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Old 09-09-2008, 09:04 PM   #16
Tex Gal
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I had the same problem with Amazonia II. Its the Amazonia II. Horrid product. I fought with that stuff for 4+ months! I changed it out to Amazonia original and couldn't be happier. You can't know the difference in the 2 products unless you've tried the AS II. I do still have it in a couple of small tanks and it's not as bad. I mixed it with laterite so I think that helps. In one of my smaller tanks it's breaking down now. IMO the Amazonia II is a horrid product.
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Old 09-09-2008, 10:01 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macclellan View Post
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.
This is true. I haven't had a bad batch of aquasoil (at least not like what's being described)....I bet it blows...but, wouldn't you say that a tank that constantly produces copious amounts of debris has a problem? if you read the OP...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonV View Post
: 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.
so - lush plant growth = a "great deal of debris both floating and on the bottom." I like to think that I have "lush" plant growth (and others seem to agree), and I have no "great deal" or even "little bit" of debris either floating or on the bottom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonV View Post
:
... As time goes by and the plants are thriving, the amount of debris also increased making cleaning by hand an effort in futility. 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.
Again, we have the statement that plants are thriving and as a consequence "the amount of debris increased." Again: this makes little sense. My plants create debris when they die or defoliate (which doesn't happen, so they don't create debris).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonV View Post
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonV View Post
:
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.
I'm certain this was a frustrating experience, and your correct to blame your fish losses (most likely) on the aquasoil (self-admitted frequent, consistent agitation), NH4+ release, etc (though I'm still confused as to what, exactly, you mean by a drop in pH; if the tank (aquasoil) was cycled, the pH should have leveled off.

But...plant growth should not create debris buildup in your tank. When I do water changes, I have no need to vacuum anything; I stick the siphon in the tank, it hangs suspended in the tank with some cheesecloth over the end (to keep the shrimp out), and that's that. Granted my tank is essentially totally planted (ie no "open" substrate to vacuum anyway), but this is, as I've mentioned, how aquasoil is indicated to be used (that is where things are to be planted).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tex Gal View Post
I had the same problem with Amazonia II. Its the Amazonia II. Horrid product. I fought with that stuff for 4+ months! I changed it out to Amazonia original and couldn't be happier. You can't know the difference in the 2 products unless you've tried the AS II. I do still have it in a couple of small tanks and it's not as bad. I mixed it with laterite so I think that helps. In one of my smaller tanks it's breaking down now. IMO the Amazonia II is a horrid product.
I (obviously) disagree. If I disturb the substrate (this has happened twice when I knocked over some driftwood and needed to reposition it), the tank gets cloudy. This is (as it should be) expected. But...my tank will clear up quickly, usually within an hour - two tops. The problems are clearly related to inconsistencies in batch content.
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Old 09-10-2008, 04:46 AM   #18
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Coleman, so glad you have had wonderful results. That's great. All I know is that some retailers have had to replace this product and EAT the cost. Whether it's bad batch problems or what I have no idea. When you spend big $$$ on ADA A.S. you don't expect batch problems. I doubt anyone would enter into that crap shoot voluntarily.

All this doesn't negate the issue that others have had awful problems that can't be solved. In my case the soil continued to get into the water column and was being filtered out 24/7. Nothing I could do stopped it. I even thought about topping it with an inert gravel, thus turning my tank into El Natural type. I bought a diatom filter, etc. I have had tanks for 40+ years so I am not an novice.

I believe what DonV meant about plant debris is that your plants get coated with a fine dust from the soil turning to dust. They can't photosynthesize and begin to die. I lost some plants also. It was a bad experience. If you need more info you can read my 125g thread. It's in there.

I don't vacuum my AS now at all. I was trying to get the fine dust off with the Amazonia II. Maybe that's also what Don is talking about.
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Old 09-10-2008, 05:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tex Gal View Post
Coleman, so glad you have had wonderful results. That's great. All I know is that some retailers have had to replace this product and EAT the cost. Whether it's bad batch problems or what I have no idea. When you spend big $$$ on ADA A.S. you don't expect batch problems. I doubt anyone would enter into that crap shoot voluntarily.
Thanks for the positivity! I totally understand this problem (ie not wanting to waste a bunch of cash on a product that doesn't work - especially dirt), and to be quite honest I was really nervous when I first started cycling the tank with Amazonia II after reading all the horror stories. Furthermore, I suspect that if I start up more tanks I will use amazonia I. I suppose by retailers you are talking about either ADG or AFA, as they're the only retailers I know of that supply the product (in the states, at least). It would seem like the Senske's or Lo's would stop carrying the product if they felt that it was substandard or causing frequent and large monetary losses - I say this because I've done business with both and know both retailers to be helpful, knowledgeable and kind; and it's not like either of those retailers carry anywhere near the complete ADA line...if amazonia II is such a problem-prone substrate, I wonder why they still sell it? (more of a hypothetical than anything, not trying to argue...)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tex Gal View Post
All this doesn't negate the issue that others have had awful problems that can't be solved. In my case the soil continued to get into the water column and was being filtered out 24/7. Nothing I could do stopped it. I even thought about topping it with an inert gravel, thus turning my tank into El Natural type. I bought a diatom filter, etc. I have had tanks for 40+ years so I am not an novice.
This is no good - however, I've seen people use "AS mud" (essentially old aquasoil that had "broken down" into a muddy mess) to aquascape with stunning results, most frequently in iwagumi type layouts. The "mud" allows aquascapers to compact it in between rocks and in other crevices to allow for more planting at higher levels (imagine 2 rocks next to each other with a mud seam going in between them from top to bottom; things like HC, etc. are planted in the crevices, giving a sense of height - very effective for "terrestrial cliff" type scenes)...After WC's the substrate gets stirred up and it looks like a brown fog has settled in in the tank's lower strata for a short while. Point being that AS breakdown should not yield endlessly cloudy water in all cases. It's my understanding that amazonia II is softer than the original, which may hasten it's decomposition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tex Gal View Post
I believe what DonV meant about plant debris is that your plants get coated with a fine dust from the soil turning to dust. They can't photosynthesize and begin to die. I lost some plants also. It was a bad experience. If you need more info you can read my 125g thread. It's in there.

I don't vacuum my AS now at all. I was trying to get the fine dust off with the Amazonia II. Maybe that's also what Don is talking about.
That would make more sense...if the plants are covered in the fine particulate matter from the AS, that would be problematic. And i could see how it would be difficult to rid, as more disturbance of the water column = more detritus = more vacuuming = more disturbance of the water column = more detritus = more vacuuming......yikes. Miserable perpetuation of horrid cycle.



How are things going now, Don?
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Old 09-10-2008, 06:02 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColeMan View Post
if you read the OP...
so - lush plant growth = a "great deal of debris both floating and on the bottom."
...
Again, we have the statement that plants are thriving and as a consequence "the amount of debris increased." Again: this makes little sense. My plants create debris when they die or defoliate (which doesn't happen, so they don't create debris).
It's silly this is being debated, but anyways. I think you're misreading him in both cases; when an interpretation makes little sense, one should first look for a better interpretation before attributing the error to the original writer (basic principle of charity in textual analysis). In neither case was he saying that plant growth "caused" debris or that debris "was a consequence" of plant growhth. In the first quotation you provided, he mentioned that plant growth required frequent trimming, and it makes sense that dusty AS II debris gets kicked up by doing tank maintenance. In the second post, he simply said, "as time passed and plants grew, dust increased." There is no statement of growing plants causing debris accumulation, rather that it accumulates over time...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ColeMan View Post
wouldn't you say that a tank that constantly produces copious amounts of debris has a problem? if you read the OP...
Yes I would say that (and did say that). And the problem is the source of the debris, the "root cause," the bad aquasoil.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ColeMan View Post
It would seem like the Senske's or Lo's would stop carrying the product if they felt that it was substandard or causing frequent and large monetary losses - I say this because I've done business with both and know both retailers to be helpful, knowledgeable and kind; and it's not like either of those retailers carry anywhere near the complete ADA line...if amazonia II is such a problem-prone substrate, I wonder why they still sell it? (more of a hypothetical than anything, not trying to argue...)
I heard that ADG wasn't recommending it anymore for just this reason. I can't remember where I read this though.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ColeMan View Post
This is no good - however, I've seen people use "AS mud" (essentially old aquasoil that had "broken down" into a muddy mess) to aquascape with stunning results, most frequently in iwagumi type layouts. The "mud" allows aquascapers to compact it in between rocks and in other crevices to allow for more planting at higher levels
I've seen this before to great effect but in the tank write-ups I've seen, it was used AS I that previously 'worked' fine. The bad AS II is nothing like this, it is dusty/crumbly and not muddy/clay-like/malleable, and won't work for this purpose.

I don't doubt that there are good bags of AS II, your experience is confirmation of this. I've just heard much more negative comments about it than positive comments about it. In contrast, I haven't heard anything similar about AS I and I'll stick with it for this reason.
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Old 09-10-2008, 06:46 PM   #21
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I believe George and Steve said it was cooked more(ADA AS II vs ADA AS I) which I take to imply why it had less effect on the tap water interactions, and why it would be more crumbly.

There's balance between too soft(mud) and not soft enough(ADA AS II).
I know Jeff does not like the ADA AS II and has had customers complaining about it as have other folks. I've never found too much wrong with ADA As after the first 2 months.

It can vary batch to batch, you might have to do a lot more water changes with some, less with others.

Once it settles down, things go pretty well.

I add fish and shrimp is less than a week, typically 3 days, but I do frequent water changes and have plenty of plants from day one.

I do not think it's stated anywhere that we should wait any amount of time prior to adding fish.

I've not lost any fish either.
Just like ANY new aquarium, for the first 1-2 months, you are going to do more work and water changes till things settle in and the bacteria are established.

This has nothing to do with NH4 vs say NO3 and "helping plants"
This is a bacterial issue. NH4 keeps leaching however the bacteria are easily able to mitigate that after 4-8 weeks.

You can add NH4 to a plain sand tank vs say NO3 and see these differences specifically, but if you allow bacteria to grow and prosper, you really cannot possibly tease apart what fraction of NH4 is going to plants and if it really helps at this stage than say NO3.

You can claim it till you are blue, so can ADA, but you/ADA have not shown it. It's speculatory. We can see this issue clearly in fish only tanks and time frame is curiously similar.
We can also see it if we add NO3 vs NH4.
And we can also add peat etc.

Maybe they are correct, but I've not seen evidence that suggest that it is.........and I've never seen enough differences using NH4 vs NO3 to suggest it really makes a difference an aquarist might see due to that issue alone.

Plants grow extremely well on NO3 and some small amount of fish waste. Adding more fish tends to reduce growth/lowers O2 near as I can tell, so that would suggest the NH4 is not the main issue here.

I think it's much more like fishless cycling............and much less with any type of form of N that "helps the plants" more.
PS is loaded with NO3 anyway.

Regards,
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Old 09-10-2008, 07:09 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonV View Post
: 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.

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.



The passages highlighted in bold make specific reference to the "debris" being discussed (ie NOT substrate/articulate matter from substrate since the substrate was being siphoned up with the debris - see last bold passage). Similarly, they highlight the fact that the OP equates plant growth and debirs production...to me, the only logical way plant growth = debris production is if trimmings aren't properly removed from the tank or if plants are throwing leaves from the result of poor health.

I would respectfully suggest that it is you who are misinterpreting the posts. The quotes you provided aren't even direct quotes, they're your own interpretations of his words brought together by quotation marks that you have arbitrarily placed there. I'm not trying to suggest that amazonia II doesn't have issues, I'm trying to suggest rather that the OP's tank has issues unrelated to the aquasoil; if there wasn't debris, there would be no need to vacuum and disturb the substrate, at least not as often as the OP was doing. This wouldn't necessarily prevent the cloudiness, but less agitation should result in if not no cloudiness (not an option since the amazonia II is apparently problematic in this case), a decrease in overall cloudiness...

oh yes, you forget to mention that if imploring the principle of charity in textual analysis (essentially giving the author the benefit of the doubt, or viewing his words in the most positive context for those of you who are unfamiliar), one needs to provide actual textual support (from the original text, obviously) to demonstrate your interpretation is as fair as possible. I have my textual support.....

So, I suggest your argument is weak and your premise unsound. Again...You say: "The problem is the source of the debris, the 'root cause', the bad aquasoil." The problem is the source of the debris (we can both agree on this); however, the passages highlighted in bold above clearly evidence the fact that the debris is not aquasoil detritus by virtue of mutual exclusion - the OP clearly states:
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonV View Post
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.
So........your turn!
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Old 09-10-2008, 08:33 PM   #23
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Aquasoil II is the substrate, it disintegrates and becomes debris, and then this debris coats the substrate and plants. He then vaccuums up debris and substrate to try and get rid of it, to no avail because the process continues until the Aquasoil II is all dust.

I believe that's what the OP meant (yes, it could have been put more clearly). There's no point in making more complicated than that.
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Old 09-10-2008, 09:09 PM   #24
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fair enough - and to be frank (or cole), I was kind of having fun with our little logic game....keeps my brain fresh. Thanks for that, Mac, I appreciate it.

And maybe you are right, maybe I am misinterpreting the OP...oh well, it's really a moot point anyway (I always want to say "moose" instead of "moot")...
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