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Akadama, which one to use?


16 Oct 2016
Having read several threads including Tom's report on use of Akadama as a substrate, I have a question.
I can't seem to reliably locate any DRL Akadama which seems to be the preferred variant to use in aquariums.

The hardest I can track down on line is Ibaraki, has anyone used this or found another hard variant that proved suitable without substantial breakdown of the clay?

Any advice is appreciated as always.
Ibaraki is the location where akadama is mined.. I do not know what DRL akadama is but likely will come from the same source (place). The hardness depends on the layer depth it is found, deeper down it is more compressed and thus harder or denser. I'm using akadama for some 2 years now, in one tank it's caped in the other just straight akadama. It is indeed a bit dusty, but any dust also settles rather quick again, it's not something that clouds my tank for days if i poke around in it. But than, i'm not the everyday rescaper too.. :) So i do not disturb it that much.

In my experience there is only one minor negative side about akadama, that is if the grain size is to big and banked up rather high its coarse structure makes it hard to penetrate deep enough. This makes it somewhat difficult to plant larger plants. A clay based substrated with a more rounded shape makes this far easier. If i ever would buy it again i would go for the smallest grain size available. :) I'm not sure this will do beter, but worth a try.

Also this so called pH buffering capacity is for aquarium use rather something temporary and not permanent. Once it is done buffering or what ever it does you are back to what you get from the tap.
Hi craig. I used the akadama that has written ibaraki double hard line. It apparently has a smaller grain size but most of the bits that sit on top are around 5mm so quite course. I wouldnt recommend it for dry start if you plan on that. (This is what i did) everything else that zozo has said i would agree with aswel. Im growing carpet over it so i wont really be playing with it to much hopefully. Heres a picture of the bag

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Thanks zozo for the information. I believe the ibaraki is a brand as well as area as you pointed out, it is rated as hard. Will give akadama a go, do you use peat moss and osmocote or similar under your akadama?
Thanks for the picture Iain, most useful. Where did you source that brand if you don't mind divulging. Haven't since any double red line online when searching.

It's not for a dry start, changing the substrate in my 4footer as used gravel. Have got fed up with valisneria floating as seems to struggle to root securely.
I cant comment on it long term as its only been in my tank about 3 months. Hc seems to be growing in it with ei dosing. Just slower than aquasoil due to not having any ferts in there.

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Thanks for the link Iain, will definitely gently sieve the akadama before use. I've read that spraying the akadama to make it sticky and settle any remaining dust particles.
Thanks zozo for the information. I believe the ibaraki is a brand as well as area as you pointed out, it is rated as hard. Will give akadama a go, do you use peat moss and osmocote or similar under your akadama?

I do not know if it is a brand, i see different printed bags around some say Ibaraki Akadama others say Akadama made in Ibaraki. Every destributor has his own print on the bag it seems. Also think it likely wont be much of a differnce if there are more locations where it is mined. Akadamatsuchi or Red Ball Clay is a kind of pyroclastic clay mineral, deposite from ancient vulcanic activity.. It is dug up from under some kind of pine forests. Since these trees grow very good on it, it became very popular in the Bonsai culture. I think the hardness is most important for aquarium use..

But it certainly can be mixed. I din't, only have used akadama in both tanks, depending on the plant i stick in a clay tab here and there thats it. Tho have another tank with Fuji sand, here i mixed JBL crushed peat filter pellets at some planted spots, also works very good. Tho fuji sand is a lava rock, i have the idea it took a lot longer to mature than the akadama. But in the long run, i think it doesn't matter what you use at one point it will be a accumulation of basicaly the samne stuff, fish waste and plant debri etc.

If you look only at the money and don't mind the color, nothing beats akadama.
Thanks for the help, ordered 28 litres of fine Akadama. So the substrate change will not be far off.