2 Substrate questions
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Old 02-26-2012, 01:15 AM   #1
Lovin Fish
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2 Substrate questions


Hi guys! I have been researching my tail off about low-tech tanks, but I still have a couple un-answered questions. I am hoping you can help.

Is it okay to do a low tech set up with 1 1/4" eco-complete planted aquarium substrate on the bottom layered with 2" white sand on top?

Should I use eco-complete mixed into my top-soil?

I am setting up a couple tanks, and a bit nervous about doing it. I am trying to figure if I should do the mineralized soil technique or the miracle grow potting soil route. What are your opinions?
Thanks guys!
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Old 02-26-2012, 01:51 AM   #2
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There are good reasons to use almost any of the substrate options we have. You can grow plants very well with any of them. If you prefer a very dark substrate, that limits your choices. If you prefer a white or near white substrate, that also limits your choices. If you are on a really tight budget, that limits your choices. Fortunately, you can do well within any of those limitations.
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Old 02-26-2012, 02:33 AM   #3
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Sand will level out and end up beneath Eco-Complete. I'd pick one or the other.

EC is inert, so it adds nothing to your substrate as far as fertilization goes.
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Old 02-26-2012, 02:44 AM   #4
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I've never used MTS so I can't comment on that. However the Miracle Grow option is less work for you, in that you can pick it up anytime of the year at many places and use it immediately, as opposed to having to wait to make it.

Since you are setting up a couple of tanks why not try a couple different strategies.

Do one with soil base and cap it with Eco-complete. Then do another either soil base with a sand cap or straight sand with root tabs for the individual plants.

That way you get to see what YOU like better.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:39 AM   #5
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Thank you guys! That is a bummer that EC is pretty much useless to me as a plant root base to my substrate. Arggg...too bad I bought it already...so, I will try it out over the soil in one tank like suggested and then cap with sand in the other. I am curious though, when I sir the sand every now and then, will I make a mess of it getting soil mixed in? Or, will the soil be pretty firn so it won't get picked up by the swirling current from sand stirring?
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:52 AM   #6
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I agree with all the above posts. When you end up putting more than one kind of substrate in don't be surprised if over time they end up getting mixing in together. I have eco-complete and I like it.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:05 PM   #7
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Well...I wouldn't call Eco complete useless. It has a good CEC property, meaning that long term it will bind nutrients, and release them to roots slowly. If you were to use miracle grow and cap it with Eco complete, you would get immediate high nutrient content, maybe even too high for fish for the first few weeks, but then as it gets depleted, the Eco complete will have built up nutrients and that will have sustained feeding power for existing roots. If you want white sand, I'd say get a ton of root tabs and load the sand up with them and just use that. If you try to cap with it, most likely they will mix in no time.
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Old 03-05-2012, 01:07 AM   #8
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That sounds like a good idea with the root tabs and sand. I will try that. I will be careful about adding the fish after completing the soil capped with eco. How long do you suggest I wait before adding fish?
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Old 03-05-2012, 01:47 AM   #9
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Im no expert, but i set up my tank a few months ago and for several months beforehand i researched like crazy and read countless forums. You will read a million opinions on what people think is best, all i can say is what i did which was miracle grow organic topped with play sand. i couldn't be happier with my choice. Super inexpensive, and the plants love it. Also the play sand looks great, especially if you want that natural look. I tossed in several various types of broken shells collected in florida and a few handfuls of crushed coral i had left over from another tank. I love it. Hope my experience helps. Good luck.
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by falcooo View Post
Im no expert, but i set up my tank a few months ago and for several months beforehand i researched like crazy and read countless forums. You will read a million opinions on what people think is best, all i can say is what i did which was miracle grow organic topped with play sand. i couldn't be happier with my choice. Super inexpensive, and the plants love it. Also the play sand looks great, especially if you want that natural look. I tossed in several various types of broken shells collected in florida and a few handfuls of crushed coral i had left over from another tank. I love it. Hope my experience helps. Good luck.
Me too! Loads of research for the past 6 months which lead me to be unsure of what really works. I did eco complete because it's all we have in this silly town right now and covered it in sand. So far, I don't actually like sand. I love my gravel tanks. With the sand I feel like I am not doing enough...I guess I just like having more work to do LOL. I love gravel cleaning every 2 days with my other tanks, and the sand tank I stir the sand every 7 days and suck up the deitris every other day. I hate it LOL!!! I must be crazy
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