The search for the perfect aquarium, which requires little maintenance and does not cause algae problems or parameter decompensation, has made the use of the Akadama aquarium very popular.
Its enormous popularity, and the massive use of the Akadama for aquariums, we owe to the great master of aquarium hobby Takashi Amano , founder of the company that bears his name: Aqua Design Amano.
But it is possible that you are not very clear about what it is and why it may be interesting to use the Akadama in your aquarium, let’s get to it.
What is the Akadama?
Akadama is a Japanese word that could basically be translated as red earth. And, the Akadama is a Japanese clay soil of volcanic origin, which has a somewhat orange red color.
We have talked before about clay soils for aquariums, like the famous JBL Manado .
As with Manado, it can be used alone or in combination with other nutritive substrates , although in this case we would lose the advantage of Akadama.
Remember that most aquarium plants take their nutrients through the leaves, and that the substrate is merely a means of supporting the roots. The nutrients that the plants need will be taken in most of the decomposing remains of the aquarium, and those that are missing can be added via aquarium fertilizers.
Features of the Akadama for aquarium
- The clay is neutral to slightly acidic , with a pH of between 6.5 to 6.9.
- Alters the composition of the water, lowering the pH . Over time it becomes saturated and remains stable.
- Its greatest peculiarity is that it is capable of retaining nutrients, to later release them.
- It is firm and resistant. It does not tend to fall apart over time.
- Very porous, it allows a good rooting of aquarium plants.
Types of Akadama
There are really not different types of Akadama, what we have are different granulometries.
There are Akadamas of up to 2 mm, others between 4 and 6 millimeters and the largest between 8 and 12 millimeters.
Akadama or Manado Substrate
This is a question that comes up from time to time, which is better, Akadama or Manado?
In reality we are talking about very similar substrates: inert and very useful for a planted aquarium, since they tend to absorb the excess nutrients that are generated in an aquarium.
The only really important difference is that Akadama tends to keep the pH of the aquarium below 6, which is ideal for an African cichlid aquarium.
At this point it is important to remember that the Akadama, as with the Manado, reaches a point where it becomes saturated with taking nutrients, at which point it becomes more stable and does not influence the aquarium parameters.
We must also remember that they are two different «products.» While Akadama is a substrate for bonsai, Manado is a specific substrate for aquariums.
How to treat the Akadama before putting it in the aquarium. Does it have to be washed?
One of the doubts of those who use the Akadama for the aquarium for the first time, is whether or not it is washed, as is done with the Manado.
Experts recommend not washing it, but it is necessary to screen very well, to remove the remains of dust, roots and any other impurities that it may carry. Do not forget that it is a product that is usually sold as a substrate for bonsai .
To prevent your aquarium from ending up full of suspended particles, there are a couple of tricks you can try.
- Once the bottom of the aquarium is upholstered, placing the Akadama as we would like (completely uniform or not), we proceed to cover the Akadama with plastic.
- We fill the aquarium with water without removing the plastic, once full, we proceed to remove the plastic and we can see that there are hardly any particles in suspension.
- Another trick is that, once the Akadama is placed, we put a plate in the aquarium and let the water fall on the plate until the aquarium is full. In this way we avoid muddying the aquarium.
Where to buy Akadama for aquarium?
Akadama can be purchased at any Garden Center that sells bonsai growing products, but it can also be purchased online.
Without a doubt, the easiest way to buy Akadama is through Amazon .
You can choose different presentations, with Akadama bags from 2 liters onwards, and with different granulometries, to choose the one that best suits your aquarium.