flourite black and eco-complete as far as plants go? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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flourite black and eco-complete as far as plants go?

I tried looking up some older threads for reviews but they all just trail off into talking about how much rinsing everybody does vs cloudiness.
What I would like is a very dark substate that I can easily plant in that Will also be good long term for the plants to grow in. I dont mind using roottabs and fertilizers at all. I also dont care about cloudiness at first. There are no fish in the tank and I can deal with that issue accordingly.

I recently set up a 20 gal regular that I aim to eventually have heavily planted. Without doing any research on the matter I grabbed a big bag of fluval stratum and put that in. I dont mind the look of the stuff but man what a pain to plant in. Its just way too light!

I see both eco complete and flourite come in black. How are these two products in comparison to each other. Do they change the PH like the fluval does? Do plants grow well in them?
Im also interested in the flourite black sand... Does this product end up getting compacted over time or does it stay loose?

Are there some factors to consider Im not thinking about?
Thanks for any experiences you can share!
Willie

Also I should have mentioned... I would like to go with one substrate only... IE- no capping

edit... another question i need help understanding.... I get that inert means it has no nutrition value for the plants and a high cec means it can store nutrition... but does being inert necessarily mean it has no cec? I mean if your subsrate is enert does that mean it can not grab onto nutrients added to the water column eventually?

Last edited by TigerStyle; 12-27-2015 at 04:48 PM. Reason: another question
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 05:42 PM
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I'm interested in hearing about Eco Complete reviews too. I just got some but have been contemplating a different base layer under it to help with nutrients and rooting.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 06:51 PM
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The EC I have is several years old. It was a blend of sizes from sand to perhaps 1/4" chunks. I suspect the Flourite sand would be more uniform.
To me, this is not even a cosmetic issue- overall the EC looks a pretty uniform material.
If you can find cationic exchange capacity information about both of these, then go with the higher CEC product.

Neither one actually comes with nutrients any more than your dinner plate comes with dinner on it.
You need to add fertilizer the same as you add food to your dinner plate.
Cationic exchange capacity measures how well the substrate will hold fertilizers and make them available to the plants.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 10:32 PM
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SafeTSorb is $6 for 40lbs. High CEC but will need initial charging.
It is a lightweight substrate also.


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 10:38 PM
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I have used eco-complete, I had no cloudy water or any issues using it. I poured the bag, liquid and all into the tank. It is a natural color with varying size so it looks good IMO. One negative though, it smells like crap, literally, when you open the bag. It STINKS

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-28-2015, 01:47 AM
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I have used Eco-Complete for 10 years and love the stuff. I do use root tabs but you can uproot plants, re-slope a tank, move the subsrtrate around and the water will be crystal clear about an hour after with no side effects to the fish. Some of the EC I have in my 125gal tank is 10 years old and right now is the first time I am taking all of it out and washing it really good then putting it back in.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-28-2015, 03:26 AM
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I'll tell you my experience with eco-complete.Granted I'm pretty new to planted tanks,and I'm staying low-tech.the stuff seems awfully dirty out of the bag,and lots of fine dust everywhere at first.I planted a bunch of italian vals,they grew like gangbusters for a month or so,then stopped and only began growing again when I inserted some o-cote caps.

Both tanks I used it in,had detritus worms crawling up the sides of the tanks within days of setting up.I think that's what they mean by "root enhancing symbionts".

both tanks I used it in,I'm fighting BGA in.I think I'm going to try the BDS when TSC opens here,or else flourite.

Both tanks with ECO in them were set up last spring.my other 2 tanks with inert gravel,are doing fine.though all I have in them is hornwort,anacharis and java fern.

MTS? no,I just need one more tank...
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-28-2015, 04:14 AM
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I have both EC and Flourite in separate 10g tanks. I can tell you the Flourite is a lot harder and a lot heavier. I'm guessing it's made of crushed slate, but I'm not certain. It's not very easy to push a plant through it while holding the plant with tweazers, but it does do a much better job of holding the plant in place.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-28-2015, 06:05 AM
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I have used both Eco and florite. They both have plus's and minus's. First both are good and dark. Yes there can be cloudy issues with both, and I never understand why people say th "wash" the substraight its dirt people! That being said I have rinsed florite and you could spend years trying to get it to run clean... I never rinsed the eco so I cant say there.

Now I have a 20 with eco that is 6+ years old. The gravel bed is swarming with trumpet snails and it stays in place well. My biggest issue with it is it dosent hold plants well at all when new. I am constantly pushing new plants in. Also it is not good for planting stems, for the reason above.

Now my prefered substraight was Florite Black, with a mix of black sand both florite and caribsea Black moon sand. This planted well was a nice dark color.

So if and when I redo my 20, i will put the eco in the garden and start with a florite mix. Just my prefrence.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-28-2015, 05:26 PM
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I have floramax, it's really sharp.
What about the sand? Does it compact over time?

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-28-2015, 11:30 PM
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In answer to the last question in the op. For our purposes inert just means it won't have a reaction with something else. Inert rock won't change your ph when added to the water. CEC is just the ability to hold and release nutrients.
I have a little bit of Eco complete that I've dealt with on a limited basis. I classify it with fluorite. I think it's the same thing with some added nutrients. I have a tank that probably has 300 pounds of fluorite and I have a 20g long with Black Beauty blasting sand. I'll probably use nothing but the Black beauty from now on. It's a fraction of the cost, it's much blacker and there is absolutely no comparison in planting. So much easier than fluorite. I take a different approach than some. I consider the substrate something to look good and mechanically hold the plants. I can add everything else they need for nutrition. I have a pond filter that I grow plants in. I get elephant ears with leaves over 4 ft long and my umbrella plants grow 8 ft tall. If they are planted in anything it's a pot full of lava rocks.
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