Archive for the Aqua Design Amano Category


Posted in Aqua Design Amano with tags , , on October 11, 2008 by Bhushan Dalvi

ECA stands for Efficient Complex Acids. ADA claims it contains natural organic acids and iron in liquid form which is easier for aquatic plants to absorb. The organic acids in ECA help to enhance bacterial activity and improve the overall condition of aquatic plants. ECA contains iron in a form which does not easily combine with other ions making it easily available for plants. The actual ingredients of ECA are not disclosed by ADA.

I decided to try out ECA when I started seeing almost white colorless leaves in new growth in plants like R. rotundifolia and R.wallichii. I tried supplementing with another brand of liquid chelated iron, but it was not helping. It improved the color of the stems a little but I still had colorless new leaves which on R.rotundifolia had started turning transparent. I brought the 50 ml drip feed dispenser of ADA ECA and started dosing as directed on the package. Within a span of one week I could see a lot of improvement in the fast growing stems. The color had started to return, but was still not where I thought it should be. So I decided to up the dosing. I have never used any kind of testing kits and I dose all the fertilizers for the tank observing the plants. The growth and color are very good indicators of an aquatic plant’s health. After a couple of weeks the R. rotundifolia’s tops had turn beautiful pink and the R.wallichii had turned deep red and pink. I have been using ECA in all my tanks since then. ADA recommends use of ECA with caution as it is highly concentrated and overdosing can cause water discoloration as well as algae.

ADA recommends 2 drops of ECA per 5 liters of water. But this can be changed depending on type of plants you have and the amount of whitening on the new bud. I guess the trick is to understand your plant requirements and modify the dosing as needed. I generally add it right in front of the filter outflow as ECA is heavier than water and the drops tend to settle where they are dropped if the water flow is not enough. This prevents even distribution of the supplement through out the tank. When using ECA regularly it is recommended to change atleast 1/3 rd tank water every week. Excess accumulation of iron in an aquarium can hurt plants.

In my experience the best results can be obtained from ECA by using it along with Brighty K and Green Brighty Step Series. The opinions of people who have used ECA have been mixed. I have seen quiet a few beautiful tanks where it has been used so I will stick with what I believe is a good product when used in an educated way.


Counterfeit ADA Aquasoil Amazonia

Posted in Aqua Design Amano on September 21, 2008 by Bhushan Dalvi

ADA Aquasoil Amazonia is a world renowned planted tank substrate, which a lot of planted tank enthusiast swear by. It’s a proprietary product developed by Aqua Design Amano of Japan especially for use in planted tanks. I have been using this product for about 2 years now and have nothing but good things to say about this product. I will leave reviewing my experience with this product here as that will be topic for another post where I will review AquaSoil Amazonia in detail in the ADA product review section.

Going on to the issue we have right now, I was really disappointed after I came across a notice from ADA Hong Kong posted on their website have tracked bags of counterfeit ADA Aquasoil Amazonia from Guangzhou, China.The market is already flooded with lot of counterfeit ADA Glassware which not only hurts the reputation of the genuine product but also doesn’t work as efficiently as the genuine one ultimately affecting the final goal of creating a beautiful aquascape. This does not mean that there are no similar products out there to help you come up with a beautiful planted tank. To give you a good example, I have used both the ADA Pollen Glass diffuser and a similar unbranded diffuser I bought on Ebay from and overseas dealer. The only thing I would say is “You get what you pay for”.

I am not sure how widespread is the counterfeit ADA Aquasoil Amazonia in the US market as there are just two distributors for ADA products Aquarium Design Group, Houston and Aquaforest, San Francisco. Both of them are very reputed dealer and stand behind the product they sell. I hope the counterfeit ADA Aquasoil Amazonia will never reach the American shores.

Distinguishing the genuine ADA Aquasoil Amazonia from the counterfeit will be a tough thing to do unless you are very careful and can read some Japanese. Here are a few pointer provided by ADA Hong Kong.

Counterfeit                Genuine

The ADA logo on the counterfeit bag has slender alphabets as compared to the bold logo on the genuine bag.

Counterfeit                  Genuine

This is a picture of label on the ADA Aquasoil Carton. The only difference I could tell between the counterfeit and genuine is the scribble on the fourth line on the counterfeit label.

Counterfeit                  Genuine

As per the ADA Hong Kong website there is a difference in how the counterfeit and genuine ADA Aquasoil bag describes a sand-flattener. I could not tell a whole lot of difference .

The above picture shows the difference between the ADA product manual. The first picture is of the genuine manual and the second one is a counterfeit. The difference between the two pictures is the description is longer on the counterfeit.

Photo Credit: ADA Hong Kong