Akadama - A cheap substrate

Daneland

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Hi Kempster,

Sorry to hear about your bad experience. Here's the link to akadama I bought, it's really good quality :)

http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/262202695000

Just as a warning, it's best to sieve and get rid of the biggest "granules". It will make planting easier. And also, rinsing is more important than soaking. It takes a while to get rid of the dust... And don't worry if the water is getting slightly cloudy when flooding the tank, it clears very quickly.

Cheers,
Manu
I had the same brand from a different supplier.Particle size was 3-6 mm
http://www.yorkbonsai.co.uk/akadama-bonsai-soil-14-litres-i78.html
It is really good
 

nduli

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Not sure the mushing should happen, but others with experience might explain why. I think I have the same as the guys above, no mush in any of the tanks I have. Tescos cat litter another great very cheap source for it. Again , give it a good rinse to get rid of perfume and most of the dust.
 

kempster2000

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Just checked the one I bought and it's a different brand, it is however described as super hard heat treated so I wouldn't expect it to dissolve so easily
 

Nelson

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I think the Akadama in the original post is no longer available,unless there's old stock around.
Ibaraki brand doesn't seem as hard to me.
Where are you Kempster ?.
 

zozo

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There are different types of akadama in hardness, you should ask for hard or extra hard :)
I believe i used the hard and have it in there for almost a year and still feels relatively hard. It also doesn't realy cloud that much if you top it off with a decent top layer even less. I didn't wash it, didn't sieve it, droped it straight from the sack in the tank.. But i dry strarted it, that might prevent clouding, because it gives the dusty clay particals time to bond.

You could use a kind of same colored gravel as cap..

If you like a black cap, as i did, better dont go for akadama it always will come back up. In case of black take Fuji Sand as base layer toped with a black gravel or clay. Fuji sand has same structure and also good cec as akadama has but is much harder because it's kind of lava rock instead of clay. (Don't cap with fuji sand if you plan loaches or catfish etc., it's to sharp and no good.) ;)
 
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What are people's thoughts on rinsing akadama just to remove the loose dust? I've already rinsed one bag and found a kg or 2 of mud at the bottom so I think I'm glad that's not going into the tank.
 

zozo

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Akadama is a non baked clay like mineral vulcanic soil and if it is stated to be baked, as some bags say it probably is very short periode more for sterilization. Or it might point to it's vulcanic origine baked by nature while it was formed, for commercial purpose. (Like they sell sea salt mined in switserland? a land without a sea).. But the hardnes Akadama comes in, is from a different layer, deeper mined is more compact harder Akadama than the shallow mined layers. Realy baked clay would be more like Seramis that is a 1200°C baked clay pellet.

Anyway even the hard Akadama is still relatively soft and gets bit softer when soaked.. But if not disturbed to much it holds its structure very well.. I have it in the tank for over 2 years now and it still is a relative solid grain. It only falls apart if i rub it between my fingers. Or if i stick a finger deep into the soil i feel the deeper akadama compact into a sucking clay like mush under my fingers pressure. So rinsing akadama is actualy useless, because your disturbing it to much and it will keep dusting, than you put it in the tank and disturb it again even more with scaping and planting it and it'll powder again.. :)

If you do not want the dust from the bag in the tank, than put a portion in a strainer, shake it gently to get most of the dust out and put it dry into the tank. Once you have your desired layer in there, scape it gently. Use a brush and do not use to much force to push the rocks or wood into it. After you are done with that use a spray bottle to soak it. The dust that came of during the scaping part, will settle deeper down while it slowly drains with spraying. Let it settle for a night give the akadama some time to saturate and soak in all the water to it's core.. Plant it and spray it again and gently fill the tank. I my opinion Akadama is perfect aquarium soil, deeper rooting plants like crypts and sword love it.. In my tanks the same age crypts grow beter, larger in shorter periode in the softer akadama than it does in the harder lava based substrate.
:thumbup:
 
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Cheers for that. Well it's all done now, a relatively thin layer of jbl aquabasis underneath and a couple of inches of the akadama ramped up towards the back.
The tanks clearing nicely but I'm struggling to keep plants down which I'm a touch dissapointed about.
The blyxa japonica has finally gone down but it feels like it'll come up with the slightest touch, and I'll be surprised if take cuba or the monte carlo is still down in the morning.
Any tips for planting?
 

zozo

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Blyxa is know to be a rather difficult plant to keep down in any substrate because of it's shape and buoyancy. But once it has grown some roots it'll stay down. HC and MC also are not the easiest little plants, takes some time and patience, plant it in little portions not to close together. For these types of plants a powder type substrate works best but still is a pain staking aggrivation game. If you try to plant it to close together you push the neighbour out with pushing the other in, takes some experience. In my own experience for hc and mc a dry start works even beter. :)
 

fourmations

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hi glenn

it is tricky all right, i ended up capping my akadama with a thin layer of tesco cat litter
as i was running out but thy planted better in this, i ended up almost burying the HC
but it will grow out, heres mine after a month MC at front HC behind main centre root
be patient and dont be afraid to plant as deep as you need to

cheers

20170109_221722_zpsjlp81tyw.jpg
 

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That's great Cheers. Well at least I know now that it will plant. Do the roots grow down into the akadama and keep it stable once it's got hold?
 

fourmations

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Hi, yes they will,
I planted loads of the HC & MC as i got huge portions and was thinking a lot of it would come loose
thats why I have such a good spread after only a month
theres actually too much cuba now that its spreading, ill need to thin it out i reckon,
the akadama wont stop Cuba doing what it has tendency of doing though, which is uprooting itself when it gets too thick
keep it trimmed and press it down now and then to release the trapped air!

cheers
 
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That looks really good, well the mc has been down a fortnight now and it's stayed put . The only plants that are still lifting are the single strands of umbrosum and it doesn't look great. Not sure if it's me being impatient but there's not a massive amount of visible growth. The co2 is dialled in so the dc's are green at lights on but I still have the led's running fairly low while the plants are young. They're running at 40% ramping up to 80% for a 2 hr window mid photoperiod (6 HRS) I wanted to get the plants established without driving the light too hard just to try and keep the algae at bay
 

Stryda

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Looking at setting up a 100 gallon tank, anyone know best place to get some Akadama from?
Thanks in advance
 

Stryda

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Cheers Darrel, Ive seen that one on eBay, just wanted to double check it wasn't one of the 'mushy' varieties
 

dw1305

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