Capping Eco Complete with Sand - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2018, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Capping Eco Complete with Sand

Hello All! This is my first post!

I'm setting up my first tank, and have a couple questions. First, I have been researching a lot and settled on Eco Complete along with dosing the water column with nutrients and using root tabs. That being said, would it be heinous to use aquarium sand on top for aesthetic reasons/finely rooted carpeting plants?

Secondly, what does everyone use for backgrounds on their tanks? I see a lot of white and grey... Do people use the fancy plastic backgrounds? Or something more humble?

Thank you for your thoughts!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2018, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by LadyoftheLake_99 View Post
Hello All! This is my first post!

I'm setting up my first tank, and have a couple questions. First, I have been researching a lot and settled on Eco Complete along with dosing the water column with nutrients and using root tabs. That being said, would it be heinous to use aquarium sand on top for aesthetic reasons/finely rooted carpeting plants?

Secondly, what does everyone use for backgrounds on their tanks? I see a lot of white and grey... Do people use the fancy plastic backgrounds? Or something more humble?

Thank you for your thoughts!
Why not just use the sand as your whole substrate if you like the look of it?

Eco-comp and sand are both completely inert substrates.

I would go with straight sand... Did you have one in mind you lik the look of?

Over time the large granular eco-comp will make its way to the surface anyway, save that headache and go straight sand

Generally the fancy plastic backgrounds take the viewers eye away from the real plants. Solid backgrounds keep all the focus on the plants / fish / scape of the tank.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2018, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LadyoftheLake_99 View Post
Hello All! This is my first post!

I'm setting up my first tank, and have a couple questions. First, I have been researching a lot and settled on Eco Complete along with dosing the water column with nutrients and using root tabs. That being said, would it be heinous to use aquarium sand on top for aesthetic reasons/finely rooted carpeting plants?

Secondly, what does everyone use for backgrounds on their tanks? I see a lot of white and grey... Do people use the fancy plastic backgrounds? Or something more humble?

Thank you for your thoughts!
Why not just use the sand as your whole substrate if you like the look of it?

Eco-comp and sand are both completely inert substrates.

I would go with straight sand... Did you have one in mind you lik the look of?

Over time the large granular eco-comp will make its way to the surface anyway, save that headache and go straight sand <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_wink.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Wink" >:-)</a>

Generally the fancy plastic backgrounds take the viewers eye away from the real plants. Solid backgrounds keep all the focus on the plants / fish / scape of the tank.
I know they're both inert, hence the water column dosing and root tabs. But the porosity of the EC is something that will bioaccumulate over time. I already have four bags of EC and one bag of sand for a 55 gallon tank, so I'm pretty set there.

The EC will rise to the surface though? Interesting.

I should probably state that the last question was referencing the plastic backgrounds that would be white or grey. I've seen people spray paint tanks but I'm not that dedicated.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2018, 09:08 PM
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I know they're both inert, hence the water column dosing and root tabs. But the porosity of the EC is something that will bioaccumulate over time. I already have four bags of EC and one bag of sand for a 55 gallon tank, so I'm pretty set there.

The EC will rise to the surface though? Interesting.

I should probably state that the last question was referencing the plastic backgrounds that would be white or grey. I've seen people spray paint tanks but I'm not that dedicated.
Eco-complete is really light by nature, much less dense than sand. So over time the eco-complete will come up through the sand and you'll be left with a mixture of both.

Eco-complete has a poor CEC rating (less than 3 meq/100g) so it will not become any more bio-active than a large grained sand.

I've used plain plastic backgrounds without issue, I've used Bristol board from an arts and craft store without issue, window tint, glass "frosting" plastidip and paint all without issue.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2018, 09:18 PM
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I made this mistake once. Beautiful white sand on top of Eco-Complete. Really bad idea. Any time you go to move a rooted plant, it'll pull up EC with it. Like Quagulator said, it's not going to stay separated for long.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2018, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by LadyoftheLake_99 View Post
I know they're both inert, hence the water column dosing and root tabs. But the porosity of the EC is something that will bioaccumulate over time. I already have four bags of EC and one bag of sand for a 55 gallon tank, so I'm pretty set there.

The EC will rise to the surface though? Interesting.

I should probably state that the last question was referencing the plastic backgrounds that would be white or grey. I've seen people spray paint tanks but I'm not that dedicated.

I've put sand over mine in several tanks for the same reason with no negative effects that I can think of. I doesn't really sift to the top on it's own like a sieve-type effect (assuming a reasonable layer thickness and beyond what falls into the cracks to begin with) but it will get pulled to the top when moving things around, vacuuming, etc. How much that happens will depend on layer depth and how much you're in there. Left alone it will stay as it was put down.

But I'd agree with Quagulator. I don't spend the money for EC anymore. I just go buy the big bags of Black Diamond for $8. No difference that I can see in results between it alone and EC alone or capped in any of my tanks.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 01:13 AM
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I didn't use Eco-Complete capped with sand, but I did use Flourite & capped it with some pool filter sand. And the only Flourite that's popped up is from me when I planted my plants, and I think it makes the sand look better with the specs of the black Flourite. I have a bunch of Cory Cats & they really like rooting around in the sand so that's one of the reasons I capped the Flourite, and I just like the look of sand.
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