbly, but the one I use is pretty hard.

    James
     
  8. Alyssa

    Alyssa Junior Poster

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    How has Akadama held up through the years? Still working well?
     
  9. Chunks

    Chunks Prolific Poster

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    I tried ringing around a few bonsai places in Sydney Australia, most had heard of it but none seemed to stock it? Does anyone in Australia know where to get it?

    Aa a side point would Dupla Ground be very similar? It's a kiln fired product, inert, so if I'm dosing the water column it should be the same thing? I believe it has a high absorption (CEC?) value so it should soak up the nutrients for later release? The reason I ask is because I can get some of that easy enough...
     
  10. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    Yes Dupla Ground would be OK. Most of the AS copies we are seeing on the market are in fact the same product rebagged from Japan and then the price increased ludicrously. Sold in Japan as Contra-Soil. It isn't Akadama. Couldn't say which if the copies are the Contra-soil rebagged ones but many of them are. There is an article on it somewhere on the net :)

    The Oliver Knott variant even has a very silly mistake on the packagin where they have forgotten to swap 'Contra-Soil' for 'Nature-Soil' in the blarb on the back of the bag. lol

    If ADA is Contr-Soil rebagged (which I do not know) then it will have been treated before bagging as it does contain extra goodies :)

    Andy
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    There's a fair amount of stuff in ADA AS other than clay, bark and other bits and pieces.
     
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