ADA Soils V Sera Mineral Depot

Discussion in 'Substrates' started by REDSTEVEO, 2 May 2008.

  1. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

    Messages:
    1,220
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    Hello all,

    During this coming Whit Holiday at the end of May beginning of June I have got a week when my better half is away visiting family. So I am intending to strip out my Trigon 190. This is what it looks like now.

    118_1837.jpg

    118_1839.jpg

    As you can see the plants are not doing too badly but I think the old mineral soil (SERA Mineral depot) is spent and needs replacing. I am also about to start on this EI dosing scheme so I am hoping to see a difference, especially the bubble pearling on the Riccia.

    I intend to clean, replace substrate / base fertilizer, re-scape and re-plant. I usually work through 36 hours solid until it is complete.

    118_1836.jpg

    Before I do this I make a plan of everything I need to do and what order I need to do it in. Make a list of important things not to forget, prepare water, clean buckets, spare filters primed for temporary storing of fish while their home is being given a makeover etc.

    My question is this: In the past I have always used SERA Mineral Soil Depot which to be fair has always been reliable and given me excellent results. Now I am thinking of changing to one of the ADA Soils, i.e. Amazon, Malaysia etc. I just wanted to ask before I go ahead and buy the stuff what your experiences have been and what your preferences are now.

    The lighting on this tank is 2 x 18 watt Sera 24 inch tubes, 1 x 15 watt Sera 12 inch tube and 1 x 24 watt T5 bulb. According to the figures I make that 75 watts in total divided by 50 US Gallons = only 1.5 watts per gallon which is by what I have read a relatively low lighting level. If I need to increase this I would welcome any suggestions.

    118_1838.jpg

    118_1843.jpg

    Meanwhile I would really appreciate any recommendations on the question of which soil to add.

    I will post pictures of the new scape and tank once it is completed.

    Thanks.

    Steve.
     
  2. johnny70

    johnny70 Member

    Messages:
    636
    Location:
    Bakewell, Derbsyhire
    Beautiful tank, stunning in fact, I love it, whats your plant list?

    I can't see why you would want to change to ADA if your tank looks that good already using the Sera stuff, I'd stick with what you know :D

    Can't wait for the journal

    Cheers,
    JOHNNY
     
  3. Egmel

    Egmel Member

    Messages:
    724
    Location:
    Guildford, Surrey, UK
    I'm not sure about the answer to your question but you're more likely to get an answer in the substrate section than in the sponsors' section. ;)
     
  4. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

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    :oops: Doh!! Just when I thought I was getting the hang of it! :arghh: Anyone able to move this for me?

    Ta. :bored:
     
  5. Egmel

    Egmel Member

    Messages:
    724
    Location:
    Guildford, Surrey, UK
    No worries, if you pm a moderator or admin (have a look in the members list) then they should be able to move it for you. :)
     
  6. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Personally I'd go with ADA Amazonia for the tank for a number of reasons;
    1. It produces the most fantastic plant growth I have ever seen in any of my tanks.
    2. IME it is very forgiving if you aren't the most regular at dosing as it retains and supplies a lot of nutrients.
    3. It looks great and gives a lovely matt black effect.
    4. It's great to try out different things and see how you like them and if you haven't tried aquasoil out then why not take the opportunity to give it a go?

    I think the light level will be fine (I only have a litttle under 2 WPG in my tanks) but I would be a little hesitant to use them without good CO2 levels to get the best out of the plant growth and you don't mention your CO2 dosing on this tank.
     
  7. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

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    Ed, You say it gives a lovely matt black effect? Is this soil just meant to be used on its own i.e. without any other substrate over the top to keep it together?

    Steve.
     
  8. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    It's not really soil as in the stuff from the garden, but small rounded granules of baked material. It is quite soft but doesn't break down in the tank for a number of years unless you crush it. Plant growth in my tank using it has been amazing so I've recently set another tank up using it. The results have been pretty amazing again and I have barely added nay fertilisers to this second tank at all.

    You use it on its own (or with Powersand underneath it which adds more nutrients and I've got on one tank but not another to see if there's any difference) and simply plant into it. I have used sand in separate areas on my tanks for the cichlids, but you can just use Aquasoil on its own.
     
  9. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

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    Thanks Ed, Have you got any close up pictures showing the Amazon soil / substrate?

    Steve
     
  10. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    I found these three from my Rio pictures.

    The first was taken with a flash so the Aquasoil appears lighter.
    IMG_0052.jpg
    100_2043.jpg
    100_2009.jpg

    I would say it's really a dark grey colour I suppose.
     
  11. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

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    1,220
    Location:
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    Hi Johnny,

    The plants are from the front left:

    Crypto Willis / Wendetti, Hair grass, and some remains of Glossistigma right over to Crypto Becketti, movingthrough the back with Willow fern, Tiger Lotus Lillies and Green Spatterdock. Left and right there are java ferns.

    Nothing special really.

    Cheers, Steve
     
  12. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

    Messages:
    1,220
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    It's been seven months now since I rescaped my tank using Tropica Mineral Soil. I have been fairly impressed with the results although I am not too keen on the way the soil turns to a mushy clay over time. I am guessing it is going to be a real messy job when I come to redo it in the Summer. I might have to just throw the lot gravel and all out because it will be a nightmare washing it all out and re-grading it again (which is a pity)

    So I have tried the Tropica Stuff and the Sera Mineral Depot as my planting substrate, I guess that there is only the ADA stuff to give a whirl next time around. I've looked at the other mineral soils from Dennerle, Tetra and JBL but they all look similar to the Sera Mineral Depot so I am not sure there would be any benefit trying those out.

    Has anyone tried any of the Tetra, Dennerle or JBL soils? What were the results?

    Cheers.

    Steve.
     
  13. Nick16

    Nick16 Member

    Messages:
    1,761
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    hi, redsteveo, could you tell me where you got your sera and tropica soils from. i have some of the JBL Aquabasis at home waiting, but i am going to use a mix of other things too. this is why im asking you now! :D
     
  14. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

    Messages:
    1,220
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    Hi Nick,

    I but it from Mark and Jim at The Green Machine in Wrexham. It's not cheap, but its worth it in the end. There's no point in getting the tank finished and then sitting there wishing you had used a different / better / more expensive soil. It is false economy due to the amount of time and effort. There is a garden centre in Meols near Wallasey in the Wirral that also used to sell it.

    I never thought of mixing the substrates before, but now you have got me thinking...I bet a blended mix of Tropica Soil and the Sera Mineral Depot would be great. The sandy mineral soil from Sear mixed with the Tropica Soil would be a good solution to a. stop the Sera Mineral Soil mixing with the rest of the substrate, and b. stop the Tropica Soil from becoming too mushy clay like. This would make a less anaerobic situation and prevent any BGA at the front of the glass.

    Cheers.

    Steve.
     
  15. Nick16

    Nick16 Member

    Messages:
    1,761
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    il have a look on TGM's website for it, and i may get some.
     

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