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Tropica aqua soil

Singy 86

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Hi new to the group, I just have some questions I would like some information on.
I’m setting up a new tank a have a tank set up and am going to be transferring fish over to the new one. I’m just wondering if I use tropica aquasoil mixed with some fine sand and fine gravel as a base layer then top off with a fine sand and fine gravel mix will I be able to introduce fish straight away? I will be running two mature canister filters of my old tank on the new tank!
Any advice information would be greatly appreciated thanks👍
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
You will have Physics, fish, shrimp, and snails working against you. If you use sand to cap the soil it will be just a matter of time until it becomes a mess, with the larger pueces of soil popping up everywhere.
<"Granular convection">, not only <"nuts in muesli"> but also different sized particles in the aquarium substrate.

cheers Darrel
 

Jaseon

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The effectiveness of nitrifying bacteria's ability to colonise your media has nothing to do with how porous it is. K1 media is not porous, and its be shown to be one of the best out there both statically, and fluidly. Porous media clogs easily, and encourages Heterotrophic bacteria which can slow down, and even stall your filter altogether. Bacteria needs a good flow of oxygen so it easily colonises onto media instead of through it. The structure of a lot of 'porous' media is to tight to allow the flow of water through the media which the bacteria thrives on.

7.0.-Filter-Media.jpg

 

dw1305

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Hi all,
My John Innes soil mix hasn't come through my sand at all. Whereas the aqua soil does.
I'd guess that is down to particle size as well as density.

I tried capping <"Moler clay cat litter with sand">, and that was actually "sand capped with cat litter" pretty much instantly because the cat litter was less dense and had a larger particle size.

cheers Darrel
 

Singy 86

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It’s a 1200 aquascaper tank 120x50x45 was thinking of having it raised slightly at the back so that’s why I was thinking lava rock in the mesh bags with the soil but if you think just lava rock in the base of the tank and bags just filled with soil layer on top would be better I’m happy to go with that ( my first time using aquasoil had planted tanks in the past but only with root tabs). Thanks for all the information
 

AlecF

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Hi all,

I'd guess that is down to particle size as well as density.

I tried capping <"Moler clay cat litter with sand">, and that was actually "sand capped with cat litter" pretty much instantly because the cat litter was less dense and had a larger particle size.

cheers Darrel
Darrel, yes, I'm sure you are right. Also, the soil etc forms a genuine "mulch" and breaks down, so there isn't any solid element large enough to come up through the sand? I had Fluval aqua soil – I forget the actual name – and it broke down into bits, which wormed their way up through the sand, like having blackheads. The "earth" mix doesn't do this ever in any of my 4 small tanks. I can just imagine the cat litter sifting upwards and how annoying that would be. Sand is one of those things that it only works if it looks pristine. I wouldn't;t combine it with aqua soil again. If I was redoing my big community tank I'd use some kind of Walstad soil blend with sand, along with root tabs. It's true one gets the odd yellow osmocote spot, but they are easier to remove or push down. It always seemed to me that bits of clay were more liable to trap detritus, whereas it's surprising how easy it is to hoover things up off of sand.
 

arcturus

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The effectiveness of nitrifying bacteria's ability to colonise your media has nothing to do with how porous it is. K1 media is not porous, and its be shown to be one of the best out there both statically, and fluidly. Porous media clogs easily, and encourages Heterotrophic bacteria which can slow down, and even stall your filter altogether. Bacteria needs a good flow of oxygen so it easily colonises onto media instead of through it. The structure of a lot of 'porous' media is to tight to allow the flow of water through the media which the bacteria thrives on.
You are right, it’s not about porosity but surface area and other variables such as oxygenation. This topic has been <recently discussed at length here>. In this case, what matters is using a substrate in the bottom of the tank that does not promote anaerobic bacteria. At the end of the day, the choice of filter media in a planted tank is a secondary discussion since bacteria <do not depend on it for nitrification>
 

Jaseon

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You are right, it’s not about porosity but surface area and other variables such as oxygenation. This topic has been <recently discussed at length here>. In this case, what matters is using a substrate in the bottom of the tank that does not promote anaerobic bacteria. At the end of the day, the choice of filter media in a planted tank is a secondary discussion since bacteria <do not depend on it for nitrification>
My post wasn't directed at anyone in particular, but Im trying to exclude porous out of my understanding of it as it reminds me of the the way some seem obsessed over it including me at one time. Ive been in discussion with various people who have channels on social media who use things like biohome for instance, and swear by it religiously. I have not had many good encounters if i try to explain why its not all its cracked up to be.

Besides that its good for me to try and explain it in my own words as much as possible, and if im wrong im fully expected to be pulled up on it so i can amend why im wrong, and fill in the gaps.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Ive been in discussion with various people who have channels on social media who use things like biohome for instance, and swear by it religiously. I have not had many good encounters if i try to explain why its not all its cracked up to be.
I'm not surprised, conversations about <"cycling"> and <"filter media"> rarely <"go well">. It isn't the product, as such, that I have a particular problem with, it is <"the cost"> and marketing strategy.

There is also the fact that Biohome users have invested in it, often both financially and emotionally, and no-one likes being told that they didn't get a bargain. It is a <"premium price">, but not necessarily <"a premium product">. If some-one gave it to me I would use it, <"I'm just not going to go and buy it">.

I've not <"used Biohome">, but I'm happy that it is a <"perfectly acceptable biological filtration medium">, but not for any of the claims that <"Richard makes about it">.

cheers Darrel
 

Jaseon

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Hi all,

I'm not surprised, conversations about <"cycling"> and <"filter media"> rarely <"go well">. It isn't the product, as such, that I have a particular problem with, it is <"the cost"> and marketing strategy.

There is also the fact that Biohome users have invested in it, often both financially and emotionally, and no-one likes being told that they didn't get a bargain. It is a <"premium price">, but not necessarily <"a premium product">. If some-one gave it to me I would use it, <"I'm just not going to go and buy it">.

I've not <"used Biohome">, but I'm happy that it is a <"perfectly acceptable biological filtration medium">, but not for any of the claims that <"Richard makes about it">.

cheers Darrel
You seem to be 50/50. I think there are far better media out there both efficiency and, cost wise.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I think there are far better media out there both efficiency and, cost wise.
I'm sure you are right. I'm honestly not that bothered about <"which filter media I use">. I don't like <"floss, or fine sponge (PPI 30 or denser)">, but after that it doesn't really matter.

If I've got manifesto it's <"this one">, but with the following proviso.
Thanks Ed, but I definitely need write a less angry, more fluffy, properly referenced one.

Apologies to @Miss-Pepper as well, it wasn't meant to come over quite like that. It also looks like I failed to read @Tim Harrison's or @Lauris's posts, before I posted mine.

Reading through (both) my posts this morning I think I might have been channelling my inner "Clive".

cheers Darrel
 
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dw1305

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Jaseon

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Hi all,

It <"isn't all of a sudden">. I don't like <"the advertising"> (or the price) of a lot of these products, but I really think it <"doesn't particularly matter for planted tank keepers">.

<"Aquarium Science"> really doesn't like Biohome, but he is keeping fish in <"insane stocking densities">.

cheers Darrel
Right, and like you said here,
The problem with any discussion about biological filter material is that all literature and discussion produced by companies and salesman concentrates on factors that aren't really important, like absorbency and pore space, hence the wick test etc. and endless arguments about which media has the largest surface area. You want a media which doesn't inhibit flow, the only real requirements are that the water flowing from the filter is still oxygenated.
So we are talking about all types of this kind of tightly packed porous material?

Im not saying its completely rubbish, but why have it at all when there are so many other cheaper, and effective alternatives. Im talking this kind of media specifically, and how its commonly used which is separate to wherever it matters in planted tanks or not. So when i hear someone say look how porous it is my reply to that is,

The effectiveness of nitrifying bacteria's ability to colonise your media has nothing to do with how porous it is. K1 media is not porous, and its be shown to be the best out there both statically, and fluidly. Porous media clogs easily, and encourages Heterotrophic bacteria which can slow down, and even stall your filter altogether. Bacteria needs a good flow of oxygen so it easily colonises onto media instead of through it. The structure of biohome is to tight to allow the flow of water through the media which the bacteria thrives on.

I know there are other finer points, and considerations, and everything can be affected by other things, but as a starting point is that wrong or what do i need to amend or change so i have a more coherent understanding of it?

As for Aquarium science i dont see where he makes the point thats he's running his tests under heavy load or why it should matter. I guess his results could easily be transferred to lower stocking levels just your media whatever you choose would take longer to reach the same results?
 
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dw1305

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Hi all,
So we are talking about all types of this kind of tightly packed porous material? ...... the effectiveness of nitrifying bacteria's ability to colonise your media has nothing to do with how porous it is. K1 media is not porous, and its be shown to be the best out there both statically, and fluidly. Porous media clogs easily, and encourages Heterotrophic bacteria which can slow down, and even stall your filter altogether. Bacteria needs a good flow of oxygen so it easily colonises onto media instead of through it. The structure of biohome is to tight to allow the flow of water through the media which the bacteria thrives on.
Yes that is it.

The porosity, <"wick test">, <"denitrification"> etc. are all just a red herring. As soon as you know that <"Kaldnes (K1) type floating bed media"> is the preferred option in aquaculture, by <"Aquarium Science"> etc., and it doesn't have any internal porosity, it tells you that the <"area of internal pores"> isn't that important.

"Tightly packed" is relevant, because we need the filter media to remain aerobic, so that nitrification, the oxidation of ammonia (NH3/NH4+) and nitrite (NO2), continues. <"Dissolved oxygen"> is the key metric, pretty much everything is irrelevant.

If the sellers of these media wanted to back up their claims they could use <"isotope labelled ammonia"> and/or <"search for the genes"> that code for ammonia and nitrite oxidation.
As for Aquarium science i dont see where he makes the point thats he's running his tests under heavy load or why it should matter. I guess his results could easily be transferred to lower stocking levels just your media whatever you choose would take longer to reach the same results?
They are <"insane stocking rates">. The actual numbers are in the linked thread.

The reason it matters is that there is a huge amount of ammonia flowing into his filters and <"he doesn't have plants">, so he needs optimal nitrification to avoid a <"positive feedback loop"> of high ammonia levels leading to dead fish, leading to higher ammonia levels, leading to more dead fish etc.

cheers Darrel
 

Jaseon

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The reason it matters is that there is a huge amount of ammonia flowing into his filters

cheers Darrel
So we would get different efficiency/performance results on the media with a lower load? Maybe media that ranked lower would do better under a lighter load...that wouldn't make sense?

I think the results would be the same just it would need a longer duration of the test to see the results.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
So we would get different efficiency/performance results on the media with a lower load?
I would guess that the media would be a lot more similar in performance. When I open a canister filter (after ~six months) I often find that there is very little that <"you could describe as "biofilm">. I don't worry about this, and I'd guess I would have to add a huge amount of bioload before I got to the <"thick and sticky stage">.

a-well-functioning-aquarium-filter-768x535-jpg.jpg

Caption: "A Well Functioning Aquarium Filter"

cheers Darrel
 

Jaseon

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Hi all,

I would guess that the media would be a lot more similar in performance.


cheers Darrel
Right, (and i don't mean to be fastidious), but why concern ourselves with the stocking rates in which the tests were put under?

So with the planted scenario what would be the main function of our artificial filtration? I think this was brought up before, and i guessed mechanical. Didn't you say you run a pre filter, and no biological media to speak of in your main filtration?

I keep being drawn into thinking about the Walstad method as the ultimate conclusion to any tank where plants are dominant. I dont know if i would have the nerve to cut the artificial umbilical cord, and let the plants do all the work though, but id like to try it.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
So with the planted scenario what would be the main function of our artificial filtration?
Really <"belt and braces"> and to deal with the continued increase in bioload as your fish grow (and/or reproduce) or you have an unnoticed dead fish etc. As a general rule low nutrient conditions favour <"microbial diversity">, and a <"diverse assemblage of microbes"> is what you want to respond to changes in ammonia loading.
Didn't you say you run a pre filter,
I have an <"intake pre-filter"> on all my filters, <"some are DIY">, but I now mainly use the <"big (12" x 4" x 4")"> drilled sponge blocks they sell in Koi places, for smaller tanks I cut them down, but you can buy 4" sponge cubes etc.
and no biological media to speak of in your main filtration?
I usually 2/3 fill the filter body with <"Eheim "coco-pops"> (or <"floating cell media etc.">) and coarse (PPI10) sponge (usually just the <"pads that came with the filter">). This maybe more than you need, but I'm working on the principle of <"if it ain't broke don't fix it">.
I keep being drawn into thinking about the Walstad method as the ultimate conclusion to any tank where plants are dominant. I dont know if i would have the nerve to cut the artificial umbilical cord, and let the plants do all the work though, but id like to try it.
Former member @Bart Hazes tried it have a look at <"going filterless">. I would note that even Diana Walstad herself now recommends some water changes and water movement, the details are in <"Walstad revises">.

cheers Darrel
 

Jaseon

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Former member @Bart Hazes tried it have a look at <"going filterless">. I would note that even Diana Walstad herself now recommends some water changes and water movement, the details are in <"Walstad revises">.

cheers Darrel
Im not sure the links to his blog are working or it may be down, As for Walstad id always want to go with some circulation maybe use a small pump or power head with a sponge. The sponge would be more to protect the pump than act as a filter, but you would get it as an added bonus? Its not going completely filterless, but would maybe be a good idea as a safety net as the plants grow in fully? Maybe one of these,

hidom_wm-1200_wavemaker.jpg
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
As for Walstad id always want to go with some circulation maybe use a small pump or power head with a sponge......Maybe one of these,
I've used the <"power-head and sponge combination"> a lot. I like a sponge browsing surface for shrimps etc. Personally I don't like the idea of the "Wavemaker" type power heads which I always worry are going to shred your smaller livestock.

-php-attachmentid-15562-stc-1-d-1254795378-jpg-jpg.jpg


If I had more tanks I would use an <"air main, Czech jet-lifter, HMF and air pump set up">.

cheers Darrel
 
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