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Hi so I’m starting a new 34 gallon tank with two bags of eco complete and want to know if I need to use all in one liquid fert and root tabs or just one or neither. I also would like to know if I should top if with sand or not? Thanks
 

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Hi so I’m starting a new 34 gallon tank with two bags of eco complete and want to know if I need to use all in one liquid fert and root tabs or just one or neither. I also would like to know if I should top if with sand or not? Thanks
Topping off with sand would be a waste as the sand is finer and heavier - eventually it will sink to the bottom.
Root tabs are a nice idea but my understanding is the ammonia portion of the root tab generally bleeds out into the water column when used with inert substrates. Soil based substrates, the ammonia binds with the substrate and stays available to the roots. MUCH more in depth reading in the link below.
https://www.2hraquarist.com/blogs/f...t-or-water-dosing?_pos=2&_sid=4edc1ae1c&_ss=r
 

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Hi so I’m starting a new 34 gallon tank with two bags of eco complete and want to know if I need to use all in one liquid fert and root tabs or just one or neither. I also would like to know if I should top if with sand or not? Thanks
The trouble with root tabs is that you don't know when they are done. Maybe a root tab lasts for 3 months or maybe it lasts for only a few weeks before a necessary element is used up. Etc. It makes it hard to get much in the way of consistent dosing.

I prefer liquid fertilizer. Eco-complete has relatively high CEC so it will absorb some amount of fertilizer left in the water but that's about all it has going for it. I would not bother topping with sand. You may grow to hate eco-complete (as I did) and decide to ditch it and go all sand down the line. But in the meantime I would just use it with a liquid fertilizer and call it a day.
 

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The trouble with root tabs is that you don't know when they are done. Maybe a root tab lasts for 3 months or maybe it lasts for only a few weeks before a necessary element is used up. Etc. It makes it hard to get much in the way of consistent dosing.
I tend to use root tabs at the beginning of planting in areas of heavy root feeders. I think it helps to at least establish a good root system. I don't keep up month after month though. Otherwise it's liquid ferts twice a week.
 

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The trouble with root tabs is that you don't know when they are done. Maybe a root tab lasts for 3 months or maybe it lasts for only a few weeks before a necessary element is used up. Etc. It makes it hard to get much in the way of consistent dosing.

I prefer liquid fertilizer. Eco-complete has relatively high CEC so it will absorb some amount of fertilizer left in the water but that's about all it has going for it. I would not bother topping with sand. You may grow to hate eco-complete (as I did) and decide to ditch it and go all sand down the line. But in the meantime I would just use it with a liquid fertilizer and call it a day.
I keep seeing postings about EC having a high CEC but can find where that got started. I've seen the test results for Flourite and it has a very low CEC. I would expect EC to be very similar to Flourite. (I think the only difference is some water and bacteria). I think the mulm that gets trapped in EC has a high CEC.
 

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I keep seeing postings about EC having a high CEC but can find where that got started. I've seen the test results for Flourite and it has a very low CEC. I would expect EC to be very similar to Flourite. (I think the only difference is some water and bacteria). I think the mulm that gets trapped in EC has a high CEC.
Best I found doing a quick search: CEC of Substrates - Specifically Eco-Complete | Starting Out, Equipment & Setup

/shrug I kind of hate the stuff personally but it's probably better then sand for CEC. To me its worthless because it looks terrible and is annoying to plant into, but some folks love it so to each their own.
 

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I keep seeing postings about EC having a high CEC but can find where that got started. I've seen the test results for Flourite and it has a very low CEC. I would expect EC to be very similar to Flourite. (I think the only difference is some water and bacteria). I think the mulm that gets trapped in EC has a high CEC.
Beginning to sound like an urban legend. If you say something long enough, people start to accept it as truth. I've read that Eco Complete has a high CEC countless times, but nobody has every linked to a source for that information. They just state it as fact. The manufacturer has never tested it for CEC, so who has, and why won't they share it with us??
 

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Beginning to sound like an urban legend. If you say something long enough, people start to accept it as truth. I've read that Eco Complete has a high CEC countless times, but nobody has every linked to a source for that information. They just state it as fact. The manufacturer has never tested it for CEC, so who has, and why won't they share it with us??
It has low CEC, I'll do some digging and find a source that has tested it. and report back here.

Here it is:

Font Pattern Parallel Paper Document



This data. I performed all the testing for this article many moons ago. We had many of the same discussions on the Aquatic Plant Digest about minerals, Fe, CEC, and the like. The lab I was working in at the time afforded me the opportunity to do the testing. Dave published in his Aquatic Magazine. Many of the findings surprised us all, especially the low CEC of Flourite. We were amazed how well plants grew in it yet the CEC was so poor. We kind of decided maybe CEC didn't hold that much water when it came to aquatic nutrition. Sort of like sea oats growing in pure beach sand. Dr. Morin of Seachem even sent me enough Flourite, that to this day, I still have 5 gallon buckets of it I've never used.

Eco-Complete is very similar to Tropic isle LateriteI believe, which has a low CEC according to this research.

For reference, aquasoil is in the 30 meq/100g range, Flourite was measured at 1.7meq/100g and Eco-Complete is estimates in the 5-ish meq/100g range.
 
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