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Hey there folks, my first post on this forum...

I'm planning on setting up a new planted 20H aquarium... I want to be able to grow beginner and more advanced plants. I currently have two bags of Eco-Complete (40lbs). I've been reading around the forums, and it seems like Eco-Complete really only puts out Iron. So, I was thinking about adding more substrates to the mix to make it better for the plants... Would mixing in a bag of Flourite from seachem make any difference? Or would adding an 8oz layer of laterite below the Eco-Complete be good? I'm stumped on this one... maybe I'm fine with what i already have, i just want to be sure since it's difficult to change the substrate after the fact.

Sincerely,
Whiskeyfox
 

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You're fine with what you have, IMO. Any nutrients that you add beneath the substrate will eventually be used up, requiring the eventual addition of ferts, so I think you should just stick with the Eco.
 

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Although I am not a guru I also recommend sticking with Eco-Complete. I use it in three of my tanks and supplement it with Flourish Tabs and Seachem's liquid ferts when necessary.
 

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Algae Grower
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i'd personally stay away from the peat. one thing i can add from experience would be that you could use the eco as a cap for mineralized top soil. i've heard of people having tanks going for 8+ years with MS and still not needing to dose. i can also add that you can have a great tank with just the eco complete. heavy root feeding plants will like the use of root tabs though.
 

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The peat can be useful if you want to soften your water but I've never used it myself.
 

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Ssphagnum peat moss would work fine to lower the pH and potash to add potassium.

Adding peat moss, potash, and Fe Chelate is the old school method of planted tanks before they created fancy substrates like ADA, Fluorite, Eco, etc and works very well if you know what your doing. For a large tank that's the only way I build them as non-fertilized top soil, PFS, and those three dry additives are a heck of allot cheaper than a name brand substrate and is just as effective.

For all practical purposed Echo and Fluorite are the same they only add trace Fe so there's no reason to mix those two together. I do agree do not mix laterite in as it's an advanced product that I wouldn't recommend to a beginner. If you get it in your water column it will cloud worse than anything else on the market tho it's great stuff if done correctly.

- Brad
 

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My LFS made a suggestion that made sense.

He suggested using floutite or ecco and mixing in crushed Flourish tabs as a start. I assume dry ferts would be fine too. Then later, add tabs, or ferts as normal.

He suggested this as a "keep it simple" alternative to an AquaSoil, etc...option.

Made sense to me. Can't vouch for it as timing and stock didn't work out so I just used the large Flor Max that came with the used tank and added tabs traditionally.

Next tank though I think this is the way I'll go - simple is good. Meantime, my plants are doing fine in ordinary flourite with ferts.

AB
 

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Yes, but we're talking about substrates. Not always easy to get root tabs where you want them. Mixing crushed tabs, or dry ferts in at setup seemed an easy way to get off to a good start, get good distribution of root nutrients and not have to disrupt initial plantings whcih can come unplanted easily. :)

Dosing is still necessary of course.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Crushing up root tabs defeats the whole point, IMO.

Either use root tabs as they're designed, under the plants, or dose dry or liquid ferts.

You may not need any ferts at all if you're setting up a low light/low tech tank.

Or, if you're running high light and CO2, then you'll need to dose ferts in the water column anyways, pretty much no matter what your substrate is.

You've already got the Eco- use it, it's supposed to be pretty good stuff.
 
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