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Sustainable Substrate Solutions - 'Amazonia New'

Discussion in 'Sediment / Substrate' started by nerbaneth, May 31, 2011.

  1. nerbaneth

    nerbaneth Guest

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    Hi,

    It seems that EI thoroughly covers water column nutrients, but I have yet to read an agreed upon (by this forum) long term substrate solution. Please forgive me if this has already been covered.

    I am thinking about changing or amending my current substrate (Flourite Black)

    First up - Has anyone tried or heard of the new Amazonia by ADA?
    http://www.adgshop.com/Aqua_Soil_Amazonia_p/104-021.htm

    Possible Solutions:

    (1) My current solution - Add root tabs to the Flourite Black.
    (2) The ADA way - Power Sand with a layer of Amazonia (I, II, or NEW) with 15 different magical ADA powders sprinkled on top.
    (3) The way I see a lot of people do it - Plain old Amazonia
    (4) el natural - kitty litter / garden soil / earthworm soup

    I think we can eliminate (4) right-off-the-bat because it is only sustainable for el natural style tanks.

    I've tried (3) a couple times with Amazonia II which is supposed to be better for high pH water like mine. Every time it just turns to mud in about 6-12 months and then the water column is impossible to clear of super fine Amazonia.

    I've never tried (2), but I can't imagine, unless the Amazonia New is a lot better, that adding sand and magic ADA powder will fix the problem from (3). I would, however, like to know if anyone has tried any of the magic ADA powders with success. The latest ADA catalog describes them better than anything else I have read, taking away some of the magic. Also, what difference does the sand make and is it worth it? I've learned to despise layers - they always separate.

    (1), that I am currently using seems to work pretty well. I've had a few plants not do so well because the root tab isn't 'directly' under the plant. Overall - none of the plants look as healthy as when I had the muddy Amazonia II.

    What is everyone's thoughts on this?

    Thanks,
    Danny
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, your tap water is likely better than most of AZ..........but........that's not saying much.
    I'd not snuff at soil and wormstrate, they work and have the same things ADA AS has.
    Power sand has little......mostly NO3 and then........space.

    I tested ADA AS and measured it new and then at 18 months after using EI.
    The only thing that declined significantly was N.
     
  3. Matt F.

    Matt F. Lifetime Charter Member
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    Skip the Power Sand. Just use Amazonia 1 or the new stuff (if it is good). You'll save money, many scratches on your tank, and if you ever want to uproot something, you'll save about 8 hour of cleanup time trying to separate the white chunks....lol IME, PS = No benefit over an all Amazonia tank.
     
    #3 Matt F., Jun 1, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2011
  4. nerbaneth

    nerbaneth Guest

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    Flagstaff's water can be good; our water source changes frequently keeping me on my toes.

    So...
    -ADA AS that turns to mud, is still ADA AS after 18 months.. Do you recommend a top off every year or so then?
    -Soil and Wormstrate aren't as bad as my experiences with them?
    and
    -Power Sand does nothing except for adding space. Is space good for the roots or anything?

    The main question is still:
    What is the best sediment option for a high-tech, CO2, EI non-DSM tank?

    Is there some secret worm casting / soil combo that is perfectly equivalent to AS?
    Should I be getting the feeling that I would be able to find the answer easily in the members section? I should probably pay up soon after all the advice everyone on this forum has given me.

    Edit:
    Also.. what about all of the magic ADA powders? Is any of it worth while?
     
  5. Matt F.

    Matt F. Lifetime Charter Member
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    I would just go with Amazonia 1 Aquasoil. Problem solved. ;)
    No need to top off every year or use the powders...although, I have used Tourmaline BC and Bacter 100 powders under my aquasoil.
     
    #5 Matt F., Jun 2, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2011
  6. Lost Csr

    Lost Csr Prolific Poster

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    Matt
    Have you used Tourmaline BC and Bacter 100 or penac W & P with a DSM?

    Would it hurt to use it on DSM?

    Sorry for the thread jack.
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I do not use those additives, I've never once found they do anything significant in 30 years of keeping aquariums, it was not from a lack of trying or specifically with the above mentioned products.
    Mulm from an established tank is about the only thing I "add" to a new tank, or old foam filter blocks etc.

    Penac and Tourmaline........this stuff is Crazy Talk, avoid like an infectious disease.
    I guess bacter is okay in lieu of mulm. I do not see how one can get fresher than fresh live mulm from established tanks though.
    Same deal from live aquatic plants, their roots are covered with live bacteria.

    I'm not big on adding lots of concoctions in a stew, I'm more interested if each thing I do add actually does something worthwhile.
    This takes time to investigate and test. VERY few have even bothered, each of my detractors curiously has NEVER done this, and yet wants to debate and argue their usage.
    I guess belief and a lack of experience trumps logic and experience in their mind. I sort of feel pity for such people. But they do it to themselves, I try and point out the obvious...........but they just cannot be made aware, they must figure out logic, testing and experience for themselves.

    We all fall for this type of stuff, but once made aware, you really should not continue.
    Learn by mistakes, do not repeat the same mistake over and over.

    This is not obviously, JUST AN ADA issue.
    This applies to most things in the hobby(or elsewhere for that matter)
     
  8. Lost Csr

    Lost Csr Prolific Poster

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    I get what your saying, about making mistakes.

    LFS is kindly going to give me a few scoops of the stuff for a new set up.
    That is why I asked. If it would hurt.
    I would not actually go out and buy those items, since it only seems as a one time use thing and rather pricey when it comes to Euro Dollar exchange.
     
  9. wearsbunnyslippers

    wearsbunnyslippers Prolific Poster

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    hey Tom,

    i can see where you are coming from with the penac.. its like homeopathy, the more you dilute it, the stronger it gets, who falls for this??

    but why do you classify tourmaline as the same? this is a known source of traces like boron, iron, potassium and magnesium, having these in your substrate can't hurt?
     
  10. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    IME, Amazonia 2 turns to muck, but Amazonia 1 and New work great. I recently reworked a tank with Amazonia 1 that was started DSM and submerged for a year. The granules held up and it was still easy to work with. The New amazonia is great, I topped up the old soil with new, not to add more nutrients but to add more depth and slope. Once filling the water stayed crystal clear. I have a feeling this will hold up very well. I have been told that the New Amazonia has the benefits of the "old" 2 as it is able to lower pH in much the same way.

    I would avoid powersand, my experience has been similar to Matt F's. Anytime I uprooted a plant or moved the substrate a bit I would find the white stones getting to the surface. They are unsightly and annoying.

    I put tourmaline at the bottom of my tank, and have no idea if it was beneficial. I can say that another tank I had used aquasoil only and had comparable growth.

    My vote is to use New ADA aquasoil, add tourmaline if you really like the warm fuzzy feeling a black powder gives you.

    From what I've understood, a good substrate can give you some more wiggle room regarding dosing EI and longevity; although EI dosing can probably compensate for poor substrate nutrients. (correct me if I'm wrong in this assertion)
     
  11. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    It also provides an additional SOURCE of nutrients for the plants. So both roots and leaves/stems are 'fed' well and have non-limiting supplies.

    I still personally feel that water column dosing in addition to a nutrient rich substrate is the way to go for a planted tank. I realize there are areas of nature with one or the other but still great growth.

    I will be using ADA in the near future and do not plan on any additional supplements.
     
  12. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I would absolutely choose a nutrient rich substrate.

    I was just mentioning that I've heard of (not actually verified personally) that people have had success growing all manner of plants in an inert substrate with EI dosing. I meant that with a nutrient rich substrate, if one under doses, or misses a dose it is not a disaster. There is some give in the system, the substrate is able to compensate.

    Vice versa, I am hoping EI can compensate for a nutrient poor substrate as I recently planted E. Belem in some sand that I added root tabs to. Other areas of the tank have aquasoil and I decided I didn't like the sand and I wanted grass.

    Nature sure has many advantages we do not have in our tanks, like an unending supply of new water flowing over the plants at incredible (in aquarium terms) rates of flow.
     
  13. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    Would there be any benefit to adding some Canadian Spaghum Peat Moss and Osmocote Plus along with some Mulm from an establish aquarium on the bottom layer of the Amazonia? It seems like the Spagham Peat Moss and Mulm would give the substrate a good head start and the Osmocote Plus would help it to last a long time. On the other hand, it may be too rich. I've been wondering about this.
     
  14. nerbaneth

    nerbaneth Guest

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    Thanks so much for everyone's advice! I think I have an idea of what I am going to do now.

    Black Flourite - as my 'power sand' ( just to add a bit of height in the back of the tank )
    ADA Amazonia I or New - to go on top of the black flourite.

    If the Amazonia and Flourite mix a little, I won't be too upset because it shouldn't be too noticeable (black and dark brown).

    Tom - You remind me of a quote I've heard. It goes something like, "To an ignorant man, anything is possible" although I don't remember it precisely.
    [​IMG]

    wearsbunnyslippers - It seems like Tourmaline wouldn't hurt, but it also doesn't help very much and probably isn't worth the 20 bucks.

    From the ADG website: "Tourmaline BC is a mineral compound of iron, aluminium, sodium, boron, lithium and magnesium which are gradually dissolved, enriching water of important elements. Tourmaline BC is an electrostatic mineral that increases roots plant nutrition. In particular Glossostigma Elatinoides grows 50% more than its normal development. "

    This REALLY sounds the same as 'Plantex CSM + B' or similar dry trace minerals that you probably have around for EI anyway. I bet if you sprinkle some plantex on your substrate you will have the same results - this is just a guess though.

    ShadowMac -
    Do you have reasonably hard water?
    Is the only real difference between AS I and AS II that AS II buffers your water? I suppose I should read up on this - I'm sure it has been answered 600 times.

    It seems ridiculous to try and buffer water with a substrate in a planted tank - the frequent large water changes that planted tanks (with EI especially) require probably uses up all the buffering materials in the AS and then it breaks down (turns to mud)

    Left C - From what Tom said, "Mulm from an established tank is about the only thing I "add" to a new tank, or old foam filter blocks etc." So definitely add mulm. My guess is that the osmocoat plus contains the same stuff that ADA AS already has.

    As far as peat moss is concerned(If you are using it to lower pH), Tom has previously said, "The reason why you sometimes find plants in low pH water is from springs, decomposition etc where the water has lots of CO2. So rather than softening the water in attempts to lower pH, simply add what the plants want, CO2. Don't monkey with the KH or GH if it's above 3 degrees. It is myth that plants prefer soft water."

    In short: If you are using peat moss to lower water pH - don't spend the money, it's not worth it. Maybe if there is a fish or invert that needs soft water it would make sense.

    Tom (again) - it must be amusing seeing people use your words from years ago like scripture.
     
  15. Matt F.

    Matt F. Lifetime Charter Member
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    Yeah, I learned my lesson from you about my Power Sand Special M! Never again! LoL
     
  16. Matt F.

    Matt F. Lifetime Charter Member
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    I had some left over from when I decided to try it (tourmaline bc and bacter 100, not Penac W&P). So, yes, I used it in my 45F emersed tank. Did I notice a difference? No. ;)
    I'd save your money. Tom's right. Most of this stuff is neat to try, but makes little if any difference.
     
    #16 Matt F., Jun 3, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2011
  17. Matt F.

    Matt F. Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'd skip the flourite all together. No need for a powersand substitute. Plus you don't want them mixing...it will look nasty over time. You'll wish you never did it.
    100% aquasoil, and forget about it. ;)
     
  18. Lost Csr

    Lost Csr Prolific Poster

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    There is another version of Amazonia.

    AQUA SOIL NEW AMAZONIA MULTI-TYPE

    It's a size in between normal and powder type.
     
  19. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Tourmaline is a mineral, like sand, Si O2.

    But do you think the O2 in sand is biologically available?
    This is the the implied claim from ADA...........

    It has no plant nutrient bioavailability, unless you wait, say a few million years or dissolve it in strong acids/bases or something.
    I'd pass on anything like sand on the bottom and AS on the top as Matt suggest.

    It'll mix and look bad over time.

    No reason for it.

    My 60 Cube uses plain old flourite sand.
    Water column, it's every bit as dense and easy to care for as Matt's lawn of plants he's been selling here and all over.

    You can go either way, I typically suggest using both locations for ferts, which in reality, we all do to some extent either way, might as well add plenty of ferts both locations at the end of the day.
     
  20. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Every ADA vendor falls for it.
    Even folks that honestly really should know better........
    They get a little ruffled when I press them on it and try to side track and go off on tangents to avoid the direct issue and claim it does not hurt or they add it cause Amano does or some non answer that requires brain cells.
    These people help and teach others unfortunately these same bad traits.

    That's where I have a beef.

    Hock the snake oil elsewhere in some other hobby.
    It shall incur my full and complete wrath till I take my last breath.

    I classify Tourmaline for the same reasons because it's usage also comes from homeopathy and they do not tell you that the minerals are bound in a non bioavailable form, much like O2 in SiO2, sand, try and get some Oxygne out of sand sometimes.
    Convenient things are left out and hopefully some ignorant folks cannot put 2+2 together to see the fallacy. In fact, they are actively banking on the consumer's oversight.

    And.........they they poo poo me or try and shut me up.
    No, I will not stop pointing out the obvious.

    I could be wrong abpout the benefits for these snake oils..........but instead of name calling and poo pooing me, or trying to understand the vendor's prespectives etc.........I get zero debate about the topics I raise, zero evidence for support of their contentions and little if any background except from the quacks sellign the magic dust for 20$ a bottle.

    They are going to HAVE TO DO BETTER THAN THAT, to convince me.
    I've been in the hobby for 30+ years, seem more than my fair share of similar sales pitches and garbage being sold, this stuff is whacked.

    Same with "O2 entering the roots" and powersand's long term claims.
    I'll gladly take anyone on for this topic and would prefer in person.
    This is the same type of quackery that was used to sell heating cables by Dupla 2 decades before.
     
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