A bit of a rant.
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Old 09-08-2008, 05:30 PM   #1
DonV
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A bit of a rant.


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.

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Old 09-08-2008, 05:37 PM   #2
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I have original amazonia, not II. I like it, and don't have the problems you are having. Maybe try hovering just above the substrate with a smaller hose to just get the debris. Agitating the substrate and disturbing it could have killed your fish.
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Old 09-08-2008, 06:51 PM   #3
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Do a search on Aquasoil II. Many have had similar problems, myself included. No such issues with AS I. ADA needs to test II a bit more and get better batch consistency. Until then they simply shouldn't be selling this product.

Short answer is to get rid of it (mine is now potted plant fertilizer) and get the real deal (I).
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Old 09-08-2008, 10:12 PM   #4
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I love my amazonia II - when I disturb the substrate the water will get cloudy, of course, but it resolves rapidly (this is not the case with all AS; there's a great deal of variance from bag to bag). I haven't had the need to ever vacuum my substrate, but...I have everything planted. People often forget that if there's an area not meant to be planted (for instance the foreground) it should not have aquasoil; that is, aquasoil would not be the ideal choice, hence the inclusion of decorative sand in the ADA product line.

Your real problem doesn't seem to be the aquasoil but rather the fact that you have an excessive amount of debris in the tank that causes you to disturb the substrate to the point where it creates cloudiness. Fix the root of the problem...
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:12 AM   #5
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Agreed, fix the root of the problem.

Dead fish is not the fault of the product, nor is the fast rate of growth.
you have too much light and picked too fast growing species.
Pick something that you can manage better using less light, better species selection.

I think there are trade offs with every type of sediment, but dead fish should never be one of any of the trade offs.........

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Old 09-09-2008, 12:39 AM   #6
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I've been off the forum for a long time. My past experience with the original Aquasoil is that when brand new, it does have a substantial ammonia spike - for a few weeks. I didn't even know there was a I and II, so that shows how long I've been out of the loop, LOL. Generally, folks would put some Ammo Carb or the like in a filter to keep that spike in check. I learned that trick from Tom (Plant Brain) Also, Aquasoil tends to murk the water easily, but clears up fairly soon and does greatly lower pH, IME.

I ended up switching back to Flourite, and couldn't be happier with two tanks fairly algae free, once I lowered my fish inventory. I stopped injecting CO2 and now run middle and lower light tanks. Things grow slowly, and I don't have as many super soft water plants, but sometimes less is more, meaning less fish is more fun and lower maintenance and the plants look terrific. Now my Apistos don't breed anymore, but if I want them to, I'll just hook up the CO2. HTH. bob
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Old 09-09-2008, 01:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterfaller1 View Post
I have original amazonia, not II. I like it, and don't have the problems you are having. Maybe try hovering just above the substrate with a smaller hose to just get the debris. Agitating the substrate and disturbing it could have killed your fish.
Thank you. I'm sure it played a part because I started having other problems as well. The sad part is, I did my cleaning and water change on Saturday, on Monday (Labor Day) we went to a barbecue. All seemed find with the tank when we left, although it was a bit cloudy, however upon returning many fish had died. Now there was no rhyme or reason that I could detect that would cause that many fish to die all of a sudden. And yes I checked my water chemistry, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH etc. The only thing here was a slight elevation in ammonia, about 0.25. Yes I have ammo-carb in my filter and have Ammo Lock as a backup incase I have more serious problems with ammonia.
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Old 09-09-2008, 01:50 AM   #8
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I've never used ammo-carb. I don't use carbon either. Alot of people suggest Seachem Purigen to clarify the tank. I just started using it in one tank.
Sorry for your loss. The ammonia might have even been a bit higher, but was on it's way back down.
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Old 09-09-2008, 03:10 AM   #9
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ada or die
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Old 09-09-2008, 03:17 PM   #10
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Zeolite is Ammo remover.
Carbon will not do much there nor Purigen, these remove color/organics or cloudiness etc.

Water changes , lots of them, for the first 1-2 months is mandatory.
Zeolite will mitigate some...........but do not expected it to do everything.

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Old 09-09-2008, 06:57 PM   #11
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I might mention that I used 2 boxes of zeolite (1400 g) and still waited 4-6 weeks (can't remember exactly) for ammonia levels to bottom out.
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Old 09-09-2008, 07:44 PM   #12
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I might mention that I used 2 boxes of zeolite (1400 g) and still waited 4-6 weeks (can't remember exactly) for ammonia levels to bottom out.
Yes, but was it the zeolite or the bacteria after 4-6 weeks?

I'd say the bacteria..........

I've had ADA AS(type I, I've not used the II) act funny in some cases and take longer than other batches to settle down, this is using the same tap etc. Some 3 weeks, some 5 weeks, some 7 weeks before the tank stop leaching.

Expect some variation and keep up on frequent water changes till it settles down. The added labor will keep the CO2 and the nutrients in great shape also.

Always do water changes right when the lights come on if possible.
Then dose after.

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Old 09-09-2008, 08:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonV View Post
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.
Acutally, Aquasoil Amazonia I and II are both designed to lower the pH and provide ammonia during the initial setup. They are also designed to be setup without fish or other fauna for the first 4-8 weeks.

The basic idea behind the product is that plants uptake ammonia much more readily than they do nitrate. In order for this to happen the pH needs to be acidic. These two conditions combine to make for very fast and healthy growth of the plants that requires no dosing for the first 4-8 weeks. It's essentially a fishless cycling of the tank that results in a lush nearly fully grown planted aquarium that is very stable once fauna are added later on. Of course this poses a problem for those who already have fish and wish to switch over to Amazonia.

ADA really ought to write a step-by-step user manual. I think a lot more people would be less scared to try it if they knew what to expect.
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Old 09-09-2008, 08:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronT View Post
They are also designed to be setup without fish or other fauna for the first 4-8 weeks.
The package doesn't mention this, even though it's crucial.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronT View Post
ADA really ought to write a step-by-step user manual. I think a lot more people would be less scared to try it if they knew what to expect.
Yep, the package should mention this, since it's crucial.
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Old 09-09-2008, 08:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColeMan View Post
Your real problem doesn't seem to be the aquasoil but rather the fact that you have an excessive amount of debris in the tank that causes you to disturb the substrate to the point where it creates cloudiness. Fix the root of the problem...
As I said above, it sounds like he has some of the bad Aquasoil II - it is the cause and not the result of the debris.
If that's the case, then it isn't a maintenance issue or anything.
If you haven't gotten a bad batch, you have no idea how bad "bad" is - perpetual duststorm despite gajillions of water changes, anyone?

Fixing the root of the problem is nothing other than replacing the substrate.
There is no way to work around it, except maybe a several inch cap of sand or something.
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