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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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ada confusion

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.

My understanding:
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.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 08:55 PM
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I would skip out on the powersand and just stick w/ the aquasoil. I've used bacter100 in my tanks but I don't really notice anything that drastically different


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 09:36 PM
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Skip the power sand. Use all aquasoil amazonia normal and powder, the new version. There are a ton of substrate bottom additives you can add, but its not 100% necessary. Bacter 100 for beneficial bacteria, something like iron bottom for heavy root feeders, or just multi bottom for general use. Its up to you, you dont have to use them. Plant all of your plants from the beginning, and you will be good to go. The water changes are for the ammonia that will leach from the amazonia

Quote:
Originally Posted by pandacory View Post
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.

My understanding:
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.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 09:39 PM
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I've done 3 setups with nothing but ADA AS and all have done well without any of the other products you listed.


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pandacory View Post
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.

My understanding:
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!

Frank Wazeter
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francis Xavier View Post

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!
Thanks for the detailed response. A few more questions:

How much of each product for a 20long (30x12x12)?

When would you typically start to add fauna? I have never worked with anything but flourite and root tabs so am not familiar with the dynamics of substrates that produce ammonia.

From what I have read, aquasoil is expected to last about 3 years in most setups. Since I will only be running these tanks for a year, is there any issues with using the power sand in substrate I plan on moving to another tank? I.e. if the layers get mixed up in the movement, what can I expect the functional/aesthetic impact to be? Or will the powersand settle to the bottom over time? (I plan on adding additional aquasoil and new powder type once transitioned as the next tank will be larger)
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 12:11 AM
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You can skip everything except the aquasoil if you have a sensitive wallet. If you have a sensitive wallet yet still want to reproduce the ADA system you can use pumice stone for the power sand, or lava rock but the lava is less ideal. You can sprinkle some quality carbon down there to act like tourmaline. Bacter is fine IMO, it would be a pain to replace it so if you want it you can use it, but you could just fire some filter mulm under the soil. Same idea.

The penac W I believe is pretty much just silica. About 99% or so with a few other things in there. I'd skip it.

Penac P is similar to dolomite. It helps to balance the acidity of the soil.

So a similar system, yet dirt cheap, would be:

Pumice or lava rock
Carbon
Dolomite (just a sprinkle)
Filter mulm
Aquasoil

Aquasoil and powersand can mix over time if you replant alot. But the system as a whole isn't really designed to be reused as there's no way to really separate everything after it's mixed. The soil will naturally move to the bottom as the powersand works its way to the top, but it's not really a huge deal, except the colours don't match.

You can't match the aquasoil though, and I'd recommend it over anything else. The rest? Well... use your head.


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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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Hmmm, it sounds like, for my relatively short term application I will be skipping the powersand or any substitutes.

Is there anything that would make for a good iron supplement?

How does this plan sound?

Filter leftover from established tank as base layer
Some carbon (I am assuming I just use the same kind I recharge my filter with, but maybe as fine grained as I can find.)
Dash of dolomite (don't know where to get this)
Iron bottom, or close substitute
Ada aquasoil new type
Ada aquasoil new powder type

Sound about right?

Should I throw some left over root tabs in there? How about something for potassium? I have some potassium bicarbonate (use it to buffer Ro water) I could sprinkle in, but I am targetting a ph of 7.0
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pandacory View Post
Thanks for the detailed response. A few more questions:

How much of each product for a 20long (30x12x12)?

When would you typically start to add fauna? I have never worked with anything but flourite and root tabs so am not familiar with the dynamics of substrates that produce ammonia.

From what I have read, aquasoil is expected to last about 3 years in most setups. Since I will only be running these tanks for a year, is there any issues with using the power sand in substrate I plan on moving to another tank? I.e. if the layers get mixed up in the movement, what can I expect the functional/aesthetic impact to be? Or will the powersand settle to the bottom over time? (I plan on adding additional aquasoil and new powder type once transitioned as the next tank will be larger)
You could re-use the aqua soil - but you would have to cap it off with a layer of new aqua soil to maintain the aesthetics and the stability of the soil.

Although with any clay soil it's best to not constantly move it around and re-use as this threatens the stability of the granules and they're more prone to break down. That being said, in the case of the additives, enough comes in the containers for 3-4 layouts easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pandacory View Post
Hmmm, it sounds like, for my relatively short term application I will be skipping the powersand or any substitutes.

Is there anything that would make for a good iron supplement?

How does this plan sound?

Filter leftover from established tank as base layer
Some carbon (I am assuming I just use the same kind I recharge my filter with, but maybe as fine grained as I can find.)
Dash of dolomite (don't know where to get this)
Iron bottom, or close substitute
Ada aquasoil new type
Ada aquasoil new powder type

Sound about right?

Should I throw some left over root tabs in there? How about something for potassium? I have some potassium bicarbonate (use it to buffer Ro water) I could sprinkle in, but I am targetting a ph of 7.0
The extra root tabs are unnecessary as aqua soil will provide all the nutrition you need. When you reuse the soil in a year, then use root tabs to re-invigorate the nutrients in the soil.

However, adding iron bottom will mean you can dose significantly less iron into the water column. It's not a total replacement, but offers a lot of options for leniency in dosing.

I would advise against using filter mulm to replace Bacter 100 and Clear Super, since you will inherit any issues from the tank that it came from in the new tank. As well, filter media is primarily nitrifying bacteria, while Bacter 100 contains mostly non-nitrifying bacteria and a mix of nitrifying bacteria.

Penac and Dolomite aren't a 1 for 1. Though Penac uses silica as a binding agent to keep the materials together (kind of like water is the binding agent of liquid fertilizers), this site offers a good overview of the product from the original manufacturer.

Frank Wazeter
Aquascaper for life.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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So, how many of what size bag of aquasoil for a good (3-4" at back, 2-2.5" at front) layer in a 20 long?

Same question for the powder type cap? How thick of a cap?
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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So I guess the better way to phrase this question: is the 9liter bag actually 9liters of substrate, etc.?

I can do the volume calculation, just want to make sure that that is what the labeling means, and that the liter estimate is not too generous on the manufacturers side to affect my order.

The only remaing question i have then is how thick of a powder type cap is recommended?
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 06:15 PM
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Yes, there are 9 Liters of Substrate in a 9 liter bag, which is 21 lbs of aqua soil approximately.

For a 20L I'd suggest 1 9L bag and 1 3L bag to achieve what you want.

In a 60-P, 1 9L bag is sufficient for the slope you want and that tank measures 24"x12"x14" roughly or 60x30x36cm approximately

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 01:45 AM Thread Starter
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Sweet lord that aquasoil was expensive. I never thought I would spend $200 on dirt...

Funny part is that that is low $ for you guys with the big boy tanks.

I didnt need as much as I bought, but with more tanks in the works and the supplier telling me the next shipment goes up by $10 a bag, I bought all they had.

Thanks for all the feedback.
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