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Eco-complete doesn't need to be capped. Some people do but it's more of a personal preference.

I added some BDBS(Black Diamond Blasting Sand) to the top of my EC. It ended up mixing pretty quickly but I only put a thin layer on. I like the look though. The blended look feels more natural in my small tank. I'd say start by putting in your EC and hardscape. If you like it, then keep it that way, or maybe do some accent spots with some sort of cap.

As for ferts, it heavily depends on what plants you plan on keeping. If you have heavy root feeders like swords or a carpeting plant like S. Repens, then I'd highly recommend root tabs where you plant them. Otherwise you can get away with water column dosing with either dry ferts or an all-in-one like thrive.
 
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