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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I am planning on stripping down and redoing my new-ish tank for unrelated reasons (damn you snails...) and I'm wondering if I should switch from mineralized topsoil topped with sand to Aquasoil topped with sand. The mineralized topsoil has been incredibly messy and every time I dig it up to plant something, it coats all my plants in a brown film that chokes and kills them. Plus I haven't seen any incredible plant growth to justify all the mess. What are the benefits of MTS as opposed to ADA Aquasoil? Or are they pretty much the same?
 

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With any substrate you need to learn to live with it. That includes how to fertilize, if necessary, how to do pruning and replanting, etc. Aquasoil is use by a huge number of people and I rarely see anyone who doesn't like it. MTS is also used by a large number of people, most of whom seem very satisfied. A big difference between them is that there is no reason to put sand or other substrate materials on top of Aquasoil, while MTS almost has to be topped with something. The other big difference is the cost of them.
 

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Thanks Hoppy, I would still use sand because I like the look of it and I'm planning on getting cories. Are there any benefits to plants that MTS provides and Aquasoil does not?
If you are willing to spend the cash I haven't really heard of any good reasons to NOT go with aqua soil. Most of the complaints about aquasoil have nothing to do with how well it works and more to do with the politics of whether or not something else can work just as well (and price).

If someone is willing to deal with the potential mess of MTS or other soil substrates then the argument can be made that you can get Aquasoil type results from those other methods but if you are already annoyed with the MTS then you probably aren't one of those people who are willing to deal with the trade-offs.

If you can stomach the cost of it then AS sounds like the obvious solution for what you seem to be looking for.
 

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I don't feel it so much "politics" as it is simple math Time/Cost +/- Ongoing cost x frustration level / satisfaction level = the right substrate for you.

Aren't glad there aren't story problems?
 

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here's the trick with MTS... don't dig anything up. I've moved stuff around a ton in my tank and if i really needed to move anything i merely snipped the plant close to the capping material and replanted as if i had got a "trim" from someone.

leave the roots in the dirt to die and add more nutrients.
 

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here's the trick with MTS... don't dig anything up. I've moved stuff around a ton in my tank and if i really needed to move anything i merely snipped the plant close to the capping material and replanted as if i had got a "trim" from someone.

leave the roots in the dirt to die and add more nutrients.
This also applies to ADA AS, but not as much.

I think Hoppy's assessment is pretty much dead on.

I have rice paddie clay loam soil here...... which is as good as ADA AS or MTS gets..........no work other than screening it and waiting to decant the water, allowing it to dry to a nice paste etc.

And I got acres and acres of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ended up going with Aquasoil and I love it. Aside from having a little bit of trouble keeping little balls of it off the top of the sand, the plants are growing much better than they did before and the setup was so much less messy. Thanks everyone!
 
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