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Flourite vs. ADA Amazonia

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by detlef, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. detlef

    detlef Subscriber

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm growing R. rotundifolia since more than 6 months in two different small glass pots which are positioned next to each other in my bare bottom 20g. One pot is filled with ADA amazonia soil (the fine powdered type without PS)the other with flourite. Growth develops under the exact same light and water conditions for both pots.

    What I constantly observe is 1,5 to 2x faster growth and earlier formation of airial roots with soil. One slight "drawback" of the soil is marginal less red leaf coloration. Amazonia produces a little more brown-reddish hue whereas RR in flourite looks pinkish. I speculate this could be due to the NH4 supply from the soil or less Fe/trace availability for RR vs. flourite? Or is it just caused by the different growth speeds?

    Other param's: NO3 ~ 10 ppm, PO4 1-2 ppm, ADA liquid Fe and ADA trace (1/2 dose of ADA rec. since tank is sparsely planted), Ca 20ppm, Mg 6ppm, KH ~ 2, CO2 misting as much as possible.

    Just sharing my findings...

    Regards,
    Detlef
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Flourite vs. ADA Amazonia

    That's about right.

    The lack of mcolor in the ADA is due to a supply of N which is lacking in Flourite.

    While you can likely get similar gtrowth rates from Flourite with good water column dosing, some plant species preferences and the forgiving nature of water column dosing with ADA is very appearent.

    We could say similar things about flourite vs plain sand, but each product is a little better than the last, but........

    Folks can grow with plain sand, just the plants will look better, healthier, dosing will be easier, the picky plants are not as hard to grow etc.....

    Folks spend a lot of time fiddling with the water column so it might be a better trade off to use this.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Flourite vs. ADA Amazonia

    And just why would this be true, given equal water column parameters and equal dosing?

    Bill
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Flourite vs. ADA Amazonia

    Some plants likley have an affinity for cations like NH4, and softer texture for the roots, takes less energy for the roots to move through the ADA soil.

    The bioavailability for both bacteria and plant root may also play a role.


    Fe alone can play a large role, although plain sand and laterite supposedly rectifies that, but......flourite does better, the individual grains seem to help rather than this layer idea.

    I've never really bought into the layer idea, rather, the functional unit of the grain itself.

    I've done pure water column dosing, over time your plants will be paler as a rule, they will lack some vigor that you can see in flourite.

    If the sole issue was merely resolved by only water column ferts, we'd all be using plain sand still.

    Having some macro nutrients right where the roots are growing allows less energy to be spent reducing and processing and transporting things to the root zone.

    It also provides a backup source of nutrients depeleted from the water column.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. quenton

    quenton Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Flourite vs. ADA Amazonia


    And this is why we hang around here -- tom does all the work and we reap the benifits :D (don't tell tom though) :eek:
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Flourite vs. ADA Amazonia

    I'm going to do the work because I like it and no one else is really going to do it it seems..........I tend to like to see if something is true myself, so I try and get a good feel for something.

    To do that, you need to try it with/without each component, add different things/treatments to see if your idea works or not.

    If not, then you can rule that out.
    So either way, you learn what it's not and perhaps get closer to what it might be.

    You do each treatment enough times with other products over the years, you do get a good feel.

    I have tanks I did well over 10 years ago and a flourite tank that's about 10 years old also. You can tell within a few weeks the ADA soil is better.

    How long does this last?
    Not sure, but I expect at least 2-4 years.
    Adding more on top of it, vacuuming it seems fine also to existing tanks.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Flourite vs. ADA Amazonia

    Thanks for your answer to my question, in which I asked why the ADA substrate was better than the other substrates. I apologize for not replying sooner.

    Your reply used such terms as "may", "might" , "can", and "likely", with nothing stronger, and maybe that's all that can be said. But I still don't know why ADA is better than the earlier boutique substrates, or plain topsoil under gravel, even.

    You were going to run a controlled lab experiment to answer the "what works best" question once and for all, or at least until the next sexier substrate comes out. Are you still planning to do that?

    Bill
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Flourite vs. ADA Amazonia

    Isn't the problem that there are just too many variables involved - lighting type and duration, fertilizing routine, water parameters, plant species, age of the substrate, cleaning routine, water change routine, etc. How could you run a test and know that for every combination of variables the results would be the same?
     
  9. detlef

    detlef Subscriber

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    Re: Flourite vs. ADA Amazonia

    VaughnH,

    in the first post I described the way I found out the differences of ADA amazonia soil vs. flourite and how I ruled out the other variables.

    Lighting, fertilization, every other routine was the same for both plant pots, even the age of the sustrates was the same. I am still running the test which I started more than half a year ago. I'm not saying that for each and every plant you can see growth differences as I used R. rotundifolia solely and exclusively.

    But you are right in questioning how this plant or others might react under different but stable other light, fertilizer, water param's etc. No one can give you an answer for every combination of variables.

    Why ADA soil seems to be better under varying circumstances is not clear to me either.

    Recent update: RR has taken on an unpleasant green touch in both pots after I let NO3 rise to around 30ppm.

    Regards,
    Detlef
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Flourite vs. ADA Amazonia

    As D suggest, using a pot with the substrate of choice, the same plant species of relative size from the same tank it was rown in will reduce the variables.

    But ..............is comparing plain sand vs plain sand a soil fair if a nutrient poor water column?

    What about the same experiment with a nutrient rich water column.......?


    This is where folks mess things up.
    They need to account for both ides of the coin here.

    Most only do the one.........ADA also, Dupla and most of the substrate companies...........

    How do you think having a nutrient water column would affect things?

    You see, that is a key thing since we can/should provide a nutrient rich water column. We do with some nutrients no matter what(Ca, Mg, K+, traces, fish waste sources etc).

    So does the substrate provide good/better growth under those conditions?

    That's a key question.

    For ADA substrates, I have to say yes, they most certainly do. And most of the designer substrates also get this result. But the ADA substrate has a good sized jump, perhpas more than the flourite vs sand jump.
    You dose the water column good, say EI etc, and see for yourself.

    Next question is why that might be.

    Which is another thread...........

    Will soil and sand + good water column ferts do the same? Probably.
    But it's a messy thing to add and has other issues over a long time frame if you uproot a fair amount or add too much/too little/don't soak/boil it good prior need to add more etc how much to add etc, soil does work well though........and these issues can be over come, but given the cost of the ADA AS, it's not that more and actually cheaper in many cases than flourite and definitely than EC.

    Will peat+sand do the same? Not as much, but has less issues IME.
    I think folks tend to be surprised by soil tanks, but you can always get more out of such substrates if you dose the water column.

    The fallacy is that substrate ferts provide nutrients to plants but avoid adding to the water column and thus prevent algae, provide a better place for fish etc.

    The removal of O2 when you uproot is greater if you have a lot of stuff(organic matter) in the substrate and uproot.

    That's not good for fish(removes O2 rapdly, adds high levels of NH4).

    A happy medium is the ADA AS, it does not do this much.
    Soil? Unless it's old and depleted does. If you only add say 1/4", well it's not going to last as long as say 1.5" with a 3" sand cap. It's also work well in the first 3-6 months and then taper off. You'll get longer effective usage over time if you add nutrients to the water column.

    If you neglect adding nutrients to the water column, it will help certainly.
    So both locations is a good place to have nutrients, bt not too much in the reducing conditions of the substrate.

    That's why I suggest vacuuming the substrate every so often.
    It gets too clogged, soil substrates get mineralized over time as well, so will ADA but less so since each grain is in it's own little protected sphere.

    Layer methods cannot do this and I've never liked that about them.
    It works but I prefer something I can work on and not have worry as much, nor find a consistent amount/source for soil for helping folks.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Flourite vs. ADA Amazonia

    Tom posted about his plans to test various substrates and other variables at a lab at UC Davis. He discussed those variables and how he could control for them. Here's the post.
    http://www.barrreport.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2731#post2731

    With several years of experience with potting-soil-under-gravel tanks, I am convinced that mine, at least, need dosing. The amount is different for each tank, and is never more than a small amount every 2 to 4 weeks.

    Others have reported that they maintain such tanks with no dosing, though.

    Bill
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Flourite vs. ADA Amazonia

    It really depends on the soil, how much you add, how much you want to stay on top of the water column dosing vs relying on the substrate for most of the nutrients.

    In all cases, you will get more out of a substrate by providing water column nutrients.

    Likewise, if you add some nutrients to the substrate, you get the most from a water column nutrient routine as well.

    Plants can and will take up nutrients from both the roots and the shoot.

    Why take them up from the root and transport them to the leaves and why take them up leaves and transport them to the roots if you do not have too?

    It's already there, and a few plants seem to have some preferences to the type of N and the textures.

    I think it's more the type of N(NH4+).

    Regards,

    Tom Barr
     
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