I would like to transition my current tank (20G) which currently has a mixed of plastic plants and some live plants to an all-live plants setup that is low tech based. My current substrate is gravel (see attached photo of what it looks like) but I have bought two bags of Eco-Complete. Lighting is a Finnex FugeRAY that I just recently purchased.
What would be the best and least disruptive strategy or approach to either replacing or adding EC to my existing gravel? I'm thinking there are two options here: either replace the existing gravel completely with EC or just add or EC on top of the existing gravel.
The process that I would take would be:
1. Drain a bucket full of existing aquarium water and add a heater and air stone, and net out all the fishes for the time being.
2. Remove all the current decorations (driftwood, plants, etc.)
3. Drain at least 50% of the existing water into buckets.
Drain all water, and remove existing gravel completely and then replace with EC.... or
ADD TO EXISTING:
Drain all water, and add EC on top of existing gravel
4. Plant new live plants, add back decorations (wood, etc.)
5. Add back existing water as well as new prepared water.
6. Add back fishes.
Also, the bag on the EC said that if I were to add to existing substrate, I should discard the "black water" in the bag? Is that true? What if I were to replace my gravel completely with EC? Would I use the black water in the bag?