Originally Posted by Francis Xavier
Powersand isn't a substrate to grow plants per se like Amazonia. It's large and porous - the primary purpose of it is to serve as a great biological filter by offering more surface area for it to grow in and as a method to keep the substrate oxygenated (since most soils like amazonia get compacted over time and can lead to oxygen being cut off and anaerobic bacteria growing (which is really bad!)), it also serves as an excellent substrate level for roots to get nice and rooted.
Are any of these claims stated by ADA in the least real or are marketing muckery? Don't plant roots have aerenchyma which allows them to grow in anaerobic soil? Where do plants grow naturally? In anaerobic soil
Does this have ANYTHING to do with compaction or lack of O2?
Have you measured O2/Redox in lake sediment or river sediments? Aquariums?
Why does DIY soil, Worm castings, and plain old ADA As alone do so well without ADA PS? Bio filtering: is this not the job of the filter and the plant's themselves? Is the surface area on the clay ADA AS not much higher than the pumice power sand?
I've never, I mean never..........had any issues with anaerobic conditions producing sulfides in any ADA AS sets where power sand was not used, even at 14" depths over several years. Nor have I ever heard of it happening.
So why do folks repeat this baloney from ADA's marketing group when it has no merit either biologically or at the more practical hobbyists level?
Not going after you personally or anything, but the issue in general.
Why repeat this manure?
This is the same marketing rubbish that Dupla claimed with their heating cables.
Amazonia normal and amazonia powder are the same thing compositionally - powder is just really really tiny, which enhances aesthetics as well as making it easier for smaller plants, like HC to get planted in.
Aesthetics could be argued, but rooting is fine for HC in normal ADA AS. I've grown plenty over the years. The powder is.....well, dust like pwoer and ends up settling. What about that whole thing about transfer of O2 to the root zone? Adding a fine compacted tiny grain sediment will enhance this, so it's counter to the power sand "logic".
So once you lay down the substrate system it's going to be mixed and won't be able to be separated again You're layering powder on top of a medium sized substrate on top of a large grained substrate. You will see the occasional piece of Power Sand drift it's way up to the top of the soil bed since it's less dense than aquasoil. These can be individually removed when they pop up with a pair of tweezers easy enough.
If you keep the tank for long time, or decide to rescape things, then it does make a mess eventually, then you end up having to buy all new stuff.
Since I use only ADA AS alone, I can and have reascaped about 4 times and should get 5-10 years life out of the ADA AS. Others' have layered stainless steel mesh between the layers, but this is a PITA IMO/IME.
If you uproot things much and are not careful , it becomes a tacky mess, but importantly, why bother with power sand to begin with?
ADA tells us we should buy it, but my plants sure do not.
The key, when you're laying down the aquascape, is to put down the thin layer of power sand, then lay down a medium to thick layer of amazonia normal and finalize your hardscape then. Once it's finalized, top it off with a decent layering of powder. Finesse and slow pouring is key.
I'd say the key is figuring out which part of the sediment is really doing the job over time and then questioning whether or not you should even mess with the power sand and dust added to the top. If you test this, you will not find any significant difference because the long nutrients are contained in the ADA AS. PS has a general fert, but this does not last long, maybe 1 month or so.......anyone can add a general ferts to the bottom or osmocoat etc and not deal with pumice/PS cost etc.
With driftwood - if you intend for it to be removed without causing massive disturbance, the best bet is to lay it on top of the substrate without digging it into it. However, once you get a thick carpet of plants going, it's really really difficult to cause massive soil disturbance since the plants will be very very firmly rooted into the three layers of substrate. But again, when removing pieces like that just take it slow, be careful and surgically remove it, then put it back in just as carefully. I've removed rocks embedded in the substrate for various reasons after a near-full carpet is in without disturbing the substrate and was able to put it back in no problems.
Yep, me too........but would it not be nicer not to hassle with it?
However, for rescaping, it's kind of difficult to re-use the soils. You can definitely re-use the soil just fine - i've done it before, but the soils will be mixed together and you'll probably have to hand push the power sand back down into the depths of the soil again with a pair of tweezers, which takes time and patience, and then apply a new layer of powder type for aesthetics / easier planting.
Yes, certainly a PITA. So my question goes to what I initially said about why bother with PS?
In a rescape scenario it's best to just use a fresh batch of power sand, aquasoil normal and powder, and just use the old stuff to grow some stuff emmersed in a farm setup or put it in a planter or something.
Or not use power sand and dust to begin with
Just Plan ahead, do your aquascaping heavy lifting before putting any soil in the tank, get a relative final picture in your head for the scape, put down the power sand and normal amazonia, then place your hardscape in the tank and finalize it. Once it's finalized fill the tank in with powder type. Generally, it's too late to do big rescapes once you've filled in soil and water without redoing your whole setup (regardless of substrate choice).
Yes, but the problem is ...few folks plan that far ahead, most are works in progress, we change our mind often, rescape etc. We should have this option without dealing with Power sand and there seems to be no trade off against not using powersand or the dust. I used the dust in the nano tanks I use to keep, but water changes had it all over the place, in larger tanks, it can stay put a little easier or if I was much more careful, but if I did it, most other folks will have the same type of experience a few times as well.
I started off using PS, then tried a few tanks without it, lo and behold.......a test.......and the results showed no difference, others also did this, again, similar results. The group supporting the use of power sand seems to have always used it+aqua soil, so there's no way they can say either way and must reply on the marketing claims from ADA and whatever the bag says........
Ignorance is not a good argument.
So have you used ADA AS alone and if so, what where the results that you could attribute solely to the differences of powersand? I could not and no one else have I've spoken or emailed in quite a few years. Die hard ADA fan boys/girls........folks selling ADA.......but they do not test the stuff like this either. They do whatever ADA complete system suggest, whether one part is the source of the difference or not, and do not question.
Others question it, modify and test. Sometimes ...things do not turn out well, other times like this, they do and we see we can make the system cheaper, easier and simpler. This benefits all, but maybe raises doubts about believing 100% ADA statements and marketing. But you should not believe everything marketing companies tell you anyway