Aqua Durt Substrate
I joined this forum for a specific reason. To warn people to stay away from a substrate called Aqua Durt. Aquariumplants.com sells it. And there is a seller on Ebay who sells it. People will fall into the trap of thinking it is cheaper and just as good as other substrates. DO NOT BELIEVE IT.
Please!....Please! stay away from it and tell everyone you know to never use it. Its a very bad product. The first time I used it, it quickly turned into a blue-green algae nightmare. I hung on for about a year trying to clear up the algae, then gave up thinking it was a bad batch. When ever I moved the substrate around it emitted clouds of fine silt putting high organics into the water.
I dumped my tanks and re-ordered new. This time it took awhile but after 4 to 6 months the blue-green algae reared its ugly stinky head. Again I did everything possible to get rid of it. Plants either grew poorly or died off. This time I felt sure it must be something I was doing wrong. Self doubt set in. I'm not new to aquarium keeping, though I still consider myself a novice at planted tanks.
Two weeks ago I decided to key word reviews for the company that sells the substrate. I found a review describing exactly what I was dealing with. Here is what it said.
"Buyer beware of their proprietary substrate. Do some extensive searching and you will see that it is Soil Master Select or Turface and at an elevated price for the product. Added your tank KH will decrease by 1-2 points per day for up to 6 months (although they state it is inert). Thirdly, it will “melt” in your tank. The instructions state to only rinse it once. That is because the particles disintegrate with agitation and a web search will show that you cannot, or will have a very hard time rinsing clear. Fourth, the material releases a yet to be identified substance into the tank that WILL cause uncontrollable algae blooms for a long time. I was bitten by the “cheaper than Eco-complete”. Now, I broke my tank down, and paid $10 more than the original purchase for Eco-complete. Their statement is propaganda and misleading. Call a reputable web supplier and ask them how many calls they get to fix issues with this substrate."
After I read this review I dumped my 30 and 55gal tanks again. I got lucky Petsmart had a sale on FloraMax for 8.00 a bag. I found a great seller on Ebay that had some nice gravel sand. Looks great and my fish are happy too. I'm sure the substrate was affecting their quality of health as well. Gill problems,lesions,fish loss, fish fighting a lot.
Sorry for the lengthy post. I felt the need to make aquarium consumers aware of this product. I'm including pictures of my 55 tank before I broke it down. Horrific nightmare.
It certainly looks like you got/had cyanobacteria (AKA blue/green algae). As that is actually a bacteria and not a algae, I would not think the substrate would have been able to cause that, but I guess it could be possible. Cyanobacteria certainly is a pain in the back side to get rid of. I am very glad I have only had to deal with that a few times in my time in the hobby
If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
"Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
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Something that lowers KH would actually be a good product for quite a few people here.
Many people use Turface with positive results. If the product is indeed just turface, perhaps your problems were due to more than just the substrate. Lighting, water quality and an imbalance of fertilizers also play a big role in algae and cyano outbreaks. I had similar looking cyano in my tank when I used playsand, which is inert.
If you are here to discuss fishkeeping, you are welcome to stay, but this forum should not be used for the sole purpose of carrying out your personal vendetta against a product that you were dissatisfied with.
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"Keeping fish for any period of time doesn't make you experienced if you're doing it wrong. What does, is acknowledging those mistakes and learning from them." ~Aeonflame
"your argument is invalid." ~Mommy1
I've never used this particular product, and in fact don't really see any benefits in such things anyway. That does not mean there are not some good products that may have benefits particularly in high-tech setups. But many of these (including soil of any type) do mess with water chemistry and without understanding how all this works can cause a real mess, as seems to have occurred here.
Cyanobacteria is caused by organics, so presumably this substrate increased the organics or the organic breakdown. The stocking of the tank (number and type of fish) obviously is part of this equation, as that is a major source of organics. The initial release of organics when using plain soil can cause this same problem too because it creates an unstable biological system for up to several months.
Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
My daughter has had this exact substrate in her tank for well over a year, and several members here also use it. There has never been any problems of the kind the OP is reporting with my daughters tank nor the people that I can remember who use it here. This is more likely tank specific, and not caused by the substrate. If I were the OP I would start looking into other reasons this is happening in my tank other than the substrate.
When I go fishing I just place a sharp rock in the water and sit there waiting for all the dead fish to float to the top... Kingfisher
Everything Happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you are stupid and make bad decisions.
I think my fish is adjusting well to the four gallon, He's laying on his side attempting to go to sleep on the bottom of the gravel.
A moderator on a fish forum should be able to identify an oscar... Don't you think?
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