• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up
  • You can now follow UKAPS on Instagram.

Akadama - A cheap substrate

JamesC

Member
Thread starter
Joined
3 Jul 2007
Messages
1,276
Location
Bexley, Kent
Had a bit of fun browsing the APC forum to see if other people had also used Akadama as a substrate. Came across a few so decided to post some links here as it's quite interesting to see other peoples ideas. I've also included the following text to the original article as well.


Other peoples tanks

A seletion of other planted tanks I've found on APC that have used Akadama as a substrate. Interesting to also see what has sometimes been added to the Akadama.

A Piece Of Sintra
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/aquascaping/31522-piece-sintra-180l.html

PasoDoble 128
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/aquascaping/47331-pasodoble-128-a.html

400L Planted Aquarium
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/aquascaping/45508-400l-planted-aquarium.html

Aqua Diary 65L
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/aquascaping/8782-aqua-diary-65l.html

Rasbora's Olympus
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/aquascaping/35406-rasbora-s-olympus.html

James
 

Bingy_bong

Member
Joined
13 Jan 2008
Messages
25
Location
Colne, Lancashire
Hi James, i have just carefully read this and have been very interested in this article. Whilst looking at the 400L example the aquarist has used industrial carbon and spagnum peat for the bottom of the substrate.
Could you expand on this any? why would this be necessary? Could aquatic soil be used instead? Why would filter mulm be needed - would this not conribute to algae bga ?
would it be beneficial to place some sort of substrate divider between them to stop them being mixed up?

cheers John.
 

JamesC

Member
Thread starter
Joined
3 Jul 2007
Messages
1,276
Location
Bexley, Kent
No idea why the carbon has been used. Everybody has their own way of doing things I suppose.

Mulm and peat work very well together. Mulm adds loads of good bacteria to the substrate straight away, in effect maturing it very quickly.
Plants roots release oxygen and H+ to add reducing power to absorb nutrients. Peat helps this process by supplying H+ and therefore taking some of the load of the plants.

Aquatic soils provide nutrients and not the jump start as above. They may contain some peat though to aid in nutrient absorbtion. You could always add some mulm which should work very well.

Dislike tank dividers as plant roots get entangled in them. I also don't like mixed substrates very much as they always get mixed together over time.

Mulm is good for substrates as long as you don't get way too much clogging it up. BGA in the substrate is fairly common and I don't worry about it. Don't know if mulm causes it though.


I have now done a journal on the setup of my 200 litre tank using Akadama - http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=860

James
 

LondonDragon

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
21 Feb 2008
Messages
11,253
Location
London
This is very interesting indeed, I seen a few people from Portugal using this on a portuguese forum I visit, seems to be very popular over there. If my HC and glosso don't hold well in my gravel I am going to replace it with this.
Thanks for sharing. :)
 

JamesC

Member
Thread starter
Joined
3 Jul 2007
Messages
1,276
Location
Bexley, Kent

GreenNeedle

Member
Joined
19 Jul 2007
Messages
2,729
Location
Lincoln UK
To add to the carbon part. TB suggest Leonardite as it is an extra source of carbon. This is in his Non CO2 thread (although I will now use it in every scape I do)

Andy
 

Ray

Member
Joined
31 Oct 2007
Messages
676
Location
Switzerland
James says in his Akadama journal:

Yes, if you want ADA AS copy then add an ammonium compound like ammonium nitrate or ammonium chloride. As NH4+ is a cation it will be taken in by the Akadama and make available N for the plant roots. Pre-treating just speeds up the process that would normally take a few weeks with aquarium water, that's all.

So if I pre-treat with neat household ammonia will that do the trick? I _think_ some of it will be NH4+ and that will be taken in by the Akadama? If so will it then be released once you start using it in the tank or will it stay in the substrate? My goal is to have the same benefits as ADA aquasoil here without the horrific costs.

Ammonia aside I assume that Bicarbonate of Soda and Epson salts are a nice low cost way to pre-treat and avoid a GH/KH crash?
 

fishgeek

Member
Joined
9 Jul 2007
Messages
117
Location
west sussex
just use terrestria fertilisers if you want ammonia in your substrate

you could in theory do the same with zeolite

andrew
 

JamesC

Member
Thread starter
Joined
3 Jul 2007
Messages
1,276
Location
Bexley, Kent
Ray said:
So if I pre-treat with neat household ammonia will that do the trick? I _think_ some of it will be NH4+ and that will be taken in by the Akadama? If so will it then be released once you start using it in the tank or will it stay in the substrate? My goal is to have the same benefits as ADA aquasoil here without the horrific costs.

Ammonia aside I assume that Bicarbonate of Soda and Epson salts are a nice low cost way to pre-treat and avoid a GH/KH crash?
Ammonia probably isn't a good idea as it's very caustic. An ammonium salt such as ammonium nitrate is much safer but as I've never tried it it's only theory. I am quite curious with what's in aqua soil. I may try the ammonium idea one day.

Sodium bicarbonate isn't a very good idea as it contains sodium which plants don't like too much of. Adding bicarb makes no difference to the akadama as it's an anion. It's only cations that it can use.

James
 

plantbrain

Expert
Joined
2 Aug 2007
Messages
1,946
You might try zeolite sand, it will bind NH4 well and has a nice CEC. You can also simply use a general terrestrial fertilizer to soak the sediment prior to use.

Realize that it will leach out also, so go for low NH4, high NO3 ratios. You can use long term ferts like Osmocoat, ADA uses a similar product in the Power sand.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

JamesC

Member
Thread starter
Joined
3 Jul 2007
Messages
1,276
Location
Bexley, Kent
After reading about zeolite at the Barr Report I had a look into it. Because swimming pools aren't that common in the UK there isn't a great demand for zeolite. The few places I found that sold it only had it in white so I didn't buy it. Also it's about £28 for a 12kg bag.

I'd never heard of Osmocote until just now. Looks a very interesting product and one I think I might try. I like the slow release of nutrients bit. This is a brief description of it:

Osmocote Controlled Release Plant Food controlled release action feeds plants for up to 6 months from one spring time application. Ideal for feeding fruit trees and bushes, flowering and foliage shrubs, herbaceous perennial flowers and climbers. Use whenever planting new shrubs and trees to encourage strong new growth. For use on all plants in the soil or compost. Clean and easy to use.

NPK fertiliser 14-13-13

This is what it contains:

Ammonium Nitrate
Calcium Phosphate
Ammonium Phosphates
Calcium Fluoride
Magnesium Sulfate
Potassium Nitrate
Boric Acid
Copper Sulphate
Iron Sulphate
Iron EDTA
Manganese Sulfate
Sodium Molybdate
Zinc Sulfate
Zinc Oxide

Can see some experiments coming on here. I'd most likely add the Osmocote with the sphagnum moss peat beneath the akadama substrate to try and prevent too much leeching out into the water column. Just need to work out how much to use. Ammonia can cause big problems in a tank so will have to be carefull.

Garden Direct sell two Osmocote products. The first one - http://www.gardendirect.co.uk/osmocote-controlled-release-plant-food-1kg-p-1627 - is the standard one which is what I'm going to use. The second one - http://www.gardendirect.co.uk/osmocote-controlled-release-plant-food-tablets-33-x-5g-p-1625 - are tabs and might be able to be used on an existing substrate. I'm going to get both of these products as I want to use them in my garden as well as my planted tank.

Thanks for posting the info Tom
James
 

Ray

Member
Joined
31 Oct 2007
Messages
676
Location
Switzerland
Excellent work James (and thanks Tom). Just yesterday I was lamenting the lack of decent bottom fertilizers with NPK, apart from the Tropica one which is horifically expensive. Look under "Root Tabs" on Aquaessentials and you see most of products proclaim proudly in thier marketing speal "no Nitratates or phosphates to avoid algae problems" which shows the industry has no idea :mad: Even ADA multibottom and ironbottom don't seem to have macros - maybe Amano relies on mulm to replenish the nitrogen in the substrates after everything in his powersand and aquasoil is used up?

This is all quite annoying since I had decided on using Akadama and wanted to supplement the peat to be sure to give decent dosing like aquasoil would. Please do keep us updated on what more you find out James - I think you are right the tricky bit is about the correct quantity to use - the risk here is we end up with unacceptably high levels of ammonia for 6 months at a time, and once you've got it down under the substate there is no getting it back :D .

I must say, I do like Tom's idea of dosing Zeolite with ammonia and putting that at the bottom of the substrate, but again hard to judge the quantities...
 

JamesC

Member
Thread starter
Joined
3 Jul 2007
Messages
1,276
Location
Bexley, Kent
Ray said:
I must say, I do like Tom's idea of dosing Zeolite with ammonia and putting that at the bottom of the substrate, but again hard to judge the quantities...
Another idea would be to add both zeolite and the Osmocote beneath the Akadama as the Osmocote would absorb the ammonia and hold it for the plants to use helping prevent release into the water column.

James
 

Ray

Member
Joined
31 Oct 2007
Messages
676
Location
Switzerland
JamesC said:
Another idea would be to add both zeolite and the Osmocote beneath the Akadama as the zeolite would absorb the ammonia and hold it for the plants to use helping prevent release into the water column.
Now that would do very nicely I think!

Wacky lateral thinking time here - if you are going to do that you could forget the osmocote and just put the zeolite on top of an undergravel filter which can suck ammonia down out of the substrate to get fixed for the plants by the zeolite! If the uplift for the UGF went through an external filter with more zeolite and purigen I think you would have very clean water?
 

plantbrain

Expert
Joined
2 Aug 2007
Messages
1,946
These are actually very old methods:)

Seriously, many here on this side of the pond did this stuff pre Dupla, and many post are on the web in the APD.

You can look on http://www.theKrib.com and various post on the Aquatic Plant digest(APD).
It's old, and the old list style, but folks used a lot of this stuff decades before.

ADA is hardly new with all of this and Amano went through the same pains I and others did.
Which is why we all came to similar places at the end even if the paths to get there where different and independent.

28 pounds for 12 Kg is a lot.
We mine it here locally so it's very cheap.
I think it's about 8 x cheaper here.

Osmocoat is time release, most places should carry this or something like it and it should be cheap.
It's much more long term stuff. You see it in potted nursery plants that get watered often etc.

Leonardite is another thing you can search, a good alternative to peat, sort of mix between old peat and young coal(old aquatic plants). I define things into: mulm, peat and leonardite based on age and lability.
SMS has good characters like Akadama also.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Ed Seeley

Member
Joined
3 Jul 2007
Messages
3,261
Location
Nottingham
If I remember correctly, standard retail Osmoscote will release nutrients for around 9-12 months in typical temperate climates. Its release is supposed to be temperature and moisture related so I'd definitely go easy on the amount you put in as in a tropical tank it might release it more quickly and also need topping up more often.

If you still want to try it I have some commercial stuff that's supposed to release over 15 months that might be better for the job as it has no initial burst either (a lot of the grades do) and could send you some of that.
 

Ray

Member
Joined
31 Oct 2007
Messages
676
Location
Switzerland
JamesC said:
Can see some experiments coming on here. I'd most likely add the Osmocote with the sphagnum moss peat beneath the akadama substrate to try and prevent too much leeching out into the water column. Just need to work out how much to use. Ammonia can cause big problems in a tank so will have to be carefull.

Did you go any further on this one James? My local garden centre sells it but I'm too nervous to try because dosing is an unknown and I don't want to end up with a massive 6 month ammonia spike...

Maybe better with Aqausoil which has a known documented shrink wrapped ammonia spike :D
 

Similar threads

Top