Thanks for the insight! Have you used it, tek? I read in one forum (old old post) that the person suffered a massive shrimp loss after stirring it up while changing out some plants. And another guy responded that their tank stayed cloudy for days (but no losses). Just wanted to weigh pros and cons.
I'd go for it, picasso, and let us know how you do. The tank I saw it in looked amazing!
I have used ADA amazonia. There is a reason it is one of the most popular brands of susbtrate available in spite of the price tag, and that is because plants love it.
It does have an ammonia spike of around 8ppm and upwards in the initial weeks of set-up as mentioned, but this is often not a problem because you can either use it to fishless cycle your tank if there are no livestock present, or cycle it in a separate bucket if adding to an established tank.
Honestly, a couple of handfuls sprinkled in one of my established tanks with a large plant mass was enough to boost their growth and I never saw any ammonia readings because of it.
This is all great info! So littlebetta, when you added it to your established system after you pre-cycled it, did it cloud up your tank? How does it look after it's been in the water a while? Is it still shaped like little balls or does it crumble into like, mud?
Also after a year or so in the tank, does it lose its effectiveness? In my saltwater system, I once used miracle mud for my refugium, but it requires you to change out 20% after 6 months to replenish the minerals in it (I stopped using it actually cuz it was more trouble than it was worth).
What do you guys think was the problem with that guy's tank -- the one who stirred it up a little to change out some plants? As soon as he stirred it, instant invert deaths.
Honestly, if you go on enough forums and read enough threads you will see issues people have had with every kind of substrate.
I believe that there have been a couple of versions of ADA Amazonia soil released and it was one of the newer ones that was breaking down quite quickly and causing problems with cloudiness. I think that this problem has since been rectified and it does not seem to have diminished its popularity.
ADA does acidify the water/lower the pH because a lot of aquarium plants (particularly some of the more difficult types) actually prefer softer water to grow. I think you would only see a huge drop in pH if your water was fairly soft to begin with.
A lot of planted tank substrates are not designed to be messed around with on a regular basis as it can cause them to crumble or fall apart. ADA Amazonia tends to turn to expensive mud if you are continually moving it around or plating and replanting over and over again.
I've never run into any issues with cloudiness while using this product. If you are concerned, always fill your tank up using a plastic bag, newspaper or plate over the substrate and this should cause minimal disturbance to the soil.