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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a fairly new setup and started off with just sand as my substrate. I have recently come across a good deal on 3 bags of eco-complete. I have a 90 gallon tank and three bags is not enough to cover the bottom at the depth I want. So could I just spread the eco-complete over the top of the existing sand, mix it in, put it on the bottom of the sand or take the sand out and get some more eco-complete?
 

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Here's one algae grower to another, if it's just play sand then it's most likely quite inert and will do little to affect your water chemistry. But it also won't do much for your plants either if you're planning on growing plants. The play sand is super cheap too so that's a plus too. It's really a question of how much you want to spend. Eco can go anywhere from 15-30 bucks a bag and for a 90 gallon you might need 75-100 lbs. That's a lot of bags and a lot of cash.
However, the eco will aid your plants. I've also heard of some users saying that eco can mess with water chemistry such as pH and hardness so that is a factor you may want to research.
Personally, I think play sand looks a little cheap. There are middle of the road options to consider as well. I bought a 55 lb bag of Soilmaster at a nearby John Deere store for 15 dollars and that gave me three inches of substrate in my 55. That stuff is cheap but it comes in different colors (black and red) and is very high in iron which plants enjoy.
Whatever you choose, I hope it works out to your satisfaction. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I cant stand sand either, I like the black substrates. To me it feels to saltwater-ish. Now a patch of decorative sand is ok. If you mix the eco and sand, the sand will eventually work its way to the bottom anyways.

So I guess I am asking by adding the eco I do have, is that going to be any benefit to what I have going now? Should i just leave it be and add more fertilizers to make up for sand substrate? I have 216w of t5 bulbs over the tank and I will be setting my co2 soon.
 

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Honestly I don't know lol. I have never used a all sand substrate to grow plants. Usually people use sand to cap off soil or other nutrient rich mixes. I don't see it hurting anything if you did mix it. But since you already have the 3 bags what else would you do with them? If you plan on setting up another tank soon, I would just save them for that.

Personally I would take out as much sand as I could and do all eco, but that's me. My local petco had bags of eco for 19.99 if you need some more to fill it up, so check a local petco. That price isn't to bad. The easier thing would be just to mix it.

On a second thought, with the lights and co2 your plants may need that extra nutrient rich substrate. Your plants would basically be relying on all water column dosing, which IMO isn't the best route. The substrate will give you that reassurance of nutrients that the plants take up root wise.
 

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I've spent a few months researching various substrates. In the end, I felt there were +'s and -'s for all the products (I only wanted a single layer). My first choice was turface due to the price. It was unavailable. Second choice was eco. Drs December special on shipping ($6 for 15 bags!) became my choice by default.

This is my first planted tank, so I'm certainly not an expert, but if I were you, I'd 86 the sand and get more eco.
 
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