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Old 09-08-2012, 12:02 PM   #1 
Gryphon's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: PacNW, USA
3 gallon substrate?

I am looking into what I might need to get my 3 gallon up and going as a planted tank and I was curious on people's opinion as far as substrate goes. I've been browsing all the threads people have created on here and on other sites, but I'm still being indecisive.

Should I go with an eco-complete base or soil with a sand cap? I was also reading that someone did an eco-complete mixed with sand.

I have a bag on eco-complete that was opened ~6 months ago and not used by a friend of mine. Does the dry eco-complete still hold the nutrients as a new bag (which is loaded with their bacteria) does?

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Old 09-08-2012, 01:13 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
The bacteria in the old bag are dead by now, but the minerals and plant nutrients are still good so you can use the substrate and steal some media from another tank for the bacteria establishment. You will almost certainly get a huge ammonia spike from the substrate so test your levels for at least a week before adding plants.

Using plain substrate or mixing/layering with sand is all down to personal preference and what you want the tank to look like In my new 20 gal I used fluorite substrate with a sand cap, but it's mixed together quite a bit on its own too.
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:12 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Fremont, CA
The bag should still have nutrients. I have no clue on the bacteria because it may be the dormant kind that stays dormant until you add water. If you can seed the filter to avoid any ammonia spikes.
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