What looks better, Eco-Complete or Gravel? - The Planted Tank Forum
View Poll Results: What looks better in a tank?
Eco-Complete 6 75.00%
Gravel 2 25.00%
Voters: 8. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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What looks better, Eco-Complete or Gravel?

This is a subjective question, but I'm having a hard time deciding what looks better, Eco-Complete (black) or Gravel. I've never seen Eco-complete in tank in person and it is hard to tell from photos.

I like how gravel looks kind of natural, but want a change and have heard that Eco-Complete looks really good.

This is for a community, low-tech planted 75G tank (tetras and angels probably).

What do you all think?
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 07:03 PM
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Aesthetically, I would prefer the look of sand over gravel or eco-complete. So didn't vote.

But, there are some practical considerations as well. Such as: it depends on if you are adding bottom-dwelling fish or not- like corydoras. If so, eco-complete has sharp edges that make it unsuitable as a substrate for many bottom-dwelling fish. If adding bottom-dwellers, than I would add pea-gravel that is small and has rounded corners.
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180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 09:43 PM
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If you like eco complete, then get eco complete. I had it for years with Cories without any issue. This is an old myth and there's really nothing to it. They can dig easier in sand, but they will do fine in Eco. I've never found Eco to be jagged
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 10:47 PM
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Actually, OP, not a myth, I would refer to expert opinion from those who raise, breed, and study corydoras exclusively on corydorasworld on Facebook. You will find many notable ichthyologists, like Ian Fuller, on this site who specialize in corydoras research from all over the world.
One persons experience, as we all know, is not enough to classify anything as a "myth," you need to refer to specialists that have studied something long-term in order to make a decision an objective one. This is where I found information when I was researching the same question several years ago.
But, then again, you may not be keeping corydoras at all-- in which case this question is not of interest to you.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer discus pair and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech - Breeding tank
30 g. low-tech Shrimp tank - wild-type neocaradina and Caridina cf. babaulti "Zebra"
9 gallon Shrimp tank- Caridina cantonensis ("Golden Bee's"). *Tank still at cycling stage.

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” – Fran Lebowitz
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
Actually, OP, not a myth, I would refer to expert opinion from those who raise, breed, and study corydoras exclusively on corydorasworld on Facebook. You will find many notable ichthyologists, like Ian Fuller, on this site who specialize in corydoras research from all over the world.
One persons experience, as we all know, is not enough to classify anything as a "myth," you need to refer to specialists that have studied something long-term in order to make a decision an objective one. This is where I found information when I was researching the same question several years ago.
But, then again, you may not be keeping corydoras at all-- in which case this question is not of interest to you.
I'm really glad you brought this up. After doing some research I decided to switch to sand just for the Corys.

Problem now is finding a black sand that both won't hurt the Corys (like Blasting sand) and won't make the tank messy (like seacham sand)

Any recommendations?
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by JPA077 View Post
I'm really glad you brought this up. After doing some research I decided to switch to sand just for the Corys.

Problem now is finding a black sand that both won't hurt the Corys (like Blasting sand) and won't make the tank messy (like seacham sand)

Any recommendations?

I would try Estes Stony River sand in Black- it is ph neutral, for freshwater aquariums, and has rounded edges.



I have not used the black, but have used several of the other colors.

Make sure to rinse well before adding to aquarium to get all dust off of.

Here are a couple links for this brand:


https://petoverstock.com/estes-aqua-...lack-5-lb.html
https://www.bigalspets.com/estes-sto...ium-sands.html

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer discus pair and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech - Breeding tank
30 g. low-tech Shrimp tank - wild-type neocaradina and Caridina cf. babaulti "Zebra"
9 gallon Shrimp tank- Caridina cantonensis ("Golden Bee's"). *Tank still at cycling stage.

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” – Fran Lebowitz
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 11:52 PM
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There's a ton of people that have used eco with cories without issue for years including myself. So it's not one person's experience. I've never considered Eco to be sharp, it's quite spherical and does no harm. Here's just a few threads right here on TPT discussing this from people who have used Eco Complete with Corys for YEARS.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...y-catfish.html
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...-complete.html
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...s-catfish.html
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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There's a ton of people that have used eco with cories without issue for years including myself. So it's not one person's experience. I've never considered Eco to be sharp, it's quite spherical and does no harm. Here's just a few threads right here on TPT discussing this:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...y-catfish.html
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...-complete.html
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...s-catfish.html
It’s certainly possible it is fine. But last time I had a tank I use to prioritize what I thought would look good over the potential well being of the fish. Now, I want to make sure they are comfortable. I do appreciate your input.

Also, I think sand looks better. I was hesitant because I thought plants would be tough, but other people seem able to do it and I plan to have this tank for a long time, so I’m ready to learn.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
There's a ton of people that have used eco with cories without issue for years including myself. So it's not one person's experience. I've never considered Eco to be sharp, it's quite spherical and does no harm. Here's just a few threads right here on TPT discussing this:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...y-catfish.html
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...-complete.html
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...s-catfish.html
It’s certainly possible it is fine. But last time I had a tank I use to prioritize what I thought would look good over the potential well being of the fish. Now, I want to make sure they are comfortable. I do appreciate your input.

Also, I think sand looks better. I was hesitant because I thought plants would be tough, but other people seem able to do it and I plan to have this tank for a long time, so I’m ready to learn.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
There's a ton of people that have used eco with cories without issue for years including myself. So it's not one person's experience. I've never considered Eco to be sharp, it's quite spherical and does no harm. Here's just a few threads right here on TPT discussing this from people who have used Eco Complete with Corys for YEARS.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...y-catfish.html
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...-complete.html
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...s-catfish.html
Interesting thread - I have one tank with generic gravel (20g) and a couple with Eco complete. IMO the eco looks better. I also have cories in both Eco tanks - have for a few years.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by JPA077 View Post
It’s certainly possible it is fine. But last time I had a tank I use to prioritize what I thought would look good over the potential well being of the fish. Now, I want to make sure they are comfortable. I do appreciate your input.

Also, I think sand looks better. I was hesitant because I thought plants would be tough, but other people seem able to do it and I plan to have this tank for a long time, so I’m ready to learn.

Bump:

It’s certainly possible it is fine. But last time I had a tank I use to prioritize what I thought would look good over the potential well being of the fish. Now, I want to make sure they are comfortable. I do appreciate your input.

Also, I think sand looks better. I was hesitant because I thought plants would be tough, but other people seem able to do it and I plan to have this tank for a long time, so I’m ready to learn.
Good decision. Let me know if I can help further.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer discus pair and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech - Breeding tank
30 g. low-tech Shrimp tank - wild-type neocaradina and Caridina cf. babaulti "Zebra"
9 gallon Shrimp tank- Caridina cantonensis ("Golden Bee's"). *Tank still at cycling stage.

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” – Fran Lebowitz
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 12:25 AM
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It’s certainly possible it is fine. But last time I had a tank I use to prioritize what I thought would look good over the potential well being of the fish. Now, I want to make sure they are comfortable. I do appreciate your input.

Also, I think sand looks better. I was hesitant because I thought plants would be tough, but other people seem able to do it and I plan to have this tank for a long time, so I’m ready to learn.
If you like sand by all means go with sand. Plants will grow in anything as long as you dose the water column correctly. But the corys and other bottom dwellers would be perfectly fine in the Eco, just wanted to point that out. There are threads with people having Corys for 10 years in the stuff in addition to experienced people chiming in right in this thread.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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If you like sand by all means go with sand. Plants will grow in anything as long as you dose the water column correctly. But the corys and other bottom dwellers would be perfectly fine in the Eco, just wanted to point that out. There are threads with people having Corys for 10 years in the stuff in addition to experienced people chiming in right in this thread.
I appreciate the info re: planting in sand! I don't doubt you or anyone else speaking from experience about the corys. Honestly, I was leaning towards sand before the planting issue and before I considered black sand (white sand shows up too much dirt, etc.).

Now that I know it can be planted, I just want to find the best sand fit for my plans. And if there are multiple types of sand that fit my needs, and one has some controversy (valid or not) about corys, I'd just rather choose the one that didn't.

I know this thread has drifted a long way from its topic, but has anyone had any experience with Estes?
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 12:37 AM
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Problem now is finding a black sand that both won't hurt the Corys (like Blasting sand)
Blasting sand hurting Corys ???
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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Blasting sand hurting Corys ???
I've seen a few threads saying that blasting sand is sharp and hurts corys, citing cory breeders. I've seen more threads saying it isn't true and corys will do fine with blasting sand.

But if, for example, estes black sand is good and nobody claims it hurts corys, why not go with that? Problem is I haven't heard really anything about estes.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 12:56 AM
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Blasting sand hurting Corys ???
Not on this forum. I haven't seen a substrate yet that cant be used for corydoras. If you use it- its all good.

It comes from the same place as the "I dont need a lid on my tank because Ive had my fish for years and they never jump."

Until they do.

Or, the substrate becomes a problem- and then I help them in the fish section with an bacterial/fungal illness that came clear outta nowhere. The relation is never admitted, however because that coal slag that cuts fingers and wears down human nails couldn't possibly cause any trouble to the bellies and fins of a fish.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer discus pair and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech - Breeding tank
30 g. low-tech Shrimp tank - wild-type neocaradina and Caridina cf. babaulti "Zebra"
9 gallon Shrimp tank- Caridina cantonensis ("Golden Bee's"). *Tank still at cycling stage.

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” – Fran Lebowitz
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