ADA Aqua Soil common misconception - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-08-2006, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Smile ADA Aqua Soil common misconception

I see some posts here and there sometimes that contain some misconceptions/uncertainties about ADA Aqua Soil. I have used it extensively and have learned some things about it.
For the record:
ADA Aqua Soil does not "break down over time and become a muddy mess". I don't know about the knock-offs, but rest assured Aqua Soil does not do this within any kind of normal time frame (3 years or so).
The only time you get into that problem like that is when you use too much of the "powder" type. It is meant to be used only as a very thin layer on top of normal Aqua Soil, and even then it is really more for cosmetic purposes, so not really "necessary" from a growing standpoint.

The price for a 20lb. bag is very close to that of Fluorite and Eco-Complete, on average.
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post #2 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-08-2006, 07:22 PM
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I have been using Aqua Soil Amazonia for about a month now. Except for sand when it's called for, I will never use any other substrate. It's growing plants really, really well already. It is also really easy to plant in, especially small stems like HC. It also doesn't scratch glass or acrylic. Awesome product.

-Craig
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post #3 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 03:23 AM
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There were quite a few well known hobbyists who were, and rather recently, chattering about how ADA substrates will break down over time. The talk was that the substrate would be "temporary" and would need to be changed out after a short time.

Well, seems to me they are being proven wrong. I have seen nothing but positive results from people using ADA Aquasoil. Beautiful plants being grown in stable aquariums. The results just don't lie. As more and more hobbyists are finally giving the product a chance, I think we are going to get more and more positive reviews, and the product is going to be proved to be a long lasting substrate, just as Jeff mentioned. First hand experiences are opening eyes and minds.

The only regret I have about the 37G aquarium I recently set up is that I did not use the ADA Aquasoil and Powersand. I should have done the Aquasoil and the Powersand. Jay Luto tried to persuade me. Instead, I chose the Onyx Sand with the thought of that ADA substrate chatter in the back of my mind. Well, the aquarium is still relatively new with no fish to deal with....maybe I'll swap out the substrate and replace it with Powersand and Aquasoil.

If anyone is thinking about the ADA substrates, give them a try. I know I am not speaking with first hand experience about the Aquasoil and the Powersand(but I may someday ), I have not been disappointed with the other ADA products I have tried.

Mike

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post #4 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 05:52 AM
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I don't think its the mush issue that people talk about but rather the depletion of nutrients in AS.
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post #5 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 08:01 AM
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the powersand does deplete in nutrients, but not the aquasoil itself. Its not a big deal because most of us are doing EI any way. Tom Barr said that the aquasoil actually has ammonia bound to the clay.


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post #6 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 03:21 PM
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I am a big fan of Aqua Soil, but the nutrients must wear out eventually. Even if it didn't have any nutrients it would still be a great substrate. You can break it down into powder if you squeeze it in between your fingers, so it's not as solid as say... EC, but I think that that is a good thing. That's why it won't scratch glass and is easy to plant in.

I chose to go without Powersand, I dose via the EI.

-Craig
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post #7 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 04:08 PM
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Went with the PS along with the AS. Still dosing with EI at the same time and the growth and health of the plants are amazing. It's also allowing me to drop the pH below 6.

Eric


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post #8 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 04:18 AM
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Jeff,
Can you post your experience using AS with pH controllers if you have. Wanted to know if anyone had been doing so successfully.
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post #9 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Actually I have never used a pH controller before, so I have no experience with them.
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post #10 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 01:30 PM
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Eric is using AS with a pH controller successfully.

-Craig
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post #11 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 04:17 PM
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Yup, using AS with PS and running it on the controller. Water is approximately pH 6.7 with a KH of 2 to start out with after a water change. Over the course of the week, the pH controller kicks in and dumps co2 into the tank.

Used the pH controller to drop it to 6.2 and used the controller to drop it even further. I'm currently running the tank at pH 5.8 now with no harm to either the fish (altums, rummynoses, yellow tail congos, otos, dwarf crays, and various plecos) or plants.

Eric


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post #12 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-11-2006, 01:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsenske
I see some posts here and there sometimes that contain some misconceptions/uncertainties about ADA Aqua Soil. I have used it extensively and have learned some things about it.
For the record:
ADA Aqua Soil does not "break down over time and become a muddy mess". I don't know about the knock-offs, but rest assured Aqua Soil does not do this within any kind of normal time frame (3 years or so).
The only time you get into that problem like that is when you use too much of the "powder" type. It is meant to be used only as a very thin layer on top of normal Aqua Soil, and even then it is really more for cosmetic purposes, so not really "necessary" from a growing standpoint.

The price for a 20lb. bag is very close to that of Fluorite and Eco-Complete, on average.
Jeff is correct here, he also has the best on line price for it!
It's clay, it will not "decompose", it also has more nutrient content than any other substrate out there.

I've poured it directly into tanks with water/fish without issue, better if you can drain it, I have some of the finer grain stuff, I'm not into the capping methods..........I don't think that helps, but the fine grain stuff is nice for tiny tanks.

The clay can get broken in to small pieces over time, but that will take several years I'd imagine and uprooting/growth out tanks etc.

The nutrients will run out........many things play into this one. Still, NH4 is the only cation of nitrogen that can be bound by a CEC, so negative anions, NO3 etc will not be bound.

The NH4 is occluded, basically sanwiched between layers of clay and the cations.

Roots and fungi tap into the grains. The outter surfaces of the clay grains are oxidized by bacteria to NO3. The other source is organic nitrogen that breaks down slowly into NH4(A dead fish, dead plant leaves etc will do this also).

Low levels of NH4 in such a substrate works well.
Some plants likely have a clear preference to the forms of N, most don't.

At least one whiner about the use of a pH controller claims you cannot use them, but the indirect method I spoke about some years ago for using peat + CO2 deterimnation shows it can be done as Ibn is doing here locally in the SF bay.

Like Jeff, I never use the pH controllers these days but many do and I've used them in the past.

I have to disagree with their use in general.
Bad for fish to have high CO2 24/7.
I can add more CO2 for a few hours in conjunction with high O2 instead.
Better place for your fish, the pH is not the issue so much.
More room for error should anything go wrong etc.

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #13 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-11-2006, 01:37 AM
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I am seriously considering the making the switch in the 37G. Particularly after reading through this thread more.

The Onyx has raised my KH from 9 to 16. I did expect a bit of a jump, but nothing like this. I am having a tough time keeping CO2 at levels well enough to stave of BBA.

I am thinking the Aquasoil and Powersand is going to work in my favor by not playing havoc with KH and actually lowering pH a bit.

Any possibility, Jeff?

Mike

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post #14 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-11-2006, 01:57 AM
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I'm assuming it's effects on ph are also time limited right?
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post #15 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-11-2006, 03:13 AM
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Isn't a main ingredient in Aquasoil peat? Shouldn't it by definition break down over time? Momotaro, I didn't know you had a 37. I love that tank design. We should form a 37 pimp club.

In college....so no aquariums for a while.....
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