OK, in all fairness I have given the substrate a fair chance. I have had nothing but problems with it and short of giving up on the hobby I have decided to abandon Aqua Soil Amizonia II and find something less troublesome. At first this was not the case, AquaSoil seemed to be ideal for both plant and animal. First off, AquaSoil was great for growing plants and I was thrilled to have to trim back the plants regularly as they grew like crazy. This was also part of the problem. With the plants growing so well, there was also a great deal of debris both floating and on the bottom. Cleaning the floating debris was rather easy. If only a few bits I could pick them out, if quite a bit more, I would scoop it out with a net, cool.
I started out trying to keep up with the debris on the bottom by hand. The first few weeks there seemed to be only a small amount. As time goes by and the plants are thriving, the amount of debris also increased making cleaning by hand an effort in futility. Soooo, I started trying to siphon it off when doing water changes but this also met with problems, specifically, siphoning up a lot of the substrate along with the debris. OK, from here i tried to use a gravel vacuum which worked OK except when siphoning the debris I also needed to slightly agitate the substrate to endure I was getting all the debris, fish waste and food from the bottom. This would create still more problems.
Agitating the substrate even in the slightest would produce a great deal of cloudiness in the water. Enough that my canister filter, tubing and all would become coated with the residue further clouding the water. I have had to almost completely break down the tank to try to correct these problems. Then I got this idea that could help alleviate this issue. I removed some of the AquaSoil and then covered the remainder with ordinary Aquarium Gravel, this way I could vacuum the gravel without disturbing the AquaSoil and still provide the rich medium for growing plants. This works to some degree however after a while the AquaSoil begins to mix with the gravel, not exactly what I wanted.
I'm not new to the hobby by any means, (just new to AquaSoil), but this has to be the most frustrating experience to date.
Oh, BTW, I am blaming the loss of fish on the problems I have had with AquaSoil, ammonia spikes when there should have been none and a drop in pH.
If you use or have used AquaSoil, please post your experiences. I would like to know what others think about it as a substrate.