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Akadama - A cheap substrate

tovtm

Member
Joined
2 Jan 2011
Messages
249
this is another cheap alternative in the plante tank I'm trying to get my head around so I can use it. a few questions I have which may be already answered but looking through so many pages I didnt see then.

in first post it says "The other choice is to pre-treat the Akadama with a strong GH solution to speed up this process out of the tank. After a week soaking, rinse well and use in the tank. Any KH drop should now be minimised." is this gh solution available from a LFS if so is that what it's called?

I would be looking at putting it into my tank as soon as possible but I have discus so obviously only put it in once it's fine to. so I'm guessing putting it straight in the tank would be out of the question without doing countless WC.

I have sand substrate now so would it be beneficial to put this soil straight on top of that to kick start the bacterira in the soil?
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
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11,583
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
Akadama is a clay, and clay minerals have the ability to hold on to and exchange ions. All salts (products of the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base), when they dissolve, go into solution as cations and anions, in the case of NaCl (sodium chloride or salt, hence "salts") this is Na+ the sodium ion a cation, and Cl-, the chloride ion, an anion.

The ability of any compound to hold on to and exchange cations is called its Cation Exchange Capacity or CEC (it will also have an Anion Exchange Capacity - AEC).

Sand has no CEC, but clay minerals have high CECs, this is why we like them for the planted tank, in the case of Akadama it is clay from an area which is naturally poor in "bases" or alkaline ions such as calcium and magnesium. The technical term is that it has a low "percent base saturation", and it means that most of the exchange sites naturally have an H+ ion. When you add Akadama to a solution containing K+, Ca2+, Mg2+ ions (your tank water), the H+ ion will be exchanged for one of the other cations, and the solution may become more acid. If you soak the Akadama in a solution of calcium chloride or magnesium sulphate, the H+ ions will be exchanges for Ca2+ or Mg2+ ions before it gets in the tank. The dGH we measure is the amount of 2+ ions, therefore solutions of calcium chloride and/or magnesium sulphate are the "strong GH" solutions it talks about.

Monovalent ions (like K+) will also replace H+ ions, but they don't add any dGH. This is actually a 2 way process and those ions can be replaced by H+ ions etc and become available to the plant as the concentration of the ions change around the negatively - charged exchange sites of the clay mineral. This is the "LYOTROPIC SERIES":
most tightly bound H+ = Al3+ > Ca2+ > Mg2+ > K+ = NH4+ > Na+ least tightly bound.

Adding large amounts of one cation will replace others, regardless of their position in the lyotropic series. For example Na+ could replace Ca2+ on the mineral's exchange sites if sufficient concentration of Na+ existed in tank water.

cheers Darrel
 

plantbrain

Expert
Joined
2 Aug 2007
Messages
1,946
Cooked clay is VERY different from wet raw clay.

Flourite is also cooked clay, so is SMS, a common and widely used product for baseball fields in the USA.

I do not think they have particularly good CEC, I've measured CEC a few times, we mostly send samples out to the USDA Lab.

Jamie did a good run down on sediments and CEC is the most relevant parameter in the listing, note, the chemical present does not imply it is bioavailable in the analysis he did.

Turface is the same as SMS today, brand name change is all.

http://home.infinet.net/teban/jamie.htm

I think you might find some of this old school data useful, we looked at many things back in the mid 1990's on this.
Yolo loam is the soil type I have present, it's a common soil type in the rice patties we have near me, and yes, CA produces a LOT of RICE!!!
 

MrLarner

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Joined
16 Oct 2011
Messages
173
Location
London, UK
i've just read through this whole thread, and yes my eyes are now stinging :wideyed:
but im so glad i've found this thread.
i'll be ordering some akadama as soon as i get an answer to my question.
i see you guys all mentioning what to put under the akadama etc etc,
but because i'll be using the akadama on top of my eco complete substrate, would i need to put anything else under it?
i'm also planning to put some TNC plugs into the eco-complete before i put the akadama on top.
so any help would be great so i can get ordering.
(just need to make sure this will be ok on top of eco-complete) :thumbup:
 

a1Matt

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10 Mar 2008
Messages
2,497
Location
Bromley
I do get a fine cloud of dust when I move plants in my akadama, but if I pull the plants slowly it is a tiny cloud, and is completely gone within a minute or so.
 
A

Antipofish

Guest
Corki said:
I’ve just heard from my local Bonsai shop the company that produces Akadama has folded and stopped production. Can anyone verify this?


Yes, but Im not sure if it is "going under" in the true sense of a failing business. This stuff is mined within 50km of the recent nuclear problem in Japan apparently and as such can no longer be mined. :( At least thats what my local Bonsai Guy told me.
 

Mark Webb

Member
Joined
27 Nov 2008
Messages
365
I have just setup this Shrimp tank using Akadama and used it without any rinsing. Using an undergravel filter powered by a cannister filter and the water is gin clear.

i-fqZ5jLp-L.jpg
 

Mark Webb

Member
Joined
27 Nov 2008
Messages
365
foxfish said:
That look great but the akadama will break down in time & this might cause problems with a UGF?
keep us informed......

Thanks. In an attempt to avoid the UGF blocking I placed some filter media over it before adding the Akadama, so hopefully that will delay that.

i-HcZhDzK-M.jpg


i-ZW6qksX-M.jpg
 
A

Antipofish

Guest
Mark Webb said:
I have just setup this Shrimp tank using Akadama and used it without any rinsing. Using an undergravel filter powered by a cannister filter and the water is gin clear.

i-fqZ5jLp-L.jpg


Mark remind me where you got your Akadama ? I think I pm'd you but have lost the reply. Its becoming scarce now !!
 

RobS

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Joined
28 May 2012
Messages
33
Location
Basingstoke
Hey people,

I've been looking at this thread and would like to try this product on my new tank Juwel 260 Vision.

Are people still able to get hold of the product? I've contact the website above and hopefully they will get back to me shortly. Would anyone have a recommendation on how many bags/Kg/Ltrs would roughly need for the 260L tank with a base of around 2inches or so.

Many Thanks,

Rob
 

Iain Sutherland

Global Moderator
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Jul 2011
Messages
3,740
Location
Cambridge
http://www.greendragonbonsai.co.uk stock it as do many others, google akadama uk and lots of bonsai shops pop up. 2 bags was enough for my 300ltr.

To be honest though i had 2 different types and there was no difference in the how hard they are.
 

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