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Controsoil vs. ADA Amazonia

Before diving into our Controsoil vs. ADA Amazonia comparison, it’s essential to understand what a substrate is and what it should do. The substrate is the first and basic layer in your aquarium, where the plant roots grow. It’s home to bacteria biofilm and microbes that break the particles into organic nutrients that can be used by the plants.

Substrates can change the water’s parameters and help maintain balance in the aquarium to protect the fish and other aquatic animals. Keep on reading to find out more about the differences between these two types, so you can choose the right one for your aquarium.

Controsoil Review

Ultum Nature Controsoil Freshwater Planted Aquarium Substrate - Extra Fine Black (3 Liter)

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Controsoil is a clean substrate that doesn’t cloud the water. It clears up faster and better than other substrates, so it doesn’t require much initial maintenance. It comes from Japan and is made of high-quality natural soil and volcanic ash that provide aquatic plants with all the needed nutrients.

What are the Features of Controsoil?

Using this substrate won’t only help your plants flourish and grow healthy root systems. The substrate also buffers the PH level to maintain the oxygen level in the water, helping your fish and aquatic animals to thrive.

Composition

Ultum Nature Controsoil Freshwater Planted Aquarium Substrate - Extra Fine Black (3 Liter)

Unlike other types of substrate, Controsoil is available in three different textures, so you can choose the most appropriate one for your aquarium. The granules are uniform in size, so you can choose the right ones based on the size of your aquarium.

The normal granules measure around 5mm in diameter. These are suitable for larger aquariums that have a capacity of more than 20 gallons. These granules will support the growth of bigger plants.

The fine granules are suitable for aquariums with a capacity lower than 20 gallons and can also be added as a cap to the normal ones. These fine granules are better for smaller plants as they can successfully grow their roots around the pellets.

If you have a tiny aquarium, you can use the extra fine granules or add them as a cap on top of the normal ones. The small particles are suitable for smaller plants and their root systems, so the plants won’t struggle to suck the nutrients from the substrate.

Controsoil is available in brown and black colors, so you can choose the one that suits your taste. Combining two colors of different sizes will boost your aquarium’s aesthetics and contrast beautifully with the colorful fish and plants.

Effects on Your Plants

Controsoil will help buffer the PH level and hardness of the water, making it more suitable for the living organisms in your aquarium. The substrate is designed to lower the acidity of the water to help the fish breathe and decrease the number of toxins that can affect the health of your aquatic animals.

This substrate is pre-rinsed, so it will not cloud the water as much as other types. Nevertheless, it releases a small amount of ammonia into the water, so it has to be cycled before introducing new fish into the aquarium.

Other types of substrate might stay dusty for several days, which can promote the growth of algae. Controsoil will settle down quickly. On the next day, you might not see any traces of dust, so you can start adding plants to your aquarium to build its ecosystem.

The substrate absorbs the toxins from the water to create a safe environment for the living creatures in your aquarium. The texture and porosity provide the right environment for the plants to thrive. You might need to add any fertilizers, especially if you have hungry-nutrient plants. You can know that your substrate needs to be replaced by monitoring your PH and KH levels.

Ease of Use

Controsoil is an excellent choice for beginners because it requires no prior rinsing. It doesn’t cloud the water as much as other types of substrates and will allow you to add your plants fast.

This substrate has been slightly cycled before being packed. As a result, you might experience some ammonia in the water, but the levels will drop quickly, allowing you to add your fish, shrimps, and other aquatic creatures.

The Pros and Cons of Controsoil

Here are some of the pros of Controsoil.

  • The granules are available in different sizes to help you create the perfect environment according to the aquarium size and the plants you plan to grow.
  • There are different colors available, so you can enhance the aesthetics of your aquarium.
  • Controsoil is pre-rinsed and won’t cloud the water, allowing you to add your plants fast.

Here are some of the cons of Controsoil.

  • This substrate would still cause ammonia spikes, so it needs to be cycled before use.
  • Although the substrate is rich in nutrients, the particles tend to dissolve by time, so you might need to add special fertilizers to keep your plants in shape.

ADA Amazonia Review

ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia 9 Liter Normal Type

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This is one of the most affordable baked soil substrates. The granules are designed to maintain balance in your aquarium by buffering the hardness and PH levels. The achieved balance won’t only promote explosive plant growth in your aquarium; it will also preserve your fish and other aquatic animals like shrimps that need to live in a healthy balanced environment.

What are the Features of ADA Amazonia?

ADA Amazonia is extremely rich in essential nutrients that help the root systems grow fast. It’s made of decomposed leaf mulch, which contains healthy components needed by the plant.

Composition

ADA Amazonia is made of uniform particles of Japanese plant-based soil. The particles are brown, so they will create a beautiful contrast with your aquatic plants. Moreover, they will complement the look of your colorful fish and other aquatic animals like dwarf seahorses, freshwater crayfish, and freshwater snails.

Effects on Your Plants

ADA Amazonia is one of the richest substrates available for freshwater tanks. Unlike other types, you don’t have to worry about adding fertilizers or root tabs to increase the number of nutrients in the plant.

The natural composition of the substrate fills your aquarium with essential nutrients that help the plant roots grow fast. It also helps convert the fish waste into crucial nutrients that can be later used by the plants. This will decrease cloudiness and keep the water clear and healthy for all your aquatic creatures.

Compared to other substrates, ADA Amazonia guarantees faster and healthier growth of aquatic plants. The roots will have no problem sucking out the nutrients from the substrate to keep the ecosystem balanced.

ADA Amazonia is designed to help the root system establish itself and suck the nutrients successfully. It doesn’t contain any additives or chemicals that can be absorbed by the roots or can affect the fish’s health. It will continue to provide your plants with the needed nutrients until it has decomposed.

However, this substrate isn’t cycled. Some people might experience the sudden death of their fish and aquatic animals once the substrate is added to the aquarium due to the increase of ammonia.

You need to make sure that ADA Amazonia has been fully cycled before adding any fish. Once you have successfully cycled this substrate, the ammonia levels will return to their balanced state, and your fish can live happily without any risk.

PH Balance

Aquatic plants, fish, and other animals are highly sensitive to changes in the PH level. This substrate will help restore the PH balance, allowing your fish to have more oxygen.

This will also protect your fish from toxic compounds that can kill them. If you notice that your fish look ill or have low energy, you will need to use ADA Amazonia to keep the PH level balanced.

The Pros and Cons of ADA Amazonia

Here are some of the pros of ADA Amazonia.

  • This substrate is packed with tons of nutrients that promote the fast growth of plants.
  • It doesn’t need any fertilizers, at least for the first year.
  • ADA Amazonia balances the PH level, creating the best environment for your fish, aquatic animals, and plants.

Here are some of the cons of ADA Amazonia

  • You can’t use this substrate without cycling. Otherwise, it can spike the ammonia levels in your aquarium, killing your fish and other aquatic animals.
  • If you like to change the layout of plants and move them a lot, this substrate won’t work for you as the particles tend to stir up fast.

Which One is the Winner?

ADA Amazonia and Controsoil are volcanic-based substrates that provide your plants with the needed nutrients. ADA Amazonia is more affordable than Controsoil, so it might work better if you have large or several aquariums that you need to take care of.

Beginners might prefer Controsoil because it doesn’t cloud the water and will allow you to add your plants fast. Although both types of substrate need cycling, Controsoil would produce less ammonia and will be easier to use, especially if you have no experience with aquariums.

ADA Amazonia is rich in nutrients, and will not need additional fertilizers for years if you follow adequate water changes. However, Controsoil comes in different sizes, so you can mix and match the granules to create the perfect setup in your aquarium.

In this Video Petzone does a great comparison of the two as well, worth the watch. Check it out.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ADA soil?

ADA Amazonia is extremely rich in essential nutrients that help the root systems grow fast. It’s made of decomposed leaf mulch, which contains healthy components needed by the plant.

How much ADA Aqua Soil do I need?

I would recommend one 3L bag per 5 gallons or one 9L bag per 15 gallons. This should provide you with a 4-inch high substrate which is more than enough for growing healthy plants and roots.

How is ADA Aqua Soil made?

ADA Amazonia is made of uniform particles of Japanese plant-based soil. The particles are brown, so they will create a beautiful contrast with your aquatic plants. Moreover, they will complement the look of your colorful fish and other aquatic animals like dwarf seahorses, freshwater crayfish, and freshwater snails.

Wrap Up

When you’re choosing the best substrate for your aquarium, both ADA Amazonia and Controsoil can be excellent options. ADA Amazonia is affordable and rich in nutrients, so it represents a good investment as it buffers the PH and KH levels in the water.

If you’re looking for less maintenance, you might stick to Controsoil. It comes with a higher price, but it won’t cloud the water and will produce less ammonia that harms your fish and other aquatic animals.

My Favorite Filter
AquaClear HOB Filter

The AquaClear HOB filter has been around FOREVER and is typically the first filter recommended for most beginners. That said, it's a great reliable filter for experienced fish keepers and Aquascapers. It comes with prepackaged filter media but also has the ability to customize to your needs. Don't worry about water flow as the gentle waterfall design creates oxygenation without a strong current perfect for small tanks and Bettas.



ADA Amazonia

4.55

Awesomeness

4.8/5

Features

5.0/5

Ease of use

4.0/5

Value

4.5/5

Pros

  • packed with tons of nutrients
  • ADA Amazonia balances the PH level

Cons

  • can spike the ammonia levels
  • particles tend to stir up fast