ADA Amazonia or Sand?! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-31-2015, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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ADA Amazonia or Sand?!

Hey all, I'm finally going rimless with a Mr. Aqua 17.1 (60P style) tank. It will be planted (duh) and I'm unsure on substrate choice. I've always used Black Diamond sand in the past with root tabs and I've been pretty happy with my results. This time I'm wondering if I should go amazonia but I'm nervous to spend the money on a substrate if it's not going to be a noticeable upgrade.

The things that I'm hoping to see improvement in:
1. Scaping ability. Meaning, that amazonia does a better job holding shape, etc for parts of the tank that should be elevated (back to front, etc).

2. Growth. I would imagine it's way better than an inert substrate like sand!

3. Health of fauna. I've read of entire shrimp colonies being wiped out a few months into setup when substrate was disturbed and the tank saw a second ammonia spike from amazonia.

Can anyone help tip me to one side or the other? =)

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 08:49 PM
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Personally I think the benefits of so called "active" substrates are over rated. Plenty of side by side comparisons have been done with results showing small differences in either direction but no clear choice as to "best".
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 11:38 PM
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I personally hate sand, and I don't like ADA either. I haven't' tried flourite, but I think it has potential. I would advice buying an inert substrate over an active substrate that you will have to throw out after a few years.


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. Have you both tried Amazonia and still think it's sort of gimmicky?


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by geehtar View Post
Thanks for the replies. Have you both tried Amazonia and still think it's sort of gimmicky?


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ADA is great. You'll notice a huge difference in the roots if you grew the same plants in ADA vs other substrate.

It really depends on what you're planning to grow.


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 09:02 AM
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As j03yYunG said it depends on what you want to grow. But most plants benefit somewhat from high CEC substrates, even if not heavy root feeders. The main 'gimmick' is the high CEC, N and other fertilizers stored in ADA. These are not stored in sand. Topsoil is somewhat similar but not as clean to use nor as standardized leading to variable results.

Bottom line: I would not buy ADA AS if I had to sacrifice a good light, water circulation or CO2. However ADA AS (or similar like Tropica Plantgrowth substrate) would be part of my perfect aquarium

Some things I noticed when using ADA Aquasoil Amazonia vs sand.

1. Ease of scaping: It does hold better if stacked behind stones or wood. On its own it will flatten rather quick. It has more give than sand(you can compress it or push it down) so planting with fingers is rather difficult. Sizewise only, it is easier to plant HC in sand than in the normal ADA Aquasoil. That said it can be done if clumps are big enough to begin with (see my journal)

2. ADA AS is ligher than gravel or sand..you need to anchor plants well.

3. First few days with ADA AS you will have high ammonia (recommend wc). But it is rich from the start and for a long time. Sand in the first days raises Si levles and is poor in all, in the longer term it might go anaerobic.

4. ADA AS is a good place for all the plants to root in. If water column dosing is good all the time I don't think most plants will grow alot better. But the help in ADA AS comes in supplementing the plants requirements when there are not enough in the water column

5. ADA AS has ''amazing'' buffering capacity. It was able to reduce my KH from 14 to 7 for a long time. It is because of this that ADA AS is preffered among shrimp keepers.

6. In terms of disturbing any substrate it will release ammonia and other things in the water. If a major rescape is done remove all fauna from the aquarium, change the water afterwards and play...

If it is worth anything for you, Tom Barr recomends this from all the ADA products.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 07:06 PM
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Thanks for the replies. Have you both tried Amazonia and still think it's sort of gimmicky?

Gimmicky? That term would imply the soil is a cheat, hoax or fraud. I’ve used all sorts of substrates over the years and I’ve settled on using soil exclusively, even if the tank is low tech, or will only have stem plants, I still feel the benefits of soil outweigh the cons. That said, any mineralized soil substrate will be superior to gravel or sand. Even diy mineralized soil is better. I prefer a commercial brand like ADA, but they all work pretty well. I’ve tried fluval stratum and ADA and prefer the ADA slightly. The only downside to the soil is it can be a pain for keeping plants rooted.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-08-2016, 12:03 AM
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AS and CO2, the two biggest gimmicks in planted tanks. Which character do I use to denote sarcasm?
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-08-2016, 12:49 AM
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ADA AS all the way! If you don't like the look of it you can always do a bare sand foreground, just make sure you use plenty of stones to hold back the AS so they don't end up mixing together too much.

As others have said, remove all fauna before doing any major re-scaping. That said, a bit of minor disturbance won't cause any problems. I've got a Mini-M with RCS, CRS and another Caridina species and recently pulled some stems and replaced with a different plant and experienced no ill effects.
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