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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-11-2009, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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help advise please !!!!

ok so i have a fully established tank at least a year old... its a standard 55g 220W light tons of C02 20lb tank w/ over saturated reactor w/ co2 mist drop checkers always yellow and fish aren't at the surface so i they are good.. plants always pearling during photo period. i have a mix of onyx and ecco and dose P ferts daily (too expensive).. so my wife is giving me 180$ for my tank for my b-day and i was doing to order ADA AS im scared it going to blow up my tank kill my fish and melt my plants lol but i think i can control it..... should i get AS or something els to upgrade... now i was planning on leaving a small base amount of my substrate to keep it N-bacteria load and mixing it w/ a 6L bag of power sand special and capping that w/ 3 9L bags of AS i also have a Fluval FX5 loaded w/ bio media will i be ok also have a large plant load... but have a few expensive plants erios and others.... help advise please... heres a pic o the tank
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 12:03 AM
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Personally, I wouldn't touch that unless you have a desire to tear the whole tank down and start all over...

ADA AS releases tons of ammonia for quite a while after introduction to a tank- I personally would pull all the fish out to be on the safe side if you do go ahead with the substrate replacement.





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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 01:26 AM
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I agree with Laural,

You have a good substrate established with plenty of fish waste. If you wanted a quick start on a new tank and didn't have to house fish while the ammonia cycle was complete yeah, then go for it. Maybe use the money for
T5HO lighting or a good canister filter if you don't have those already.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 01:54 AM
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I agree with hbosman & lauraleellbp leave the substrate alone unless your going to tear the entire tank down and re-scape everything.

I'd get something else for it or start a new tank!

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 02:09 AM
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In my tank, ADA AS brought the PH down low enough that all the ammonia was converted to ammonium which is harmless to fish. I've added new AS to an existing tank and not had any problems. My PH is very low with AS: my tap water is 7.2 but my tank is below 6. Please take this with a grain of salt, as I don't know if everyone experiences the extreme PH drop as I do. I've never found the low ph to be a problem, but I only keep fish that do well in soft, acidic water. I see you have angelfish, and they will thrive with the AS, but who else is in there??

If the AS drops your PH below 6, the traditional ammonia tests will no longer be accurate. They don't distinguish between ammonium and ammonia so you will continue to get high readings even if there isn't a problem with your water.

Full disclosure: I do not have a chemistry background. I only know about ammonia vs. ammonium through internet research from possibly dubious sources. However, my own experience leads me to believe that this information is correct

The first time I upgraded to AS, I left some flourite in as a bottom layer. Just like you, I was hoping to maintain some of the bacteria load. Now, whenever my loaches do a bunch of digging (those little rascals...) pieces of the red flourite start appearing in my nice, dark AS, and I hate the way it looks. If your current substrate is a different color, you will probably have the same problem.

I think your tank already looks great. It sounds like you're happy with how the plants are growing, so why do you want to tear it all up to put in a new substrate? If I remember correctly, Tom Barr, the planted tank guru, says that AS is great for beginners because it makes the process easier, but it really isn't necessary if you know what you're doing. I think you probably fall into the latter category.
Maybe you should talk your wife into letting you get one more tank, instead!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 02:42 AM
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E-C will turn acidic after several years. You have Calcite (Onyx) in the substrate to buffer it a bit. It is a very nice looking tank. I wouldn't tear it down until your substrate is acidic and the MTS stay on the surface and don't go digging, unless you are wanting a different look.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 03:04 AM Thread Starter
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yeah i dunno the only reason i wanna switch is that some of my plants look good but are not developing the rood system i want especially the erio and my tap ph is sooo high i need something tho bring it down i use mostly ro water now and its helping... but also just want a solid nutrient rich substrate to boost color and overall health.. i dunno yet.. thanks for input so far!!!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 03:42 AM
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No matter what substrate you use your going to have to have dose ferts even with ADA or MTS.

You said your using pfertz but it's to expensive? You could switch to mixing your Macro's from dry ferts and only use pfertz black "M" bottle for micro's that's what I've switched to doing over CSM+B.

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