ADA Amazonia Aquasoil Description

ADA Amazonia Aquasoil is a premium organic freshwater aquarium substrate made from baked soil granules. This substrate lowers pH and KH, creating the ideal environment for aquatic plants and many types of fish and dwarf shrimp. Aqua Soil Amazonia granules maintain their shape and density while making accessible rich humic acids and other beneficial organics that stimulate root growth and a healthy substrate micro ecosystem. Each 9 liter bag is approximately 17-19 pounds–this amount is suitable for a 10 to 15 gallon aquarium.


It’s nothing like the 90’s where we used to cover the ground with bright color substrate.ADA New Amazonia Aquasoil creates a dark contrast to your aquarium which makes your red cherry shrimp or any vibrant shrimp pop. I have to say, once you fill that tank for the first time with your plants buried into the substrate – you definitely see the dark brown that Amazonia has to show.


Does it work? Well of course, plants suck nutrients from these granules and grow. Also shrimp love picking and cleaning through ADA amazonia  like a kid playing in a plastic ball-pen. Now you won’t see much of a difference in growing quality with substrates like Fluval Stratum compared to ADA Amazonia because all-in-all, they do the same thing. It’s more of an a visual and name brand compared to the other competitors when you are buying ADA amazonia aquasoil.


ADA Amazonia typically exhaust its nutrients within just over a year or so, making you rely on liquid dosing if you are trying to grow aquatic plants in it. My tank is actually approaching year 2 and I don’t see any stunt in growth with this substrate. This could be from me just liquid dosing throughout the life of my substrate.

pH buffer

If you are looking to lower your pH, ADA Amazonia Aquasoil definitely does help bring that number down. Recommended substrate depth is about 1-3 inches (25-75 mm) to create a good buffer on pH levels. This is all depending on how big the footprint is for your aquarium. There is an useful comparison chart from the different ADA substrates and the difference of PH buffering they do to a sample tap water.  ADA amazonia aquasoil bringing down the pH by .8 and the Amazonia aquasoil II (new) bumps it down another .4 on the pH scale. This is great for more sensitive types of shrimp like crystal red shrimp.

Ammonia Spikes

ADA Amazonia Aquasoil substrate tends to leech ammonia when first introduced. There has been plenty of horror stories of people adding this substrate and their shrimp or fish were dead the next day. This is a precaution with any major changes you do to your aquarium – even though the initial ammonia spike happened to me, I made sure my fish & shrimp weren’t in the aquarium while beneficial bacteria started to break down the ammonia in the nitrogen cycle process.


“My tank water was completely brown and mucky right after I filled it!” This is usually what I hear and read about all the time. ADA Amazonia Aquasoil is a substrate that, once filled with water, will release all that micro debris and cloud up your aquarium for a few hours. Your best bet to prevent this from happening is to wash all your substrate in a container before adding it into your tank.


Aqua Design Amano is a name brand – when you buy their product, you’re realistically buying the Rolls Royce of the aquatic world. With Amazonia Aquasoil, prices definitely vary from supply and demand. It can be anywhere from $30-50 per 9 liters for a bag of this stuff and that doesn’t even include shipping, where eco-complete is almost half the price. I’ve used eco-complete recently and for the price, the roots of foreground plants have a very hard time sending out runners.

If you are looking for the name brand and a sure thing, ADA amazonia aquasoil might be your substrate. Check out below for the best places to buy your ADA aquasoil:


  1. i honestly loved it till it killed all my shrimps. i had green neon tetras last 2 years inside and when i took them out to add shrimps. the ph started going up and down and again. water changes just messed more with the shrimps because over night the ph would go from 6.8 down to 6.0 or under all over again causing the shrimps to stress even more. any ideas what can cuase this? No overfeeding only 20 shrimps (was) lightly planted with driftwood. and the driftwood is over 3 years old so i doubt that is the cause.

  2. Hi.I have bought ADA Amazonia and its not NEW. i rent some of it to my friend to test it at a pots in his aquarium but some of his fishes was dead tomorrow morning. i have a new tank . may i use it safely ? there is not any NEW Amazonia at our country

    • Hey Richard,

      I’ve actually never had any experience with akadama substrate. Now I do have a few aquascaping buddies that use Akadama substrate over ADA aquasoil for supposedly better plant growth and cheaper price tag. As well as i’m seeing it more commonly used in aquariums now for aquascapes. Though I haven’t came around to liking the red/orange-ish hue to the baked substrate just yet.

      I’m definitely looking into doing a substrate line-up of all the products (i have ADA aquasoil, Fluval, Eco-complete, and Mr aqua soil) I’ll have to get some akadama substrate to add to the line-up. I know in the US, it’s readily available in most Bonsai shops as well as online.

      With a price tag of about $2.78/Liter of Akadama including shipping, it is half the cost of ADA aquasoil within the US. Keep in mind, ADA lost their foothold with the US as well – so it will become an extinct breed or just even more expensive.

      Beyond that, I don’t know any more aspects of this substrate for buffering capabilities, longevity, etc etc.

      Some general information on Akadama Substrate:

      – Jesse M.

      • Hi Jesse M.

        I am new to the aquaspace hobby and looking info about substrate and thats why I ask you about Akadama. I dont like to much the color of Akadama too.

        With Ada Aquasoil did you use ADA PowerSand?

        Thanks for your prompt response and all the reviews.

        • Hey Richard,

          Well if you’re looking to carpet your aquascape with a foreground plant (easier said than done) it wouldn’t matter the color of substrate, so Akadama could be a suitable choice. I’ve been working on my aquascapes for over 2 years and it took me time to grow my “green thumb” with aquatic plants. Mostly because I had inadequate lighting.

          I believe Akadama is just like ADA substrates which comes in two forms, normal and powdered (which is just small particles). So I would pick which one you like more and go with it.

          I have used ADA Power Sand with my ADA amazonia aquasoil and it was probably the worst mistake i’ve ever made. Don’t get me wrong, ADA Power Sand does provide deep root plants much nutrients that benefit a bit better than ADA amazonia aquasoil or any other substrate for that matter.

          Having said that, just because you laid a nice thin layer of it in your aquascape and then pour the amazonia aquasoil over it, sooner or later those white grannel substrates will appear at the top soil. This could happen from Gravel Vac’s, fauna, inverts, re-scapes, etc etc. And trust me, picking each one of those out with tweezers is not fun at all.

          Anyways, my recommendation is to look at root tabs if your looking to provide more nutrients to larger stem plants vs ADA Power Sand. Stick with one substrate and you will be golden.

          – Jesse M.