Substrate Questions for a 65g - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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Substrate Questions for a 65g

Hello friends,

I am planning to start a fully planted 65 gallon tank and i am on a substrate research.

I am thinking of ECO-COMPLETE substrate and i have few questions about it. First and crucial , does it alternates water parameters ; Company says it does not but i found some weird cases around of people complaining that eco-complete increases PH.

Also, i see that eco-complete is more an inert substrate for long-term use than an active. Maybe a layer of an active substrate under eco-complete will make it even better ? Such as prodibio soil ? Or this will make things unstable? (a soil such as prodibio decreases ph and softens water).

Give me some suggestions and ideas!

Thank you in advance!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 12:34 PM
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Hello friends,

I am planning to start a fully planted 65 gallon tank and i am on a substrate research.

I am thinking of ECO-COMPLETE substrate and i have few questions about it. First and crucial , does it alternates water parameters ; Company says it does not but i found some weird cases around of people complaining that eco-complete increases PH.

Also, i see that eco-complete is more an inert substrate for long-term use than an active. Maybe a layer of an active substrate under eco-complete will make it even better ? Such as prodibio soil ? Or this will make things unstable? (a soil such as prodibio decreases ph and softens water).

Give me some suggestions and ideas!

Thank you in advance!

I have used eco-complete in my old 65 gal. a while back. It was in there for 2-3 years and never really got "used" up. I used 3 bags but should have used 5, being a student at the time, I was just being cheap.

What do you mean by it being an "active" substrate? Eco-complete has a high cation exchange capacity so it will be actively storing and releasing nutrients. My tap water pH is around 8.2 so I never noticed any increase in pH.

I didn't dose too much water column ferts at the time and ended up using some root tabs occasionally.

Overall I liked it, I did not like the irregular granular size, but I fell like if i added another inch of depth it would make it three times easier to plant in.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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i was using prodibio aquasoil. This is an active substrate. That means it alternates water parameters. It softens water and decreases ph. Its a blast from day1 but has no life after 2 years.

Eco-complete absorbes minerals from water column. My research around internet found that it lasts longer than an active soil such as prodibio, ada and others but some ph issues from users make me wonder..

I really dont know what to use , i am a little bit confused. Prodibio for example gave me amazing results in plant growth but with this setup i had my worst algae problem ever. A filamentous algae which made my life in hobby hell. So i am not into using it again. It may not having any involvement with the issue i had but...

Suggest me few top substrates please.I want something which is blast since day 1 and lasts for long long time. I dont really care about price atm. And dont suggest me ada amazonia because there is no sellers in my country.

Thank you very much

Sorry for reposting but what do you think about TROPICA AQUARIUM SOIL;

Last edited by Darkblade48; 12-05-2017 at 11:11 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 03:56 PM
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I came from the world of dirt. I switched to fluorite. I like it. I have two tanks with fluorite. One is a mix of brown and black. I really like the grain size on this one. It looks natural to me. I also have the red. The grain size is larger in the red and to me it makes planting a little more difficult. I am not seeing crazy growth rates like I did with dirt but thus far in my mind it has been a good investment.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Flurite is a bit big for delicate roots such as hemianthus cuba...

Do we have any good info about Dennerle Scapers soil; An active substrate which softens water .
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 07:36 PM
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Mr. Aqua soil gets good reviews. I'm hunting for substrate to use in my 32g tank I'm setting up after Christmas and I'd probably give ADA a try since it's kinda the "Gold Standard" but I don't like the idea that it will eventually turn to mush and need replaced. I can deal with it losing nutrients and even losing buffering ability...both of those issues can be dealt with. But turning to mud...that's a mess I don't want to deal with even if it does take a couple years to happen. I've not yet heard if the Mr. Aqua will do the same...I suspect it will though. I'm leaning towards Eco-Complete since even if it's not as good it won't break down over time since it's just lava rock. I don't mind column dosing since even using something like ADA, you'll end up doing that anyways.


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 07:41 PM
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Flurite is a bit big for delicate roots such as hemianthus cuba...

Do we have any good info about Dennerle Scapers soil; An active substrate which softens water .
HC will carpet fluorite... I wish I had a pic of my tank with an HC carpet with fluprite but I don't. Planting delicate plants in eco-complete or fluorite sucks period. But once they establish they will grow fine. Small delicate roots will grip onto the pores/cracks of each fluorite/eco-complete granule. You could go with fluorite sand. What are you trying to buffer your water to? I use a mix of RO and tap water to get me the parameters I am after.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 08:29 PM
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Mr. Aqua soil gets good reviews. I'm hunting for substrate to use in my 32g tank I'm setting up after Christmas and I'd probably give ADA a try since it's kinda the "Gold Standard" but I don't like the idea that it will eventually turn to mush and need replaced. I can deal with it losing nutrients and even losing buffering ability...both of those issues can be dealt with. But turning to mud...that's a mess I don't want to deal with even if it does take a couple years to happen. I've not yet heard if the Mr. Aqua will do the same...I suspect it will though. I'm leaning towards Eco-Complete since even if it's not as good it won't break down over time since it's just lava rock. I don't mind column dosing since even using something like ADA, you'll end up doing that anyways.
I think ADA and fluval dirts are pretty similar to each other but the fluval stuff actually costs less. I think the only way to way to prevent the mush from happening is to go full dirted which brings along other issues or use eco-complete like you mentioned.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 09:39 PM
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Yeah...if I was one that enjoyed tearing my tanks down every 6-12 months to rescape I'd be all about something like ADA or similar. But I'm not. I'd rather setup once and maintain a stable eco-system for long-term. I don't think ADA is the right stuff for someone like me. I'll probably end up doing Eco on the back area where I have plants and maybe sand up front with no plants. I don't plan to do any carpet plants so I don't thing that will be an issue. Lots of crypts, java fern, s.repens, ect.


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-05-2017, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
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What about putting a layer of soil such as amazonia,fluval, tropica or whatever soil and above it put like 3-4 cm of eco-complete ; I like the idea of eco-complete because as you say it lasts long. But if we put a soil layer under for boost?
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-05-2017, 07:16 AM
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Soil tanks work but they come with their own list of headaches. They definitely work best for someone that doesn't like to move plants much. But like the fancy soils...they will exhaust in time and then you'll be right back to square one and either using root tabs, column dosing which you'll be doing anyways eventually, or tearing down and starting over.


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