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Banned
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217 Posts
Ive tried alot of different substrates

DIY potting soil (rotten egg smell + bacterial bloom)

Flourite (bacterial explosion)

Eco-complete (persistant cloudy water)

and now my favorite is Activ Flora...

comes in a variety of colors (red, black, riverstone grays or yellows etc)...extremely MACRO porous (for good root growth and ease of runner spreading) good water/air movement within the substrate...and all the nutrients/minerals included so no real "need" for extra ferts...

...love the stuff
 

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220 Posts
Decorative landscape gravel. I usually just hand pick a bunch of pieces from where the water drips off the roof. Can usually fill a 20g long with the gravel that shows up there. But I decided to get back into the hobby and bought a bag of gravel instead and I really like it.
 

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336 Posts
I'm using "AquariumPlants.com's own: Freshwater Planted Aquarium Substrate."

After initial installation water cleared up quickly and does not cloud up at all when disturbed. Plants rooted very quickly. Best of all, WIFE liked the looks of it.:smile:
 

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Algae Grower
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let's see here... i've used eco-complete, ada amazonia II and mineralized topsoil.

my favorite would have to the mts w/sand cap. for me it's got the cost vs. reward. i would like to note that the aquasoil grew plants the best.
 

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I've been happy with eco-complete in the sense that it is easy to plant in, works well with corys, doesn't blow away, and I've had very minimal cloudiness (no pre-washing). No tea colored water is a nice benefit too, but it is a moot point if you plan on using carbon/purigen.

ADA is more work but I love how it looks and that it grows plants very quickly.
 

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I only used eco complete so far and i like it because it has a nice color to it and working with it is so easy. No cloudiness and no rinsing. Corys love it. =D

Some day i would like to try ADA since it is on top of everyone's list for substrates to use. So far wht i heard about is tht i would nt really want to do water changes in the beggining stages.


So if u have hard water go with ada. Dont go with eco since it wont help with hardness.:fish1:
 

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I use ADA Amazonia type I it has grown plants the best. I use RO water and rarely do I use ADA step2 or anything at all not even iron. just aquasoil and a good amount o Co2. Im starting to use ADA Malaya. It will turn the water the most sot and acidic o all the substrates and it is made or rare plants like hard to keep downoi and erio plus crypts do really well. Malaya will not cause the initial ammonia spike like Amazonia will. The brown/red color is pretty nice looking and looks very natural.
 

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SMS cheap and works well for me. i have tanks with eco ada flourite dont have anything bad to say other then ada is a little too soft for me. SMS is a little light in weight but less then $15 for substrate in a 60 gallon tank with some to spare just cant go too wrong.

i do think what marimoball hinted at is correct it really depends on what you are doing. some of those harder to keep plants the nutrients in ada would be very helpful.

my next goal is to do Mineralized Soil in a tank. only problem with stuff like that for me is i am never happy with a tank and always moving things around.
 

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I use ADA Amazonia type I it has grown plants the best. I use RO water and rarely do I use ADA step2 or anything at all not even iron. just aquasoil and a good amount o Co2. Im starting to use ADA Malaya. It will turn the water the most sot and acidic o all the substrates and it is made or rare plants like hard to keep downoi and erio plus crypts do really well. Malaya will not cause the initial ammonia spike like Amazonia will. The brown/red color is pretty nice looking and looks very natural.

I swear by ADA Amazonia I...you don't need to fert your tank for at least the first year...just focus on CO2 and light...

I have a 20 Gal. Long, and I bought 3 9L bags...I only used most of two for an Iwagumi.

HC grows dense in a matter of a month or two, and anything else you plant will take off...

Later on, as the aquasoil runs out of nutrients, water column ferts quickly revive it...it has an outstanding ability to hold nutrients...
 
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