Nathan Hill checks out this new planting medium from a well-known name in aquascaping.
This soil makes a lot of claims. An awful lot of claims, in fact, just stopping short of telling me that buying it will make me wealthier, healthier, and more attractive.
The packaging states that it will lower pH and water hardness, although having now kept the substrate running in my heavily planted trial tank, I can’t really say I’ve noted any parameter change over the last eight weeks or so.
It also claims to remove some impurities from the water, but again I’ve not really noticed this.
Early on, as with a few substrates I’ve tinkered with, I did notice a spike of ammonia, but this cleared quite rapidly, and given the many other things going on in my tank at the time it would be unfair of me to accuse the soil outright of this. Either way, do monitor water when using it for the first time.
My plants love the stuff, and so I’m guessing there’s much nutrition in this soil. A combination of Hygrophila difformis and Hydrocotyle has gone ballistic in it, supplemented only with some liquid carbon, and I’m noting no nutrient deficiencies at this stage.
It’s easy enough to use, and I’ve chosen to have mine under a layer of more coarse, inert substrate for aesthetic reasons, although the soil itself isn’t ugly.
What did please me was the way that I didn’t get any clouding in the water from using it. Often, I find that my tank is clouded for days afterwards, resulting in saturated filter foams and pools of dust, but on this occasion my water remained gin clear when I filled the tank.
A great substrate that plants seem to thrive in. I’m not sure it needs to make so many other claims when it is such a good planting medium in the first place.
Price: A 10 l. bag will cost you around £29.95; available in the UK from J and K Aquatics.
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