Aquasoil or inert? - The Planted Tank Forum
View Poll Results: Which substrate to use?
Aqua soil and tap 2 25.00%
Aqua soil and RO, just haul more water! 1 12.50%
Inert and tap 4 50.00%
Other (please elaborate) 1 12.50%
Voters: 8. You may not vote on this poll

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  • 1 Post By minorhero
  • 1 Post By Deanna
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-28-2020, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
snails are your friend
 
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Aquasoil or inert?

I'm getting pretty close to adding water to my 10 gallon Dennerle Scaper's tank. I plan to use tap water, since I'm already hauling 5 gallon buckets of RO from my shop more than I'd like for my previously set up matching tank. My tap is on the soft side, about 2-3 KH, 6 GH, and 120 to 150ish TDS. Just how much is this going to shorten the life of aquasoil? I have bags of both red Eco complete and Dennerle (produces NH4 like ADA) Shrimp soil on hand. I seem to see as many people as not using limestone with it, so it would stand to reason that it still must go for a while when absorbing CACO3. But I plan on keeping shrimp in here and the last thing I need is for anything to happen that could kill my colony a year down the road.

The purpose of this tank is very simple: be pretty and have good plant growth and healthy shrimp. Will probably go with tigers and babaulti, which can live in either 0 dKH or harder conditions. I have most plant species I want to use already thriving in both soils and inert in other tanks. All things being equal, I'd go with the soil for aesthetic reasons and plant growth. But if I'm going to have to do a 100% tank breakdown in 18 months, that's not a scenario I want to put shrimp through. Please share any thoughts or experiences you may have. I've yet to have to deal with aquasoils ceasing to work or turning to mud as others have described, but that may be from using RO on all my tanks with it.

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-28-2020, 09:39 PM
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I use tap and in fact do not even own a RO unit. I have aquasoil in 2 tanks now both of them its capped with sand. This is 100% for aesthetics, I just do not like the look of aquasoil as the only substrate, sand on the hand looks great and is obviously the most natural of substrates.

Your situation is special though, aquasoils have buffering capabilities which are great for shrimp. That said... are we talking neocaridina? If you are, then there is no reason to use aquasoil for the shrimp's benefit and if it were my tank I would do what I have done in other tanks, aquasoil at the base capped by sand. If this is not for neocaridina, then you should just do pure aquasoil to get as much buffering capacity as possible.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-28-2020, 10:21 PM
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I use inert only. Any plant needs can be supplied, and better controlled (IMO), in this way. In my case, I use a small diameter gravel rather than sand (although sand is in the bottom layer) due to my preference for the look of the gravel. My setup is high tech and RO/DI water.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-29-2020, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
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@minorhero The shrimp I'm keeping should be fine in my tap or remineralized RO. They're technically Caridina but not soft water bees.

@Deanna interesting perspective, and in a perfect world I'd use RO as well as throw CO2 on these. I have what I need for both, but not terribly comfortable injecting a 10 gallon. Also have an RO/DI filter, but keep it at the shop where my shrimp rack is. The one home aquarium I use RO on has already made me consider moving it there so I can service it without having to haul 5 gallon buckets. I keep one with remineralized for weekly change water and one for top off on hand at all times. The shrimp are worth it, but anything I'm bringing home from here on out I'd love to be able to thrive in tap. I'm happy to use soil (and am going to have to use both of these substrate bags one day), but if my tap water will beat it up I'll save it for a later project where the RO unit is. Though I type that knowing that I may not have a shop 6 months from now...

Thanks for both of your thoughts. Leaning inert and tap. That would certainly simplify things and it isn't going to look drastically different either way, this route will just take a little more time to grow in.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-29-2020, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
. I'm happy to use soil (and am going to have to use both of these substrate bags one day), but if my tap water will beat it up I'll save it for a later project where the RO unit is. Though I type that knowing that I may not have a shop 6 months from now...

Thanks for both of your thoughts. Leaning inert and tap. That would certainly simplify things and it isn't going to look drastically different either way, this route will just take a little more time to grow in.
I heard when watching flip aquatics the other day that aquasoil is only good for buffering purposes for 1 or 2 years anyway, then it should be replaced. They were referring to their 480 gallon shrimp tank that they are going to be tearing down soon in part to replace the substrate. Something else to consider if replacing substrate is an issue. My GH/KH is pretty much identical to yours. My ph is high at 7.8. I frankly don't care if my aquasoil turns to mud tomorrow, since its capped with sand it can do what it likes at the bottom of my tank where I can't see it. Actually it would help me if it turned to mud. Keep it from being dragged to the surface when I reposition plants. /shrug


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