Moving to a new place, should I switch to Aquasoil?
I'm moving to a new apartment closer to my work and I want to start my tank off on the right track at the new place. Right now I have a heavily planted 20G long with DIY mineralized soil capped with a layer of EcoComplete. I don't have any of the mineralized soil left and I wouldn't want to go with straight EcoComplete because I like keeping the nutrients in my substrate instead of regular column dosing. I have never used Aquasoil before and this seems like a good opportunity to make the switch if I ever will. I am planning on breaking down the tank completely and removing all the plants and substrate when moving and even though I could wash and reuse the EcoComplete, I don't think the mineralized soil will be reusable in the new tank.
I'm going to have to put all the livestock (30+ RCS, 7 Harlequin Raspboras, 4 Amanos) back into the tank pretty much immediately after setting it up in the new place. I have a 5 gallon quarantine tank that usually runs with no livestock and just holds all my extra plants. I could probably use that for a day or two if I have to let the aqua soil leech out extra nutrients after setting up the main tank but it would be overstocked so I wouldn't want to keep my livestock in there for too long. Would it be safe to set up the new tank with Aquasoil and stock it the same day? I've heard it can take months for Aquasoil to stabilize enough for shrimp to inhabit the tank safely.
Is switching to Aquasoil actually worth it? I've had great growth with a few minor nutrient deficiency issues over the past year running my current substrate, and my hypothesis is that the nutrient rich Aquasoil would solve my deficiency issues. I would prefer not to dose the water column anymore with a good substrate, is that a realistic goal? I currently dose with some Seachem liquid ferts only when there's a problem and have never used the ADA system.
Is Aquasoil a factor for increased algae issues? I'm running medium-high light (just guessing, I don't have a PAR meter. I have a 25W Fluval Aqualife & Plant LED resting directly on a 12" deep tank) and I'm afraid I might suddenly find I get a ton of algae with the excess nutrients from Aquasoil. The only algae issue I've had with my current tank was some GDA which was completely eliminated within three weeks of adding a Twinstar.
Is there another substrate I should be looking into?
Would I be better off just draining the tank and trying to move it with the plants still in the substrate? I saw some forum discussions of people doing that and it just seems reckless and I can imagine your aquascape is ruined when you're done anyways. I think a healthy root system might make the substrate more stable but I have a custom-built tank that I love and I'd hate for anything bad to happen to it.