So, I know there are alternatives, but have generally seen very good results and so thought I would give it a try.
I have 2 20 longs I am ordering substrate for and need some clarification. I am planning to run these tanks for about 1 year.
1. Use powersand under mounds taller than 2.5"
2. Add supplements to aquarium bottom, but which one(s), and how much of each?
3. Use amazonia (new?) In 2-2.5" layer
4. Top with powder type
5. Plant heavily from day 1
6. Daily 30% water Change for 1 week, weekly 30-50% after.
Did I miss anything? How much powersand, amazonia, and powder type for each 20long?
Which additives and how much of each?
If I layer in the powersand, does that make the substrate useless if I want to move it to another tank? I understand that the aquasoil has a longer life than the 1year planned run time, so being able to reuse it in the next project would help spread out the sting of the price tag.
Thanks for your help. I want to order today. Some local shops carry it, but seem way overpriced compared to the net.
1. The complete ADA system is built around one primary thing: Get the aquarium stable FAST. The longer it takes an aquarium to 'balance' itself out between beneficial bacteria in the substrate (both nitrifying and non nitrifying bacteria) the higher the risk for algae.
Power Sand serves the function as being a biological filter under your substrate - meaning that the planted aquarium actually operates on three means of 'filtration,'
1. Power Sand + Bacter 100 + Clear Super + Tourmaline BC (PS + Additives)
This is the planted aquarium equivalent to 'live rock,' and gives plant roots direct access to symbiotic and nitrifying bacteria as the root systems grow into the substrate and roots attach themselves to power sand granules. This biological filter also serve to prevent compaction of aqua soil particles over time.
2. The plants themselves - plants remove toxins and ammonia from the environment and convert them into plant matter (growth) or oxygen (conversion from co2 during photosynthesis).
3. The biological filter in the canister filter - free flowing water pours through the filter to remove heavy sediments and etc. from the water.
Synopsis of the additives:
Bacter 100 - pre-seeds the environment with 100 different micro-organisms, including nitrifying bacteria, which help to bring the new ecosystem into stability quicker.
Clear Super - food source for the non-nitrifying bacteria
Power Sand - highly porous granules which serve as a "home" for the bacteria to thrive in. More microscopic surface area = more bacteria room.
Tourmaline BC - equivalent to 'chemical' filtration, like carbon. Removes impurities from the water. Tourmaline BC is a powder form of Tourmaline.
Penac P - aids in the development of healthy root systems, promoting insane root growth, which serves as the base of plant health itself.
Penac W - removes toxins from water, oxygenates the soil through reaction with water. Also serves as a method of rapid oxygenation of water in case of co2 overdose (i.e. can be dosed directly into the aquarium). Serves to help neutralize the extreme acidity of aqua soil, which is beneficial for bacterial growth (higher acidity = slower bacteria growth, more alkaline = quicker bacterial growth).
Aqua Soil Normal Type - the work horse in nutrient provision to plants via the roots. This is the primary growing agent for plants, which absorb the nutrients through their root systems, etc.
Aqua Soil Powder Type - for easier growth of smaller plants such as HC, which allow roots to spread easier in the more refined granules of the Powder aqua soil. Also easier to plant in.
Methodology of the First Month
Because the first month is the most instable - and algae is the result of imbalances in the aquarium environment (e.g. excess of 1 and lack of 2, leads to the appearance of algae as a 'balancing' agent), water changes are done in the highest volume to prevent massive initial algae outbreaks (artificial balancing agent).
This method should be used regardless if you're using Aqua Soil or not.
1. Week 1 - Daily 50% water change.
2. Week 2 - Every other day 50% water change
3. Week 3- Every third day (twice) - 50% water change
4. Week 4 onward - weekly water change.
Sometimes it is advisable to extend daily water changes into the second week, but this varies setup-to-setup and depends on what algae, if any, appears (some appear as hitch-hikers).
Hope that helps answer some of your questions!