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Re: ADA system: my speculations (very long msg.)
> From my trouble in controlling my new little tank, this message has just
> become a simple collection of considerations of the ADAŽ system as my
> interpretation sees it.
And I will respond based on my own limited experience
> 4 main points will be stressed here:
> - - substrate
> - - filtration media
> - - fertilizers
> - - general dynamic
> in my little tank I used Power Sand Special S (450ml), just because in
> Italy only this one is available. If I had to choose, I'd prefer Power
> just because I was told that it's less rich in nutrients than Special
> version (here ADA support can answer precisely). Apart from this, Power
> Sand is an ORGANIC fertilizer substrate, made mainly by pumice and peat.
It is pumice, peat, and "a nutrieint rich clay", according to the official
ADA propaganda. I built a substrate based on this info, using pumice gravel,
peat, and a couple different clays. In the first tests I used Fluval peat
pellets and redart clay. In the second set-up I used regular nursery-style
sphagnum and pyrophylittic clay.
The pumice is not organic at all, nor is the clay component. The peat
certainly is, but I cannot say for certain that it is breaking down.
>It should be evident to me that, apart from trace-elements (does it contain
> any? ADA can tell us!), Power Sand is very rich in nitrogen and phosphorus.
Maybe, from the peat, but again, I don't really think there is a lot of peat
break-down going on in my tanks. It leached humics and tannins for a while,
but that has slowed considerably.
> I stressed on "organic" word because there must be some sense in choosing
> an ORGANIC fertilizer instead of a mineral one. For sure it's more
> difficult to deal with an organic fertilizer (it would be interesting to
> know the C/N ratio), but it's "live" and can be easily and quickly
> by bacteria which will transform organic compounds in inorganic ones which
> will dissolve in water column.
In eastern Canada, where it is harvested, and also in Western NY, where I
grew up, peat bogs will hold the stuff for years without it breaking down.
The peat breaking down doesn't seem to be an objective in its choice for
inclusion. I think it has more to do with the catalytic action it has in
making iron form compounds that can be utilized, if I remember what I gleaned
form Steve Pushak's site.
> Hence - in my speculation - the necessity to
> add BACTER 100 and CLEAR SUPER that are bacteria (nitrogen will be their
> meal) and activated carbon, which can easily adsorb JUST ORGANIC compounds
> till will be colonized by bacteria themselves.
> What's wrong? it's the dosage!? Indeed the dosage depends on the plants we
> choose, the light and CO2 but, respecting the ADA suggested dose the tank
> simply goes out of control! No way! So something is missing here!... My
> tank speciments can be read below at the end of message, but comparing my
> dosage with that used by ADA in AJ vol. 33 (english version, or Nē36
> japanese version), I used half the dosage but still I have algae happily
> growing (with the same amount of light, with the same time of light, and
> fishes!) in it.
The problem may be your carbon. Most types leech out phosphorus, which can
trigger the algae.
> filtration media:
> ADA goes for a biological filtering but mainly uses activated carbon and
> rely on it. In the past (old AJ issues) activated carbon were used only on
> the first stage of tank setup then it should be replaced by Bamboo
> (a far less agressive carbon), but nowadays activated carbon is a common
> filter media in all setups. ADA claims that a filter loaded with activated
> carbon makes the tank more easy to control. Why? Well, unfortunately ADA
> doesn't tell how often the carbon must be replaced; in other words ADA
> doesn't tell if the activated carbon have only an adsorbative short-term
> function or a long-term biological function.
> Anyhow why activated carbon? Once again - I think - the answer should be
> the substrate fertilizer: ORGANIC -> just the compounds activated carbon
> can easily remove!
Wouldn't it just be easier to find a substrate component that breaks down
slower? Or maybe use less of it?
What's in the substrate is only for plants root, and
> what seeps into the water must be removed quickly! how? activated carbon,
> and frequent water changes. Under this hyphotesis it's clear that
> carbon has only an adsorbative function.
> here again there is a close interaction. BRIGHTY STEP I contains almost no
> iron and it's suggested for the 1st 3 months of setup! 3 months of no
> No way! Hence ECA, organic acid with iron and manganese (probably a
> gluconate)... here again: organic -> it will disappear quickly! (No matter
> how expensive it is!!!), if plants lose their turn, they won't eat!
> Bacteria and carbon will eat the rest for them! :)
> Then after 3 long months, BRIGHTY STEP 2: why? Once again - I think - just
> because the chelated iron which is in STEP 2 will last longer than the
> weakly chelated iron of ECA ... so it's better to use STEP 2 when possibly
> the Power Sand has finished leeching nutrients into the water column.
The clay from the power sand, if chosen correctly, should provide all the
> general dynamic:
> well.. things go complicated here. Let's say that the most of planted
> function in a phosphate limited dynamic. You keep N-K at a sufficient
> so that all the P available is uptaken by plants, and dose the trace
> elements to have photosynthesis activity that guarantees all the uptaken
> N-P-K to be 'burnt' by plants. Simple. (all my devotion to Paul Sears! :-)
> Does ADA work this way too? Perhaps. But maybe - just maybe -in some cases
> it works in a different way: iron limited. Probably when there is slighty
> too much solid fertilizer, and the tank cannot work in a phoshate limited
> way because both N and P are not limited, one way (with filtration, and
> the other things I wrote before) to prevent an algae bloom is to limit the
> presence of iron in the water column. BRIGHTY STEP I is extremely low in
> iron and can help in this situation. ECA can help too because it can be
> supplied on spot just when new buds are whitering, after all it won't last
> long in the water because it's not actually chelated, but rather
> complexed to another organic molecule and the unused part will precipitate
> soon (taking away with itself some phosphorus). Activated carbon will take
> also a little part in taking trace elements too.
> This way (if it's really applicable) of conducting a planted tank might be
> MUCH more difficult - I guess - than the "common" way of controlling it by
> phosphate limitation.
My "Poor Man's Amano Substrate" tanks are functioning well. I use Natural
Gold as the only fertilizer additive. There are fish, to be sure, and enough
to pump Nitrogen into the system. I was using Job's spikes for a while, but
now they don't seem to be needed. Algae is limited, but I have SAEs and Otos.
It sounds unnecessarily complex to use all that stuff. And I quit using
carbon decades ago.
If you like all that tinkering, go for it. Myself, I'm in it to have fun,
not drive myself crazy.
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