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I have a dilemma.

wtusa17

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I have a 29 gallon that I want to set up. I usually do budget but this time I want to set up a nice planted scape with good materials. I think I am going to go with eco complete as the substrate. I don’t know if I should 1) use 2 bags of eco complete or 2) use dirt at the bottom and cap off with eco complete. Please give me suggestions on what would be the best option for a nice planted tank. Thanks
 

Munroco

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Is there a point in using eco complete with dirt? Eco complete is advertised as "a complete aquatic substrate which delivers the nutrients straight to the plant roots." I think using dirt too would be overkill, unless you were thinking of the dirt as a cheaper alternative to a 2nd bag of eco complete?
 
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wtusa17

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Is there a point in using eco complete with dirt? Eco complete is advertised as "a complete aquatic substrate which delivers the nutrients straight to the plant roots." I think using dirt too would be overkill, unless you were thinking of the dirt as a cheaper alternative to a 2nd bag of eco complete?
Yes that is my point. I don’t want to have to buy 2 bags if I don’t have to.
 

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If you could post your water test results, do you plan on having just plants or having fish too? Have you done a planted tank before?
 
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wtusa17

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If you could post your water test results, do you plan on having just plants or having fish too? Have you done a planted tank before?
I plan on having fish too. I have 2 out of 4 tanks planted. This is the first one that I want to buy substrate that is plant specific tho
 

Munroco

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OK, when people talk about dirt in a tank, they usually mean a nutrient rich layer like compost that goes under gravel or sand or suchlike.

If its just for a filler I suppose lots of things would work. Sand, gravel etc. I think you want something inert though as with the eco complete allready containing nutrients, anything organic could result in a huge algae outbreak. I'd also be wary of using too deep a layer of sand as its possible that gases could form in it.

Whichever you use, you can cut the legs off of ladies tights, fill them with the lower substrate and layer them on the tank base. That way it wont mix and ruin the look of your eco complete.

Edit : Tights = pantyhose in USA
 

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Eco-complete is a waste of money. I used Flourite which is much the same thing, and after two years dumped it outy in the back garden. These do not add nutrients to plants; I still had to use liquid and tab fertilizers. Depending upon intended fish, these are also detrimental to substrate fish.

Soil is frankly useless. Diana Walstad who pioneered this method admits that after almost a year, any inert sand substrate is just as good. The value of soil is the initial release of CO2 which takes time to build in an inert substrate, but there is also the initial ammonia which can kill fish. Most soil advocates recommend a dry start and no fish for six months. Given all this, why bother? In the end plants will thrive in inert sand (or fine gravel). Mine certainly did.
 
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wtusa17

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Eco-complete is a waste of money. I used Flourite which is much the same thing, and after two years dumped it outy in the back garden. These do not add nutrients to plants; I still had to use liquid and tab fertilizers. Depending upon intended fish, these are also detrimental to substrate fish.

Soil is frankly useless. Diana Walstad who pioneered this method admits that after almost a year, any inert sand substrate is just as good. The value of soil is the initial release of CO2 which takes time to build in an inert substrate, but there is also the initial ammonia which can kill fish. Most soil advocates recommend a dry start and no fish for six months. Given all this, why bother? In the end plants will thrive in inert sand (or fine gravel). Mine certainly did.
So what can you use to get good plant growth instantly without waiting the year
 

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Flourish Plant root tabs do a good job for plants that get what they need through their roots, I also use Flourish Comprehensive for plants that absorb what they need from the water.
 
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utahfish

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I agree with byron, ive used eco complete, fluoride, aqua soil, dirt, gravel, sand, and whatever else. Problem with dirted tanks and substrate like eco complete is its done being useful after about 2 years and needs to be replaced. Where as an inert substrate like sand one can just pop a few root tabs in and call it good for as long as one has the tank.
 

Byron

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So what can you use to get good plant growth instantly without waiting the year
First, there is a difference between a high-tech planted tank and a basic planted fish tank. The former may not even have fish, it is more of an aquatic garden, whereas the latter is a fish tank that is planted. The approach is different according to the goal.

Assuming this is primarily a fish tank that is planted, an inert substrate with necessary nutrient supplementation does the job. As I mentioned previously, it is the initial kick of CO2 that is the only benefit but this is not even necessary unless you intend the aquatic garden which will have such a thick planting it needs immediate nutrient supplementation and CO2. If the tank is well planted initially, fish can be immediately added (another benefit here, no "cycling") which is immediately adding nutrients from what you feed them. The CO2 comes from fish, plant and bacteria respiration, but primarily from the decomposition of organics (fish excrement) in the substrate. Snails help break this down and get the decomposition going faster as well. I can usually see plant growth after just a week or two. Supplementation (substrate tabs and liquid) provide an adequate supply of the other nutrients.
 

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I agree with @Byron. That stuff is a complete waste of money. The theory you mentioned is also useless. I use play sand and no root tabs and my plants looks amazing. If you want a great looking tank, get a dark brown play sand, nice pieces of driftwood, lava rock (Or smooth river rock, depending on what look you're going for.), and get some root tabs. Get a lot of Anacharis as well, i have this in my tanks and it makes it look awesome.
 

ElissaBee

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I'm a fan of Eco Complete. I like the way it looks and it's easy to vacuum without digging around and uprooting your plants. For a 29g I would use 2 bags. I use Eco in my planted tank (hi-light, CO2 injected) and it works beautifully for me. I attached a pic.
 

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wtusa17

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I'm a fan of Eco Complete. I like the way it looks and it's easy to vacuum without digging around and uprooting your plants. For a 29g I would use 2 bags. I use Eco in my planted tank (hi-light, CO2 injected) and it works beautifully for me. I attached a pic.
I’ve decided to go with fluval stratum. People keep recommending it to me and I realized it would not be as expensive as I thought. Have you ever used stratum?
 

ElissaBee

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I’ve decided to go with fluval stratum. People keep recommending it to me and I realized it would not be as expensive as I thought. Have you ever used stratum?
I have not but my sister is using it in her new planted tank. The granules are nice and round, I love the look of it. Good luck!
 
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