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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I’ve been looking into buying ada aqua soil as my substrate and can much more easily and cheaply find the v1 over the v2. What are the differences/benefits to the v2? Does anyone have personal experiences?

also how does Ada aqua soil compare to others such as tropica or fluval
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How long do you think dirt would last compared to aqua soil? What are the benefits of each, may be adding co2
 

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How long do you think dirt would last compared to aqua soil? What are the benefits of each, may be adding co2
I’ll be honest, I’m not an expert. I can’t scientifically explain why it’s better. Just a bunch of sources on YouTube and you hear “Walstad method” - Diana Walstad was a lady who like published multiple books on how to properly balance a planted aquarium tank and her #1 substrate was Miracle Grow Organic.

It’s a little messy to set up but once it is set up, it’s the same as every other tank.

Google “Diana Walstad” and then also research the Miracle Grow organic on YouTube.
 

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The "Walstad Method" is a specific method for a very low tech tank. It's certainly a viable method for low tech but it's not the way most people want to go with a planted tank. The OP has also stated that he plans to add CO2.
 

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The "Walstad Method" is a specific method for a very low tech tank. It's certainly a viable method for low tech but it's not the way most people want to go with a planted tank. The OP has also stated that he plans to add CO2.
Yes but the “Walstad method” doesn’t gatekeep you from turning the low-tech tank to high-tech.

“Viable” is also not the word I would use when multiple youtubers and people who make a living off of functioning planted aquariums are saying dirt is #1.

I understand not wanting to deal with the mess, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still the best option for a planted tank.
 

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Best isn't a term I would use to describe any substrate when there are so many variables. Obviously, light and CO2 added to a Walstad tank will make it high tech but now you're changing a method that was specifically set up and tweaked over years for very low tech and minimal water changes.
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with dirt, there's a lot of people that love it and it can be great for growing plants. As you know from your other thread there are also people that have done it that won't return to it. Not everyone shares your dislike for the appearance of aquasoil.
If you want to invoke the experts Takashi Amano used aqua soil.
 

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Best isn't a term I would use to describe any substrate when there are so many variables. Obviously, light and CO2 added to a Walstad tank will make it high tech but now you're changing a method that was specifically set up and tweaked over years for very low tech and minimal water changes.
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with dirt, there's a lot of people that love it and it can be great for growing plants. As you know from your other thread there are also people that have done it that won't return to it. Not everyone shares your dislike for the appearance of aquasoil.
If you want to invoke the experts Takashi Amano used aqua soil.

That’s because Takashi Amano has stake in aqua soil lol of course he’s going to use it.


Fine, we won’t say “best” - we’ll say “most effective” for growing plants.
 

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Fine, we won’t say “best” - we’ll say “most effective” for growing plants
You are over simplifying a complicated matter with many variable's. It's clear you are unwavering in your opinion on the matter but you need stop relying on just youtube videos and comments as you have no idea what the water parameters were in the non dirt videos. (Everyone has an agenda)

I agree that dirt more closely replicates a natural environment in the short term (must regularly replace) but most who keep planted tanks are looking for long term stability. They are able to achieve long term success even with inert substrates. The reason is proper and precise fert dosing and tank maintenance. Another contributing factor is that with inert subs, we can control exact amounts of macros/micros/trace/etc, where as there is some guessing when it comes to dosing with a dirt substrate because you don't know 100% what all it is releasing/leaching.

I personally can't look at the awesome work of such great tanks with inert subs as these members: Greggz, Burr740, Immortal1, Ken Keating1, Maryland Guppy etc. and say to myself 'jeez these tanks would look soo much better if they used dirt'!

Just saying.
 

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You are over simplifying a complicated matter with many variable's. It's clear you are unwavering in your opinion on the matter but you need stop relying on just youtube videos and comments as you have no idea what the water parameters were in the non dirt videos. (Everyone has an agenda)

I agree that dirt more closely replicates a natural environment in the short term (must regularly replace) but most who keep planted tanks are looking for long term stability. They are able to achieve long term success even with inert substrates. The reason is proper and precise fert dosing and tank maintenance. Another contributing factor is that with inert subs, we can control exact amounts of macros/micros/trace/etc, where as there is some guessing when it comes to dosing with a dirt substrate because you don't know 100% what all it is releasing/leaching.

I personally can't look at the awesome work of such great tanks with inert subs as these members: Greggz, Burr740, Immortal1, Ken Keating1, Maryland Guppy etc. and say to myself 'jeez these tanks would look soo much better if they used dirt'!

Just saying.
Your opinion is your opinion for sure and I respect that.

Soil has to be redosed just as any substrate does. It's most effective any term. Root structure is why, I believe, soil is king.

I'm getting the vibe that people want to deny evidence purely because they aren't using soil themselves, which is unfortunate. Tanks with inert subs will be successful, absolutely, but if you want to min/max your setup. Dirt is the way to go, the evidence and results are all there. Trust me, I wanted inert because it's much cleaner and can be replanted and changed in the future. But I'm looking to leave no stone unturned and min/max my setup.

You can argue "Yeah but there's so many variables at play" true, but if you aren't testing, measuring and verifying every single nutrient in the water column AND substrate (how would you even do this without a lab?) then the blanket decision is still soil.
 

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My attempted point was that the little bit of extra "max" you can get by using dirt doesn't tip the scales for the average hobbyist who may not want to worry about messes, water chemistry issues, possible ammonia leaching, possible Cu levels unsafe for inverts, etc.

I'm not saying dirt is bad. I have used dirt in the past with ok results. I just don't want beginners that want to get started with a planted tank think they need to jump into using dirt right out of the gate. I feel keeping a dirt tank looking good is something best handled by a seasoned aquarist.
 

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My attempted point was that the little bit of extra "max" you can get by using dirt doesn't tip the scales for the average hobbyist who may not want to worry about messes, water chemistry issues, possible ammonia leaching, possible Cu levels unsafe for inverts, etc.

I'm not saying dirt is bad. I have used dirt in the past with ok results. I just don't want beginners that want to get started with a planted tank think they need to jump into using dirt right out of the gate. I feel keeping a dirt tank looking good is something best handled by a seasoned aquarist.
Again, you just admitted that you’re simply counter arguing because you don’t think the “max” is worth it.
Some people want to start with the best setup off the bat to learn everything. Like learning to drive a stick shift as your first car, sure automatic will be easier but once you drive stick you can drive anything.

Why not reply and tell him to just get a goldfish with neon pebbles? This is a planted tank forum and if someone is asking about soil, help them understand the pro’s and con’s - only con with Miracle Grow Organic is going to be the mess. Otherwise, it has been tested and proven that it is safe for inverts, grows plants like a mofo with little to no issues.
 

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Like learning to drive a stick shift as your first car, sure automatic will be easier but once you drive stick you can drive anything.
This is not an accurate comparison. It would be more like the first car you drive is a F1 or NASCAR vehicle. Most car guys would love to drive the 'max' all the time but reality means they settle for sporty but not a 'max' car level and that's ok.

Why not reply and tell him to just get a goldfish with neon pebbles? This is a planted tank forum and if someone is asking about soil, help them understand the pro’s and con’s - only con with Miracle Grow Organic is going to be the mess. Otherwise, it has been tested and proven that it is safe for inverts, grows plants like a mofo with little to no issues.
I would never advise that crazy stuff. Also you can use the search function on this very site and find examples of users having fish and invert die offs. So you can't just blanket say use dirt and you won't have any issues.

In any case I like seeing dedication to this hobby regardless of opinions. Also it seems we have highjacked OP thread so I will stop the back and forth.
 

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This is not an accurate comparison. It would be more like the first car you drive is a F1 or NASCAR vehicle. Most car guys would love to drive the 'max' all the time but reality means they settle for sporty but not a 'max' car level and that's ok.
THIS is not an accurate comparison. Using dirt is not complex, there are no extra steps required for maintenance.

Very first post that popped up when I searched "inverts died" on this website was this. Someone using Eco-Complete, inverts die. It happens, there is literally zero evidence suggesting that soil will cause inverts to die more than any other substrate. If they are dying because of soil, its because they are not using the right soil and probably has additives in it. If you use a soil that is known and proven to be aquarium safe. It. is. the. most. effective. option.
 

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You know, as someone switching from dirt to aquasoil soon, I would really appreciate responses to the OP's original question.

@Jack2714, I haven't used aquasoil myself, but have looked into the differences between them and can't really get a great answer. Amazonia seems to have the best reputation, but is known for initial ammonia release. But people also seem happy with UNS Controsoil, Tropica's aquasoil, and Landen's aquasoil. It seems like most brands may have some variation in product from bag to bag, leading to some slightly irregular results with respect to nutrient amounts, buffering capacity, and how long until the balls start breaking down. Supply seems to be an issue right now with aquasoil, like we're seeing with many aspects of the hobby, but it's not an impossible challenge. I feel like Fluval Stratum has the worst reputation of the group (not to be confused with Flourite, which is inert) I wish I had personal experience to draw from, but that's my topline summary based on a lot of reading.

I will say I'm not sure I've heard anyone say that they have tried dirt and aquasoil and went with dirt. I personally don't regret starting with dirt, but it's madness to act like it's the obvious choice if you want the "best" tank. It has pros and cons, and I'm not sure what advantage it has over aquasoil if you don't have an issue with the cost and appearance.
 

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I personally don't regret starting with dirt, but it's madness to act like it's the obvious choice if you want the "best" tank. It has pros and cons, and I'm not sure what advantage it has over aquasoil if you don't have an issue with the cost and appearance.
Just regurgitating what numerous experts and youtubers say. Not sure why this forum is so against soil tanks lol. Seems like hard cases of denial. It's just funny at this point.
 

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There's such a wide variety of setups you can't simply say one is best, it just doesn't work that way. A Walstad type tank is completely different than a hi-tech ADA type setup. A Walstad tank relies on the organics in the system to support it, an ADA tank relies on lowering organics. It's no coincidence that most Walstad tanks need a large amount of easy, fast growing stems that will grow in lower light levels to keep the tank looking good. High organics and high light don't play nice together. Walstad tanks usually don't have high light demanding carpet plants or difficult to grow high-light plants. Just look at the Walstad playbook.

Hi tech tanks with one of the aquasoils are less limiting since they rely on lowering the organics through heavy water changes. Because of this, it's easier to develop an aquascape since you can use less of the real estate with plants and more with hardscape because you don't need as much uptake from plants for the decomposing organics.

Choosing a substrate is more about just growing plants, it's about being able to reasonably have the tank looking good. Some influencers might use soil, but I bet their commitment to the tank is greater than most. I actually don't see that many AGA or IAPLC contest winners using dirt, most use granular soil made for aquariums like aquasoil, landen, etc.
 
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