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I'm still trying to figure out what to cap my 54 gallon corner tank with (I'm going with mineralized soil). I was all set on using eco-complete for the cap, since I can't find Colorquartz anywhere, but I recently started to reconsider aquariumplants.com's substrate. I know it's the same as SMS, but that's another thing I can't get locally. I know people have used it with success, but I've heard it's very light. The tank will mostly be vals, crypts, swords, etc - plants I won't be uprooting a lot in order to trim. Still, it's 24" deep, so I don't want to be reaching down there every day to replant everything. If you've used this or any of the other products that are basically the same, how big of a problem do you think it is? On a scale from 1 - 10, 1 being you love it and wouldn't use anything else, 10 being you wish you had a time machine so you could go back and eliminate the inventor of kiln fired clay products.

What's really attractive to me about this substrate is that I can get the amount I need for $65 shipped, vs. $100 + shipping for Eco. But, I suppose I shouldn't skimp if it means I'll be pulling my hair out every day. Advice?
 

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I rate SMS a one and there new Turface a two so aquariumplants.com stuff shouldn't be worse than a three at most.

I've used SMS/Turface allot and I rarely have problems with uprooted vals, crypts, swords and I can't belive I'm all that good at this.
 

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The worst thing about the SMS is how light it is, so that alone would deter me from using it as a cap. It does get a little heavier with age, but is still very easy to suck up when you vacuum your tank. The color is OK...but not great, it's more gray than black. It also has specs of red in it. IMO it's worth the extra $35 to go with the eco complete. I regret having used it in a tank I used to own and wish I had gone straight to Aquasoil, which I use now.
 

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Ive had the SMS stuff for a little over a year in my tank.
it is light stuff but i grow crypts just fine in it. only thing is when vacummining you do tend to suck up a little of it.
so id rate it a 3 on your scale with the ony thing keeping it from a 1 is its uissue with holding small rooted plants perfectly
 

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I used to have SMS and decided to use Eco Complete in my newest tank, which is also a 54g corner. The Eco is SO much easier to work with!

For what it's worth, I needed 80lbs of Eco Complete for mine. I estimated 60 and had to go back and get another bag. $$$ You use more Eco because it's so moist..it's heavy for the volume that it is.
 

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for a cap i wouldnt go with it. i am a big fan of sms i have it in several tanks. there is a learning curve of how to plant and get the plants to stay. i would pay the extra for eco in this case or go with another substrate.
 
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