I think many assume any and everything a company claims to be true.
Heating cables come to mind.
If you add some peat and osmocoat, you get the same type of thing as far as nutrients, then all you have left is pumic, which is not particularly endearing for plants, growth etc.
It's just pumic, surface area.
ADA seems to pull the same claim that Dupla did with the heating cables, they claim, that it helps diffusion of O2 into sediments.
Well, the pore size of AS is quite large about 3-5mm between grains, plenty for "diffusion", even if it's really deep. Over time, and actually within less than a month, roots act like "pipes" and are embedded deep in the sediments.
There's no need for cables, PS etc.
Plant roots do the job. Ignoring the plant roots and the plant's role, the very thing both these two companies market, seems very odd to me. It seems more like a marketing ploy cooked up by some engineer at Dupla years ago to hock the cables. Since many still think this today and that it helps, ADA just co opted it for marketing. ADA used PS a long time ago and it's not a lot different than what many folks used back then either, osmocoat and and a little peat + their gravel.
That helped some. Adding a clay soft base like ADA AS helped a lot more, looks nice and holds a lot more nutrients. This helps a lot more than PS can.
As far as starting up times etc, well heck, water changes, good CO2, add lots of plants, add some mulm etc. Then roots grow like mad and you have a nicer looking tank and save yourself $ labor and time playing with PS.
Wait till you break an ADA sediment down and try and sepearate PS and AS.
Or pull some PS up replanting. Or perhaps you will place a steel mesh to keep them separated. Blah. Why bother?
Does not help in the long term.
Does not help in theory any more than say some osmocoat and dusting or ground peat. Certainly does not help based on O2 levels like Dupla claimed.
It cost more than ADA AS.
I've got nothing against ADA, I support many of their products and art, I use some things, but like any company, I rarely use all their products, just the ones that work and are reasonable. It's not 100% with anything or any brand.
Why some assume so, tosses any critical thinking right out the door.
Some Penac? You deserved to lose your $. Sometimes I worry when folks lose their common sense.
Note, I've measure the nutrient and soil parameters for PS, ADA AS, as well as running 4 tanks with and without PS, now much more tanks without......I cannot tell there's difference using it in practical terms. One or two tanks, you cannot say much, but quite a few tanks and quite a few other folks suggest the same conclusion.
The difference seems more to be with ADA AS, I agree it 's nice and helps.
That's something many folks can and do see a difference.
So some things work well and help, some you can pass on.
That is what we tend to expect with any product line. So is it surprising?