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UP aqua soil, an ADA alternative

Discussion in 'Sediment / Substrate' started by Tom Barr, Sep 6, 2013.

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  1. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Several folks in the USA have used this product and it seems that the product will be widely available in the coming weeks.
    It does not have as much NH4 as ADA amazonia, but it's clearer for the water and make much less mess when you rescape things.
    Safe for shrimp etc also.

    I'll be doing a sediment comparison next month with this and a couple of other products.
    Unlike ADA's supposed sediment test, my test methods are actually fair comparisons.
    It'll be a 4-8 week test.


    ADA AS Amazonia(new)
    ADA AS amazonia old(12 months)
    UpAqua new
    Plain sand/rock wool and DI water
    Plain sand/rock wool and a standard miracle grow
    Plain sand/rock wool and EI

    Not sure on the plants just yet, but a foreground, a stem and maybe a Crypt.
    The growth will be emergent, since no water column interactions will skew things nor CO2 etc.
    All growth differences will be due to the sediment effects.
    Fresh weight/Dry weight ratios and then dry weights at the end.
     
  2. Solcielo lawrencia

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    For the clay substrates, does that mean there will be no extra dosing of fertilizers such as P and K? Also, what kind of container set up will it be like?
     
  3. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I look forward to seeing your results. If UPaquasoil becomes more available it could be carried by many LFS and hopefully spread the hobby.
     
  4. gsjmia

    gsjmia Lifetime Members
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  5. AaronT

    AaronT Member

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    I'm looking forward to this as well. With ADA pulling out from ADG the price of Aquasoil is sure to continue to rise beyond reason.

    It would be nice to compare with Mr. Aqua and Fluval Stratum as well.
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yes, it's low in N, so it's like unfertilized Rice paddy soil. ADA AS is like fertilized rice paddy soil.
    They add liquid ammonia to rice paddies to fertilizer it, rarely P and virtually never K+. At least here in CA which has the world's highest per acre production of rice anywhere by far in the world.

    So you start adding ferts right away(ADA adds K+, + the ADA tap water has 0.5ppm of PO4, they do multiple water changes weekly for 1-2 months, then at least a weekly thereafter)
    ADA, you do not need to, but doing so does no harm either.
    I've done it both ways, I like adding ferts after a 2 weeks or so. No difference either way, buy at about 2-4 weeks, then you see some differences.
    The Up AQUA is cooked longer, so it does not break down like ADA and it is not made in China, many places are going that direction it seems.
    The NH4, well..........the plants will use it, and it's like a fishless cycle. But you can dose NH4 also at say 0.8 ppm per day also for the plants(to heck with the FC thing).

    So you can use either Urea or NH4Cl, (NH4)2 SO4 etc if you want, or KNO3 etc.
    Cheap and worth it over time, and unlike ADA, the Urea, NH4 based stuff can be added consistently for decades, where as the ADa soil will run out after a few months, maybe a year or a little more, but not much more.
    Same for any sediment really using NH4, it's going to be attacked, no way around it, the Rice Farmers have no choice either.
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yes, it's low in N, so it's like unfertilized Rice paddy soil. ADA AS is like fertilized rice paddy soil.
    They add liquid ammonia to rice paddies to fertilizer it, rarely P and virtually never K+. At least here in CA which has the world's highest per acre production of rice anywhere by far in the world.

    So you start adding ferts right away(ADA adds K+, + the ADA tap water has 0.5ppm of PO4, they do multiple water changes weekly for 1-2 months, then at least a weekly thereafter)
    ADA, you do not need to, but doing so does no harm either.
    I've done it both ways, I like adding ferts after a 2 weeks or so. No difference either way, buy at about 2-4 weeks, then you see some differences.
    The Up AQUA is cooked longer, so it does not break down like ADA and it is not made in China, many places are going that direction it seems.
    The NH4, well..........the plants will use it, and it's like a fishless cycle. But you can dose NH4 also at say 0.8 ppm per day also for the plants(to heck with the FC thing).

    So you can use either Urea or NH4Cl, (NH4)2 SO4 etc if you want, or KNO3 etc.
    Cheap and worth it over time, and unlike ADA, the Urea, NH4 based stuff can be added consistently for decades, where as the ADa soil will run out after a few months, maybe a year or a little more, but not much more.
    Same for any sediment really using NH4, it's going to be attacked, no way around it, the Rice Farmers have no choice either.
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, there is a good market for an ADA alternative certainly.
    Dupla played this game back in the late 1980's in the USA, they failed, but I think ADA will stay around for a good while.
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, there is a good market for an ADA alternative certainly.
    Dupla played this game back in the late 1980's in the USA, they failed, but I think ADA will stay around for a good while.
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think this is the same stuff.

    Yes, you'll NEVER hear cases like this about ADA, or the powder type etc.
    I've heard this from others in Australia and SG and few other places.
    Looks better and last longer, but has no NH4.

    I know wetland soils pretty well, and it was part of my dissertation for my PhD. I might know a thing or two:)
    I know Rice production well in California. I also have tested ADA As and PS more so than any other hobbyist to date.
    It's very similar to Rice paddy soil here in California and most rice soils world wide.

    So it's nothing that special, they just rolled and slightly baked it to keep it together.
    Now you add various things to it and market this as something very special etc.
    But it's sandy loam clay at the end of the day.
    Activated carbon, iron, NH4, mychorrhizae, magic balls and powders etc..........but simple and the basics is the best approach really, the other stuff really does not do a whole for the plants.

    Aquarist want it to stay together and last, look good etc, and not kill their fish, make mess etc.
    So removing the NH4 is likely a wiser idea. Up Aqua and Mr Aqua are the same parent company.
    At least that's my understanding.
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think this is the same stuff.

    Yes, you'll NEVER hear cases like this about ADA, or the powder type etc.
    I've heard this from others in Australia and SG and few other places.
    Looks better and last longer, but has no NH4.

    I know wetland soils pretty well, and it was part of my dissertation for my PhD. I might know a thing or two:)
    I know Rice production well in California. I also have tested ADA As and PS more so than any other hobbyist to date.
    It's very similar to Rice paddy soil here in California and most rice soils world wide.

    So it's nothing that special, they just rolled and slightly baked it to keep it together.
    Now you add various things to it and market this as something very special etc.
    But it's sandy loam clay at the end of the day.
    Activated carbon, iron, NH4, mychorrhizae, magic balls and powders etc..........but simple and the basics is the best approach really, the other stuff really does not do a whole for the plants.

    Aquarist want it to stay together and last, look good etc, and not kill their fish, make mess etc.
    So removing the NH4 is likely a wiser idea. Up Aqua and Mr Aqua are the same parent company.
    At least that's my understanding.
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    This is but one reason I am interested in this.
    A larger one actually, I know the price has gone up, both at the wholesale and the retail levels, significantly and availability is really the key issue.
    I get the feeling that ADA really does not care about the USA market. They care about controlling their brand, regardless of the growth or demand.
    At least that's what their business actions have conveyed to people with businesses and background in the aquarium trade(these are other folk's words, not my own).
    I have never worked with ADa directly in business, so I cannot say personally. I've talked with Amano and few times at length, but mostly about non Aquarium related stuff.
    I like them and him also, but when the market demands change and folks want some alternatives or better stuff comes out, well...........while you may have innovated at one point, others will surpass you if you do not keep up with the product line and support it, just ask ANY SOFTWARE developer, particularly the ones that abandoned the present forum software :) Rat bastards.

    We will update that at the end of the month and switch. Lighting is a good example, no T5's, no real ADA LED's, they just rebranded some Chinese stuff. Other things are now being made in China, but still have the high cost.
    Aquarist are really cheap over all, so brand loyalty might get a few, but............over time........that erodes. That said, cheap brands come and go all the time. ADA is committed to the hobby, perhaps not in the USA, but in Japan and perhaps a few other markets.
    Few distributors are getting rich selling ADA, that much I KNOW.
    Amano and ADA on the other hand, are getting fairly rich.

    I have a few trays and need to do the test between Sept and Nov before it starts getting too cold here.
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    This is but one reason I am interested in this.
    A larger one actually, I know the price has gone up, both at the wholesale and the retail levels, significantly and availability is really the key issue.
    I get the feeling that ADA really does not care about the USA market. They care about controlling their brand, regardless of the growth or demand.
    At least that's what their business actions have conveyed to people with businesses and background in the aquarium trade(these are other folk's words, not my own).
    I have never worked with ADa directly in business, so I cannot say personally. I've talked with Amano and few times at length, but mostly about non Aquarium related stuff.
    I like them and him also, but when the market demands change and folks want some alternatives or better stuff comes out, well...........while you may have innovated at one point, others will surpass you if you do not keep up with the product line and support it, just ask ANY SOFTWARE developer, particularly the ones that abandoned the present forum software :) Rat bastards.

    We will update that at the end of the month and switch. Lighting is a good example, no T5's, no real ADA LED's, they just rebranded some Chinese stuff. Other things are now being made in China, but still have the high cost.
    Aquarist are really cheap over all, so brand loyalty might get a few, but............over time........that erodes. That said, cheap brands come and go all the time. ADA is committed to the hobby, perhaps not in the USA, but in Japan and perhaps a few other markets.
    Few distributors are getting rich selling ADA, that much I KNOW.
    Amano and ADA on the other hand, are getting fairly rich.

    I have a few trays and need to do the test between Sept and Nov before it starts getting too cold here.
     
  14. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    Assume the tests are still ongoing. Will be very curious about the results.

    I used the Mr. Aqua brand soil, and it was the best substrate by far I had ever used. I have not used any ADA brand of soil, but have done MTS, El Natural, Flourite Black Sand and Eco Complete. In the Mr. Aqua plants grew like mad, carpeting plants, stem plants, so-called difficult plants all flourished and grew fast. I had success in plants that I didn't have before. I was using power compact lighting with AH supply reflector and CO2 injection and still fertilized EI just to be safe, so I know the results weren't entirely due to the Mr. Aqua, nor is there anything mystical about it. IMHO its a quality product that works well and seems to hold up just fine.

    My only tank now is a 3 gallon shrimp with no CO2 using Mr. Aqua soil and that tank has been doing just fine. Good plant growth, healthy tank, little algae, very little maintenance, no ferts, almost no water changes, not growing anything complicated, but with that setup makes no sense to. So it works just fine in a low tech setup as well. However, in general I don't think it makes much sense to use it in a low tech due to the cost. You can get just as good of a result with the Walstad method at a fraction of the cost.
     
  15. reef12

    reef12 Member

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    Wow $11.00 a Litter wow again.:(

    Any good and says only lasts 12 to 18 months.:eek:

    Jeff
     
  16. nwozniak

    nwozniak New Member

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    Any update on this experiment Tom? I'm curious as I've been using UP aqua. I can say it's held up very well with over a year in my tank.
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Cost is an issue, it's not cheaper than ADA AS.
    The bags run 30$. And that's for about 1/2 the 9 liter ADA As bags.

    That needs addressed.
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Cost is an issue, it's not cheaper than ADA AS.
    The bags run 30$. And that's for about 1/2 the 9 liter ADA As bags.

    That needs addressed.
     
  19. avalonju

    avalonju Junior Poster

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    No nh4 in soil is a problem at start up ?

    Hi,
    I m writing from reunion island where tap water is approximatively 0 for all parameters and lots of chlorine. I m using EI method to fertelize it. I m not a chimist like lots of aquascapers. I got ada as since 4 years in my 800 liters tank and i redo my tank 3 weeks ago with this soil that i wash and make it dry for 2 days. It has no more nh4 in it and i think it's a problem for the ones who try to follow ada method. I think lots of nh4 in new soil is the start up point of the ada method for cycling the aquarium. I did lots of water changes as ada method advise for the begining but it was an error because i have no nh4 anymore in the water. So my tank did not start to cycle. 3 weeks later my tank is not cycle because i need to put nh4. I bought some and I m now 0,15 mg/l nh4 and it seems to be better, don't want to put more because there are already shrimps and oto in my tank ... So what do you think about the folks that don't know nh4 as bacteria source of food and think it's a poison that we don't have to put in a tank ? Will they don't have problem of cycling with soil that have not nh4 in it ?
     
  20. Sukrol

    Sukrol Member

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    Where the results to this comparison ever posted?
     
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