Substrate Advice Mix Aquasoil and Dirt - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2017, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Substrate Advice Mix Aquasoil and Dirt

My new tank 5 feet X 1.5 feet X 1.5 feet is ready. Did my water testing, no leaks.
My plans for aquascaping is an area of approx 2.0 feet X 1.5 feet with complete grass and very small carpet plants, followed by a sand only area of approx 1.0 feet X 1.5 feet followed by another area of 2.0 feet X 1.5 feet of other different plants.
Aquasoil is very costly in India , and maybe to cover 4feet X 1.5 feet x 2.5 inch average depth , I will need atleast 3 bags and the cost of it will be beyond my pocket.
Can I use ADA aquasoil in one 2.0 x 1.5 feet area for carpet plants and use dirt capped with sand in the other 2.0 feet X 1.5 feet area?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2017, 04:35 AM
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You can do that but all I have seen on youtube is people having tons of trouble mixing them both(ada + gravel / sand/dirt) .
1. During maintainence you might run into the issues of cloudy and murky water everytime you siphon .
2. You can try to mix gravel of pea size approx 2-3 mm as middle layer to help with the siphoning issues but still If u can then try to haggle with lfs to get ada at a better price. i got my bag for 2150 Rs. from laxmi nagar (Delhi) market and needed 3 bags to cover my 3ft* 2 feet tank with 2.5 inch thickness.
That's my 2 cents .Hope someone much m0ore experienced can help u with this
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2017, 05:45 AM Thread Starter
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I am not mixing them up. The dirt part and the ADA part would be completely separated by sand; ie one island of Dirt another of ADA with sand river running between the islands
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2017, 10:14 AM
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I am not mixing them up. The dirt part and the ADA part would be completely separated by sand; ie one island of Dirt another of ADA with sand river running between the islands
That would work fine but u would need to watch your water parameters closely for a few weeks because the nutrients in dirt and aquasoil will be different and they would be leeching those nutrients out. try to cap the dirted island with some dark color substrate that would help you during water changes and allow the dirt to stay down.

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I am not mixing them up. The dirt part and the ADA part would be completely separated by sand; ie one island of Dirt another of ADA with sand river running between the islands
That would work fine but u would need to watch your water parameters closely for a few weeks because the nutrients in dirt and aquasoil will be different and they would be leeching those nutrients out. try to cap the dirted island with some dark color substrate that would help you during water changes and allow the dirt to stay down.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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I want some more comments from experienced users
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 03:22 PM
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I'm trying to understand why you want to use ada at all? If you have good dirt, and have sand to cap the dirt, why not save some bucks and just use all dirt? That question asked, you can indeed use different substrates in your tank. Lots of examples of folks using multiple subs, or colors of subs. Keeping them separate and looking nice will be the difficult thing to do and will take some thought and care.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subhendusc View Post
My new tank 5 feet X 1.5 feet X 1.5 feet is ready. Did my water testing, no leaks.
My plans for aquascaping is an area of approx 2.0 feet X 1.5 feet with complete grass and very small carpet plants, followed by a sand only area of approx 1.0 feet X 1.5 feet followed by another area of 2.0 feet X 1.5 feet of other different plants.
Aquasoil is very costly in India , and maybe to cover 4feet X 1.5 feet x 2.5 inch average depth , I will need atleast 3 bags and the cost of it will be beyond my pocket.
Can I use ADA aquasoil in one 2.0 x 1.5 feet area for carpet plants and use dirt capped with sand in the other 2.0 feet X 1.5 feet area?
i would suggest doing only ADA or dirt with gravel cap.

since youre on a budget, i would suggest cheap dirt with gravel cap. skip out the ADA soil.

only disadvantage with the soil+gravel cap is that you cannot pull and push plants in and out of the substrate as easily as it would be with ADA. replanting will be more of a hassle.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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OK . I will use dirt only . But will I cap it with Sand or Gravel ?
Our tap water has a TDS of 120 - 180 with no chlorine and pH around 6.9-7.3. In my other two tanks - a goldfish tank and a small livebearer tank, I use tap water directly. Have gravel with EI dosing in goldfish tank with some plants and in live bearer tank , i used a Chinese soil with EI dosing for plants.
In this tank i want to keep tetra, raspborra and rainbows. Will dirted tank be OK ? What about the ph? Will i use gravel as a Cap?
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 05:56 PM
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I have always used sand as a cap over dirt so that's what I would recommend. I think the gravel might tend to sink after awhile and be messier where the sand will stay on top of the dirt better. This is my opinion.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 07:44 PM
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You can use AS in one section and another substrate in other sections. Watch some of the videos from ADA on youtube. They do it quite often. They will use AS along the back or in corners to plant rooted plants and then use sand for a non planted foreground. You'll also see the same on The Green Machine's ( ADA distributor in the UK ) videos. Substrate dividers are sold just for this purpose. It's not as difficult as some want to make it to be.

Last edited by Jeff5614; 11-13-2017 at 09:32 PM. Reason: typo
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subhendusc View Post
OK . I will use dirt only . But will I cap it with Sand or Gravel ?
Our tap water has a TDS of 120 - 180 with no chlorine and pH around 6.9-7.3. In my other two tanks - a goldfish tank and a small livebearer tank, I use tap water directly. Have gravel with EI dosing in goldfish tank with some plants and in live bearer tank , i used a Chinese soil with EI dosing for plants.
In this tank i want to keep tetra, raspborra and rainbows. Will dirted tank be OK ? What about the ph? Will i use gravel as a Cap?
yes yes, cap your soil with sand or gravel, doesn't matter which. as long as it is a layer that will prevent soil leaching all of its dirty stuff up into the water the fishes swim.

dirted tank is ok for fishes as long as it has a cap, layer of sand or gravel preventing soil to fly up into the tank.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-14-2017, 02:04 PM
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The only advantage of ADA over dirt is reduced chance of making a mess - you lose that advantage entirely if you mix it with dirt.

As for capping soil, sand can be better at preventing cap breach, but gravel can allow mulm to migrate down to the dirt layer where it can be composted. It's a matter of preference. In my experience, you need to use a thicker layer of gravel than you would sand.
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