Substrate provides the medium for plants to grow in and contributes to the overall aesthetic of your layout. ADA substrates deliver nutrients to plants and provide optimal texture for root growth.

Power Sand

A porous material that is placed as the foundation of all Nature Aquariums. It helps aerates the substrate and prevents it from becoming anaerobic, which will increase the chance of having algae problems. This is where beneficial bacteria resides – the bacteria that converts organic waste into nutrients for the plants. There are three granule sizes for Power Sand, designed for different aquarium depths:

  • Power Sand Small for Nature Aquariums less than 45cm in depth
  • Power Sand Medium for Nature Aquarium 45-60cm deep
  • Power Sand Large for Nature Aquariums deeper than 60cm


Power Sand is used together with substrate additives such as Bacter 100, Clear Super, and Tourmaline BC. Power Sand Special comes complete with Bacter 100 and Clear Super substrate additives, so you only need to add Tourmaline BC.


The Five Essential Substrate Additives

Five substrate additives are sprinkled on top of the Power Sand before the actual plant substrate is introduced. This is the fastest way to “jump start” a Nature Aquarium with the beneficial bacteria needed to consume excess ammonia and convert it to nitrate.

Bacter 100 contains 100 types of beneficial bacteria in dormant form that will help in converting organic waste accumulating at the bottom of the substrate into nutrients for the plants. The use of Bacter 100 prevents an anaerobic environment in the substrate, thus promoting healthy root development.

Clear Super provides nutrition for Bacter 100. ADA substrates are processed through high-heat sterilization. When beneficial bacteria from Bacter 100 is introduced to the substrate, it does not have the food needed to start reproducing. Clear Super provides the initial food for the Bacter 100 to flourish.

Tourmaline BC is a semi-precious stone that gives off an electric charge when in contact with water. This electric charge essentially “wakes up” the dormant beneficial bacteria in Bacter 100.

Penac P provides hormones to promote plant root development.

Penac W contains enzymes to promote clear water.

Aqua Soil Normal or Powder

This is placed on top of the Power Sand to give plants the medium in which to root. Aqua Soil Powder type has a very small-sized particle that grabs on to newly planted plants and prevents them from dislodging. Choose from three styles inspired by tropical landscapes: Amazonia, Malaya, or Africana.


Click on the icon below to download ADA literature about substrate.



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