Stick with colorquartz or switch to eco-complete? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2011, 04:40 AM Thread Starter
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Stick with colorquartz or switch to eco-complete?

I'm torn on this, here's the situation... (skip to the bottom for the short version)

I've got a 90g and I'm trying to get more heavily into plants. I have a 8" Jack Dempsey that digs and a peacock eel that burrows...everything else in the tank is pretty plant/substrate neutral (so long as I stick with sand/something that my bichirs won't confuse for food).

Now, the JD digs, but he's predictable about it. I always have some sort of cave-like territory for him to claim, and he ALWAYS digs that cave out until he can see the bottom glass in the center of it. And thats all he digs at. Basically, this means that its not too hard for me to keep my plants planted (for the most wisteria gets pulled up pretty often) AND--more importantly--it means that I really want to avoid using a layer & cap method for substrate, as I think it would all get dug up and turn into a mess.

So, I want something either very dark brown or black. Right now I have a mix of colorquartz black & chocolate colors. The chocolate was supposed to be a dark brown, but its a pretty bright red under tank lights. I really don't like the color and its my main motivation for changing the substrate. I could simply siphon out half (or more) of the sand, get another 50lb bag of colorquartz black and darken up the mix, but I'm not sure thats the route I want to take.

I THINK I want something like eco-complete to help with my plants, but I'm not sure its necessary. I won't be putting c02 on this tank for a long time. On the same note, I know someone locally who doesn't use c02, but does have eco-complete. I get my wisteria from her and it doesn't grow nearly as well in my tank as it does in hers. I know, could be a lot of different factors, but I feel like the substrate has a lot to do with it. Other reason for wanting eco-complete is to get a bit more of a natural look than I get with the colorquartz.

So I guess here are my main questions...
Is eco-complete OK with a fish who digs?
Would colorquartz + roottabs (I'm currently using osmocote pot-shots) do just as well as eco-complete as far as nutrients assuming no dry ferts and no c02?
Is there a better option that I'm missing? Keep in mind...I'm not going to make a layered substrate, so I don't think MTS is an option.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2011, 05:07 AM
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I have had eco-complete and you couldnt pay me to go back to it. If I could find colorquartz I would love to get some. It just isnt sold around here. If I were you I would stick with the colorquartz and add some root tabs, which you are going to have to add with eco as well.

To be honest Im not sure why I hate eco-complete so much, but it was the only tank that I couldnt grow anything in and never stopped having problems with.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2011, 05:16 AM Thread Starter
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I think the big factor for me right now (that I don't really WANT to consider but I HAVE to consider) is that I can get another bag of colorquartz for 20 bucks. I know I love the sand. The only its not really great for is holding on the small roots of wisteria, which is why they come up so often. But it looks great, it feels great, its easy to plant things in and it works well with my fish & aquascape. The only downside is that its inert, and roots don't get anything to hold onto.

Hmm.....what if I were to mix in some small pea gravel? I wonder if that would help the plants hold on at all?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2011, 05:57 AM
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Switch to flourite.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2011, 10:27 AM
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3M Colorquartz is no longer being manufactured. There may be some old stock still available; but when that's gone, that's it. With SMS Charcoal and Turface Gray also out of production, there's not too many black options left.

You might find this thread of interest:
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2011, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazednSleepy View Post
Switch to flourite.
Flourite is ten times lighter, and he's trying to hold plants down. Are you crazy?

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." -- Steve Jobs

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2011, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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I have a local source for colorquartz, pretty sure I can get another bag of black from them. It's probably what I'll do.

Edit: went there during lunch, they're finally out of the colorquartz, now they sell Estes which pretty much the same thing. They should be getting a shipment of black S grade today or tomorrow and I'll be going to pick some up. I'm hoping that just one 50lb bag will get the color mix to where I want it...I think it should...
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Last edited by Moloch; 04-20-2011 at 05:57 PM.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 04:42 PM
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If you've got diggers, why don't you use small pots or hydrophyte's tank planters? Best of both worlds.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-01-2011, 11:31 PM
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I've got a blue jack dempsey and flourite black sand. It's worked out fine. I'm not sure if I just got a calm one or what, but none of my plants get uprooted and it's a heavily planted tank. Mostly stem plants(wisteria, petite nana, hornwort, amazone sword, and some other broad leaf stem plant)
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