JamesC's 200 litre Akadama journal

MasterMoriarty

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Amoeba said:
I was thinking whether it would make sense to soak the substrate in PMDD. If I understand the theory correctly this way it would pick up some Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu and Co.
Iv'e been "charging" a batch of akadama for three days, so far only with Ca + Mg + K.
Along the lines of Amoeba's question, would the akadama take in any micros?
I was thinking of adding Trace and FeSO4 for a couple of days.

Cheers
 

JamesC

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It might do. It's not something I tried. If iron (II) sulphate finds it's way into the water column is will make it go very milky if there are phosphates present.

James
 

lljdma06

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Lovely tank, James. Sorry I missed this. So, do you like the Akadama? Seems to be holding up well, from what I've read.
 

JamesC

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lljdma06 said:
Lovely tank, James. Sorry I missed this. So, do you like the Akadama? Seems to be holding up well, from what I've read.
So far it's been great and hasn't caused me any problems. I find it easy to plant in and I even like the colour of it as well. It's nothing new as Amano was using it many years ago.

James
 

lljdma06

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Funny how what has become trendy in some places was always in place in another. This hobby so has its phases. :lol: I don't care much for the color and the grain seems rather rough for the kind of fish I keep, but substrates are so subjective. Reminds me a bit of a combination of flourite and laterite, but seems much less messy, flourite was ridiculously messy. Glad you like it, 'cause it really would have bad if you didn't. :lol:
 

zigur

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Hello James,
thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us in this journal.
Based on your writings I've decided to rescape my tank, and I'm gonna use Akadama. I have a question in connection with the Akadama: you wrote that we should soak it for a week, and I'd like to know whether it's all right if I soak it for a two weeks, because we are planning to go on a holiday? won't it get mouldy or rotten in the heat? We have an average of 30-34 celcius degrees here in Hungary. So can I start soaking it before we leave, or is it better if I wait until we get back?
Does it change anything if I use hard water or RO water? Is it better to soak it in hard or RO water for two weeks? Does any of them prevent the worsening of the Akadama?
I'm looking forward to reading your answer. Thank you very much!
Robi
 

JamesC

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Soaking for longer won't make any difference at all to the Akadama, even with the warm temperatures. Best to use hard water as it will soak up the cations. When you get back just give it a good rinse and you will set to use it. Quite a lot of people don't bother to soak it and don't have any problems either. I was just being over cautious when I first used it as I didn't know eactly what was going to happen if I just used it straight. Do whatever is easiest for you.

James
 

dipper59

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HI JAMES HOPE YOU CAN HELP IVE BEEN USING RED SEA FLORA BASE FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS BUT NOW I HAVE A 5FT TANK AND ITS GETTING VERY EXPENSIVE TO REPLACE THE PROBLEM I FIND WITH IT IS THAT IT TURNS TO MUSH AND MY CORYDORIS TEND TO STICK THE NOSE IN IT AND TEND TO MAKE THE TANK CLOUDY IVE BEEN LOOKING INTO THE AKADAMIA, CAN YOU TELL ME IF THIS BREAKS DOWN QUITE EASILY AND DO YOU HAVE A IDEA OD THE LIFE SPAM OF AKADAMIA IF NOT CAN YOU RECCOMEND ANYTHING TO USE, THANKS TOM
 

JamesC

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Hi Tom, I've had my Akadama for nearly two years now and it is holding up fine. It does crumble a bit just like any other baked clay substrate does and if disturbed it will produce a small amount of cloudiness. Five years for a clay substrate is pretty good going. If this is a problem then I'd opt for something like Eco Complete or Flourite which are tougher in composition. A life span of a substrate is hard to determine as it depends on many factors like how often you rescape or replant. If I get 3 to 4 years out of my Akadama I'll be happy.

James
 

dipper59

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THANKS JAMES ILL PROBABLEY GIVE IT AGO IM JUST TRYING AQUA GRIT AT THE MOMENT THANKS AGAIN
TOM
 

Mark Webb

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James, this is a great thread and a great find for me as I am planning a 1000 litre tank and the substrate I was considering would cost 4 times the Akadama. I will certainly use this. I was hoping to use tap water. I do have an RO unit but was hoping to make life easier by using tap. I note that you switched from Tap to RO. Why was this?
 

JamesC

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Because some of the plants I have don't grow in tap water, namely Tonina Fluviatilis, Rotala Macrandra and Ultricularia Graminifolia. I also notice all my fish are much happier with brighter colours.

James
 

Garuf

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Ug won't grow in tap water? Do you know why or is it just the high mineral content of the water or if it's something else?
 

sjb123

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Mark Webb said:
James, this is a great thread and a great find for me as I am planning a 1000 litre tank and the substrate I was considering would cost 4 times the Akadama. I will certainly use this. I was hoping to use tap water. I do have an RO unit but was hoping to make life easier by using tap. I note that you switched from Tap to RO. Why was this?
Hi Mark,

can i just say if you go down the RO route, for a 1,000ltr tank you'll need an awful lot for water changes at 25% - 50% every week!! That means allot of waste water! Hope your not on a meter? :woot:

Regards Steve
 

Mark Webb

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sjb123 said:
Mark Webb said:
James, this is a great thread and a great find for me as I am planning a 1000 litre tank and the substrate I was considering would cost 4 times the Akadama. I will certainly use this. I was hoping to use tap water. I do have an RO unit but was hoping to make life easier by using tap. I note that you switched from Tap to RO. Why was this?
Hi Mark,

can i just say if you go down the RO route, for a 1,000ltr tank you'll need an awful lot for water changes at 25% - 50% every week!! That means allot of waste water! Hope your not on a meter? :woot:

Regards Steve
Steve, yes I am very aware of that. Dont really want to go down the RO route.
 

Amoeba

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JamesC said:
The Koralia's are very good....... I think the output figure of 2300 litres per hour is a bit far fetched though. Seems a bit similar to my old Eheim compact 600 at 600 l/Hr.
James
Hi James, have you changed your mind about the flow? :D
I'm thinking about buying some Koralias myself (just 2-3 smaller ones for more even distribution) but from what you are saying it may be just better to use a proper external, inline pump.
 

JamesC

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Amoeba said:
Hi James, have you changed your mind about the flow? :D
I'm thinking about buying some Koralias myself (just 2-3 smaller ones for more even distribution) but from what you are saying it may be just better to use a proper external, inline pump.
I would say the Koralia's are better as they give a slower but larger volume of water flow. Normal powerheads, pumps, etc give a high speed jet of water that doesn't seem to provide such a good flow of water around the tank.

James
 

plantbrain

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Those propeller type of powerheads trade off the high head pressure for more flow, so the gentle high flow like you'd find in a stream, rather than the end of garden hose. They are much more energy efficient per unit of water moved and more natural.

I use these:

http://ecotechmarine.com/

Ain't cheap, but they produce the flows I seek and see in natural systems easily and aesthetically.
Very energy efficient.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

plantbrain

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We use Turface or Soil master select widely in the USA.
It runs about 16$ for 20 Kg bag.
Japan is mostly like Hawaii, old volcano so the soil is volcanic......no peat moss, no pine bark, etc. Akadama is literally dug out of old Cryptomeria Forests of Japan at about 10 feet depth. It's piled up on concrete areas to let dry, then it goes through sifters to separate the grain sizes. It is flashed fired to remove any organic matter that may have blown on it or somehow visited it during its "curing" process.
One of my other hobbies is bonsai.

SOIL TYPE CEC
Sand 0.1-5
Akadama 21
Clay 20-50
Organic Soil 50-100

CEC (me./100g) Matrix
- -----------------------------------------------------
<0.1 Clean sand
24.3 Clay Soil
27.0 Kitty Litter
1.7 Fluorite

ADA is about the same as clay.
Flourite is lower than these(other than sand).
See Jamie's article:

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

I use dolomite without issue as a sole sediment in 3 of my aquariums, it's cheaper than SMS, Turface, Akadama etc.
I chose it for aesthetics, not nutrients etc. If I chose a sediment for fertility, I'll go with soil clays. If for cost and aesthetics, well..........then it's less of an issue and I can dose the water column. I guess my question is it really much better than say sand? I see little evidence in terms of CEC and it's pretty nutrient free otherwise.

Without testing it(the soil), it's difficult to say what the results are or are not due to the sediment alone irrespective of things lighting, CO2, and other general care. Plain sand can do a dandy job based on pics and good care as well.
You can do pot test, this works very well with terrestrial plants and should be the same for aquatics(emergent plants are not subjected to CO2 issues or to water sources of ferts, so it's all 100% sediment and nutrients contained there).
Small pots in an aquarium can be used also. CEC and nutrient analysis is already available for this Akadama. Still, cost a bit more than sand and you could add worm castings, osmocoat, soils etc to a base layer.

That would take more demand off the water column, thus making it leaner and still get the same growth rates, and thereby reducing water changes and less RO use.
Lower light will also do a similar effect.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Antoni

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HI Tom,
I just wondered could we use dolomite with Worm castings or osmocote, so we get better aesthetics and fertility?
Is the dolomite has positive CEC? I have read that calcium magnesium carbonate(dolomite) is used for enrichment of soils with Ca and Mg, but I'm afraid that this could influence water parameters as DH and Kh in aquariums? I think it is very close to limestone?!
I have done research about the use of montmorillonite, but the one that is find in my area has Na for exchange ions and that is not good I think for aquarium?

Regards
 

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