I was wondering if anyone had ever tried using both substrates in the same tank, one capping the other. Not sure if that would make any sense but curious to know if some people did and if it had any benefits?
Never used ADA Amazonia.. But i used Colombo Flora Base Pro fine, which is simmular to ADA. And i used it to cap Akadama.
In general there is nothing wrong with Akadama it is a good, very long lasting and stable substrate. What i didn't like was the color difference. Finer soil tends to sink in and Akadama will come on top of it. With the one black and the other brown it might contrast a bit to much.
Other thing to keep in mind with Akadama hard type is the grain size. I went rather coarse grain up to 4mm and its coarse irregular shape makes it interlock and difficult to penetrate when planting larger plant sp. I haven't tried again with a smaller grain size thus no idea if this makes a difference. But guess so.
Anyway for a coarser grained base substrate layer i think a more rounded shaped substrate would be easier with planting.
Or take the soft and smalle graind Akadama.
Still Akadama only comes in one color, red/brown and using this with a black caping.. Tha its about inevitable, once disturbt with taking plants out, brown Akadama will end up on top of the black soil. Than rather use simmular colored caping. ADA Malaya?..
Besides the practical and aesthetic issues i have nothing against Akadama. It is absolutely fine to grow plants and it stays stable for years. Had it for almost 5 years in an aqaurium and after taking it out i'm still growing potted plants on it. It still looks and feels the same as the day i did put it in.
Yes the contrast of colors and potential mixing is my main concern. But other than that what would the benefit of caping aquasoils with akadama or the other way around be? Does using both provide any additional benefit to the plants or the tank in general? I know akadama is initially deprived of nutrients but has high CEC and has a good buffer capacity. I have read most if not all the threads in the forum about akadama. Those that were really informative where the ones of James.
I just like the looks of the akadama reason why I ask. I am pondering the idea of using akadama in my next shallow tank and I am not sure if to use it alone or with some aquasoil.
It actualy doesn't mater very much what type of soil you use. All that is out there can grow plants what is beter is more of the users personal concern and experience than from the plants perspective. As long as the plant gets what it needs it grows on about everthing. Hence you buy a nice healthy plant in the LFS grown on Rockwool. That's melted rock spun into a sponge material. Its 100% inert and sterile and it has 0 CEC. Roots can penetrate easily in it and it drains and holds water very good while it stays fluffy and well aerated. The nutritional value is in the water non in the initial rock wool. Bacteria will come anyway and colonize in it to aid the plant.
In an aqaurium about same criterium can be used, if plant roots are able to easily penetrate in it during its development. Than the rest is up to what you put in the water column or additionaly in the substrate if form of tabs etc.
All soils with a so called buffering capacity all will stop buffering at one time because it will be saturated with all there is to buffer. It is not a catch and release on demand. Once it is depleted from all nutrients it will be as inert as everything else with or without CEC. Than you need to act and add what the plants require to grow on.
How soon and how much it will be all depends on how much initialy is available and how much you stress the aqaurium with light and CO² and type of plants growing in it.
Low energy tanks in a proper biological pressure balance in stocking can grow years without any additonal ferts.
Higher energy tanks will need additional fert schemes to keep running properly.
Even tho we only use 2 terms High and low energy aquarium.. But there still is a quite a large range in between.
All can be achieved with any type of substrate available. The description on the bag is solely a commercial story for you to make you buy it.
Over the decades i've grown aqaurium plants on sand, gravel, dirt soil, akadama, lava rock and things i've forgoten. Al did it and i never found a reason to judge one beter than the other.. And if it didn't grow than the issue wasn't the substrates fault but mine.
My personal advice would be, choose one on practical and aesthetic reasons forget about the rest. Pro's and cons in substrate are mainly practical in my personal experience. How wel can it be handled in the type of scape planned.
I am aware of the above I was just wondering if the combination of both substrates had any additional benefits but as you rightfully explained it's all a matter of whether plants can tap into nutrients. At the end of the day I will have to ponder what look for the thank I want. The brown color and rough texture of the akadama gives the tank a rougher look. Wondering if color and texture would match well with Eriocaulon and bucephalandra.