Rea Sea Flora base ?

Discussion in 'Substrates' started by swackett, 30 May 2008.

  1. swackett

    swackett Member

    Messages:
    439
    Location:
    Epsom, Surrey
    Hi,

    I'm in the middle of setting up a new planted tank and wondered if anyone had used "Rea Sea flora base" substrate, if so what do you think of it?

    The other two options I have is to use ADA Aquasoil or Tropica Plant substrate with a layer of gravel on top.

    Cheers.
     
  2. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Go with the Aquasoil, you won't regret it.
     
  3. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Yep,
    AS is the standard by which all others are judged.

    Cheers,
     
  4. swackett

    swackett Member

    Messages:
    439
    Location:
    Epsom, Surrey
    Judging by your post on another topic you recommend just AS and not to bother with PS as well?
     
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Yep, just put some mulm from another tank or filter at the bottom and add the AS.

    Cheers,
     
  6. Vito

    Vito Member

    Messages:
    528
    Location:
    Watford, Hertfordshire
    which would be a better choice Amazonia or amazonia 2, i need to place an order and I want to get it right :)
     
  7. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Vito,
    AS 2 is reputed to not cloud the water as much as AS 1. Other than that they are identical.

    Cheers,
     
  8. milla

    milla Member

    Messages:
    241
    Location:
    Leeds
    Been using AS2 for the last 2 weeks.
    First impressions are its good. Its a slightly lighter shade of brown though compared to AS1
    No issues with water clarity, its like putting the plants on steroids though compared to an inert substrate even with full EI. No algae issues either so alls good.
    Can't comment on any affects on water chemistry as i don't use test kits. But have had fish in from day 1 with no problems, doing 50% water changes every 4 days for a while though just in case.
     
  9. JamesM

    JamesM Member

    Messages:
    1,913
    Location:
    The BIG End, South Wales
    From the 2008 ADA Nature Aquarium Book.
     
  10. swackett

    swackett Member

    Messages:
    439
    Location:
    Epsom, Surrey
    Hi,

    It seems like a lot of people use the ADA substrate. It would be good to hear why people choose this particular substrate over the others on the market. Is it because people have tested the others and find ADA contains; the best mix of nutrients, looks good in the tank, longevity of nutrients, and is easy to use?
    Are there any articles that have tested substrate, I know “Planter” uses Red Sea Flora Base to good effect in his tanks.
    Has anyone used Eco Complete and if so how did you get on with it?

    Thanks
     
  11. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    Well, as in so many cases there is often some truth wrapped in some degree of hyperbole. In fact any nutritious substrate will do the job. There are many tanks out there that use other products and do just as well or better. While many people rave they often compare their current success using AS with previous attempts using some other substrate. What many fail to realize is that their skill at plant growing prior to using AS may not have been as advanced as it is now, so they have excellent plant growth now and attribute all their success to the AS. Very few have actually done side by side testing, using their current skills and knowledge, to determine just how much difference AS makes.

    Having said all that though AS is a better product than the rest in large part to the fact that it is a clay product which has been soaked in nutrients and organic matter (like peat perhaps) and then kiln baked. The clay holds a large amount of nutrients for a longer time than most other materials. Clay is also a particularly good material for plant roots because of it's electrochemical properties which facilitates transfer of metals and nutrient compounds to the root hairs. This property is called Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC). In addition to the nutrient store and material advantage, the grain size allows water to circulate between the granules.

    So this is a good combination, but there are other high CEC and/or high nutrient products, but AS executes this combination better than most, is attractive, and is easy on the hands when planting. In a highly lit tank. It is not the be-all and end-all though, but merely part of a system. Look at this thread by JamesC using a modified inert substrate called Akadama while growing a difficult plants known as UG=> viewtopic.php?f=3&t=749

    Many people, including those using AS have been unable to grow this plant very well, yet James has been able to grow it using nothing more than a Bonsai substrate. Clearly therefore, there are a variety of factors involved in growing plants than just what substrate is used so it's best not to go over the top. AS is an excellent product with clear advantages and so is the substrate of choice, but if you uses something else that won't be the end of the world either. :D

    Here is another example: The tank shown below is a large (6 ft), very highly lit EI tank (about 1/2 kilowatt T5 with reflectors.) To obtain the standard depth would have taken nearly 20 9L bags of AS which I felt was an abomination pricewise but I do like the look of AS. To create the proper illusion I filled the front 5 inches with AS and the aft 14 inches with inert gravel mixed with a bit of Ecocomplete (the tank is 19 inches front to back). This meant I only had to buy a half dozen bags of AS, and that only carpet plants would be mounted on it. In this photo you can see that there is good growth of all the non-carpeting plants. This amount of growth took less than 5 months. The distance from top to bottom in this shot is about 24 inches.
    [​IMG]

    Now let's see an example of what AS is not capable of doing in this tank: I left town for about 5 days forgetting to a) dose extra and b) reduce the lighting. Normally PO4 is the first to bottom out in this tank so when I returned from my trip the tank was covered with GSA. Look at this plant that is rooted in 100% AS and see if you can tell from the leaves at what point the water column was returned to regular dosing.
    [​IMG]

    So this demonstrates that no substrate is capable of preventing nutrient deficiency when the tank is under duress from extreme lighting. The environmental pressures and nutrient uptake demand are simply too high. It required about 5 weeks of normal water column dosing to get the tank back into reasonable shape. Therefore if you have access to AS then get it because it is as good or better than you will find but if you choose something else then that's not a big problem either. It's more important to understand the science of what is going on in the substrate and the rest of the tank in order to make the proper adjustments.

    Hope this helps. 8)

    Cheers,
     
  12. swackett

    swackett Member

    Messages:
    439
    Location:
    Epsom, Surrey
    Thanks again for your excellent information. I've since been told that Red Sea Flora base breaks down after about 12 months into a sort of sludge so I'm going for the ADA AS. It says that a 9L bag will do a 60L tank, as I have a 70L tank IYO would I need two bags or could I make do with 1?

    Cheers
     
  13. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Well I had another look at the ADA calculator => http://www.adgshop.com/ProductDetails.a ... ow=ExtInfo

    It shows that for a 60L (15 USgallon) tank a single 9L bag is used but it also assumes that you will use 2L of powersand. I reckon if you delete the Powersand then just get one 9L bag + one 3L bag of AS for your 70L you'd be fine. It's really not all that critical as long as you are happy with the height.

    Specifying litres is ambiguous because it's not clear whet the difference is between a 60L and a 70L tank. I mean, a 70L might have the same length and width as a 60L but might simply be taller so this would make no difference to the substrate calculation... :idea:

    Cheers,
     
  14. swackett

    swackett Member

    Messages:
    439
    Location:
    Epsom, Surrey
    Very true,

    A 100L tank that has a base of only 30cmx30cm will use a lot less than one that has a base of 100cmx30cm.

    I've bought a 9L + 3L bag of AS now so as soon as get I back from my holiday I can start to layout the new tank. Thanks again for you help.
     

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