Which type of Aquasoil and Powersand?

Discussion in 'Substrates' started by Ed Seeley, 1 Jan 2008.

  1. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    So my tank (Rio 180) is ordered and should be with me towards the end of the week apparently! (I will be pretty impressed if that's true, but this Maidenhead aquatics have been superb so far!)

    So I'm now getting down to the scape inside.

    The plan, as I've said elsewhere on here, is going to be a big island of planting in the middle to right rear area separated from a sand foreground with a sweep of cobbles (probably siliconed together to help stop the two mixing). For the substrate at the back I want to use ADA Aquasoil.
    As I am not a big EI fan (I'm not consistent enough with dosing daily I think!) I was thinking of including Powersand special (S - so the granules are as small as possible) but I'm not sure which type of soil to use! I like the colour of Africa, but apparently Amazonia actually has / releases more nutrients and gets more rapid growth??? If so, as this is planned to be a long term scape (with big areas of stems mainly at the start) should I go for Malaya or Africa rather than Amazonia??? Or will Amazonia be fine?
    Has anyone here used anything apart from Amazonia?

    As I'm probably going to plant the sand in patches, and have some established sand/Tetraplants complete substrate in my nano which is making way for the new tank, I am going to put this mixture, plus the rest of the Tetraplant complete under the sand foreground too (NB. I'm not worried about this mixing as I've used it for nearly a year in my nano and it hasn't come to the top noticeably at all).

    Do you reckon 2 x 9 litre bags of Aquasoil (of whatever type) will be enough with a 2 litre bag of Powersand Special - S? (The area for the Aquasoil will be about 2/3rds of the substrate area). I think that should be about the right amount as I'm not planning any large hills; at this point...

    Cheers guys for what I'm sure will be yet more sage advice...
     
  2. Why does the granule size of PowerSand matter if it's under AS?

    How about using more than one type of AS? Over on CAU I saw in one of their articles about using Amazonia and Africana together, to get the best of the high nutrients of Amazonia and the low pH of Africana. They put the Africana in some tights and used it as a base, covering it in Amazonia.

    I used Malaya in my last tank simply because the others weren't in stock. Now I'm using Africana for the same reason, and I have 9L of Amazonia sitting in my room waiting for me to build the 60cm.

    2 bags of 9L should be plenty for what you want to do. Or, if you go with 2 substrates then you could have one of each or smaller bags of one etc etc.

    Tom
     
  3. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Cheers Tom,
    The granule size was only a concern as larger particles tend to work their way to the surface above smaller granules. Therefore the smaller the Powersand pieces the less likely they should be to come to the top!?! (Also it's the only Powersand Special available in 2 litre bags! :lol: !)

    Did you notice any differences in growth between the different types of Aquasoil?

    Thanks for the reassurance on the quantities. I was toying with maybe getting an extra 3 litre bag, but will just get the two and order another one later if I need to I think.
     
  4. Can't really compare them yet as the Africana has only been going a couple of days and plants are still adapting. Will be interesting to see, especially when I use the Amazonia as well in the 60cm.

    Tom
     
  5. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    I've gone with the Amazonia as I'll be able to use a wider range of experiences from other people's use of it; as it's only going to be about 2/3rds of the base I already should have less effects from the substrate overall, so it seems to be logical to go for the one that seems to have the greatest effects (does that make sense?); and it should also make a nice contrast with the white sand and cobbles.
     
  6. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Interesting to see they use a mesh to separate the substrates, I would have thought it would affect root growth?

    Sam
     
  7. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Very interesting indeed. I've seen mesh (semi rigid mosquito netting from DIY store) used to separate substrates on a forum here in Switzerland. I think it is safe to say if roots can find a path through gravel then mesh should not present a problem. Only issue I imagine could be if you try to re-plant the roots might get too tangled in the mesh for you to get them all out without cutting?

    This also answers an earlier thread asking how CAU do such steep embankments - with this mesh sock/sandbag approach you could easily build steep slopes - like sandbag walls basically. It also helps keep your substrates separate for re-use when you break the tank down again. Anyone thinking of trying this approach?

    Question - what is the original bottom layer - looks like mixed quartz gravel - that they put the first layer of mesh over? Is that the power sand?
     
  8. I think it was PowerSand
     
  9. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,089
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Amazonia is richer than the others.

    You know about the ammonia spikes, pH crashes etc?

    Plenty of water changes and/or zeolite/carbon/Purigen will help in the first few weeks if you want to stock fish.
     
  10. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Cheers George. I won't be stocking fish until the ammonia is gone.

    Going to put some mature Sintered glass media, along with new stuff, in the filter instead of the bottom layers of foam so hopefully the bacteria already established there should help knock any ammonia spikes on their head pretty quickly. That and I've got a whole 2 foot tank full of cabomba that's going in there straight away should hopefully deal with the cycling pretty quickly!

    pH crashes I'm not so sure about how/whether to deal with. As you know I use RO water usually and will here be once this tank is stocked, but I'm not completely sure how to go about things when starting this tank up. My tap water isn't great and as I want nice soft water anyway I'm not sure whether to simply use straight RO and not worry about pH (my usually successful approach!) or mix it with some tap water (up to 50-50) for the start so there's a bit of a KH buffer in there. I might experiment with a small quantity of the aquasoil in tubs with different waters to see what happens first if I have time. After Amano keeps his water very soft using aquasoil doesn't he? 1-2dKH, 2-3dGH if I remember rightly?

    Oh and I have some Purigen on standby if the tannins get excessive too, but don't want to use it to deal with the ammonia so won't put it in straight away, would rather the plants and filter bacteria get established to deal with that. In fatc I may even use carbon to deal with any tannins liberated from the soil and wood initially, then switch to Purigen once the tank's cycled.
     
  11. zig

    zig Member

    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    Dublin Ireland
    Ed I found you will not get rid of the tannins until you add some activated carbon to the filter, I put up with tannins in one of my tanks for about 3 weeks even with lots of water changes the tannins were still very visable , and then I had enough, added the carbon and the tannins were gone in a few days. Best to add it from the start IMHO, save the grief.

    Best of luck with the setup you will not regret the use of aquasoil. Treat it kind and it will be kind to you :)
     

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