Switching from Eco Complete to Sand - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-24-2015, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Switching from Eco Complete to Sand

So, I was looking for fry control for my platys the other night, and totally scrapped my idea of a betta sorority in a community tank, which was looking more and more like a recipe for disaster, when I discovered Bolivian Rams. Beautiful, hardy, peaceful, and personable, these fish will be perfect to hunt down those little bastards in my 38 gal community tank.

Problem is, I'm running eco complete substrate, and read that they need sand. That means that I'm tearing down my tank, preferably after I get some good roots on my new plants.

I've got myself crypt spiralis, jungle val, amazon swords, dwarf sag, rotalla, two anubias nana plants, and one other anubias I can't quite classify since I got it from a Petco tube, and ludwigia in there so far. They're slowly starting to grow roots and get acclimated to the tank. So far, they're all a bit scraggly, but the fish seem healthy enough.

Anyway, in order to do this overhaul, I was thinking black Tahitian Moon Sand, over a fair layer of eco complete to save as much BB as possible. I'll be saving water too, to help further seed the tank after this tear down, but I've never used sand before in any of my tanks, so I'd like some opinions from people who have, please.

Do I wash Tahitian Moon Sand prior to adding?

If not Tahitian Moon Sand, what's a good black sand to use that's more or less inert, and that'll allow my crypts and jungle vals to take off?

I'm hearing a lot about red clay. Should I mix that in with the eco complete layer under the sand, or leave it out entirely?

Do I push in root tabs for my plants by the actual plant, in the middle of the aquarium, off to the side...?

How do I clean sand during weekly water changes? I heard you can just stir a finger or tools through the sand to stir up detritus and siphon the water, but is there a more efficient way?

Also, I've heard good things about eco complete cichlid formula, so should I skip the moon sand all together, and just use this with my gravel eco complete?

Do I wash THAT? I'm seeing conflicting reports on cloudiness, and I don't wanna ruin my filter, or kill all of my beneficial bacteria. Plus, I'm also reading it isn't black-black....

Personally, fluorite scares the hell outta me, and I've no idea how to go about this stuff, being a newbie aquarist anyway. The thing is, this project has to be completed within the day. I have NO place to put my fish, besides right back in the tank.

Current stock:

9 black neon tetras
10 rummy nose tetras
3 female platys (one possibly pregnant already)
1 male platy (dying, so I'll euthanize him today, poor Romeo. )
3 otocinclus
1 green spot puffer juvenile that's soon to go to my uncle's giant tank.

I'd like to put 2 to 4 Bolivian Rams in there, preferably breeding pairs, but if it seems like too small an aquarium, I'll stick with 2. I'm also going to throw some MTS in there to help keep the sand nice and aerated, so yay.

So, what do you fellow fish people think? Keep in mind, I'm still terribly new, and I've only been doing this a year, but I'm willing to put in the work. I just want a healthy tank that's comfortable for all my fish... and if the plants take off, so much the better. I'm a firm believer that a natural look is healthiest for your fish.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-24-2015, 05:55 PM
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That's a pretty blunt fry reference! I am sorry, just throwing that out there. Seems like that should have been followed up with "don't judge me"
The trolls on youtube would be having a field day with that one.

I hope you get your question answered. I have no experience, except with molly fry. Nobody's allowed to eat them, my husband says so... No hard feelings! Just noticed something different.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-24-2015, 09:55 PM
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I have no experience with flourite or tahitian moon sand, but i've had 3 tanks (1 currently) with eco-complete and 2 tanks (1 currently) with fine sand. The sand tank has Carib-sea Super natural fine sand in it, and it's basically a powder. Super fine stuff.

Personally, after planting in both substrates and having to deal with this sand for a bit, I would stick with the eco-complete.

For the root tabs, I use DIY osmocote tabs. I put them near-ish the plants, but I try to maximize the number of plants that could potentially benefit from a tab. For instance, i'm carpeting dwarf sag right now, and have 3 tabs under the carpet area, kind of in a loose triangle to hit them all. But, I also have 3 large amazon swords all in a tight cluster, and I put one tab essentially directly under the plants. If you get near-ish, they'll take advantage
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-24-2015, 10:30 PM
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Here's what you want. Super cheap, looks great and widely used as a substrate so it's tried and true.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-25-2015, 11:24 AM
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I know that people have used blasting sand and pool filter sand as substrates for a while, but imho they're too sharp and have too much "grit" to them. Sharp edges could harm delicate plant stems and roots.

Not saying they're not widely used as substrates, because they are. But personally, I won't use them. If you look at blasting sand or pool filter sand under a dissection scope/microscope and look at designated "aquarium sand" intended for use as a substrate, they look different. But yeah, blasting sand is cheaper lol

Last edited by windelov; 07-25-2015 at 11:25 AM. Reason: dumb spelling mistakes
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-25-2015, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelightsea View Post

Anyway, in order to do this overhaul, I was thinking black Tahitian Moon Sand, over a fair layer of eco complete to save as much BB as possible. I'll be saving water too, to help further seed the tank after this tear down, but I've never used sand before in any of my tanks, so I'd like some opinions from people who have, please.
the eco will end up on top of the sand. what will happen is the fine sand will slowly slide its way down under the eco and you will have ecocomplete substrate again. also the bulk of your real BB is in your filter, and while there is bb in the substrate it is only the top 1/4 of or so of your substrate that can support BB (when you start going deeper there is much less Oxygen to support BB)

Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelightsea View Post
Do I wash Tahitian Moon Sand prior to adding?
thats up to you but most people will say yes. being that you are adding it to a exsisiting tank and most likely do not have a QT tank to put your fish in until the water clears i would rinse it as best as i can. personally i use a 5 bucket and a hose. it takes me quite some time, and you will never get all of the cloudiness out, but it makes a huge difference. if you think about it all of the cloudiness is like polution in the air, and your fish will be breathing it in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelightsea View Post
If not Tahitian Moon Sand, what's a good black sand to use that's more or less inert, and that'll allow my crypts and jungle vals to take off?
as far as sand goes, theres really nothing out there at has the nutrients that substrates like eco complete and flourish have.

if you can afford it look into Fluval's stratum substrate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelightsea View Post
I'm hearing a lot about red clay. Should I mix that in with the eco complete layer under the sand, or leave it out entirely?
i've never messed with clay so i can't speak to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelightsea View Post
Do I push in root tabs for my plants by the actual plant, in the middle of the aquarium, off to the side...?
for newer plants that do not have large root structures i place the root tab closer to the plant (1-2 inches away) that helps the plant get the nutrients fast, and encourges root growth. as the plants get more matured in my tank go with the spread the root tabs through out the tank method if that makes any sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelightsea View Post
How do I clean sand during weekly water changes? I heard you can just stir a finger or tools through the sand to stir up detritus and siphon the water, but is there a more efficient way?
i just use my gravel vac and gently move it through out the tank stopping in areas of heave detritus. i don't like to stir everything up. when you do that you take what was a large collection on smaller areas which would be easier to suction up, and you place it into the water column where it is much more difficult to collect all of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelightsea View Post
Also, I've heard good things about eco complete cichlid formula, so should I skip the moon sand all together, and just use this with my gravel eco complete?
honestly if it was me, i would just stick with the eco i have now. your rams will be just fine with eco complete as your substrate. i know of people who breed rams in tanks with black eco as their substrate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelightsea View Post
Do I wash THAT? I'm seeing conflicting reports on cloudiness, and I don't wanna ruin my filter, or kill all of my beneficial bacteria. Plus, I'm also reading it isn't black-black....

most eco is not black black. it can be a little grey and some times it will have a little red to it. the first time i used eco i lucked out and got some very dark black eco. i just bought 100lbs of eco a few weeks ago and it is a little liter in color but it still looks good. don't be scared away from a good substrate because the color can vary a little.

i do not wash eco-complete

Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelightsea View Post
Personally, fluorite scares the hell outta me, and I've no idea how to go about this stuff, being a newbie aquarist anyway. The thing is, this project has to be completed within the day. I have NO place to put my fish, besides right back in the tank.
i will say it again, my recommendation is to stick the the eco-complete you already have in your tank. there is nothing wrong with it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelightsea View Post
So, what do you fellow fish people think? Keep in mind, I'm still terribly new, and I've only been doing this a year, but I'm willing to put in the work. I just want a healthy tank that's comfortable for all my fish... and if the plants take off, so much the better. I'm a firm believer that a natural look is healthiest for your fish.
if you really want to do the switch

go to home depo or lowes and buy the 5g bucket and lid. put your fish in the bucket with an air-stone. then pull out all of the eco early in the morning, get your new substrate in quickly and get it planted, and the next morning when it has cleared put the fish back in.

your fish will be fine in a bucket with an airstone. i've kept fish in a bucket like that for two weeks when i had tank break.

Will
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