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JBL ProScape Plant Soil

JamieB

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27 Dec 2013
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271
So, has anyone tried this stuff? I've set up a nano tank with it and some simple plants, monte carlo and siamensis and my local shop had this reduced so I picked up a bag. It looks similar to the ADA Amazonia, the brown I picked is dark in colour, more like a black than brown but that's fine as I prefer dark soils, relatively easy to plant in when wet with the right equipment (I was using my girlfriends eyebrow tweezers to insert the siamensis!) and seems to support the plants well. The monte carlo doesn't stay in well but I think that's more due to the very limited amount of roots so not much to hold on to, it's staying down though.

Anyone else tried it? Link here to the information about it:
http://microsites.jbl.de/ProScape/en/soil/

I'm hoping this will work well and help the monte carlo carpet with my setup but I'm not entirely sure.
 

Paulo Soares

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6 Nov 2014
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I really would like to know how they can assure this:

A further significant advantage of all JBL soil types is the softening effect. Both plants and shrimps (and many fish species) prefer slightly acidic and soft waters. The JBL ProScape Soil range reduces both the GH (general hardness) and the KH (carbonate hardness) and slightly acidifies the aquarium water. This creates a perfect water environment for animals and plants.

Reduce KH? How? And in what percentage? One degree?

Damn marketing..
 

JamieB

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Yeh I never bought it for that anyway, I do have hard water where I live but never caused me issues yet. Though I'm new to planting
 

alanchown

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20 Dec 2008
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105
I am using it on a new tank. So far so good. It looks good, soft so I won't scratch my glass too. Not cheap.

Plants have been growing well. It has certainly reduced the hardness of my London tap water. Gh is now around 14 and kh 6, which I'm sure is lower than my tap water, not that I have checked in a while. Ph is around 7, but that could be CO2 as much as anything.
 

John S

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13 Dec 2008
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I am using it on a new tank. So far so good. It looks good, soft so I won't scratch my glass too. Not cheap.

Plants have been growing well. It has certainly reduced the hardness of my London tap water. Gh is now around 14 and kh 6, which I'm sure is lower than my tap water, not that I have checked in a while. Ph is around 7, but that could be CO2 as much as anything.

It's interesting that other people are also reporting that KH values have halved although how accurate the measurements would be is up for debate.

Alan, do you find that you use less Co2 since you started using this soil?
 

alanchown

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20 Dec 2008
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It's difficult to answer accurately, but my old tank was 100l and my gas lasted a month. The new tank is 200l and still going strong after 1 month. However lights are only on about 6 hrs and also using the Jbl taifun rather than glass diffuser, mainly as I keep breaking the glass ones!
 

JamieB

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Just as an update from my side, I have noticed that I do not get the calcium/limescale build up on the glass at the waters surface after using this soil but I do get it on the tank without. I guess that means it's softened my water too but I do not have any way to measure this as yet (not hardness kits)
 

X3NiTH

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13 Apr 2014
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I changed out the substrate in one of my shrimp tanks on Sunday with the Proscape Shrimp, I'm assuming like the two types of Fluval Stratum the only difference between JBL Shrimp and Plant is the particle size. The substrate in this tank before change out was Dennerle Black Sand and Marina Polished Black Gravel, what prompted the change was the pH in the tank had climbed and was sitting around 7.4ish which is less than ideal for CRS, when I did the change I also removed a huge amount of detritus from below the substrate, set up a canister filter to really clean up the water, got right down to glass bottom so no residual substrate was left (shrimp were in the tank when I did this, they all went and hid in the Anubia wall). With the tank water all polished up and the shrimp still hiding I opened the bag and poured in a few cups of substrate and levelled it out.

First impressions of the JBL Proscape Shrimp soil is that it's a denser medium than Fluval Stratum, it appeared much better at holding plants (used Lillaeopsis) than the Fluval which is a pain to plant as its so light it just moves out the way when planting shallow and doesn't come back in enough on the roots to hold the plant firmly, the Proscape held onto the roots and moved back in on itself when I removed the tweezers. What was also quite nice about the product was that I didn't rinse it first and it produced very little to no dust when I poured it into the water, that may change in future now the bag has been opened and the remainder has an opportunity to dry out a little more before it gets fully used, I cable tied the bag back up so hopefully it doesn't dry out and turn to dust.

The Tank water TDS before the change out was 167 and the pH 7.4ish, as expected I watched the pH drop over the last couple of days to around 6.2ish, what I didn't expect was the monumental TDS rise to 270. How much I can attribute the TDS rise to the new substrate or me doing a large gut I don't know but what I can say without measuring directly is that the KH has moved downwards (tank water is remineralised RO/DI, so it should be ultra low already) evidenced by numerous CRS moults being noticed today one of them from my breeding female, I have also lost a male crystal blue hybrid this evening, noticed before I checked the TDS, whether he lost out in a breeding fight or the substrate is leeching Ammonia I don't know, but I dosed API Ammolock just in case and performed 80% water change, I've not read that it leeches ammonia but the instructions do state to do a water change every couple of days for a couple of weeks. I'm back down at a TDS of 170 now, I'll check tomorrow and see if it goes up again, if it does I'll do a test for ammonia and post the results.
 

alanchown

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20 Dec 2008
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Shrimp and plant soil are identical except that the plant has added nutrients which are absent from the shrimp soil.
The soil does leach ammonia.

Source :jbl proscape website
 

X3NiTH

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13 Apr 2014
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Proscape Shrimp Soil has dropped the pH in my tank from a starting value of 7.4 all the way down to 4.7. I've kept up with the wc's every 2-3 days with remineralised RO but it hasn't stopped the pH drop. Unlike the Plant Soil in JBLs website the Shrimp Soil is not stated to release NH4 but the wc's are recommended to reduce minerals leached into the water by the soil. Now I don't know if this is actually NH4, I haven't tested for that as I don't have a kit to do it but as a precaution I'm dosing Ammo Lock after the wc's just in case.

The shrimp in this tank are very difficult to capture as they go and hide in the Anubia wall, thus the substrate was changed with the shrimp in the tank, it's causing moulting issues after every water change and so far I've lost all my pandas, a couple of CRS, a golden bee, my crystal blue and tragically their mother (Moya), feeling pretty gutted. On a positive note the other crystal offspring in this tank are still alive for the time being including a remaining blue bolt and also the red and blue/green shadow variants/king kongs, they are all appearing to behave normally. Whether I have something else going on in the tank I don't know but finding the golden bee still alive and unable to pull itself out of its shell was a new one for me, the substrate is stated to alter the hardness of the water but it's causing problems. TDS is around 180, after the last water change 2 days ago it was 150 and after the dose of AmmoLock it jumped to 160, so climed 20 points in two days which is way better than the 100 jump it did 2 days after the soil first went in.

As a side note the cherries in this tank are now berried, like wtf?

I wouldn't recommend Proscape ShrimpSoil for a shrimp in-situ substrate change as the subsequent water parameter changes have been extreme, for a new start tank I'm sure it would be fine if left to stabilise for a while before adding shrimp. Another lesson learned, painfull as it is.

Hopefully it stabilises itself soon.

:(
 

JamieB

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For reference I've been running the PlantSoil for around a month in 2 tanks and my pH is 7.6.
 

JamieB

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In the previous substrate it was roughly the same. Maybe .1 or .2 higher but nothing more. That was with Tropica soil but when k changed substrate I completely redid the tank
 

alanchown

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20 Dec 2008
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I've had my JBL Plant Soil in for almost 2 months with CO2 at around 15PPM- my PH seems to stick at a constant 7.0. Its about 7.8 out of the tap.

Alan
 

JamieB

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Not sure what my tap water is at but I don't think it's far off what I'm measuring in the tank. Note that I am using an API test kit for these results which I know is not very accurate but I can't afford a proper checker just yet.
 

X3NiTH

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Another day and more deaths, a cherry and a Snow White, and the pH hasn't finished moving its down at 4.5 today! I'm fearful of the water change I'm about to perform as the remineralised RO I'm going to use reads a pH of 5.6. I have strong aeration in this tank so the pH drop is not due to co2 addition. I can't imagine trying to inject co2 into a tank with this substrate acting the way it is, I think I'd be looking at a pH of 3 to have 30ppm of co2 in 0kh water.
 

JamieB

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Are you sure this is down to the soil? Could it no be something disturbed whilst changing the substrate?
 

alanchown

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20 Dec 2008
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It seems as odd as I think Jbl use the term, slightly acid. I have 18kg of the stuff and I have never seen my ph below 7
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Proscape Shrimp Soil has dropped the pH in my tank from a starting value of 7.4 all the way down to 4.7. I've kept up with the wc's every 2-3 days with remineralised RO but it hasn't stopped the pH drop. Unlike the Plant Soil in JBLs website the Shrimp Soil is not stated to release NH4 but the wc's are recommended to reduce minerals leached into the water by the soil.
It is a clay based substrate and will lower hardness by "cation exchange". Assuming that all the cation exchange sites are initially populated with a proton (H+) ion (it has a <"low base saturation %">), the substrate will exchange this for an ion that has a higher valency (like Ca++) in the <"lyotropic series">.

An ammonium ion (NH4+) would also be exchanged for a Ca++ ion etc, but NH3 is a weak base so the pH wouldn't drop. The ammonium ion is a weak acid (you've added an H+ ion to NH3), but it is much less toxic than NH3, and would remain as NH4+ at low pH.

If ammonium sulphate ((NH4)2SO4) was used as an ammonium source, pH would drop, but this compound is very soluble so it would go straight into solution.

You can stop the pH dropping any further by re-mineralising your RO with a larger amount of KHCO3, CaCl and MgSO4.7H2O.

My suspicion is that the people who didn't have a pH drop had much harder water to start with, meaning that the carbonate buffering stopped the pH falling.

cheers Darrel
 
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