Miracle Grow Vs. Aquasoil - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-13-2015, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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Miracle Grow Vs. Aquasoil

I'm in the process of setting up a 40 breeder and am trying to choose between MGOPM and some sort of aquasoil. I'm looking for some insight and opinions from you all who have experienced both. If you could give me your opinions along with pros and cons that should help me make a decision.

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-13-2015, 08:34 PM
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I have used pond soil capped with fine gravel (not exactly miracle grow but is a soil meant for pond plants, looks just like topsoil actually but with minimal stick bits) and ADA Aquasoil.

Both grow plants really well, I have these in low tech set-ups.
Both get the water cloudy if you're not careful with filling the tank, good filtration will take care of it.

The pond soil and fine gravel cap was much easier to plant in, Aquasoil is a bit light so the stem plants need a bit of help initially with anchoring new plants.

I can't comment on longevity, only had both for few months.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-14-2015, 02:21 AM
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ADA Aquasoil Amazona is probably the best substrate material ever sold. "Soil" intended for garden or potted plant use shouldn't be expected to be nearly as good. Still, many people have used those terrestrial plant "soils" with success, so there is no question that they can work very well. The percentage of people who have used Aquasoil and were unhappy with the results is very low, and most of those people just didn't bother using it correctly. (my opinion)
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-15-2015, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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ADA Aquasoil Amazona is probably the best substrate material ever sold. "Soil" intended for garden or potted plant use shouldn't be expected to be nearly as good. Still, many people have used those terrestrial plant "soils" with success, so there is no question that they can work very well. The percentage of people who have used Aquasoil and were unhappy with the results is very low, and most of those people just didn't bother using it correctly. (my opinion)
By what do mean when you say they didn't use it properly? I've seen where people use additives with the ADA soil. Is this necessary?
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-15-2015, 10:29 AM
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If you go with miracle grow organic potting soil, make sure you take the time to sort out the big stuff and weather beat it down. All that stuff is made up of is saw dust looking stuff. Very little if any dirt. I put it straight from bag into my tank and topped it off with sand. I had great plant growth, but it leached so much tannins into my tank my water was tea colored forever. I had issues with the poisonous gas that forms in the muck. Mysterious death of shrimps, fish were fine. I haven't used amazonia but I currently use mr. Aqua. Nothing works better than miracle grow, but I wouldn't recommend it. It does nothing for ph, and just a mess when you have to pull up plants that have roots. It's also high in phosphate so expect algae blooms. I felt like there was some toxin in the miracle grow that was harmful but hard to detect for the average joe. As for aqua soil, go with what people in this group recommend. I spent over $80 to experiment with a new Chinese shrimp substrate that was suppose to lower ph and aid in plant growth and so far it's yet to do any of that.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-15-2015, 03:21 PM
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By what do mean when you say they didn't use it properly? I've seen where people use additives with the ADA soil. Is this necessary?
I didn't use the additives and my plants are healthy.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-15-2015, 08:37 PM
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If the additives you're referring to are Penac, Bacter 100, Tourmaline, etc., no they're not necessary. A lot of people, including myself, have used AS without the additional additives and had great results. I love the stuff. Of course you'll also have those who swear by the all of the additives.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-15-2015, 08:59 PM
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The original Aquasoil Amazona used to leach a lot of ammonia in the first few weeks in the tank. So, the correct way to use it was to change 50%+ of the water every few days at first, then weekly until it stopped leaching so much. You shouldn't wash it first, and it is intended to be used alone, without a cap. ADA likes to persuade you to use their "little white balls" under the substrate, but it works fine without it. It does contain less potassium than the plants need, so they recommend using their "brighty green" (or something like that) to supplement the missing potassium, but if you just dose the water per the EI method it also works fine. And, Amano recommended replacing it every year or so, because the nutrients don't last forever. But, I'm still using mine, after about 2 years.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-17-2015, 04:49 AM Thread Starter
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Another question I have is, how mush will these aquasoils lower my ph? My water here is already acidic(6.0ph) and I don't know whether this will cause me any issues. Also have any of you used Fluval Stratum and if so how does it stack up to the Amizonia? And are there any other soils that could be suggested.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-18-2015, 03:06 AM
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...And, Amano recommended replacing it every year or so, because the nutrients don't last forever. But, I'm still using mine, after about 2 years.
I'm still using mine after 7 years.

For about the first 6-9 months, stem plans and swords grew out of control. Then they started to struggle, and finally I just gave up on them and mostly have low light plans now. So it's probably basically inert now. If starting anew, I would choose something else, simply because I want consistent long term results. I want to know those first few months what going to work out long term.

BTW, my tank is 46g bow, 78w t5h0, DIY CO2, EI, no root tabs (but I plan on starting to add them). I just tore down this tank and set it up again because I painted the room. I thoroughly cleaned the Aquasoil in the process. It's still holding up well so I decided to continue to use it.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-19-2015, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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I'm still using mine after 7 years.

For about the first 6-9 months, stem plans and swords grew out of control. Then they started to struggle, and finally I just gave up on them and mostly have low light plans now. So it's probably basically inert now. If starting anew, I would choose something else, simply because I want consistent long term results. I want to know those first few months what going to work out long term.

BTW, my tank is 46g bow, 78w t5h0, DIY CO2, EI, no root tabs (but I plan on starting to add them). I just tore down this tank and set it up again because I painted the room. I thoroughly cleaned the Aquasoil in the process. It's still holding up well so I decided to continue to use it.
This is why i'm leaning more towards the dirt route. Everything I've read makes me believe that it will sustain nutrients for a longer period of thime.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-22-2015, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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By chance has anyone had any experience with the MTS sold by BamaPlants.com? I've decided to roll with dirt in my new 40 breeder and would rather pay the small amount of money for a finished product the have to deal with the mineralizing process.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-22-2015, 01:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
The original Aquasoil Amazona used to leach a lot of ammonia in the first few weeks in the tank. So, the correct way to use it was to change 50%+ of the water every few days at first, then weekly until it stopped leaching so much. You shouldn't wash it first, and it is intended to be used alone, without a cap. ADA likes to persuade you to use their "little white balls" under the substrate, but it works fine without it. It does contain less potassium than the plants need, so they recommend using their "brighty green" (or something like that) to supplement the missing potassium, but if you just dose the water per the EI method it also works fine. And, Amano recommended replacing it every year or so, because the nutrients don't last forever. But, I'm still using mine, after about 2 years.
Have you noticed any difference in the KH lowering properties over the two years?

My KH is in the 6-7 range, and I would like to get it down a notch or two. Just not sure if it's worth the swap out if that particular affect doesnt last very long.


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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-22-2015, 09:37 PM
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I almost never measure the KH of my water. I don't use CO2, so it isn't of much interest to me.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 03:48 AM
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If you are one who likes to rescape or make minor tweaks in plant layout (like me) don't get Miraclegro it makes a mess. If you can plant it once and leave it be Miraclegro is cheaper than aquasoil. I prefer inert 'sand' (black diamond-$8 for 50 lb bag at tractor supply co) and osmocote+ root tabs-cheap and less messy!
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