| | Re: Old amazonia is crap!
Things I have used to grow plants and their pros/cons:
-Inert aquarium gravel fortified with flourish tabs and clay balls - grew plants well once I got it figured out. The first step was to build up enough mulm deep in the substrate, this took time, maybe a year's time, during that period I had to dose EI. After I got enough mulm established and the right amount of flourish tabs and clay under there. I dosed mostly potassium, traces and iron. I grew whatever I wanted. This tank ran for 2 years.
-Eco Complete - didn't like it. too light to gravel vac. raised my already kinda-high KH. Dosed EI and still had limited success with the plants. I gave it two months and when it still raised my KH after that period, I tore it down.
-Amazonia II - went with this over Amazonia 1 because I have a kinda high KH and it was suggested because Amazonia 1 has a little problem with water staying cloudy when the KH is high. I liked the initial planting, I used an ADA document as a guide to how to plant and get setup. I liked the break-in period because it was pretty well described by their product literature, "this is what's going to happen at this step, this is what we want you to do...". I followed the directions. It has been working wonderfully, I dose potassium, iron and trace. I have a GIANT fern so every once-in-awhile I hit it with some extra phosphate. It has lowered my PH and KH as advertised. I have been able to grow whatever plant I want.
I tore down the layout at 1 year and was scared of all the mud and junk that got kicked up. Immediately, I moved all my fishes to another tank, drained the water, sucking up as much of the cloud as I could and pulled out the rest of the plants with almost no water in the tank. I reestablished a slope and approached rearranging the layout like I was doing a new planting - semi-moist substrate, arrange hardscape, plant everything and fill with water. I was sure to run my canister on another tank during this lengthy period so that I didn't loose the bacterial colony. I hooked the filter back up and immediately did a water change. Over the next few days, I did some water changes and tested the water. After things had calmed down, 3 days or so, in went the fishes. I have had Amazonia 2 for 2 years and have set up 3 layouts in the same substrate with the above process.
In the end, my favorite substrate of the ones I've used is the Amazonia 2. Due to the scary clouds of brown mud that get stirred up, I do not micro-manage my scapes. I think about them for months ahead of time and plant intentionally. After they are planed I let them alone, watch the plants fill in and prune as needed. I have learned more about growing plants and aquascaping because I plant, leave it alone and observe. Without the soil-like nature of the ADA product and the consequences of disturbing it, I would not have discovered the joys of scaping by this method. I don't gravel vac it, and I do wish it stayed together a little better, but this is the way things are and I am happy. For me it has made the hobby more enjoyable. I will be trying the "New" Amazonia for my next project.
Last edited by lanceduffy; 07-10-2011 at 10:52 PM..