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Fluval Stratum vs ADA Amazonia

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I've used both and ADA Amazonia has a tendency to release a LOT of ammonia early on. If you want to use it I would recommend fishless cycling because I found it difficult to deal with in my nano setups that used it.

Fluval stratum's main downside (from when I last purchased it a few years ago) is that it is extremely lightweight. It's normal for aquasoils to have tiny floating bits that you scoop out, but with stratum specifically I've had difficulty keeping plants in there when I'm propping them. Lead weights counter this but it's something to keep in mind.

Since you mentioned wanting to include sand, I do want to include this one caution: sand will naturally filter down through the aquasoil over time. If this isn't the effect that you want you may find yourself happier using sand aided by root tabs. Aquasoils will need root tabs over time so this isn't too much of a con in my opinion. Hope this helps.

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I’ve used stratum capped with sand in my 75 gal and a couple of small tanks. It seems to work great, but bits will migrate to the surface. It’s annoying if you’re using white sand. I’ve not used Amazonia because of the ammonia release and because it’s a bit more pricey. 

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I've used both in the past, and still have a thin layer of the Fluval Stratum on top of the crushed lava rock and underneath  some gravel and pretty much inert clay based Amazon Soft belly Soil which I haven't seen offered lately. The draw back of both is that they have ferts added and initially release loads of it, the ADA being the worst in that regard, and then slowly  taper out within the next 6 months making dosing more difficult during that time frame. I prefer a baked clay based aqua soil without added ferts for the most part, that way I can figure out pretty much in the first month after initial planting what my fertilizer dosing regime will have to look like based upon plant load and stock level of fish, and/or shrimp and snails.

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