Is an aquasoil such as Amazonia need for planted tanks
After 2 years, I unfortunately have to redo my 40G high tech tank since I have to move it. Currently I am using ADA Amazonia. I am beginning to question whether Amazonia (or any aqua soil for that matter) is a good choice for me. Please note that I like to keep my tanks for 3-5 years and prefer slower growth since it means less maintenance.
Does something like flourite or clay based substrate with substrate tabs offer the same fertilizer advantages as aqua soils? Aqua soils seem to disintegrate after 1 -3 years, requiring the tank to be broken down. I prefer to keep my tanks longer and clay based substrates seem to go on for ever.
I realize a clay substrate with fertilizer tabs does not have KH buffering. However, I don't know why KH buffering helps plants - after a lot of search I wasn't able to find a convincing answer. It seems to make the water acidic and lower the KH to 0. Do plants really like low carbonate hardness? Do they thrive in acidic conditions as opposed to PH Neutral water? As a possible downside, when the KH buffering is depleted, what happens to the plants? Do they all go into shock? So even if there are benefits, if the benefits are short lived, why bother?
Based on above thoughts, I am beginning to think that aqua soils are for people who like to build and breakdown tanks in rapid succession (maybe keep them for a year or so). And the aqua soil, due to the added fertilizers allow the plants to grow very quickly so that they can enjoy the tank for most of its life rather than waiting for things to grow - still not sure how lower PH and KH buffering fits into this. Moreover, when tanks are kept only a year or so, all of the concerns I mentioned regarding longevity are moot.
Are my conclusions above correct? Or am I missing some major benefits and/or misunderstanding the longterm disadvantage. Should I once again use Amazonia or its equivalent? If I do, will I be able to maintain the tank for 3-5 years?
Any thoughts would be appreciated.