Eco-Complete by itself, or as a cap?
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Old 03-23-2013, 04:25 AM   #1
thornomad
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Eco-Complete by itself, or as a cap?


Hello - I purchased five bags of eco complete on a whim while it was on sale at Petco. ($19 per bag). I am setting up a 50 gallon (36x18) tank. Is my first planted tank.

When I started reading, I saw a lot of recommendations for Eco Complete for folks like me: who haven't much experience with planted tanks. As I've read more though, I see a lot of people use it as a "cap layer" ... and have something else (maybe a soil) under it.

Now that I have it, I wondered if I should use it all as a single substrate or if I'm better served with something under it.

Plan to light with dual t5-ho lights (aquatic life) and no CO2.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 03-23-2013, 04:53 AM   #2
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I'm not sure if eco is small enough to cap dirt, but I believe it is... unless you like to go crazy moving plants around dirt is a great choice, especially in a low tech tank.

And about those lights, make sure the PAR readings arent too high for that fixture, as you are not dosing any CO2.
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:22 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchfish9 View Post
And about those lights, make sure the PAR readings arent too high for that fixture, as you are not dosing any CO2.
Looking at this thread shows me a 4 bulb 36" aquatic life ... at 16" (minus the three of substrate) the four bulbs is at about 150 PAR ... half that is 75 PAR.

I *think* that isn't too too much ... is it?
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Eco-Complete by itself, or as a cap?

I have limited experience, but from some of the reading I have done 75 par is pushing high light. You might be asking for algae trouble if you aren't using co2.

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Old 03-23-2013, 01:27 PM   #5
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I've been using Eco only with great results for awhile now (4 years). Be sure to supplement with root tabs as needed for root feeding plants.

You are most likely going to need CO2 with that fixture mounted as designed. They have excellent reflectors.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D-Linquent View Post
I have limited experience, but from some of the reading I have done 75 par is pushing high light. You might be asking for algae trouble if you aren't using co2.

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Originally Posted by Paxx View Post
I've been using Eco only with great results for awhile now (4 years). Be sure to supplement with root tabs as needed for root feeding plants.

You are most likely going to need CO2 with that fixture mounted as designed. They have excellent reflectors.
Hmm. I guess I could get another light fixture ... That one seemed petty straight forward and looked nice. I also liked how it could link up to more eventually. I had read elsewhere on here that a low tech setup had success running the light for like four or five hours on the morning and again for four or five at night ...

I am tempted to look into CO2 setups, to be honest ... But was going to wait until I had some early success. Heh.
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Old 03-23-2013, 04:28 PM   #7
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Limited experience here too...I've got an inch of top soil under five inches of Eco-complete with a bit of laterite clay mixed in at the 3 inch level...so I guess we'll see how things progress...haven;t had the soil leach up through the eco-complete yet...water is clear so far...
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:59 PM   #8
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Default Re: Eco-Complete by itself, or as a cap?

Another option is to mount/ hang your light a little higher. That will reduce the par.

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Old 03-23-2013, 06:48 PM   #9
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Default Re: Eco-Complete by itself, or as a cap?

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Originally Posted by D-Linquent View Post
Another option is to mount/ hang your light a little higher. That will reduce the par.

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I was thinking of trying that too - that way I can easily increase the light when i start upgrading. Smile
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:56 PM   #10
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Eco-complete alone is fine but it puts more emphasis on the use of root tabs. Eco-Complete will collect minerals and nutrients from water column dosing as well but tabs will be necessary for stemmed plants.

I personally used Miracle Grow Potting Soil (about 1-1.5" deep) and capped that with another 1-1.5" of eco-complete. Root tabs, I found, were less necessary.

Also, if 75 PAR is accurate, then you will indeed be pushing the medium-to-high light boundary. If you're not heavily planted, I think algae problems are almost guaranteed.
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Old 03-23-2013, 08:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STS_1OO View Post
Eco-complete alone is fine but it puts more emphasis on the use of root tabs. Eco-Complete will collect minerals and nutrients from water column dosing as well but tabs will be necessary for stemmed plants.

I personally used Miracle Grow Potting Soil (about 1-1.5" deep) and capped that with another 1-1.5" of eco-complete. Root tabs, I found, were less necessary.
Yea - I had read about a number of folks doing that; I assume the Miracle grow is cheaper anyway. I could take back one or two bags of eco complete and get a big bag of miracle grow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by STS_1OO View Post
Also, if 75 PAR is accurate, then you will indeed be pushing the medium-to-high light boundary. If you're not heavily planted, I think algae problems are almost guaranteed.
I actually don't know if that is accurate or not. I tried to figure it out based on the PAR sticky on this site which does a 4-bulb T5HO from them ... so, just used math to figure it out for myself. Aquatic Life doesn't publish PAR values in there spec sheets that I can see.

After looking further on the site, I see a lot of good things about Finnex. And, according to this thread, the 36" should give a little under 60 PAR at the center of the tank going down to below 50 at the endges. That might be a little more manageable. More expensive on the outset but would save money in the long run.
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STS_1OO View Post
Eco-complete alone is fine but it puts more emphasis on the use of root tabs. Eco-Complete will collect minerals and nutrients from water column dosing as well but tabs will be necessary for stemmed plants.

I personally used Miracle Grow Potting Soil (about 1-1.5" deep) and capped that with another 1-1.5" of eco-complete. Root tabs, I found, were less necessary.

.

You're right...and using root tabs here also
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