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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #590

Hi all:

James P. wrote:

>Last year Bob mentioned that he was trying an "experimental" substrate 
>upon pumice. I think that he wanted to try it because Aqua Design Amano
>Power Sand and/or AquaSoil are purported to be at least partially based 
>pumice. Check the APD archives for his posts.

I respond:

Power Sand does contain pumice stone.  It comes in three sizes small, medium 
and large based on the depth of your aquarium.  The theory is that a small 
grain of pumice will be squeezed to a point where its pores will be closed 
if the water depth is too high.

Unlike Power Sand, AquaSoil does not contain pumice.  It is a baked clay.

James continued:

>From what I have read, there are sources of pumice available in Japan which
>are darker and denser than the kind usually found in North America.
>Something similar might be available from a really good Bonsai dealer. I
>know that they sometimes sell Oiso Sand, which Amano has used in his tanks.

I respond:

This may be true, but I've used the commonly available pumice found in 
orchid stores.  It's worked just fine.  Moreover, Power Sand, or pumice 
stone, is meant to create a place for bacteria to grow and assist in the 
cycling of nutrients.  Therefore, it should be used in the lower third of 
the substrate and not as the only substrate.  As a result, its floating 
ability is irrelevant because it is covered by a substantial amount of 
non-floating substrate.

James finished with:

>I hesitate to post the analysis because NEITHER is pure pumice. Power Sand
>is a pumice/peat blend and AquaSoil is a soil/silt/clay blend, and they 
>probably have extra nutrients added by ADA. But I did send the info to Bob,
>as I thought that he would be interested. (Plus, Jamie might want to do a
>follow up article in PAM, and publish the results there).
>If anyone was thinking of using a pumice based substrate, it might be an
>idea to follow the route Bob took and mix it with some peat and a small
>quantity of PyroClay. That stuff has everything but the kitchen sink in it.
>Hydroponics outlets can supply it (I got mine from Homegrown Hydroponics,
>and yes, they do mail-order to the U.S.).

I respond:

Power Sand is a blend of materials.  Pumice and peat are used as its base.  
Additionally, it appears to contains some carbon.  Power Sand Special is 
enriched with fertilizer.

The addition of carbon intrigued me.  I believe the carbon is meant to 
remove some of the coloring peat will naturally add to the water.  At least, 
this is what I observed when I attempted to make my own mixture.

AquaSoil is merely a baked clay.  To my knowledge, there are no additions to 
it.  However, it actually is a very nice product and similar to the Seachem 
Flourite.  The clay remains in its grain shape, but after a while it does 
get somewhat soft.  This provides intimate contact with the roots.  It also 
comes in three colors- black, dark brown and light brown.  The different 
colors are meant to represent three regions of the world.


Art Giacosa

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