I am in the process of setting up my first NPT and have recently spotted the Eco Complete black substrate. Has anyone had any experience with this? It seems too easy and good to be true, and you know what they say about that, Haha. I don't see how it could be better than soil and sand/gravel, but i figured i would ask the experts here.
I used it before I did my NPTs, and it worked fine for growing plants. I had a bit of an issue keeping the roots in the gravel (but I also had a pushy betta in there as well), but nothing unmanageable. If you are just doing stems I think it would be fine, but if you are looking to do more of a planted/covered ground I'd suggest soil and sand.
I think it depends more on what you want to look at. The eco has a nice appearence (basically black gravel), vs. sand (which shows dirt/plant debris) on top of a layer of dirt. If you want to get fancy, there are all sorts of different colored sands out there as well.
Welcome to the forums!
Last edited by Gryphon; 01-09-2013 at 02:17 AM.
Reason: more detail shtuff :-)
All my tanks are naturally planted and I actually prefer Flourite black. I have one tank that has Eco-complete in it and even though the substrate is larger (easier to plant plants in than Flourite)...I just don't like the look of the larger particle substrate. So personally I prefer the finer substrates such as Flourite.
Both are good & provide great nutrients to plants though, if you were wondering about that.
I can see there are differing opinions on prepackaged substrates, haha. I can see the ease and the looks, but it does seem that soil and sand might be cheaper.
Personally, I like the way the sand and soil look (more natural), and I wouldn't want the plants having to be fixed until they really get rooted in. Being new to a NPT, I want it as stress free as possible. I might just go with the sand and soil. But it is nice to know that some people have had luck with it, so it's an option to keep tabs on for later tanks. Thanks guys!
K I may sound really stupid asking this but I'm going to take the chance. What do you guys mean by regular dirt. The dirt in the back yard?
Yes and no. If one knows for sure that there are no chemicals (ferts, pesticides, etc) in the soil, then yes you can use that dirt. Otherwise, it is organic top soil and/or organic potting mix that can be bought pre-packaged in any garden store. The 'regular' part just tends to refer that it has no additives in it to 'enhance growth' or some marketing gimmick like that that some soil companies use. Chemicals and fish don't mix very well.
back yard dirt is fine...
I like eco-complete because it's easier to move stuff around. I've done all kinds of tanks with different substrates...Dirty is wonderful, but awfully hard to move things in for the first half a year or so...
I have eco-complete in my 29g right now. This is my first planted tank and I went with the eco-complete because it just didn't seem as messy as dirt and sand. So far all the plants I have bought are thriving, and I swear my Amazon Sword gets a new leaf every day! So in that respect, it's great.
I am considering starting a NPT in my new 5 gallon when it comes though, at least that will be easier to clean out than the 29g if I just really hate dirt/sand.