I finally gave up on ecocomplete/caribsea floramax - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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I finally gave up on ecocomplete/caribsea floramax

I used both for the past couple years and I'm sorry to say that it was the first time that advice from this forum led me wrong. Those substrates may work alright when capped but otherwise I'd say keep looking.

The little lava rock bits are way too light which causes them to be constantly uncovered by fish activity releasing more and more debris the older it gets. After a while it just becomes impossible to keep crystal clear water through normal means. It can't really be scaped either as any slope or hill you create will quickly get leveled out by snails/cories traveling over it. I also had zero luck breeding shrimp in tanks with these substrates, adults can survive but their eggs never bore fruit. My tank with stone gravel substrate breeds amanos like crazy using the same prime treated tap water and plants. Even snails do much better without that lava rock junk.

Anyway I switched to a variety of gravel sizes and the tanks have never looked better. It may take 12-18 months for an inert gravel substrate to fully mature and get optimal plant growth out of but once it does the stones are heavy enough to stay in place and keep the mulm and debris out of the water column.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 10:28 PM
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Not sure why it didnt work for you, but my fire red shrimp are breeding like crazy in it. As far as the other tank, I've got loaches and cory cats on it, they never stir it up and make a mess with it. Even when replanting things, it doesnt go POOF more than any other standard gravel I've used in the past.
As long as you rinse it before using it, it works just fine for me.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 10:36 PM
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+1 to that. It's not great mind you and doesn't have nutritional value to speak of but floramax is cheap, $7 a bag, and I think it looks nice. Use it as a cap or with a fistful of root tabs and I have no problems growing plants in the stuff.

Like most inert substrates, it does not hold a slope
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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How long have you been using it? My residents weren't able to fully stir it up except for the very top layer of lava bits but that is all it takes over time to level things out and keep releasing crud. I was alright with it for the first year but the problems just kept getting worse and worse the second year in direct contrast to my gravel tank that required much less maintenance, displayed better growth, and has clear water all the time without even trying.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 10:55 PM
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Well thats a good point, I've been using it for about 7 months now. Based on what you've said, I'll be watching to see if there's an issue, but so far so good.

Also, I've carpeted nearly all exposed areas of floramax, so that may be helping hold it down and keep it clean.

I've wanted to go aquasoil for a while but I'm still filling my piggy bank so I can afford it

I definitely would agree there are better options, just for the price it seems pretty good
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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I did NOT carpet mine when I had it which I imagine would make a big difference, I use pyrex pint containers with capped potting soil to grow most plants. Yeah aquasoil is likely the best but for an easy set and forget tank I'll recommend natural gravel/river stones from now on.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 11:51 PM
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Been using the same eco complete for about 5 years now. The only issue you described that I can agree with is the fact that after a long period of time it does tend to flatten out. Had no issues with it other then that.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-31-2013, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EntoCraig View Post
Been using the same eco complete for about 5 years now. The only issue you described that I can agree with is the fact that after a long period of time it does tend to flatten out. Had no issues with it other then that.
I agree with Craig. My 75 has had Eco in it since I set it up in...06? No problems at all, and I did not rinse it.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-31-2013, 12:21 AM
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I love eco complete.. I was sold from the beginning with the dark substrate (one of the better looking ones IMO)

and plants have been growing well in it.


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-31-2013, 12:39 AM
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My yellow neos are breeding in Eco complete and most substrates won't hold a slope with fauna rummaging through it.

How are you breeding amano shrimp without going brackish?
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-31-2013, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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I didn't expect to be able to breed the amanos from what I read on them but they have held a very stable population for over a year now with new babies every month. Perhaps it has something to do with my very hard Florida water. In fact, perhaps that is why others have been satisfied with Ecocomplete - my liquid rock water saturated the stuff and turned it unmanageable but it may have better properties when used with soft water..
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-31-2013, 02:42 AM
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half of my amanos are berried> Everyday it would seem that i bought almost all females as one after another become berried.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-31-2013, 06:32 AM
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The collection of debris mulm can be attributed to the lack of appropriate bacteria to process and breakdown, overfeeding, overpopulation and lacking tank maintenance.

The survival rate of shrimp and snails has more to do with the water parameters than the substrate alone.

I have my gripes about Eco complete being too harsh to plant roots but INHO a majority of challenges mentioned have more to do with the water than the substrate.


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