Black Diamond over Miracle Gro, or Eco complete? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-27-2014, 02:15 AM Thread Starter
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Black Diamond over Miracle Gro, or Eco complete?

Which would be better for a 40B planted tank with CO2?

It will be my first high tech actual planted tank. Id like to stay on a budget, 3 bags of eco complete is $60, kind of expensive.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-27-2014, 03:15 AM
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Well, miracle gro organic potting soil is great for plants, so is eco-complete.

Black diamond looks nice but is not really a suitable plant substrate.

Miracle gro can be messy, if you like to rescape and replant often.

I would suggest you use a good plant substrate, whether it be miracle grow, or eco complete, to get about an inch or so covering the bottom of the tank, then put a cap of whatever cosmetically nice gravel, or sand that you like on top, about 5/8-1 inch


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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-27-2014, 03:43 AM
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Black diamond over dirt is cheaper than the eco-complete. If you're rescaping just pull the plants up slowly then siphon any dirt that pops up during a water change.

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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-27-2014, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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probably wont have fish in the tank for a long time , at least I dont plan to
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-27-2014, 05:03 PM
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Safe T Sorb at tractor supply company is a clay based substrate similar to eco-complete, only $6/bag and 1 bag is enough for a 40B.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-27-2014, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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isnt saf -t sorb an ugly color though? And super dirty? Id rather spend 10 bucks more a bag on eco complete
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-27-2014, 05:09 PM
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It is a natural, red-brown-gray.
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-27-2014, 06:30 PM
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isnt saf -t sorb an ugly color though? And super dirty? Id rather spend 10 bucks more a bag on eco complete
Actually it will be about 2 bags of eco to get 1 inch in the 40b so it'd be $30 more assuming that you get 1 bag of eco 20lbs at $18 each.

Like said above, go for eco if you are going to move and uproot plants later on ( esp you dont want to pull out an amazon sword with 2 months old in the dirt. If you do, i rather rescape the whole tank as the cost still stay cheaper with dirt+ BDS).

I prefer dirt subtrate and adding clay as it contains more nutritions than eco but its for tank that you are already have the scape right at the beginning.

I now debating on going for eco as i find my self changing and moving plants lots and dirt is not a good idea no matter how careful you are. And those temporary gas though

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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-27-2014, 06:54 PM
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you could go with mgo with a black diamond cap over it. i always put sand over my miracle gro soil in my tanks much easier to clean the tank that way
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-27-2014, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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Im leaning toward eco as its my first tank, and I have a feeling I will be moving things, but it seems mricale gro under black diamond would give me a better growing platform?
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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-27-2014, 09:35 PM
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For me i'd rather just stick with one substrate, cause even if you have it all master planned from the beginning, and have it all planted, capped it for me anyways it's just inevitable i'm going to replant, redo the scape at some point down the road, and the top layer is always going to mix with the bottom later. Sooner or later its a mix.

Maybe not as noticeable in a smaller tank, but the 40b has a decent sized footprint.

From the tanks i've seen some friends setup with safety sorb or some other clay based substrate, a year into it or even sooner it's just a big ole dusty cloud with any kind of replanting. It breaks down to such a fine degree.

Just my 2 cent input :-)

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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-27-2014, 09:57 PM
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I've used fluorite for over 5 years and no dust cloud. Fluorite is clay based, very similar to saf t sorb. Fluorite is harder.

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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-27-2014, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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flourite seems about the same price as the eco
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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-28-2014, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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If I do black diamond over MGO, will my water not be clear? I dont want murky, dirty water. I want it clear, and I want alot of moss/ cover in this tank
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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-28-2014, 03:37 AM
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Any substrate can cloud the water when it is new, but there are tricks to get the least clouding to start with.

Any substrate can cloud the water when you move plants.

I like the look of EC, so if it was my choice, I would use that.

To minimize clouding on set up:
Put the substrate in the tank damp to wet.
Arrange hills and valleys, rocks and driftwood.
Plant, misting often.
Put a plate or plastic bag over the substrate and fill the tank by running the water in slowly so it seeps over the edge of the plate. In a larger tank you can run the water faster after it is about 1/2 full, but aim the water horizontally so it does not plow a hole in the substrate.
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