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Power Sand or Not?

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by stujo, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. stujo

    stujo Junior Poster

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    I have spent a lot of time reading on the forum and was pretty much settled on using ADA Aquasoil Amazonia for the main planting area and ADA Aquasoil Amazonia Powder for the foreground area for carpet plants. Jut using these two together I thought would give me enough problems i.e. keeping them separate in the tank. I did not intend using ADA Power Sand as apparently this is "white-ish" in colour and can easily get mixed with the Aquasoil and look a mess.

    However, I have just read a thread on another forum where it states that using the Power Sand (which apparently is even richer in nutrients) as a base gives a dramatic increase in plant growth compared with not using it and this is how the two Aquasoil products were designed to be used i.e. together. Is it a good idea to use Power Sand or not?

    Also Power sand comes in two types M and S, does this signify different grain size or....?
    Many thanks
    Stuart
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    It does not give any difference.
    If you do not add anything to the water column, and nothing else tothe sediment, then yes, adding PS will improve growth .........it has nutrients............mostly NO3........which is very mobile and ends up in the water column.

    If you add KNO3 instaed, now both tanks have the same nutrients, then you get no differences. Most of the nutrients are locked in the ADA aqua soil, not the power sand(PS).

    You have to be careful how you compare differences and make sure they are fair.
    If you take 2 things and add more nutrients to one than the other, obviously you should get/would predict more growth.So knowing that, simply adding some KNO3 etc and not adding PS addresses this. KNO3 cost a lot less also and does not get pulled up and looks tacky later.

    If you claim something works, then you need to compare them to other methods, and understand why it works. If you make unfair comparisons and do not add the missing nutrients, say in another form like KNO3 instead of PS, then you relly make a poor arguement.

    I dose the water column with KNO3, GH booster, Traces, and KH2PO4.
    This means there is less draw from the sediment and the PS does not last for long, the nutrient run out rather quick, unlike the ADA aqua soil.

    I've had no issues growing any species at very fast rates using ADA AS, I would not want faster growth nor find any use for PS. I gain nothing by adding it. It does not last long as a source of nutrients and it's not cheap, nor is it aesthetically pleasing later on when you uproot or move any plants.

    I've heard all sorts of claims about it, but this "other site" claims often do not test the same situation fairly with and without the powersnd.

    Unless that is done and several times, and fairly, their argument for it is weak at best. I ran 5 tanks and one long term with PS.

    It's no trouble for me to dose a little KNO3 in any ADA system set up because you have to dose Traces, K+ anyway:cool:
    Adding one more thing, say KNO3 instead of brighty K, which is just K+, I do not have to do anything and save myself $, aesthetics and replanting issues, and get the same results if not better.

    ADA AS does help, but many add both and think the other does something without testing it fairly.

    I am critical of both, but one was proven to do a better/good job with aquatic plants, whereas the other really offered no benefits that anyone, even a newbie could not do themselves.

    So it's not like I'm bias about the ADA sediments. I fully support use one one product and say there's little need if any for the other if you add ferts to the water column, which every one does anyway(just switch to KNO3 instead of Brighty K+).

    Saves you 30$ for a little bottle of brighty K, and another 25-50$ for the PS, and no hassle later on with it coming up. So now we have saved on say a 60-90 cm tank, about 100$ over the first 3-4 months.

    The results are the same.
    Waste your money, no big deal to me, but don't claim it without havign compared it fairly on more than tank.

    Plenty of folks use ADA AS and have great results.
    Nutrients are not everythign either, CO2 and light play large roles and can change a lot. Unless they know they have good CO2 when comparing two tanks, nothing can be said.

    That alone can cause 5X difference in growth rates or more.

    It's no so simple.

    You need to look at this closer and make sure, confirm what you see, run several tanks etc. Attacking me, as many wind bags often do, does no good if they lack any evidence themselves:D
    Who has the better argument and results? Who has tested it fairly? Which has the most logic and has addressed the stickng points?

    It's also difficult to argue when you have not seen the actualy debate and argument you speak about, so I can only assume based on what has been stated here.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    You might link to where the claim is and also, yes, the grain sizing and tank size it is to be used on.

    Nutrients alone in the sediments are only part of the potential reasons "why" they may have seen differences. Most ADA PS converts have never tested it without from my experience.

    Those that have realize quickly it did not offer much if any differences(I've not met or talk to anyone yet after several hundred folks who went without it).

    Things like CO2 differences can easily account for it, 1 tank alone etc you cannot say much about, comparing fairly by adding non limiting nutrients to the water to rule out differences in NO3 leached from PS etc.

    I highly doubt any of that was addressed, take a look and see for yourself.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. stujo

    stujo Junior Poster

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    Tom,
    Many thanks for your detailed replies. I have read a lot of your articles and although some of it is above me I'm afraid, generally I follow thie issues. As a relative newbie to serious plant growing all I can do is read everybody's viewpoints and then make a decision on which way to go.

    So I'll give the PS a miss, do you think it a good idea, however, in addition to the normal ADA Aquasoil to use the Aquasoil powder option for a small area for growing HC or Glosso (or similar) to give the smaller roots a better chance or is the standard Amazonia suitable throughout.

    Your article on growing carpet plants initially emersed was very interesting. Is the temperature important, obviously with minimal water you cant use the heater, so room temperature, plus any minor heat gain from lights is all that is available?
    regards
    Stuart
     
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