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Eco Complete and pH

25222 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  soundgy
It's been a short while with the new Eco Complete for Planted Aquariums. I thought this was supposed to buffer water to lower pH?

I just did a test and it maxed out the low end pH. I didn't do the high range yet.

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I just checked the KH and GH:

KH: 7
GH: 10

This stuff has drastically altered the water. KH and GH are normally 4.


I do have some shrimp in there right now and they seem to be doing fine. I sure don't like these numbers. I thought everything should have been lower. this considered a "normal" breaking in period?

My soft water plants sure aren't going to like this.
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I just found this on CaribSea's site:

While Eco-Complete™ Planted does not affect pH and KH long term, you will find that it will give a small bump to both of these parameters initially, and this is especially noticeable with the use of RO /DI water. Fortunately this is just a small amount of Calcium Carbonate that is on, not in the substrate and it will dissipate with the first couple of water changes, usually in the first couple weeks. Planting the tank will also help. Keep in mind that one should never add particularly sensitive animals to a tank in the first few weeks anyway but that this is especially important with this situation if the animals are pH sensitive- requiring a low pH.


Little bump. HA! That's a pretty big move if you ask me.

So, let me ask this. During the time that these parms are out of whack....will it affect my plants? Do I need to move them to another tank while it settles down? Tank still gets ferts and CO2.
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Been about a month now and this substrate sure hasn't lived up to its hype. pH is still high. My software is still hard. My softwater plants are dying even with a nice dose of CO2 and daily fertz.

Shrimp are still doing well so I guess that's a good thing. Hate to loose all my soft plants. Dang!
my pH leveled off after about a month with weekly water changes, but with another tank I used straight RO water and that helped a lot more. eco is not supposed to lower pH though, that's only aquasoil and a couple others like red sea and mr aqua
I use Eco on almost all of my tanks. The only ones its worth it to buy ADA for IMO is for soft water plants.
^^^ +1
you can grow anything in eco, i love that stuff.cheaper than AS and you can find it at petco
you can grow anything in eco
That may be the case after the so-called breaking in period if there is a such thing but right now, this tank has went down hill pretty fast.

I'll just have to ride it out and prepare to replace these gorgeous plants.
I have Eco-Complete in my 95 gallon planted/discus tank and with once a week 50% water change with a 90/10% RO/Tap, my ph is stable at 6.4/6.6, and my kh is about 7 each. My fish love it and so do the plants so far. Now that I am introducing CO2 to the tank, I need to monitor the ph as this might have a small ph effect.
That may be the case after the so-called breaking in period if there is a such thing but right now, this tank has went down hill pretty fast.

I'll just have to ride it out and prepare to replace these gorgeous plants.
I had a bad batch (lots of calcium carbonate) of eco complete a few years ago, and I went through the same thing you're experiencing. went from KH/GH of 1 to KH=20+ and GH=15+. People on here swore it was great substrate, it could grow any plant... I lost a lot of nice soft-water plants figuring out it wouldn't. Some batches have far more than just the dust eco-complete claims... take a close look at your substrate, see if you can identify any shell/coral pieces. My batch had a pretty large amount.

Now, the good news. You don't just have to wait it out. Call Carib-sea, tell them what you're experiencing. They will send you some new bags for free.

Your other option is to increase co2 injection and water changes... I ended up cranking my co2 for several months, (with the higher buffer, i could safely add far more co2 than i thought) and it eventually dissolved all the calcium carbonate. After that, it was a fine substrate. :)

Good luck.
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Hope this helps. I didn't monitor my eco-complete very closely when I put it in my 100G. I used a mix of 4 old eco-complete and 4 new eco. When I first set it up, my ph was 8.2+. I thought that was incredibly high. Now, my ph in that tank is closer to 7.4 - 7.6. So I can tell you it does drop. This tank has only been setup for a few months. I definitely have a brown thumb, so I can't tell you how my plants did in eco. Hope everything works out for you.
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