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Old 07-07-2013, 04:24 AM   #1
tanks4allthefish
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My first low tech. I have a question.


I have been thinking of doing a mostly planted tank for some time now and since my 55 is healthy and doing well maybe now it is time. I have been researching low-tech tanks and since I had Diana Waltads book 'The Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" I delved even deeper into the subject. My aunt is moving so she is giving me her 55 with stand, lights, etc. so I am thinking that things are kind of coming together for a new build.

I do have a question though. Imagine that. I know alot of people use the Miracle Gro potting soil capped with gravel but I happen to already have 3 bags of Eco Complete substrate and I am wondering if this could be used in place of the Miracle Gro. I hate for the stuff to not get used. Thanks.
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:50 AM   #2
thebuddha
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Originally Posted by tanks4allthefish View Post
I have been thinking of doing a mostly planted tank for some time now and since my 55 is healthy and doing well maybe now it is time. I have been researching low-tech tanks and since I had Diana Waltads book 'The Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" I delved even deeper into the subject. My aunt is moving so she is giving me her 55 with stand, lights, etc. so I am thinking that things are kind of coming together for a new build.

I do have a question though. Imagine that. I know alot of people use the Miracle Gro potting soil capped with gravel but I happen to already have 3 bags of Eco Complete substrate and I am wondering if this could be used in place of the Miracle Gro. I hate for the stuff to not get used. Thanks.

Either a dirt+cap substrate or an eco complete substrate are good choices. The dirt gives the plants some nutrients, which is why it has become pretty popular. The eco complete doesnt have any nutrients in it, but since it is crushed up lava rock, it is very good at holding onto nutrients that you dose (or root tabs) and making them available for the roots. I have used both options and while they both worked out well, each had their own advantages and drawbacks.

But if you were planning on using the eco complete then capping it with sand still, I would probably just skip the eco complete. Yes it is better at storing nutrients, but when you move plants around you will probably pull out some of the eco complete. Might as well do a sand only..IMO

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Old 07-07-2013, 04:41 PM   #3
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What if I went ahead and used the Miracle Gro then capped it with the Eco Complete? I already have the eco complete on hand and I like the contrast between the black, the green of the plants and the fish. I dont plan on using ferts because the soil will give the plants what they need so the eco complete will be there not only for aesthetic reasons but to cap the soil and keep it in place. I think it will work okay but if someone else has tried this please let me know how it has worked for you.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:10 PM   #4
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What if I went ahead and used the Miracle Gro then capped it with the Eco Complete? I already have the eco complete on hand and I like the contrast between the black, the green of the plants and the fish. I dont plan on using ferts because the soil will give the plants what they need so the eco complete will be there not only for aesthetic reasons but to cap the soil and keep it in place. I think it will work okay but if someone else has tried this please let me know how it has worked for you.
I have done exactly this for my 20G and for my Mini-M and it has worked out just fine. You can see the results in my sig below. You should probably still do water column dosing anyway, it won't hurt.
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Old 07-07-2013, 09:05 PM   #5
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I have done exactly this for my 20G and for my Mini-M and it has worked out just fine. You can see the results in my sig below. You should probably still do water column dosing anyway, it won't hurt.
Nice pics! I am glad you shared these. I think that contrast looks nice and I am glad that it is working for you. So you are running filtration on these?
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Old 07-07-2013, 09:06 PM   #6
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Mine is Scott's topsoil, capped with a little play sand, and THEN EcoComplete on top.

I was not sure I had enough EC to give me enough substrate depth...In fact, with the topsoil, I now have TOO much substrate :-)

Doing it over again, I would skip the Eco Complete, and go potting soil, and maybe clay oil dri over that. Next time.

I will say...The EcoComplete looks fantastic! See my journal for some things to avoid...I had about three days of mud cube before it settled down.
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Link to my first planted tank, 37 gallon tall, topsoil, sand, Eco Complete
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Old 07-08-2013, 02:55 PM   #7
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Nice pics! I am glad you shared these. I think that contrast looks nice and I am glad that it is working for you. So you are running filtration on these?
Yeah, I have a simple AC20 HOB for the Mini-M, and a 2217 on my 20g. Sponges on intakes for both because of the shrimp.
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