04-06-2011, 09:20 AM
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Are you planning on growing HC? HC should be planted in small patches so it spreads. I beleive ADA AS can be used on its own, but the ADA site says to use powersand to help establish a bacteria colony. From what ive read, powersand is useless after a year anyway, its just to help start aquariums.
TBH, sometimes i feel like ADA is the Apple of the aquarium world, their things are always more expensive and of high quality, but not all of it is really needed, but they still charge a premium for all of it.
I would suggest you look more into ADA AS affecting water chemistry before using it. I'm 90% sure it just adds a bunch of fertilizer into your water for plants including nitrates but does not alter PH, it might affect hardness though, so make sure you check before you buy or it might make your water unsuitable for some fish.