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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay I'm new to this whole planted tank thing and when i first setup my new 55 gallon tank i thought I would go the cheap route and use sandbag sand for the substrate. which looks pretty good suprisingly but the plants are not doing so good in it. So needless to say i am changing to eco-complete. i ordered 3 bags from petsolutions for 64 bucks and it should be here tomorrow. so my plan is to siphon some water into a 20 gallon tank to put my fish in temporarily then siphon the remaining water into the bathtub. take all the crappy sand out then put eco complete in. then take a 5 gallon bucket and transfer all the water back. if i do it this way then the eco complete won't dirty up the water because i wouldn't just be dumping it in. and i can get ALL the sand out rather than trying to siphon it out. and i would only lose about a gallon of water. i don't know if it matters but i have a pressurized co2 system and the following fish:

10 tiger barbs
12 neons
6 harlequin rasbora
4 platys
1 rainbow shark
2 african clawed frogs

people say not to put tiger barbs with peaceful fish but ive had them together for over a year and no problems! they get along great. even during feeding frenzies.

so what do yall think... good plan? or will there be complications?
 

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That's about how I've always done things.

Remember though, eco-complete doesn't have any bioavailable nutrients. Sure, all the elements they list are there, but they aren't in the correct form. It's kind of like handing some one a chunk of wood and calling it a staple food for people, because it contains large ammounts of carbon.

Nutrients aside, eco-complete makes for a good substrate because of its varied granule sizes and relatively low density compared to gravel. Just be sure to pay attention to ferts at the start, and maybe give the substrate a boost through some other method.

And check for shells... my last bag had small shells in it that looked a bit marine.

-Philosophos
 

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When I did eco in my 55 I needed at least 4 bags.
I was going to say the same thing. 3 bags won't give you enough debth in a 55. I haven't used eco in my 55's but I used it in a couple of 20H's so the 55 would be double the footprint. It took 2 bags to get a min of 3".

As far as the process is concerned, you should be just fine doing it that way. I've done almost the same thing but I use a Ice chest to temporairly hold the fish.
 

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I did a similar substrate change in my little 16gal. two weeks ago to add AquaSoil to an already "conglomerate" mix. Although I haven't lost any fish (yet) my water is still yellow and cloudy even though I've done at least eight 30% water changes, and my plants (although not my algae) are suffering from the reduced available light. My advice (for whatever it is worth) is not to use AquaSoil, and with any other product (Flourite, etc.) rinse, rinse, rinse to try and avoid a problem like mine. If I could do it over, I would make very small changes over time rather than trying a radical re-do.
 

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I started a 15-gallon tank about 5 weeks ago with eco. After I got the substrate in and placed some rocks and wood in the tank, I put a bowl in the tank to pour my water in rather than just pouring the water straight into the tank. Even so, I still had a cloudy tank for about a week or so. Since I was just setting the tank up and needed to cycle it, I didn't worry about the cloudiness. (To speed up the cycling, I had previously put the new tank's filter in one of my established tanks for a few days to seed it with fish bio-load.) In any event, after a little over a week, I was ready to put fish and a few plants in the new tank.
 

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Apologies if I am reading your plan wrong, but I wouldn't transfer the water to the bathtub, especially if it's one you use with regularity. You could have soap/ shampoo residue in the tub. A large rubbermaid container would be better.

Apologies if I am confused though :icon_roll. Maybe you didn't mean you would put the water directly in the tub. :)

I agree with the extra eco-complete. I used 3 full bags in a 29g. I think 5 bags would be better for you.

FWIW, the eco-complete came with these little packets of stuff inside that supposedly clear the water (be sure to pull out the packets.) I used the little packets of stuff, did not rinse at all, and used 100% of the 20lb bag's contents and it was completely clear within 12 hours. I laid the bag over the substrate and poured onto that.

Another note: don't be surprised about excess bubbling coming from the new substrate for the next week sticking to your glass and hardscape. It's annoying but perfectly normal for eco-complete.

Good luck!
 

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3 bags of E-C will give you a substrate depth of 1¾" according to the forum's substrate calculator: http://www.plantedtank.net/substratecalculator.html

Should you want to have a 3" depth, you should have a total of 5 bags like fastfreddie mentioned.
 

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Apologies if I am reading your plan wrong, but I wouldn't transfer the water to the bathtub, especially if it's one you use with regularity. You could have soap/ shampoo residue in the tub. A large rubbermaid container would be better.

Apologies if I am confused though :icon_roll. Maybe you didn't mean you would put the water directly in the tub. :)

I agree with the extra eco-complete. I used 3 full bags in a 29g. I think 5 bags would be better for you.

FWIW, the eco-complete came with these little packets of stuff inside that supposedly clear the water (be sure to pull out the packets.) I used the little packets of stuff, did not rinse at all, and used 100% of the 20lb bag's contents and it was completely clear within 12 hours. I laid the bag over the substrate and poured onto that.

Another note: don't be surprised about excess bubbling coming from the new substrate for the next week sticking to your glass and hardscape. It's annoying but perfectly normal for eco-complete.

Good luck!

I totally agree here! Get rid of the water and pour fresh de-chlorinated water.

I did the same thing with the bags, lay them on the substrate and poor onto those to minimize turbidity.

Put the bucket away, get yourself a Python. Its worth every penny. No more lugging buckets, your arms won't be jelly the next day and the biggest reason, the rish of spilling goes down to nothing!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
thanks for all of the suggestions!! and you are probably right about the bath tub thing. i was either thinking of doing that or using a rubbermaid container... ill go with the rubbermaid. i don't have too many plants just yet but ill go ahead and order two more bags of eco complete just to be safe.. i was using the whole 'one pound of substrate per gallon' rule and i estimated the quantity wrong.... ooops. too bad my LPS sells it for FOURTY DOLLARS a bag!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
good idea!! but is there anything i could get from home depot, lowes, or a nursery. anything i wouldn't have to order online so i don't have to wait so long!?
 

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Many LFS have a black substrate they sell which is actually black blasting grit, but you could get that, and use it primarily as the lowest level of substrate, mixing it in with some of the Eco complete. Then top it off with the rest of the Eco complete.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
okay i went ahead and got some super naturals tahitian moon sand and am going to mix it with the eco complete. they look a lot alike so im hoping it won't be noticable. im about to start the substrate exchange and im hoping it won't take long! in the mean time does anyone have any tips on making a java moss carpet. i have some tied to some rocks and driftwood but my tiger barbs keep picking at it and pulling it loose causing it to float into a corner. any ideas on making a carpet out of it? maybe this way they will leave it alone
 
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