ASA vs MTS with cap - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2012, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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ASA vs MTS with cap

So this might have been covered but I don't see the thread. I am trying to figure out which route I want to go with my 75gal that I am about to set up once I finish my stand. So my last thing I am looking at is my substrate. In years past I have used Eco-Complete and Flourite black sand and I have had good results with it on pretty much everything but erio's (No clue why mine are dieing because I have perfect water for them, co2 is high, and ei dose..but another discussion). So I would like to go a different route than I have in the past so my two substrates I am looking at are; MTS capped with left over eco-complete mixed with flourite black sand or ASA mixed with eco and flourite. So can anyone tell me why one might be better than the other???

This is from substrate pros/cons thread:
Quote:
Aquasoil-
Pros-Includes Key Plant Nutrients, Uniform Size,
Holds Slopes Well Compared To Other Substrates,
Durability as it looks great for years, Lowers PH And water hardness.
Cons-Cost, Leaches ammonia into the water for a
couple of weeks or so, and needs big water changes, often, to get rid of the ammonia initially.,
Can be messy while rescaping

Mineralized Top Soil-
Pros-Cost, Includes Key Plant Nutrients, Availability,
Little Need For Additional Ferts
Cons-Time consuming to make, Must Be Topped,
Ingredients Hard To Come By, Can Be Messy When
Rescaping
Now I don't need to drop my ph and I understand the messiness of both of these when rescaping. So is this about all I need to know?? Do these two hold/release nutrients and grow plants about the same??

Thanks so much!


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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2012, 09:41 PM
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I personally have a 55 gallon acrylic tank, and went the MTS route with it, in my opinion it was easy to do, easy to get going, and my plants have done well with it. Another reason I did the MTS is because the ferts needed to mineralize it are super cheap, and easy to come by, I use this site

http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/in...tion1=products

Shipping with them is easy and cheap, and they have great customer service who respond in a timely manner when you have questions or problems. I plan to use them again really soon to replenish my fert supply.

Another reason I went MTS is because I use play sand to cap it, and because it's easy to cap off and have that "natural" look in my tanks.

45g Long - High Light Planted Tank / 30g - Plant Grow Out Tank / 100g Tank - currently resealing
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-17-2012, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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thnx for the info..I really think I am gonna do MTS but would like to hear some more peoples views on this one..


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-23-2012, 03:05 AM Thread Starter
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bump, anyone else?


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-24-2012, 06:43 PM
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I have not used AS. I have done the MTS and potting soil route about 3-4 times. The obvious upside to MTS is the cost, it's a fraction of the price. However, I have had issues with both MTS and potting soil going anaerobic and my stems suffering. I have also had great luck as well with potting soil. Now, I use much less than people recommend and it does fine. Half an inch most.

The other downside of MTS is that it will inevitably end up on top of your cap if you move plants around. I don't mind the look but make sure your cap complements this look. You also can't make large slopes with the MTS very easily, you can with the cap but if it's too large, many plants don't root deeply enough to benefit.


Overall, I would probably try my luck with AS if cost wasn't an issue. That's the only reason I have not used it. It doesn't compare with MTS in how messy it can get, I personally think it looks attractive, and it's more flexible overall. The ammonia cycle wouldn't bother me at all personally, I often wait longer than the cycle would take to start stocking anyway.

One of my friends didn't like the look of AS and capped it with gravel and that didn't like the look. He had almost 9in deep in back. He did not have any anaerobic issues like I did, the AS seemed to stay under the cap much better than MTS, and it never shifted or bulged like MTS can under a cap. Obviously, some of those benefits would be only if you capped it which most people don't, I am just saying that it tended to do a better job with all things considered equal.

That said, I set up a potting soil tank yesterday for free using gravel from my backyard and potting soil I already had and don't regret it at all. The price difference was major though lol.

-Matt

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-24-2012, 06:57 PM
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I think the upside to MTS is the growth and the fact that you can capping with river stone if you like, the only downside is if you like moving plants around, but I have seen tanks with Crypts (wendtii green) in MTS and the leaves reach the surface (16 to 18 inches) and the tanks are super old, so if your a set it and forget type person MTS is the ultimate IMO with any root feeders.

AS is nice, easy, with some good buffering qualities but the price makes it hard to use in larger tanks. I just did a 2.5 gallon nano with AS and you can get the Ammonia out in three days with 2 x 80% water changes everyday.

I think the MGOPS is the lazy way to do MTS and I wouldn't want to try it, but that's just me.


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-24-2012, 07:01 PM
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MTS is 1/3 the cost of those other OVERPRICED substrates

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-24-2012, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 150EH View Post
I think the MGOPS is the lazy way to do MTS and I wouldn't want to try it, but that's just me.

I did it, super easy...and plants are growing like crazy. Oh yea, and my MTS (snails) dig it to. No pun intended lol

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-24-2012, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 150EH View Post
I think the MGOPS is the lazy way to do MTS and I wouldn't want to try it, but that's just me.
I personally have had better luck with potting soil than MTS. I just use less per tank. However, it is out of laziness, or usually having to set things up last minute. After having better luck of time, now it just is my personal preferred way. I may dose my tanks, however, depending on lighting/co2.

-Matt

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-24-2012, 08:09 PM
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I always see people mention that MTS isn't a good idea if you are moving plants around often and have always wondered something. How is it possible not to move stuff around and be planting and replanting a stem dominated tank?
I mean I am uprooting and replanting stems all the time. With most stems, it seems inevitable that you would have to do so. Add to that, high light and co2 and stems and I am cutting,planting replanting, etc. all time. Am I missing something or what? Or do people make a bigger deal out of the mess it makes?
This is just something I've always wondered, not knocking MTS at all or anything like that.
Thanks,
John
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-24-2012, 08:37 PM
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JGB77 - Stems are one thing, this is simple and not a worry. It's those heavy root feeders i.e. Swords, Tiger Lotus, Crypts. These are the ones you dont move. Remember the commerial for the Rrotisserie Oven? "Set it and forget it"
Well IF (in my case) the Sword got to big for the enviroment, I simply snapped off the leaves and cut the roots without disturbing the cap.
Quite honestly, I some small pieces of mulch at the bottom of the tank from moving stuff around and I like it, looks natural.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-24-2012, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgb77 View Post
I always see people mention that MTS isn't a good idea if you are moving plants around often and have always wondered something. How is it possible not to move stuff around and be planting and replanting a stem dominated tank?
I mean I am uprooting and replanting stems all the time. With most stems, it seems inevitable that you would have to do so. Add to that, high light and co2 and stems and I am cutting,planting replanting, etc. all time. Am I missing something or what? Or do people make a bigger deal out of the mess it makes?
This is just something I've always wondered, not knocking MTS at all or anything like that.
Thanks,
John
It isn't bad if you don't mind the look, but soil will end up on top of the cap when you move things. If you capped pink gravel with black gravel, the same thing would happen, some of the pink will end up on top as things get shifted around. I actually think the soil looks good if a bit comes up if you account for the look of it.

-Matt

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-29-2012, 04:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonG75 View Post
JGB77
Well IF (in my case) the Sword got to big for the enviroment, I simply snapped off the leaves and cut the roots without disturbing the cap.
.
This would allow the roots to rot and cause anaerobic bacteria will it not. Considering no live plant roots to bring oxygen to the area will possibly give you gas pockets once the roots start to break down.

Has anyone used MGOPS for slopes/hills at greater depths than 2-3 inches without causing anaerobic bacteria.
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