How Do You Clean Eco Complete?

Nuke

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I've seen three schools of thought on cleaning a substrate composed of Eco Complete. Which do you subscribe to? Any tips?

Option 1) Clean it like you'd clean any type of gravel

Option 2) Keep the gravel vacuum about 2 inches above the Eco Complete so it doesn't suck out the good stuff

Option 3) As long as you have enough plants, you don't need to clean Eco Complete
 

lojack

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Option one for me in open areas where there aren’t plants
 

CHJ

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I do not understand #3.
On my few eco complete tanks I run it for the plants (or because they used to be planted tanks). Plant a small plant in it and find that little plant has gone all Little Shop of Horrors overnight. I haven't tried a dirted tank but eco complete grows plants like no ones business.
 

sinned4g63

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In theory if you have enough plants to break down the waste that settles in to the substrate you'd never need to clean it. Fish poop fertilizing the substrate like manure in a farm field. However, I've never trusted this because the waste and debris will never completely disappear. At least not IME..

With that being said vacuuming the surface as in #2 should suffice, but again there are things that will break down and settle into the deeper parts of the substrate itself that, without tossing the gravel, will probably never go away. Plus you'd need a good bit of plants with healthy roots to properly break down and utilize what it can out of the "fertilizer" even if you did only vacuum the surface.

All things considered I find the only and best way to properly clean a tanks substrate is to clean it by tossing it and stirring it around where possible. Or I suppose "just like any other type of gravel". I can't imagine that the substrate in natural bodies of water with thriving wildlife go completely undisturbed.
 

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