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I'm turning a 30 gallon tank into a planted tank. I was originally going to use Eco-Complete, but after hearing about a lot of problems with it, I decided against it. Flourite is the only substrate available locally, but I've used it before, and while it grew plants nicely, the dust issues and the color of it have stopped me from buying it again. I have since read about a lot of good experiences with ADA Aquasoil and I'm interested in the Amazonia substrate, but I have some questions that I was hoping those who have used these substrates could help me with.

I hear a lot of references to the "Aquasoil system," and when I go to their website, I see Aquasoil, Powersand, etc. I'm not really into products that need every other product from the company in order to work well, so I'd prefer to avoid that. Can you use Aquasoil by itself, or do you need a whole "system" in order to use it? I see that the Powersand is supposed to go below the Aquasoil. If I did use both, what would be the right proportion? Powersand on the bottom half, or the bottom third?

What about the difference between Powersand and Powersand Special? I read what the website claims the difference is - again, would I really need to buy Bacter 100 and Clean Super if I used regular Powersand?

Also, in the guidelines for how much an aquarium would need, is this assuming that you use both Powersand and Aquasoil? Thanks for any help you can all give.
 

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I was originally going to use Eco-Complete, but after hearing about a lot of problems with it, I decided against it.
Hi justing, and welcome to PTF ;)
try to using the http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/search.php function,
and specify Aquasoil in the thread title only to narrow your search.
Aquasoil is discussed repeatedly on this forum.

so, what problems have you heard?

-the problem I'm aware of is how finer parts of it may settle deep and compact over your roots, but that's easily fixed by placing a thin layer of small grain inert gravel under your Eco-Complete beforehand.

-the problem I've heard is how the grains are light and can easily be stirred up by aggressive bottom feeders or strong water flow. I don't plan on having feeders or water flow that could move this substrate.

so, what other legitimate concerns are there?
I'm interested because I may use Eco-Complete on
my next large tank as Aquasoil cost is prohibitive.

From what I have read, the powersand system has to do with using their sand on the lowest layer to trap the nutrients used by plants that are normally produced by bacteria living in your substrate, instead of allowing said nutrients to leech back into your water column (thus providing more food for non rooted plants like algae). If it truly helps, and is not just a marketing gimmick, it seems worth the trouble of layering 2 different types of Aquasoil.
what I'd like to know is if the sand heavy enough to remain unmixed from the aquasoil so when the layers of substrate are disturbed (like when you stick a new stem deep between them), will the sand eventually settle back to the bottom while the aquasoil will tend to "float" on top of the sand. this is especially concerning to those who like me, have Malaysian Trumpet Snails regularly tunneling around their substrata.
 

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Aquasoil is a great substrate and you don't need to have anything else in order to have an "Aquasoil System." A lot of people use Aquasoil only. Powersand is not necessary at all, in fact some people have actually commented that Powersand can cause problems and I don't recommend you use it yet. I highly recommend Aquasoil only.

Go to Aqua Design Amano USA/ADGshop.com- now available in the U.S.A, prouldy offered by Aquarium Design Group. The finest planted aquarium products. and check out the substrate section. Click on the Aquasoil type you want (Amazonia/Malaya/Afrikana) and then click on the "extended information" tab. That will tell you how much aquasoil you will need. You can also call ADG and speak to them and ask questions, they will help you out a lot. Tell them "wood" says hi :) They are good people and have tons of knowledge.

Good luck with Aquasoil you will love it, it IS the best.


-Ryan
 

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so, what problems have you heard?

-the problem I'm aware of is how finer parts of it may settle deep and compact over your roots, but that's easily fixed by placing a thin layer of small grain inert gravel under your Eco-Complete beforehand.

-the problem I've heard is how the grains are light and can easily be stirred up by aggressive bottom feeders or strong water flow. I don't plan on having feeders or water flow that could move this substrate.

so, what other legitimate concerns are there?
I'm interested because I may use Eco-Complete on
my next large tank as Aquasoil cost is prohibitive.
There are "bad bags" of eco complete with phosphoric acid in them. This problem was apparently fixed, but you should be aware of it. Supposedly the bags packed in "milky water" (like mine were) are contaminated. I was wondering for a while why my phosphate levels were so high (off the chart), why plants didn't grow (high light, diy CO2). My levels are now "down" to 5-10ppm after many water changes over the past half a year or so. Still have algae problems, but that's probably because I'm too lazy to fertilize properly. Gotta get an autodoser of some sort for the next tank ...
 

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Aquasoil is a great substrate and you don't need to have anything else in order to have an "Aquasoil System." A lot of people use Aquasoil only. Powersand is not necessary at all, in fact some people have actually commented that Powersand can cause problems and I don't recommend you use it yet. I highly recommend Aquasoil only.

Go to Aqua Design Amano USA/ADGshop.com- now available in the U.S.A, prouldy offered by Aquarium Design Group. The finest planted aquarium products. and check out the substrate section. Click on the Aquasoil type you want (Amazonia/Malaya/Afrikana) and then click on the "extended information" tab. That will tell you how much aquasoil you will need. You can also call ADG and speak to them and ask questions, they will help you out a lot. Tell them "wood" says hi :) They are good people and have tons of knowledge.

Good luck with Aquasoil you will love it, it IS the best.


-Ryan

Ive never heard of anyone having problems with using powersand. The only times ive heard of problems is when people dont use powersand.
 

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Ive never heard of anyone having problems with using powersand. The only times ive heard of problems is when people dont use powersand.
I have heard that powersand can become a problem when you uproot your plants. The powersand can rise to the surface. For someone that hasn't used AS before I think that it would be easier just to start of using AS only. But thats by opinion.

-Ryan
 

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We need to ban posts that begin with "I've heard", it spreads way too much bad information that is often founded entirely on hearsay. Wood, this is not an attack on your personally. Here's my experience with AS. Good. Period. Crumbles a little bit, kicks up some dust when you're messing with it, but my plants are gorgeous. What more do you want than that?
 

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From what I have read, the powersand system has to do with using their sand on the lowest layer to trap the nutrients used by plants that are normally produced by bacteria living in your substrate, instead of allowing said nutrients to leech back into your water column (thus providing more food for non rooted plants like algae).
I'll take first hand experience over what someone "has read" any day. :proud:

Power Sand has absolutely nothing to do with sand. Period. It is a peat covered pumice product that is used as a base layer under the Aqua Soil. Repeat, it is not sand. I am not sure what you were reading, but the premise that Power Sand is sand is absolutely and completely wrong. Any subsequent comments and suppositions by the authors of what you have read are misinformed in my opinion and have to be taken with a grain of salt...or sand in their case! ;)

While one of the basic ideas of Power Sand is to improve water flow through the substrate, I'll agree that another concept is for the pumice to also act as a biological media to increase beneficial bacteria growth in the substrate. However, I believe that has more to do with creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth than the idea of trapping nutrients. Interesting idea which may be a "side effect" but I have never heard of this as part of product design, or before I read this for that matter.

If it truly helps, and is not just a marketing gimmick, it seems worth the trouble of layering 2 different types of Aquasoil.
Good point. There is no way I know to test for bacterial growth. I have grown plants very successfully with Aqua Soil and Power Sand.

Does that mean it is working by design? I don't know.

Many have grown plants successfully in Aqua Soil with out Power Sand.

Do the plants grow any less? Not as well? I don't know and I can't say. Does that mean Power Sand doesn't provide the results suggested? Hard to prove either way.

what I'd like to know is if the sand heavy enough to remain unmixed from the aquasoil so when the layers of substrate are disturbed (like when you stick a new stem deep between them), will the sand eventually settle back to the bottom while the aquasoil will tend to "float" on top of the sand. this is especially concerning to those who like me, have Malaysian Trumpet Snails regularly tunneling around their substrata
The pumice will stay under the Aqua Soil, provided the Aqua Soil is pretty much left alone. Like any other layered substrate set up, if you constantly plant and replant and churn up the substrate, the layers will mix and well....no longer be layered. Once it is mixed up, it would be darn hard to get it back! ;) It won't ever settle back.

MTS won't upset the balance. No need to be concerned.

Mike
 

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Good point. There is no way I know to test for bacterial growth. I have grown plants very successfully with Aqua Soil and Power Sand.
smear a plate (petri dish with nutrient agar) with a sample from the powersand and prepare a sample from a non powersand source. count the colonies. it's a crude method but it's a starting point for finding your bacterial counts.
 

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I think 100% AS or AS with Powersand will work fine, it both grows plant like weed, But the thing that im gonna do is add half a bag of Power sand that i got from Turtlehead then add the AS on it, i'll place the power sand on where im gonna plant my rotalas and other stem plant then ofcourse dosing EI method once the tank is stable or mature.
 

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AS + PS, you dose mainly K+, Traces
AS+ EI you dose the EI.

If you uproot AS+PAS, you will see for yourselves:icon_twis :icon_twis
You can avoid uprooting PS a few ways: never uproot, only top plants.
Do not move plants. etc
Or you can place steel mesh screen between the PS and the AS.

PITA and not needed if you use EI anyway.

Cost extra.
The entire notion behind it prodividing more aertation to the root zone is bogus marketing hype and has zero foundation/support.

How do you cap the PS with layers of increasignly fine AS and expect the O2 from above to get down there?

Once the roots grow in there this is a non issue!!!
So whether you have AS or PS, it does not matter, after a day or so, there's hardly any O2 down there as it is.

I have a DO meter and pushed the probe down there slowly and let it sit for awhile. the same is true for plain AS at similar depths.

This notion of PS providing O2 due to size gradations is poppycock.

While one of the basic ideas of Power Sand is to improve water flow through the substrate, I'll agree that another concept is for the pumice to also act as a biological media to increase beneficial bacteria growth in the substrate.
Many have grown plants successfully in Aqua Soil with out Power Sand.

Do the plants grow any less? Not as well? I don't know and I can't say. Does that mean Power Sand doesn't provide the results suggested? Hard to prove either way.
I found better growth rates using EI+ AS vs AS+PS and ADA ferts.
PS does provide results if you lack the ability or desire to dose the
KNO3/KH2PO4 as well as the K+ and traces(you still need to dose the K+/trace either way, so this is less of an issue ain't it?)

what I'd like to know is if the sand heavy enough to remain unmixed from the aquasoil so when the layers of substrate are disturbed
Hahahahaha, :icon_twis
Try it and find out.

Hahahaaaaahohohoho......
Go ahead. I could use another person to prove my point.:biggrin:

The issue I find with new products is that many buy into the entire line.
Some things are worthwhile and useful and can be recommended by most.
Some have less use and are not quite what the developer designed.

Heating cables for example was another bad idea that did not follow the design's intent in theory nor practice.
PS has more place in the hobby than that certainly, but it's certainly not a must have component that is going to yield the same type of results as the ADA aqua soil. That much is painfully clear.

While I have no interest in ADA, I do fully support the use of AS and their glass ware, Tanks, etc. Some stuff is marketing garbage, but this is true of any company.

It's when folks come in and make claims based on belief rather than test, logic and falsification/verification that irritates me and incurs my full wrath.
It does take time to test things, then such products are better understood.

I view claims with skepticism, any hypothesis for that matter, I try and falsify it. If I cannot then it stands as tenetative working hypothesis until, proven otherwise.

Just because I test and am trying to disprove something does in no way suggest I dislike the company, or any other agenda. You'll note the things that do work I heap priase upon because such products do work well and help this hobby/worth the $ you spend on them.

It pisses me off when folks do not make this distinction when whining, crying and bemoan what a mean guy I am poo pooing their favorite product.:angryfire

I try and understand and figure things out, if you accept mental blindness and belief based in your apporoaches to things that are testable, you are not going to learn anything about the world around you. You may learn from others that do such testing and see if it makes sense or not as well.

I do not operate on faith that way.
I question things and claims.
We all should, you have a brain, it works, you can use it.
That's how we learn. Anyone on these boards is here to learn.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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We need to ban posts that begin with "I've heard", it spreads way too much bad information that is often founded entirely on hearsay. Wood, this is not an attack on your personally. Here's my experience with AS. Good. Period. Crumbles a little bit, kicks up some dust when you're messing with it, but my plants are gorgeous. What more do you want than that?
I think you are confused....

I said that I have heard from others in this forum that using PS can cause a problem when uprooting. Since Justin has not used AS or PS I simply recommended that he should stick with AS only first. Others in this same thread also have stated that PS can be an issue so I did not make it up out of the thin air.

As far as Aquasoil is concerned, I use it and love it. I recommend it for anyone. I think that you confused me talking about Powersand as talking about Aquasoil.

Now as far as banning posts that say "I've heard" I think you are missing the main objective of an internet forum. I did not say that I knew, I said I heard, which means I read it on this forum. Justin can do his research and read the same things I have read. I feel it is doing a disservice not telling someone about a potential problem than warning them.

There is a big difference between letting someone else know what others have experienced compared to telling someone a total lie as if it is fact.

-Ryan
 
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