Aquasoil vs flourite black vs eco complete?
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Old 10-20-2013, 04:25 AM   #1
brightstar123
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Aquasoil vs flourite black vs eco complete?


Hi everyone, I'm looking for some help with substrate choice for my first big high tech tank. Just bought a nice 4 (L) x 2(W) x 2.6ft(H) low iron tank and trying to work my way through the confusing maze that is substrate choice! Going to do a fairly natural heavily planted Holland style tank (hopefully!) with a mix of rainbowfish, tetras, gourami, platies etc.
Still to purchase and decide on filtration options, for lighting I am thinking of trying 2 Radion XR30w but not sure about that yet. Will set up a CO2 system when the budget allows!

At first I was just going to pay for ADA aquasoil but the owner of a good aquarium store near us said he's had so many unhappy clients that ended up totally redoing their tanks after a year or so because the ADA aquasoil has turned to mud and causes a constant dirty haze in the tank. So I don't like the sound of that! Other aquasoil options that I can order in Australia are UP aquasoil and Mr Aqua Plant Soil, but not sure if they will also turn to mud after a short time.

Thought about going with the soil/sand or gravel cap, but I'd prefer a substrate with only one layer, as we might have to move the tank when we move house and also because I'll probably move plants around at least initially.
So that leaves Eco Complete, which I don't really see the benefit of if it's inert but I do like the natural look of. If I use Eco Complete, won't I have to put a layer of something underneath with more nutrients? Or add root tabs or similar fairly frequently? Or finally other things like Flourite Black, Dupla Ground (don't really like the colour), Flora Base or Stratum?

I'd prefer dark/black substrate but growth of the plants is the primary concern obviously. For substrates like Flourite Black, how and what do people prefer to add to improve fertility?
Any advice appreciated, there's just so many conflicting opinions and it's quite costly in Australia with most 7-9kg bags costing from $40-80 (eg ADA Amazonia Multi is $79.95 for 9L!)
Thanks everyone!
PS any comments about the lighting options also very welcome.
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Old 10-20-2013, 05:09 AM   #2
tithra
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I would personally go with the ada aquasoil or up aqua soil if you can. I used to use Eco complete with root tabs in all my tanks but switched to ada aquasoil in the last 6mos and the difference in growth and health of my plants is well worth the extra money. I am going to be setting up another tank with the up aquasoil as soon as it's available here to give it a try since Tom has recently had good things to say about it


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Old 10-20-2013, 05:24 AM   #3
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I vote for Flourite Black, just for the fact that it doesn't turn into mud. You can just dose the water column for the nutrients. Flourite has high CEC which just means it will hold on to the nutrients.

Anywho, I have both and the AS is turning to mud. Go for Flourite.
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Old 10-20-2013, 10:42 AM   #4
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While the ADA Aquasoil will give you excellent plant growth, as tithra points out, it's also extremely expensive.

I have a 90 gal planted tank, which is about the same size base as what you have, and first set it up with Aquasoil and their power sand. This cost me about $250 for "fancy dirt". The plants did do great, but I had problems with it coming apart, and really looking ugly.

I had to replace the Aquasoil, so I went with Eco-Complete. As you point out, this is more or less inert, so I split the Eco-Complete into two batches, and mixed one batch with a few boxes of Laterite, and some root tabs. That batch went in first.

Most of the plants still did well, but I did find that heavy root feeding plants, like swords, need additional root tabs or other ferts used in the substrata around them.
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Old 10-20-2013, 11:18 AM   #5
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It sounds like the up aquasoil may be a bit sturdier than the ada if you're worried about it turning to mud http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=443417


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Old 10-20-2013, 12:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightstar123 View Post
...At first I was just going to pay for ADA aquasoil but the owner of a good aquarium store near us said he's had so many unhappy clients that ended up totally redoing their tanks after a year or so because the ADA aquasoil has turned to mud and causes a constant dirty haze in the tank. So I don't like the sound of that! Other aquasoil options that I can order in Australia are UP aquasoil and Mr Aqua Plant Soil, but not sure if they will also turn to mud after a short time.
.
AS is a great substrate but many newbies don't realize how careful they have to be with it, thus the problems. If you disturb the soil it will create issues for many especially if you don't do a large water change right after.

All those substrates will require water column dosing, although with AS you could probably get a way with at least 6 months of adding nothing. Eco Complete is much easier to deal with and it's not really inert. It does have plenty of micro ferts in it, but you will need to dose NPK. The price of the substrates really shouldn't make much of a difference if you think about how often you change your substrate.
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Old 10-20-2013, 12:51 PM   #7
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I'm going to suggest you get co2 before anything. Don't set your tank up and get co2 later, trust me you'll regret it especially with the strength of lighting you're considering. Read more and don't be in a rush to set up your tank, the best tanks are well planned out. Ask questions on this website, people are more than happy to help out.
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Old 10-20-2013, 07:29 PM   #8
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I have not used AS long enough to know if I like it or not. I will say I am surprised how much this stuff sticks to roots of plants that have only been in the tank for a week or two so I am confident it is doing it's job. Second of all, I personally don't think it's all that expensive if you buy the right amount, something that can be harder with other substrates. I actually would have spent only about $5 less if I went with Flourite on my 60P, but would have some left over.

That said, I like Flourite Black as well. I really love the sand. I am hesitant to use it again because I have scratched more than a few tanks with it. Don't use it with a magnetic cleaner as it can become magnetized. I have also scratched tanks by moving it with substrate in the tank. If you are careful, it should be a non issue but I still would hesitate on an expensive tank.
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Old 10-20-2013, 10:44 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for the advice so far! Just one or two more questions
Is aquasoil out of the question if I want to have a few bottom dwellers? Will it just be a muddy swamp the whole time? I know Eco Complete is ok for bottom dwellings but Flourite might be a bit pointy.
Does anyone have any experience using Dino Dung with Eco Complete? Or what other root tabs does everyone recommend?
I'm tending towards the Eco Complete for its natural look and ease. Also it seems like it might be a bit more forgiving for a relative beginner, maybe aquasoil is something to move on to next time?
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Old 10-20-2013, 11:36 PM   #10
chad320
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I mix all three. The AS breaks down. After a few years you can sift it through screen and save the Eco and Flourite and get all of the dirt out, add more AS, and reuse it for years.
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