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Old 09-02-2010, 05:48 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by speedie408 View Post
ADA AS is your friend. Works very well in "low tech" tanks. Just check my 20L tank in my sig for reference.
Very nice.. But. uhh. what does ADA AS mean??
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Old 09-02-2010, 06:04 PM   #17
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Very nice.. But. uhh. what does ADA AS mean??
Amano Design Aquarium Aqua Soil

Grows plants, but I find it to be a major PITA.
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Old 09-02-2010, 06:25 PM   #18
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Flourite is what I prefer. Yeah, you have to rinse and drain repeatedly during initial setup(PITA) but, it lasts quite along time. I am using flourite that I setup in 2004 and it shows no sign of breaking down. It has high CEC meaning that it will soak up the ferts that I dump into the water column and you can always add root tabs or Osmacote as needed under the crypts and swordplants.

The times that I added root tabs under the crypts, I haven't seen a significant increase in growth. Probably, due to EI dosing and not deep vaccuuming the gravel. I just swirl the vaccuum tube and inch or two above the gravel while draining water for a water change.
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Old 09-02-2010, 06:34 PM   #19
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Mr Barr

I feel honored by your reply. If I dose the water column, how often will I need to do water changes? I must be honest with myself. I just can't see myself trying to run hoses out the window or lugging buckets outside in the winter. My wife really wants Discus, but I told her it probably won't work because I don't want to do the water changes
I use a simple hang on garden hose to the shower for filling, draining goes outside for irrigating, but you can drain right down the tub also, no buckets, no water spills etc.

If she really wants them, make her do the work.

You do not need, nor should do water changes if you do the method I suggested there, read it, Diana's suggestion is the same as well, no water changes. Nothing builds up much because plants remove it, the rates of growth are very slow, so the demand for ferts is also correspondingly low.

Discus could be done, but it'd be under stocked or perhaps something more like this but at 135 gal to 300 gallon scale:

Then you could do water changes or not as long as the fish load/feeding was moderately low relative to total tank volume/plant biomass.

Problem is.......many over load the fish and then wonder they have health and plant/algae problems.




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Old 09-02-2010, 06:41 PM   #20
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If the salesman was correct then how are there plants growing in nature?? I don't think someone is coming along and filling lakes and streams with ecocomplete then dosing every day!

Yea I keep looking for the giant co2 tank at my lake,,I know its hidden somewhere.
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Old 09-02-2010, 06:43 PM   #21
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...You do not need, nor should do water changes if you do the method I suggested there, read it, Diana's suggestion is the same as well, no water changes. Nothing builds up much because plants remove it, the rates of growth are very slow, so the demand for ferts is also correspondingly low....

Regards,
Tom Barr

Thanks for the advice I think I'll do as you suggest for the low maintenance tank (probably not the Discus as this point). In fact, I had already picked up a small bottle of Equilibrium. Would there be any advantage to combining root tabs with water column dosing?
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Old 09-02-2010, 06:53 PM   #22
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I have a 110 planted Discus tank and have to be the laziest person on earth when it comes to water changes. I do a 50% water change once a mth otherwise just top off due to evaporation. I use root tabs and water column dosing once a week. My tank looks like a jungle with probably almost a dozen species of flora. Substrate in that tank is pea gravel with a ugf and powerheads (yea yea I know can't be done lol) You can make it as easy or as hard as you want it. Been doing it this way for 45 plus yrs. However when I set up my 220 I'll be using Soil Master Select so its true an old dog can learn new tricks.
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Old 09-02-2010, 07:51 PM   #23
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My tanks are ever changing and the use of real "soil" would be a total mess. Pulling plants out would turn the substrate upside down.

Doesn't the top sand or gravel cover want to migrate to the bottom in time?
its the nature of substrate in an aquatic situation for the largest chunks to move upward and the finer silty stuff to move down. I dont know how many times in marine aquariums I have seen people go over crushed coral with sand only to have the crushed coral slowly migrate bact to the top.

if you read a bag of eco-complete they brag how their product automaticly seperates into 2 layers, its because they use roughly 2 sizes of particle in their bag and physics handles the seperation. the smalles stuff settles towards the bottom and the larger chunks on top. its not because they have specially trained their substrate before shipping.
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:14 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
I think given your goal, it's a good choice of a method.
You can also go a water column dosing method without soil.

http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...on-CO2-methods

Regards,
Tom Barr
Tom (or someone familiar with his non-soil method)

I read the link and some of your other forums. Thanks for pointing me to it. Being a newbie, I'm still a little confused. Tom mentions onyx sand, leonardite, and peat. How thick of layer do I need of each and in what order? And, can I put my decorative gravel on top or will that disrupt the system?

Also, wouldn't peat have the same issues with NH4 as soil?
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:36 PM   #25
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It sounds like that salesman was one of those all-or-nothing, black-and-white thinkers.

I have seen a number of beautiful tanks set up with a Walstad kind of approach.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:04 PM   #26
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Tom (or someone familiar with his non-soil method)

I read the link and some of your other forums. Thanks for pointing me to it. Being a newbie, I'm still a little confused. Tom mentions onyx sand, leonardite, and peat. How thick of layer do I need of each and in what order? And, can I put my decorative gravel on top or will that disrupt the system?

Also, wouldn't peat have the same issues with NH4 as soil?
No, it's just one method adds ferts to the sediment, the other to the water column.

I took the assumption that water column ferts do not lead to algae.
This was shown to be correct for CO2 and non CO2 enriched aquariums.

Now.........this does not imply you should not use both of these locations for ferts either:ico n_excl

You can use either or, or you might use both, we all use both to some degree, but in general........we often go with one or the other.
Hopefully that attitude will change and more will use BOTH locations.

Peat has little nutrients in and of itself.

I would opt for ADA AS or a good clay top soil that's been washed, or Worm compost that's been boiled about 10 minutes in water, then dried and worked into some sand, say 2-3mm size with a 2-3" cap.

Those are 3 options, some use a thin layer, say 5-8 grams per square ft of osmocoat.

They all add similar things.

Some floating plants are a good idea, since they can mop up any excess and block intense light and do not require added CO2. But say 10-20% coverage only.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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Old 09-03-2010, 06:54 PM   #27
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Hi slb,

Interesting post! Let me guess, they also tried to sell you their substrate and fertilizer tablets?
As well as "Total Liquid Concentrate" (with no analysis, due to trade secretes)
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Old 09-03-2010, 08:02 PM   #28
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It sounds like that salesman was one of those all-or-nothing, black-and-white thinkers.
I agree! The looks I get when I mention dirt in an aquarium reminds me of this.

Welcome to planted tank!
Here are some interesting low tech tanks.
Here many are doing the El Natual method that Diane talks about.
Here Homer_Simpson did an experiment comparing the El Natural method to the water column dosing method.

I am doing the El Natural method. Started with it for read people only do water changes 1x a year and don't add ferts. Well after 3 months BBA (black brush algae) suffocated my plants. Now I do water changes monthly. Did not add the coral as recommended for have high ph and it raises the ph. Used pool filter sand from Lowe's to cap the dirt. For dirt I like Scotts top soil. I dose minimum for have a version of mineralized soil. Have a very thin layer of laterite, thin layer of reptile coconut bark, top soil approx 1 in. and sand approx 1 in. Total height of substrate is 3 in.

Some are simply afraid of using soil in an aquarium. At the worst you get a sand storm after moving a lot of plants around. It won't hurt the fish unless there is ammonia in the substrate, which occurs when the substrate is very old or you put house plant ferts in it. In fact, when I used play sand I had a bad sand storm in the tank and it didn't affect the fish.
When I move I going to try Hydroton clay (hydroponic supply) under the substrate. It is used for lily's.

Keep in mind that no ecosystem is the same. In fact one told me he had 3 10 gallon tanks side by side. He dosed them all the same and had 1 light across the 3. With one he had a problems with algae.
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Old 09-03-2010, 08:16 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by speedie408 View Post
ADA AS is your friend. Works very well in "low tech" tanks. Just check my 20L tank in my sig for reference.
Got a link to it? I don't see it.
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Old 09-08-2010, 08:49 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
No, it's just one method adds ferts to the sediment, the other to the water column.

I took the assumption that water column ferts do not lead to algae.
This was shown to be correct for CO2 and non CO2 enriched aquariums.

Now.........this does not imply you should not use both of these locations for ferts either:ico n_excl

You can use either or, or you might use both, we all use both to some degree, but in general........we often go with one or the other.
Hopefully that attitude will change and more will use BOTH locations.

Peat has little nutrients in and of itself.

I would opt for ADA AS or a good clay top soil that's been washed, or Worm compost that's been boiled about 10 minutes in water, then dried and worked into some sand, say 2-3mm size with a 2-3" cap.

Those are 3 options, some use a thin layer, say 5-8 grams per square ft of osmocoat.

They all add similar things.

Some floating plants are a good idea, since they can mop up any excess and block intense light and do not require added CO2. But say 10-20% coverage only.

Regards,
Tom Barr
Currently trying to decide between mineralized top soil and ADA AS for a low tech setup. For me, the main advantage of MTS would be less or possibly no dosing. Disadvantage would be possibly being messy as I'm not a great aquascaper and the fact that I'm only gonna do one Nano right now so economy of scale dictates that I won't see any savings for one small tank.

ADA AS, I'm concerned about it turning to mud. I thought this problem had been taken care of, but I still see it being brought up.

-Does MTS really last for 8 years or more without being depleted?

-Anything I can add to the ADA to make it perform like the MTS? Osmocoat on the bottom, etc...

Thanks and I hope this isn't a thread hijack and that the info is useful to the OP and others.
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