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New substrate or reuse old?

aquascape1987

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6 Nov 2014
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379
Location
Leeds, West Yorkshire
Hi guys, Im in the process of plotting my next scape and am currently torn over whether or not to use all new substrate, or reuse the ADA Amazonia I already have in the tank. The substrate isn’t in bad condition to look at, although there is some dead plant matter and other detritus visible in it now that I have ripped all of the old scape out.

Would really appreciate what people consider the pros and cons of each?

My thought process so far is:

Pros for retaining my existing substrate:
  • cheaper (obvious)
  • Less likelihood of lots of diatoms and algae teething problems in the new scape.
  • Less likely to introduce an ammonia spike
Pros for new substrate:
  • No risk of old detritus in new tank
What does everyone think?
 

jon32

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10 Jan 2013
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Devon
Watched a video of filipe oliveira where he rinsed the old aqua soil then used a lot of root tabs to rejuvenate it. Sounded like he uses this practice quite often to good effect.
 
Joined
20 Dec 2019
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371
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South Carolina
Really depends on how old your Amazonia is and if it’s crumbling (you’ll be left with a muddy mess). AS is great at first because it’s packed with all those nutrients. It has good CEC but it will be nowhere near as effective as it was new. That’s where the root tabs come in to play. In terms of cost it def is cheaper, but you really need to prep good and get rid of all the fine stuff when you add it back. In doing so, you may actually be left with half or nothing.
 

aquascape1987

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Leeds, West Yorkshire
I’m not worried about the nutrient aspect relating to the Amazonia as I’m dosing EI levels of nutrients to the water column, and I also use root tabs.

More whether or not it is a good idea to reuse the old substrate from a tank cleanliness point of view really and what people’s thoughts and experience are on that aspect.

The Aqua soil I have in there is about a year old and is a mixture of the normal sized AS as well as the very fine version of AS. It was in layers but over time it has all mixed up.

I’d say that at least some of it has turned to dust over time, by breaking down as I can see this when I stir it up Some of this may also be detritus as well.
In terms of re prepping/cleaning it of this dust and detritus, how would you go about that effectively?
 

alto

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24 Dec 2014
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6,246
ADA soils are much more prone to breakdown (mudding) during the cleaning process (though I know several that carefully rinse the soil and then dry before reusing - this allows the “dust/mud” to be discarded before re-use)

If you want to give it a go in-tank, I’d follow Filipe Oliveira’s protocol as shown in the Aquaflora Vlog video and his home rescape FB videos (I’m not sure what’s still online as I watched them “live”)
Note in his home tanks, he was much less aggressive with the soil cleaning, but noted it was important to “top” the used soil with 2-3cm new soil (he forgot to do this for the kitchen tank rescape and had massive algae issues in the first several weeks ... of course, he’s FAAO so he wasn’t too worried ;) )

If budget is an issue and you’re prepared for extra water changes/maintenance etc, then re-use the Amazonia (if it’s only single use and you weren’t frequently adjusting plants, hardscape etc, soil should be in decent shape (though occasionally ADA does have production runs that produce softer end product))

If reusing the soil after rinsing (and skipping the drying stage), I’d dose lean water column nutrients for the first 2-3 weeks, depending upon plant growth, water changes etc

Note that as this is “used” soil, you’re unlikely to see the significant “softening” effect of new Amazonia, also nutrient profile/release will be different (especially if you used the complete system initially)
As an advantage, you should have a complex micrflora environment in the soil - most of this will remain even after rinsing, though actual numbers may decrease, bacteria may have a lag phase etc, - if soil is dried, then expect “like new” soil re microflora

Re tank “cleanliness” (which can have rather different meanings for different people), if the tank was well maintained in its first run, I’d not be overly concerned about “washing” - just some gentle rinsing to remove dust as you’re likely to stir this up significantly when rescaping, replanting etc
If your previous livestock suffered various diseases, you had extraordinary algae issue etc, then I’d be more likely to thoroughly clean and dry soil (or just purchase new as I’m lazy ..... though I did just (finally) rinse and rescape a 30C, 60P, 60H (45) last week)

 

aquascape1987

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Leeds, West Yorkshire
Cheers for the input all. I’ve decided I’m going to clean up using Filipes method in the video, and add some root tabs. Also add a little new Aquasoil, as required.

That video was really helpful Alto. I initially just focussed in on the gravel cleaning bit, but when I realised what he was doing with the hard scape and layout, and the similarity to my ideas for this next scape, I ended up getting sucked in and watching the whole thing :happy::thumbup:
 

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