Need help with substrate in planted tank

Ama01Duarte

So I have had this 9 gallon tank from fluval for about a year now. It’s suppose to be the ultimate kit for starting planted tanks since it has the equipped lighting to make plants flourish. Now I’ve had it running for a year with many set backs. when I first started researching different substrates I decided to go forth with the “hardest” but cheapest options because I am a “broke” college student who saw it as a challenge to use organic dirt as a tank substrate. Now I have changed this tank so many times and I’ve had casualties and I’ve learned from my mistakes but I HATE the way it looks it’s isn’t aquascaped it’s just ugly in my opinion. Now recently I upgraded my betta fish and bought everything new and used old filter media to cycle and added a lot of new plants and to me it looks aesthetic and I’m pleased to stare at it everyday. Now on the other hand my other tank is so ugly but it has great water levels in ph, ammonia,…. Etc. but every time I try to move a plant it makes a mess. So I want to try to change the substrate but I went to PetSmart today and bought eco complete which upon reading reviews you have to dose the water with fertilizers after 6 months and I heard people dose every week and honestly I’m regretting my choice in buying it. But I want to be able to move things around without making a mess but idk if I should change something that is so balanced at the moment that the plants are growing super fats and almost over growing in the tank for pure Aesthetic. I was wondering if there was any recommendations on a substrate that will be less expensive in the long run but will also not bring me issues when it comes to redoing the tank or doing water changes. Or if I should leave my tank untouched?
 

Shrimpandall

My first few tanks were only gravel substrates and the plants are still doing so well! A medium grain gravel is a lot let "dusty" when moving plants about than the upcapped aquasoil in my other tank.

One of my newer tanks has aquasoil mixed with course gravel and play sand, topped with gravel. There is little to no mess when moving plants and the nutrients doesnt seem to be leaching into the water column so badly. The nutrients leeching from my uncapped aquasoil is still causing algea blooms so thats just somthing to be careful about.


Hope this helps!
 

Ama01Duarte

My first few tanks were only gravel substrates and the plants are still doing so well! A medium grain gravel is a lot let "dusty" when moving plants about than the upcapped aquasoil in my other tank.

One of my newer tanks has aquasoil mixed with course gravel and play sand, topped with gravel. There is little to no mess when moving plants and the nutrients doesnt seem to be leaching into the water column so badly. The nutrients leeching from my uncapped aquasoil is still causing algea blooms so thats just somthing to be careful about.


Hope this helps!
So is the eco complete fine or do I need to add other substrate? Also you said it does fine with gravel so does it not matter???
 

FishDin

Eco complete is innert. There are some claims made about it's bennefits that are not true and not supported by the manufacturer. It will be as good as any other innert substrate, but not better. You have to dose fertilizers weekly not every six months. There are no nutrients in it eco complete, just like sand or gravel. Your plants will have to get all their nutrients from the water unless you add root tabs.

For such a small tank it shouldn't be too expensive to buy some aqua soil designed for planted tanks. That is a better choice if you don't want to fertilize, but aqua soils will become depleted over time and you will need to replace it or start adding ferts.

I have used eco complete in 2 tanks and currently still have it in one. I have struggled to grow plants in it. Other plants in the tank do fine, but not those rooted in the eco struggle. I'm sure there a people that have amazing planted tanks with eco complete, but there is nothing special about it.

eco complete is not very dense and I have found it can be tricky to get plants rooted.

I rinse eco complete even though they say it's not needed. I still wash away a lot of black dust, so I think it's worth it. In the first tank I didn't rinse it and it clouded the water every time it was desturbed, but probably not as bad as your experiencing with dirt.
 

Ama01Duarte

Okay
Eco complete is innert. There are some claims made about it's bennefits that are not true and not supported by the manufacturer. It will be as good as any other innert substrate, but not better. You have to dose fertilizers weekly not every six months. There are no nutrients in it eco complete, just like sand or gravel. Your plants will have to get all their nutrients from the water unless you add root tabs.

For such a small tank it shouldn't be too expensive to buy some aqua soil designed for planted tanks. That is a better choice if you don't want to fertilize, but aqua soils will become depleted over time and you will need to replace it or start adding ferts.

I have used eco complete in 2 tanks and currently still have it in one. I have struggled to grow plants in it. Other plants in the tank do fine, but not those rooted in the eco struggle. I'm sure there a people that have amazing planted tanks with eco complete, but there is nothing special about it.

eco complete is not very dense and I have found it can be tricky to get plants rooted.

I rinse eco complete even though they say it's not needed. I still wash away a lot of black dust, so I think it's worth it. In the first tank I didn't rinse it and it clouded the water every time it was desturbed, but probably not as bad as your experiencing with dirt.
Okay thank you I’m going to be returning the eco complete haha and hopefully buy something like aqua soil is there any you recommend?
 

FishDin

Others will have to weigh in in recommendations . I'm still trying to make eco complete work :):(
 

kansas

I use black diamond blasing sand with Thrive root tabs every few months and Thrive liquid every week. I have crypts and ludwigia doing well in a Flex 15 alond with frogbit and of course duckweed.
 

Ama01Duarte

I use black diamond blasing sand with Thrive root tabs every few months and Thrive liquid every week. I have crypts and ludwigia doing well in a Flex 15 alond with frogbit and of course duckweed.
Well I’m trying to find something that won’t need any fertilizers in the water column or hopefully root tabs because my soil is doing amazing I’m just trying to find and easier way to aqua scape
Others will have to weigh in in recommendations . I'm still trying to make eco complete work :):(
Ahhh okay haha
 

86 ssinit

Thing with aquasoil is it will release ammonia into the tank. It’s best to put this in and let the ammonia dissipate before you add fish. Will take time! I use gravel. Its been working fine for years.
 

Ama01Duarte

Thing with aquasoil is it will release ammonia into the tank. It’s best to put this in and let the ammonia dissipate before you add fish. Will take time! I use gravel. Its been working fine for years.
Wait so I don’t plan to put in fish right away because I have an extra tank but you mean to not use any thing meant for plants and just use regular gravel? Can I rinse out eco complete and use it as gravel???
 

86 ssinit

I had the eco and it was worthless. It’s ground up lava rock. So I don’t recommend it. I put 120lbs in a 90g and it’s all in a gopher hole now!! Seemed to me the roots couldn’t move through it. I use just standard gravel. Ferts are needed for your best growth but I’ve got 2 tank that I don’t use it on. There both fully planted shrimp tanks. Both also have mts snails.
 

Ama01Duarte

I had the eco and it was worthless. It’s ground up lava rock. So I don’t recommend it. I put 120lbs in a 90g and it’s all in a gopher hole now!! Seemed to me the roots couldn’t move through it. I use just standard gravel. Ferts are needed for your best growth but I’ve got 2 tank that I don’t use it on. There both fully planted shrimp tanks. Both also have mts snails.
Well thank you very much
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
4
Views
351
Unknown9182
  • Question
Replies
3
Views
363
86 ssinit
Replies
1
Views
338
Fishitryhard
  • Question
Replies
2
Views
204
tapwater
Replies
8
Views
623
Cale24

New Aquascaping Threads

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom