Do you, or have you, used ControSoil - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-20-2017, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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Do you, or have you, used ControSoil

Did alot of searching, read everything I could find on here, which isnt a whole lot.

Looking for pros and cons, the good, the bad, the ugly... the truth.
Got a ControSoil tank, I'd love to see it!

Should I? Shouldnt I?
Give me the low down!
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post #2 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-20-2017, 09:45 PM
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My buddy on here @Aqua99 uses it with great results for his shrimp tank. I'll ask if he can chime in about it. I will say from what he says is it's great stuff.


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post #3 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 04:20 PM
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@clownplanted is correct. I am using it in several tanks at the moment and can't say enough good things about it.

Color is nice rich black (I haven't tried the brown yet) and the x-fine grain size is perfect for all my needs. I've found Controsoil to be not too light that plants pull out easily (keep in mind it's not sand/gravel) and not too heavy that it compacts or roots struggle to go through it.

It was hard to find when it disappeared from the market for a while, but thankfully it's back. Price is a big factor to me too. The price on Amazon fluctuates between $43-49 for 10L shipped depending on the day/week.

I'll try to grab some pics. 2 tanks are planted shrimp tanks (light CO2) and the other is a 30g high-tech to replace my 20. I prefer it to the ADA soils I've used mainly because of price and the lack of cycle "issues".
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post #4 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 05:12 AM Thread Starter
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Awesome. This is really great and I appreciate the willingness to share photos and speak on your experience with it! The big ammonia dump in the beginning was my main issue with ADA products and wanting to avoid them. So much has changed since I left the hobby in 05/06 and I'm excited to start anew with a couple of tanks and dig out my 5 lb co2 tank.
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post #5 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 06:08 AM
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ADA has a new product called "Light" which releases less ammonia. Ammonia release isn't bad, as plants like it (if you cycle with plants in) and it helps to cycle the tank.

I've also heard good things about SL-Aqua Soil and Prodibio.


That aside, there are two tanks here that are set up with Contrasoil. Can't give any input right now as the tanks have been set up for less than a week and need to cycle. Also working out some "bugs" with the first tank.... (error setting it up and issue with water from LFS...)
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post #6 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 07:55 PM
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Pro's
doesn't release as much ammonia
lesser water changes
perhaps more dosing, i did not use it long enough

Con's
boom in growth in ada not so contraoil
buffer 6.8, you may want lower
not much cons to this soil honestly
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post #7 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoidburg View Post
ADA has a new product called "Light" which releases less ammonia. Ammonia release isn't bad, as plants like it (if you cycle with plants in) and it helps to cycle the tank.

I've also heard good things about SL-Aqua Soil and Prodibio.


That aside, there are two tanks here that are set up with Contrasoil. Can't give any input right now as the tanks have been set up for less than a week and need to cycle. Also working out some "bugs" with the first tank.... (error setting it up and issue with water from LFS...)
No doubt, though I've heard that it is even a bit more than necessary which prompts many to do some water change to help it along. I also wondered about once the substrate lost its "umph". Seems some people replace substrate, that might be weird with that ammonia leech. I know a lot of people just use root tabs. I haven't gotten that far since that is a ways out, hah!

There's a lot of consideration to all the little bits and pieces you need with ADA too, like the balls, layers of differing substrate, and powders. I wanted to make sure ControSoil is can equally make decent tanks. My LFS uses Seachem AquaSolum only and they have impressive tanks but that's pricey and I had concerns about once the lower layers break down into a "soil soil" composition. Which i understand to be a feature and I do see it in the LFS tanks.

I'll look into those other substrates too.

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Pro's
doesn't release as much ammonia
lesser water changes
perhaps more dosing, i did not use it long enough

Con's
boom in growth in ada not so contraoil
buffer 6.8, you may want lower
not much cons to this soil honestly
I assumed one way or another there would be water column dosing of some kind at some point.

You're saying that ADA has a larger boom of growth? That's ok by me, I'm not entering a competition with this tank or anything so I'm fine with "low and slow" as it were as compared to "hot and fast".

Well, I may want lower. I am certainly interested in Shrimp in my tanks. This is something I have not tackled yet. I really wish there was a PDF on planted tanks I could print and read on all the styles and subjects in one nice tome. I considered peat in my wet/dry *filter* (I'm going wet/dry (at least for now in my research) based on some things I have read/seen at Barrs site) but I changed my mind after reading some troubling information about the uncontrollable nature of peat.

Bump: Addendum: I did consider actual soil but honestly, one thing I did before was I did a lot of it DIY. Some things I see as DIY-able with success, some things I really regretted DIY-ing. I felt like they didn't perform and it left a somewhat bitter taste for me. Whereas before I DIY'd a lot, I'm far more cautious about it now. So much is anecdotal, it's just hard to know what's going to perform at the end of the day.
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post #8 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 04:45 PM
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I don't think everyone uses 'balls', layered substrate or powders when setting up a tank with buffering substrates.


If you do it right, the soil should last around 1 year, at minimum, but I have heard of reports of soils still going strong at 3-5 years. Mainly chancing it after 1 year.

But when you go to replace the soil, you can do so in a bucket or an empty tank and wait for the ammonia to stop leaching before placing it into the tank, or only change out a small amount at a time to reduce the amount of ammonia that would leech out.
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post #9 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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I figured most people simply used root tabs and water column dosed.
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post #10 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 10:36 PM
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I figured most people simply used root tabs and water column dosed.


The benefit of these kind of substrates is their buffering capability in addition to the nutrients. Especially important for species that require a level of ph these soils buffer to.


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post #11 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-25-2017, 02:55 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by clownplanted View Post
The benefit of these kind of substrates is their buffering capability in addition to the nutrients. Especially important for species that require a level of ph these soils buffer to.
Dang. I cant fathom trying to replace substrate in an established aquascape. Probably right when it has reached where I want it to be.
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post #12 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-25-2017, 03:31 AM
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Dang. I cant fathom trying to replace substrate in an established aquascape. Probably right when it has reached where I want it to be.


Yup especially once it looses its buffering capability. This is what is keeping me from going this route. I like the fact that I will never have to replace my bdbs as it will most likely outlive the tank itself.


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post #13 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-25-2017, 03:59 AM
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When reading through your concerns, most of the ones you mention are the reasons why I use Controsoil.

I don't have to deal with anything strange or complicated while cycling.

I use nothing but remineralized RO/DI and my pH sits at 6.3 (without CO2 influence) thanks to the buffering.

If I get worried about a loss of buffering capacity, I vac a little substrate out of one area and replace it with fresh stuff without worries of ammonia spikes and such. No tank draining, no cycling.

I don't have any great planted pics of it to share as both of the following tanks are just shrimp tanks. The first one has a carpet of Monte Carlo/HC mix that grows like a weed. Nothing special for an "aqua soil" type tank, but this one has only trace levels of O2 and ferts (1/2 dose Thrive-S every 3-4 days) due to the CRS in there. Up until last weeks' plant swapping, it had a healthy stand of Rotala Butterfly and Diandra growing. I trim it back weekly so it doesn't spread out and take over the tank. The second one is a TB shrimp tank that gets the same ultra-low CO2/Ferts.



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post #14 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-25-2017, 04:43 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zoidburg View Post
I've also heard good things about SL-Aqua Soil and Prodibio.
Sl looks interesting! The Probidio is actually the other substrate my LFs (that's in another state lol) carries other than dennerle, flourite and the Seachem Aquasolum but DAMN! It's expensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqua99 View Post
When reading through your concerns, most of the ones you mention are the reasons why I use Controsoil.

I use nothing but remineralized RO/DI and my pH sits at 6.3 (without CO2 influence) thanks to the buffering. If I get worried about a loss of buffering capacity, I vac a little substrate out of one area and replace it with fresh stuff without worries of ammonia spikes and such. No tank draining, no cycling.

I don't have any great planted pics of it to share as both of the following tanks are just shrimp tanks.
Oh, I totally want shrimp. However, I don't know a damn thing abut keeping them so.... I need to start down that road soon. My problem is I always want incompatible things, but I'm trying to resist having a bazillion tanks this time, lol. Like I like the celestial pearl danios obviously but they aren't really community fish. So far, shrimp and fish seem to be mixed reviews. I haven't really gone down research road on all of that yet though.

Thanks for all of the help, you guys are really great and I appreciate very much.
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post #15 of 55 (permalink) Old 06-25-2017, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqua99 View Post
When reading through your concerns, most of the ones you mention are the reasons why I use Controsoil.

I don't have to deal with anything strange or complicated while cycling.

I use nothing but remineralized RO/DI and my pH sits at 6.3 (without CO2 influence) thanks to the buffering.

If I get worried about a loss of buffering capacity, I vac a little substrate out of one area and replace it with fresh stuff without worries of ammonia spikes and such. No tank draining, no cycling.

I don't have any great planted pics of it to share as both of the following tanks are just shrimp tanks. The first one has a carpet of Monte Carlo/HC mix that grows like a weed. Nothing special for an "aqua soil" type tank, but this one has only trace levels of O2 and ferts (1/2 dose Thrive-S every 3-4 days) due to the CRS in there. Up until last weeks' plant swapping, it had a healthy stand of Rotala Butterfly and Diandra growing. I trim it back weekly so it doesn't spread out and take over the tank. The second one is a TB shrimp tank that gets the same ultra-low CO2/Ferts.



Are you using the extra fine?

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