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RE: ADA Substrates

 James is right when he said that Aqua Soil, and Power Sand, will indeed
lower the pH. I should know, I have been using them for close to four years.
Mr. Higuchi is also right when he said that there is no difference, except
color, between the three Aqua Soils. Christopher, what issue of TFH was it?
If Amano did say that it must have been a bad translation. I had one tank
that was set-up for almost two years with Aqua Soil. It buffered my pH
between 6.5~6.7 for two years without any CO2 administration. Another thing
to point out is that Aqua Soil is not a baked clay. You might be referring
to the long forgotten Akadama sand that was used in Japan. ADA is reluctant
to fully disclose the composition of Aqua Soil, even in Japan. Even though
it is similar in appearance to clay, it is far less dense. In the aquarium
it is rather 'fluffy', meaning a soil that provides good circulation and
root penetration.

As for Power Sand, it contains _mostly_ peat and pumice. There is/are some
thing(s) not mentioned by ADA. Once again ADA is reluctant to disclose the
exact composition of Power Sand. If they did that people would make their
own batch, like Bob Dixon pointed out. ADA's Drop Checker is as good as a
cheap pH test kit. The only difference is price. True, one gets a constant
reading, but how about a pH probe for a few bucks more?

Ryan Stover
--Still in Japan--