Dirt Capped with ADA, good idea? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2015, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Dirt Capped with ADA, good idea?

Hi All, first time poster long time reader

Long story short, i was given some ADA aquasoil by a friend and I believe he had it in his high-tech tank for about a year. I have used his ADA soil in my tank for the past 2 months with high-light and pressurised co2 and EI Dosing however i have not noticed very little growth in my plants

My theory is that my ADA has become invert and i was wondering if there is any point dosing EI ferts anymore? Does Aquasoil have a high CEC?

If ADA has become invert, has anybody tried to cap dirt with Aquasoil? How did you go, were there any problems?

I have a feeling that my c02 is not efficient enough and is limiting my plant growth. I have just ordered a reactor and am hoping that my results will change. I guess my question would be, should i wait til my reactor arrives and see if there are any progress in terms of plant growth or should i just change over to a more nutrient rich substrate?

My tank is a 2ft x 1ft tank with a 2x24 T5 HO running with 2x6500k bulbs and also using an LED strip light (not sure about wattage)

Any help would be appreciated, thanks guys
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2015, 02:10 PM
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Can you post a picture. What plants are you using?

Some plants grow slow during the juvenile stage.

If your not happy with the growth. Try using Flourish Excel + Leaf zone from API. They seam to give some quick results.


In general rule of thumb. Using root tabs aka Fertz is very important in planted aquarium. They help in roots establishment and general growth.

BTW im a totally rookie. Just giving my view :P
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2015, 04:04 PM
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The Aquasoil is probably too light to form a good cap, you'll likely have cloudy water for a while. If you want to try it in a smaller scale just to test it will give you a better idea eg a large mason jar.

Hmm just realized your issue is the slow growth.

More details would help. Plants, photoperiod, CO2 rate/dose, actual ferts being used/dose/frequency. I don't do high tech but the high tech people here would want to know these as a jumping point.

Also more info on that LED strip light pls.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2015, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Plants at the moment are, amazon swords, crypts, dwarf baby tears, hair grass and stem plants (luwigia i think)

Ferts are just the standard EI dosing, macro's micros, etc

LED is an Ista 60cm Energy Saving unit - doesnt actually say wattage

photo period is about 6.5 hours per day
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2015, 04:43 PM
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I've done this - exactly as detailed in my tank thread. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. The main thing I did to prevent the dirt from coming up is a thin piece of perforated plastic. I had a tank divider kicking around - cut it to fit, put the dirt down, put the divider down, put the ADA on top of the divider. Plants grow roots through tiny 1mm sized holes in the plastic to the dirt.


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Last edited by Cmeister; 10-10-2015 at 04:59 PM. Reason: blah
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2015, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cmeister View Post
I've done this - exactly as detailed in my tank thread. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. The main thing I did to prevent the dirt from coming up is a thin piece of perforated plastic. I had a tank divider kicking around - cut it to fit, put the dirt down, put the divider down, put the ADA on top of the divider. Plants grow roots through tiny 1mm sized holes in the plastic to the dirt.
is the plastic mesh absolutely necessary? would it be possible without it
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2015, 06:18 PM
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No idea if its necessary, I did it to be doubly sure that I wouldn't have a problem. I have another tank (emmersed) without a plastic divider, it is kind of 'oozing' together a bit.


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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2015, 06:48 PM
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I use aquasoil as cap in all my tanks... you can check out the journal for yourself. It's my favourite combination for substrate. I don't use a mesh to separate the layers; the lighter aquasoil does a good job of staying on top, and plants with shallow roots grow better in it than say a gravel cap.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2015, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xiaozhuang View Post
I use aquasoil as cap in all my tanks... you can check out the journal for yourself. It's my favourite combination for substrate. I don't use a mesh to separate the layers; the lighter aquasoil does a good job of staying on top, and plants with shallow roots grow better in it than say a gravel cap.
Good to know! I honestly thought it would be too light but experience is key here.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2015, 08:30 PM
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I honestly thought it would be too light but experience is key here.
It is lighter.... For fine gravel and careful planting I can get away with a quarter inch cap in my tanks; thin is better for very small carpeting plants. For aquasoil around 3/4 inch at least would be better. It holds slopes reasonably well also

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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It is lighter.... For fine gravel and careful planting I can get away with a quarter inch cap in my tanks; thin is better for very small carpeting plants. For aquasoil around 3/4 inch at least would be better. It holds slopes reasonably well also
Your tank looks very similar to a youtuber im subscribed to :P

Did you mineralise your dirt? and else did you add to it in terms of additional ingredients like clay
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Xiaozhuang View Post
lighter aquasoil does a good job of staying on top, and plants with shallow roots grow better in it than say a gravel cap.
Good point, I never thought about the fact that something denser, such as gravel, might sink where as something light like ADA is going to sit on top.


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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 03:23 PM
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Your tank looks very similar to a youtuber im subscribed to :P

Did you mineralise your dirt? and else did you add to it in terms of additional ingredients like clay
haa... I'm a bit lazy frankly, so I don't mineralize my dirt. (though it may be more stable to do so). I find that if you balance your dirt ; i.e. use some organic compost but not too much, especially if you intend to use very deep layers, then it still works quite well even without mineralizing. I don't add that much "additives" per se. More of finding already suitable soils to mix with. Other factors that can help stability include having larger plant mass at the start ; don't use excessive light and tune other growth parameters well.

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