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Substrate

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by shane, Dec 16, 2006.

  1. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    I am not sure what to do about the substrate for the new 55 gallon. I currently have 100% Fluorite in my 20 gallon. I basically like it. I do wish the gravel was a bit finer. It was not easy planting glosso in the Fluorite.

    I do really like the ADA Aqua Soil as well (in terms of appearance). It seems people have had good success with it. Does the Aqua soil mess with KH, pH, etc? Or is it like Fluorite and basically inert?

    What would you suggest to use in the new tank? What is better Aqua Soil or Fluorite?
     
  2. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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    Aquasoil messes with ph and kh. I started out using Flourite and have switched all my tanks to Aquasoil.

    I'd suggest using Aquasoil and use the drop checker/KH solution method to measure Co2.
     
  3. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    When you say Aqua Soil messes with pH and KH what KH and pH does Aqua Soil stabilize at?

    I have also read that at first Aqua Soil creates NH4 in the tank.
     
  4. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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    I dunno what it stabilizes at. I don't measure my Ph or Kh in the tank.

    Yup, Aquasoil can initially release NH4. Many people suggest doing water changes every 2 days or so for the first week to remove the NH4 as it enters the water column. I get my hardscape like I want it, fill the tank and run the filter with the lights off. I then do water changes as I feel like it until the NH4 is 0. Then I drain the water and plant in the wet substrate, refill and add fish and shrimp whenever I'm ready.

    An established filter will help during this period, especially if you need to add fish or plants (light) immediately.

    Here's an example. I had a 1.3g nano. I put new aquasoil in the tank and added shrimp immediately. Shrimp started dying. Tested. NH4 had spiked. I put an established power filter on the side. NH4 went to 0 in a day or so. I took the filter off, NH4 spiked within a day. I added the filter back, NH4 went to 0. Now, I run the tank with no filter, just a powerhead, and I have shrimp carrying eggs. The difference? I learned to let the Aquasoil "season" first. If you do that there's no problem.

    I had Flourite in a 55g. I tried aqausoil in another tank. I ended up throwing all the Flourite away because I knew I wanted Aquasoil in all my tanks from then on.
     
  5. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Richard,

    Since you are an enthusiastic Aquasoil user, perhaps you can help to clear up some of the questions that I have not been able to get answered.

    I believe that Aquasoil is impregnated with nutrients that are released over time. If it is, I'd think that one wouldn't have to dose. But if one still has to dose and, apparently, do EI, then what is AS adding? And isn't the EI water changing removing the stuff that one paid extra to get from AS in the first place?

    Perhaps it permits a better flow of nutrients around the roots? But if plants get nutrients mainly from the water column, then what? Maybe insurance?

    Could AS be used in a low light, non-CO2 aquarium? If it could, would it require water changes more frequent than monthly, do you think?

    Thanks.

    Bill
     
  6. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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    Well, there's Aquasoil and then there's Power Sand.

    Amano puts Power Sand down as a first layer and then covers it with Aquasoil. Power Sand acts like substrate fertilizer and Aquasoil acts like substrate. I never use Power Sand, just Aquasoil, so I'm not adding all that nutrient stuff. Power Sand may give an initial boost to growth during the fill-in stage and it can cover for people that don't dose routinely but it eventually runs out of nutrients and then it just becomes a base layer. I have no idea how long that takes to happen but when it does you'll either have to add substrate ferts or start water column dosing. Amano offers both. I use Aquasoil which is cheaper than Power Sand and just water column dose from the get-go, in the traditional style. You can always add mulm before the Aquasoil to get the bacteria-boosting effects.

    As far as EI water changes removing the nutrients from Power Sand, Power Sand is meant to supply nutrients to the roots, not the water column, which is why it's buried under Aquasoil, so Ei water changes shouldn't be affecting that much. And yes, they say the larger grain size of Power Sand improves water circulation at the root level. Aquasoil works just fine in my low light, non Co2 tank. I run it like I run all my others except perhaps lower fert levels. Mosses and crypts.

    When using Aquasoil only, you're getting the benefits of the substrate's properties rather than the fertilizing effects of Power Sand. To me, Aquasoil's benefits are appearance, grain size (runners grow easily and in more even paths, grain size is more uniform and scales down to nano tanks well, it's easier to plant in), aquasoil doesn't easily crumble under normal use, yet it's soft enough not to scratch your glass, and it just plain grows stuff better.

    Tom or Jeff Senske or someone else can give you a better chemical description of how Aquasoil works, ion exchange or some other such scientific stuff.
     
  7. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Richard,

    Thanks for that first hand, user's view summary.

    Bill
     
  8. Xanthid

    Xanthid Junior Poster

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    Ive been looking at the ada substrates myself. Im guessing you can leave out all the extra substrate additives (bacter, formaline, iron). Same concept as power sand? Also, its been so long since I bought any substrates, how many liters of aqua soil would i t take to fill a standard 125 gal?

    thanks.
    Brady
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Let's get a few things straight here about dosing and other issues using AD substrates.

    Water changes/EI/ADA.
    Both suggest large weekyl water changes. Powersand nutrients are removed as well that leach, and they do, into the water column.
    The testable levels might be much lower than EI, but...the algae are not limited by this nor any tank with a substrate based fert, the plants act as pipes leaching things out into the water column as does the Aqua soil cap.

    ADA AS is clay and have nutrients embedded into the layers of clay, these layers are much smaller and much less diffusion occurs out of the grains.
    Hard gravels etc have larger pores than the clay. Thus they leach much easier, like PS.

    So ADA AS last longer, but has less nutrients. But if you have 12 liters of ADA AS, vs 3 liter of PS, obviously over time the ADA AS will have a fair amount more nutrients.

    ADA AS has nutrients also.

    Now dosing the water column vs someone who is forgetful and cannot for some reason not do EI: you still need to dose K+ and traces..........so what is the difference if you add P and N as well?

    You still do large weekly water changes also right?

    So the only difference is using EI vs ADA is the cost of the ferts and adding 1-2 more items, KNO3/KH2PO4.

    The rest is still the same.
    But this time you do not need the power sand nor pay 20$ for diluted ferts in a little ADA bottle.

    The other thing, you get better growth with EI and ADA AS vs ADA AS and PS/ADA liquid ferts.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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  11. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    Being that Aqua Soil and Power Sand provide nutrients to the roots, bacteria, plus release NH4 into the water at startup, can one put slower growing plants into the tank from the beginning?
     
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