Done with Ecocomplete.. need opinions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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Done with Ecocomplete.. need opinions

Iíve been in the hobby for 5 years now. And since Iíve upgraded to my 75 I just have not been satisfied. I used to have a 60 gallon with Caribsea Sunset Gold Sand which I absolutely loved. But when I upgraded I wanted to try a darker substrate, something that would benefit my plants. So I wasted over $100 on Flourite Black Sand. This was my first biggest regret. This stuff was a nightmare from day one as far as how messy it was... and no, I didnít rinse it. Probably wouldnít have helped anyways. I didnít like how it wasnít jet black, it was more a dreary grey color. And it was so dusty that the stuff would always stick to my plants.

After about 6 months I finally gave up on it and decided to switch to EcoComplete. At first, I liked it but, it was a pain in the ass to plant in, and didnít look as natural. Eventually I started to get algae issues up that wahzoo! Iíve tried everything from algaefix to algae eaters to lowing the lights to excel. Never had issue like this before ecocomplete. Plus plant growth in this stuff sucks compared to the sands Iíve had before. I want CO2 eventually, I just canít afford it right now.

Overall Iím just unsatisfied with the way my tank looks. When I had my 60 gallon with the sunset gold I couldnít keep my eyes off of it, but now with the 75 I just donít even care to look at it.

In a nutshell, I want to either go back to the sunset gold, and try a jet black sandy substrate. And I do not want black diamond blasting sand. For one, I canít find it by me, and two, I donít like the specks of gold that Iíve seen. I was gonna try caribsea tahitian moon sand but I guess it was recalled and is no longer sold, so thatís out. The only thing Iíve seen on the internet that I like is Estes Stoney River Black Sand, but I canít find anyone that sells it.

Should I just go back to the Sunset Gold Sand?

My old 60 Gallon.


My current 75 Gallon



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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 06:04 PM
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Hi @ricktfoster,

How long have you been dealing with the apparent magnesium deficiency?

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 06:38 PM
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Don't blame the eco for the poor growth. As with many substrates it's fairly inert and you need to dose the water correctly. Want a truly lush tank? Add co2 and fertilize correctly.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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I dose easy green once a week and change 50% water once a week. Iíve tried equilibrium in the past but it didnít do anything. I understand I need CO2, but right now thatís not an option. Iíve tried to keep up with Excel but thatís not always readily available to me. Iíve always had lush plants in the past with minor issues. It wasnít until I added ecocomplete that I started have major issues with plants and excess algae.

I was told before that I may have a phosphate Deficiency.

Regardless of what this issue is, I just want to change the substrate. But canít decide between black sand and sunset gold.








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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 07:34 PM
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Hi @ricktfoster,

I don't want you to change anything. Keep your lights and photoperiod the same, your nutrient dosing the same, and do your weekly water changes.

I would like you to go to the drug store and pick up some Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate / MgS"O4*7H2O). Get the cheapest stuff on the shelf with no additives, scents, or perfumes. It should cost no more than $1 for a pound.

Do an Initial Dose of 1/2 teaspoon per 10 gallons

Thereafter, when you do your weekly water change add 1/2 teaspoon per 10 gallons of new water added.

Do this for two weeks. Now the hard part...waiting. Watch the new leaves as they emerge from the stems / crowns of the plants over the next two weeks. Do not watch the existing leaves, the damage has been done they will not improve and may continue to decline and die. If it is a magnesium issue what you should see is healthier looking leaves, greener, possibly larger, and you may see the growth rate of the plants increase. As these new leaves mature they should not develop the curled under leaf margins that we see in your pictures.

This is just a start, the amount of magnesium sulfate will likely need to be adjusted and the plants improve in health and require more nutrients. If the added magnesium works, then next step is to check the nitrate level in your tank and verify sufficient Easy Green is being dosed to achieve a +/- 20ppm of NO3 level.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 08:11 PM
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If you want to change the substrate because of the look that's one thing, but there's nothing in the eco itself that would cause those algae issues. The substrate is just holding the plants. When you upgraded the tank did you also upgrade your lighting. Most algae issues are due to lighting and not enough ferts.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-01-2019, 07:45 AM
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What are the water parameters? What's the GH/KH; Ca, Mg? NPK? Symptoms strongly suggest -B and -Zn but it could be induced.

What's in the fertilizer?

BTW, CO2 is a myth for a lush tank. No amount of CO2 will fix nutrient disorders.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-01-2019, 12:52 PM
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C02 is NOT a myth for a lush tank. No one is saying it works in a vacuum. Of course you need to fertilize properly.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-01-2019, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ricktfoster View Post
Iíve been in the hobby for 5 years now. And since Iíve upgraded to my 75 I just have not been satisfied. I used to have a 60 gallon with Caribsea Sunset Gold Sand which I absolutely loved. But when I upgraded I wanted to try a darker substrate, something that would benefit my plants. So I wasted over $100 on Flourite Black Sand. This was my first biggest regret. This stuff was a nightmare from day one as far as how messy it was... and no, I didnít rinse it. Probably wouldnít have helped anyways. I didnít like how it wasnít jet black, it was more a dreary grey color. And it was so dusty that the stuff would always stick to my plants.

After about 6 months I finally gave up on it and decided to switch to EcoComplete. At first, I liked it but, it was a pain in the ass to plant in, and didnít look as natural. Eventually I started to get algae issues up that wahzoo! Iíve tried everything from algaefix to algae eaters to lowing the lights to excel. Never had issue like this before ecocomplete. Plus plant growth in this stuff sucks compared to the sands Iíve had before. I want CO2 eventually, I just canít afford it right now.

Overall Iím just unsatisfied with the way my tank looks. When I had my 60 gallon with the sunset gold I couldnít keep my eyes off of it, but now with the 75 I just donít even care to look at it.

In a nutshell, I want to either go back to the sunset gold, and try a jet black sandy substrate. And I do not want black diamond blasting sand. For one, I canít find it by me, and two, I donít like the specks of gold that Iíve seen. I was gonna try caribsea tahitian moon sand but I guess it was recalled and is no longer sold, so thatís out. The only thing Iíve seen on the internet that I like is Estes Stoney River Black Sand, but I canít find anyone that sells it.

Should I just go back to the Sunset Gold Sand?
I think you should just go back to the Sunset Gold. Then when you have the same issues that are going on now you might take some of the expert advice that's being given for you.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-01-2019, 07:50 PM
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C02 is NOT a myth for a lush tank. No one is saying it works in a vacuum. Of course you need to fertilize properly.
Optimal nutrients > high CO2. This is my conclusion after years of doing nutrient experiments. It's why virtually everyone who runs high CO2 tanks have plants with nutrient disorders bc the nutrients and fertilization methods are not optimal. Fix the nutrient profile and your plants won't require much CO2. That's why there are so many threads about how to fertilize, what to fertilize, how much fertilizer and ratios, etc. Thus, "fertilize properly" is so general as to be completely meaningless since no one knows how. But dumping CO2 is easily quantifiable, but it's still a myth, the biggest myth in this hobby.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 01:06 PM
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Optimal nutrients > high CO2. This is my conclusion after years of doing nutrient experiments. It's why virtually everyone who runs high CO2 tanks have plants with nutrient disorders bc the nutrients and fertilization methods are not optimal. Fix the nutrient profile and your plants won't require much CO2. That's why there are so many threads about how to fertilize, what to fertilize, how much fertilizer and ratios, etc. Thus, "fertilize properly" is so general as to be completely meaningless since no one knows how. But dumping CO2 is easily quantifiable, but it's still a myth, the biggest myth in this hobby.
Can I see some of your setups and the results? I can't write a book in a thread. "Fertilize Properly" obviously means for a particular setup and what it requires. No your conclusion that virtually all high co2 tanks have nutrient disorders is total bunk. All submersed plants are co2 deprived, they look and grow their healthiest when co2 is added to any setup.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 06:59 PM
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Can I see some of your setups and the results? I can't write a book in a thread. "Fertilize Properly" obviously means for a particular setup and what it requires. No your conclusion that virtually all high co2 tanks have nutrient disorders is total bunk. All submersed plants are co2 deprived, they look and grow their healthiest when co2 is added to any setup.
I've done the experiments to be able to identify nutrient disorders and I can quickly identify many of them by sight. That's why you believe what you do bc you can't identify them even if it's right in front of your eyes; most ppl can't until the disorders are very severe. Unless you've done these experiments and controlled for CO2 and nutrients, you'll believe what you read bc it's the internet. Just bc a lot of ppl believe this myth doesn't make that myth a reality. Lack of CO2 as the reason for plant problems is the biggest myth in this hobby. And no, you can't write a book about your beliefs unless it's fiction.

" All submersed plants are co2 deprived, they look and grow their healthiest when co2 is added to any setup."
You can't even back this statement up with evidence bc it's just an opinion.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 10:18 PM
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I've done the experiments to be able to identify nutrient disorders and I can quickly identify many of them by sight. That's why you believe what you do bc you can't identify them even if it's right in front of your eyes; most ppl can't until the disorders are very severe. Unless you've done these experiments and controlled for CO2 and nutrients, you'll believe what you read bc it's the internet. Just bc a lot of ppl believe this myth doesn't make that myth a reality. Lack of CO2 as the reason for plant problems is the biggest myth in this hobby. And no, you can't write a book about your beliefs unless it's fiction.

" All submersed plants are co2 deprived, they look and grow their healthiest when co2 is added to any setup."
You can't even back this statement up with evidence bc it's just an opinion.
Translation - You have nothing to show and no verifiable results.

You and Edward should get together at least then you'll be putting together two variables instead of your irrelevant laboratory type experiments that aren't even applicable to the hobby. Anecdotal evidence of 1,000 of hobbyist and professionals is far more valuable in this case.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 11:29 PM
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Hi @ricktfoster,

How is it going with the new dosing? What are the new leaves looking like?
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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Hi @ricktfoster,



How is it going with the new dosing? What are the new leaves looking like?


Wow... this became a friendly thread, lol. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and has their own experiences I guess! Kubla, I am taking the expert advice regardless, but thanks! . As for what my perimeters are, I will have to get back to you on that. But theyíve always been pretty steady at:

Nitrate N03: 5.0ppm
Nitrite N02: 0ppm
Hardness GH: 150
Alkalinity KH: 180
pH: 8.2ppm
Ammonia .0

Seattle, I have yet to start the dosing of the epson salt, but plan to start this Sunday when I do my weekly water change.


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