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PMAS - Poor man's ADA substrate...

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by Aviel Livay, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. Aviel Livay

    Aviel Livay Junior Poster

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    Tom,

    I saw a thread in APC back in january were you said that you were experimenting with a low cost substrate similar to aquasoil. I belive you called it BS (Barr Substrate). Any results?

    What would you consider as the main advantages/disadvantages of the ADA substrate?

    Aviel.
     
  2. alexperez

    alexperez Prolific Poster

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    Re: PMAS - Poor man's ADA substrate...

    This is MHO on the advantages/disadvantages of ADA Substrate after using it for about a month.

    Advantages:
    1. My Tonia and HC are finally growing.

    disadvantages:
    1. Setting CO2 can not be done by the ph/KH chart.
    2. Every time I remove a plant some Power sand comes to the top.
    and I have to spend lots of time pushing it back to the bottom.
    3. Figuring out Ferts is a major PITA.
    4. Its expensive.
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: PMAS - Poor man's ADA substrate...

    1. I grow HC and Tonia as well as anyone, I use Onyx sand.
    2. I suggest folks dial in with the chart and then add more till the plants are no longer helped by adding more or the fish are affected.
    3. I hate the two layer and light weight power sand(and you mention something Amano "claims" does not happen)
    4. Yep and costly
    4. Yep.

    I'm trying to come up with the same thing for the most part except with
    respect to cost, the light weight mixing(I'll use a very similar thing that later is no long rich in nutrients and can be mixed with the top layer aesthetically)
    CO2 may be an issue but it's an issue anyway no matter what.
    GW's ferts are used, dosing is simple.

    So.......

    I've found an almost identical Aqua soil top.
    The power sand base is the only other thing.

    I would add light weight to the above disadvantages.
    Try vacuuming ADA soil sometime.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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    Re: PMAS - Poor man's ADA substrate...

    I'm not sure the CO2 chart being thrown off is that big a problem. People seem to be moving towards the "feel" method of dosing CO2 anyway. I no longer calculate my Co2 levels. In fact, I don't test for anything anymore.

    As for calculating ferts, why is this a problem? Wouldn't you still dose EI like normal. I've never read or heard anything about EI needed to be adjusted to compensate for substrate richness. Whether using ADA substrate, Eco-complete, or kitty litter your substrate is non-relevant when water column dosing.

    So, to me the real issues might be weight and the power sand coming up. But if you used a non-fertile substrate and added substrate ferts you would still have the issue of pulling up roots exposing material that would have to be readjusted.

    What do you think?
     
  5. alexperez

    alexperez Prolific Poster

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    Re: PMAS - Poor man's ADA substrate...

    random_alias wrote:
    I thought that to, so when I first set it up I was doing my regular EI dosing and I got a major case of Fuzz algae and green dust algae. But as soon as I stopped adding KNO3 and PO4 to the tank things got better fairly quick.
    (I still added micros and K).
    My test kits always read ~17.6 ppm NO3 and over 2ppm of PO4 even though I was not adding any to the tank.
    In fact I see the fuzz alage and green dust start to grow in a few days when I dose 3/4 tsb NO3 and 1/8 tsb PO4 every other day. I figure I can slowly go back to normal dosing after a few months. I have started to add 1/4 tsb and a bit of PO4 2X a week and haven't seen the alage come back. I still get a bit of green dust by weeks end but not as bad.

    This is just my observations and I could be way off.
     
  6. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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    Re: PMAS - Poor man's ADA substrate...

    oh, so you added the substrate, added water, planted plants and started dosing?

    I thought you were supposed to do a few water changes after adding the ADA stuff to remove what leeches into the water column?
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: PMAS - Poor man's ADA substrate...

    By adding the KNO3 to the water column, less NH4 is removed from the substrate. So this is leeched out and causes the algae bloom.

    ADA soils have a fair amount of NH4.
    After 3 weeks or so, you can dose the macros(once most of the NH4 is converted to plant tissue or NO3).

    If you prefer..............use only the Aquasoil and no powersand and dose right away(add some peat and mulm BTW).

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: PMAS - Poor man's ADA substrate...

    BTW, many folks that are doing well with the plants they had trouble with prior using ADa subs, I've grown these same plants to the same level of ADA's tank using Onyx sand without that much effort.

    I dose more, that's all.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. alexperez

    alexperez Prolific Poster

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    Re: PMAS - Poor man's ADA substrate...

    I did about 4-60% water changes before planting and starting the EI. Cause I also heard about nutrients leeching into the water column.

    Maybe since I moved some plants around in my tank every 2 or 3 days the first 2 weeks this was causing the nutrients to leech out faster than normal.
     
  10. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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    Re: PMAS - Poor man's ADA substrate...

    Hmm..

    This is definitely something for me to consider.

    So my best option is to only dose micros for the first three weeks, then begin dosing macros and micros after that point?
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: PMAS - Poor man's ADA substrate...

    Yes and no monkeying with replanting and moving stuff around, that is a great way to mess it up.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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