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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-26-2006, 07:05 AM Thread Starter
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Question Eco complete

Hi all,

Having just found out that ive been ripped off with the gravel i have bought (it raises my tanks pH and harness), im on the lookout for something new.

Eco complete - could anyone who has, or is using this tell me if it affects water chemistry in any way at all? nitrates/ GH/ KH/ pH/ etc are any of these influenced? I know it states that it doesnt but so did my last gravel
In particular nitrates as I have done a search and a few people who use this seem to mention bad algae outbreaks.

Also I would really appreciate anyone who could post a photo of their tank with only eco complete in as the substrate.

Also has anyone put some weak acid (vinegar) onto eco complete to see if it is reactive in any way?

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-26-2006, 08:19 AM
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Any uncoated substrate that contains nutrients for plants is going to affect water chemistry in some way.

If you want no effect on your water chemistry, use epoxy coated gravel. But it won't do anything for your plant roots.

Eco Complete will also raise your tank's KH and GH. It can take a few weeks to a few months for the KH and GH to stabalize, depending on how much water you change. Some people do a "water rearing" stage, where they add the Eco Complete but no plants and fish, then do 90+% water changes every day for a week.

The other popular black gravel is ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia, which is the opposite of Eco Complete... it lowers both GH and KH.
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-26-2006, 12:29 PM
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Take a few minutes and read my Guide. Nitrates alone do not cause algae outbreaks. I have seen nitrate levels over 100 ppm in non-planted tanks that have no algae.

And I have seen massive GW problems in tanks that have no nitrates.

Also vinegar is a poor choice to test the reactivity of a substrate material. You need a much stronger acid to do the test correctly.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-26-2006, 01:03 PM
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I have very soft water so raising the KH & GH was a good thing for me, but as others have said its only temporary. I changed from pea gravel to eco and I really like it. Here is a picture as requested. (my first picture post so not sure how it will come out)
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-27-2006, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies and pic.

So is it possible to eventually establish an acidic, soft water aquarium with eco complete with minimal intervention (eg piece of bogwood), or will the eco complete ALWAYS buffer the water making it difficult to lower pH?

My current gravel reacts quite violently with vinegar so does this prove that this gravel definately contains carbonates? I have bogwood and peat running in this aquarium and the pH sticks around 7.8, GH and KH have also increased from my tap water readings.

ADA aqua soil amazonia - I have looked at this but what puts me off is that it states it lowers pH to around 5.5 - 6.5 (too low) and also there is no mention of the soil itself containing any nutrients.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-27-2006, 02:36 PM
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If your substrate reacts violently with vinegar then it's a VERY soft carbonate containing material and is causing your high pH.

It's very easy to maintain an acidic pH with Eco-Complete. Of course it helps to know how hard your source water is.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-27-2006, 07:26 PM
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I live in the Houston area. I believe much of our water is filtered thru a limestone aquifer. The water is hard.

To keep my pH in the area I want it, I use distilled/ro/uv/carbon filtered bottled water. With the assistance of DIY CO2, I am able to keep my pH at 6.8ish or so. If you have a larger tank though, RO would be the way to go. It is pretty difficult to lower the pH (to any substantial degree) of water that is hard to begin with.

I use eco complete...it does raise kh/gh...I also use a little tap water to make sure I won't crash my pH.

Sounds like you are using crushed limestone, dolomite, aragonite or some other form of calcium carbonate. Take the responsibility for the gravel you ended up with though...and do research next time...

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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-28-2006, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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No, I bought my current gravel because it specifically stated it doesnt raise pH.

The place I bought it from understood the problem and are willing to exchange me some eco complete. Did the eco just raise your KH/GH initially or are you having an ongoing problem with it?
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-28-2006, 12:01 PM
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Kyle:
What is the name and manufacturer of the gravel you purchased? You would think a gravel manu would know.

Eco raised it initially. my ph (mostly due to CO2) is 6.8ish. I don't think it has gone down...just staying consistent. Nothing wrong with a stable buffer.

Tap water and gravel are going to be your main contributors to kh/gh. Go with one of the tried and true subsrates as recommended on this board...and then the other adjustments will have to come from the water you put in.

Check out carib-sea.com and seachem.com. Seachem will send you small samples if you ask nicely.
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-28-2006, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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The gravel is called roman gravel manufactured by pettex.

From what I can gather from a lot of reading eco complete can cause an initial increase of pH/KH/GH due to the buffered water it is packed in, but after that is diluted/replaced it has no further influence on water parameters. Im pretty sure ill go for Eco complete.

Thanks for the advice.
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-28-2006, 07:23 PM
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I added a single bag of eco to my new tank setup.
My water was 7ppm TDS now its 17ppm TDS.
I only added gravel and eco.

I plan on doing some more tests then I will do a series of water changes to try and see if this is just an initial dose....I did use the entire bag...the water and all. I am assuming that if it continues to buffer the water the tests will show it.

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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-28-2006, 09:11 PM
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If you don't want the water affected at all by the substrate, use quartz sand. You can get colored quartz in many colors, including black, from the 3M corporation. Or, use a fracted clay such as Soilmaster.

I suggest you do enough research to be sure you really do want a soft acidic water tank. The only valid reasons I have seen for that is for a very few plants, and because CO2 injection gives acidic pH readings.

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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-29-2006, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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I have used sand before and I really dont want to use it again do to the whole compacting issue if it is not regularly stirred.
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-29-2006, 02:36 PM
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Although you already mentioned it, the interesting thing about the pettex gravel mentioned is that is says the following:
http://www.pettex.co.uk/gravel.html

Decorative aquarium gravel is the ideal way to enhance the appearance of you fish tank. Made from silica aggregates known for their inert properties and coated in a colourfast resin for trouble free fish keeping.
• Suitable for all types of aquarium set-ups including coldwater, tropical and saltwater.
• Roman decorative aquarium gravel is also the perfect planting medium due to its finer size.
• Suitable for bottom feeders and barbed fish.
• Increased surface area allows for improved anaerobic activity.
• Will not change the PH of the water.
• Available in 2kg and 8kg packs

So the fact that your aquarium gravel "reacts quite violently with vinegar" just doesn't make sense. Sounds like total false advertisement...unless the "roman'" gravel isn't the same as standard pettex gravel. I see it is recommended for plants...although it appears only due to it's relative size.

Did you contact the company about your issue? It would be interesting to see their reply.

BTW - I use eco complete and I would say that it is very much like sand.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-29-2006, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thats was one of the reasons I bought the gravel becuase it specifically states that. The company I bought it from are going to contact pettex but they are already willing to exchange by the sound of things.

Your eco complete is like sand? What would you say the average grain size of the product is?
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