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Old 04-29-2013, 09:09 AM   #1 
Mashiro
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Eco-Complete Vs. Regular Gravel?

What are the benefits of Eco-Complete Vs. regular gravel? The pros and cons?

I keep hearing something about CEC and I don't know what that means.

Also, a big question I have is if I get Eco-Complete, do I still need root tabs?
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:16 AM   #2 
colorxmexravyne
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Don't quote me on this, but I *think* the difference lies in the type of rock that's used. Gravel is well....gravel. EcoComplete on the other hand is like lava rock or something similar. It's super porous and is able "hold on" to nutrients dosed into the water column, thus keeping them around longer for better usage by the plants (referred to as "CEC;" cation exchange capacity). It's also supposed to come in a water-based solution that contains bacteria, but I'm not sure how true or helpful that is.

For pros and cons, there aren't really too many pros to gravel when compared to a 'premium' substrate like EC. Gravel would be easier for plants to root in since it's more coarse, but that's about it.

That said, both substrates are inert so no matter which route you went, you'd have to use root tabs if you had heavy root feeders like swords. I personally chose Floramax over Eco-Complete. It's the exact same product (a little coarser, though) but without the bacteria solution and, when I bought it at Petsmart, was almost 12 dollars cheaper. :p

The only thing about Floramax is that people have said it clouds the water initially. It did, but a few 50% water changes and the bio-magnet clarifier they give you in the bag takes care of that.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:25 AM   #3 
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The "water" that EcoComplete is shipped in is gimmicky at best ... no telling how long the bag has been on the shelf in a warehouse or the store. There won't be any live bacteria in it by the time you get it. I tend to rinse, or at least drain it and ignore the instructions that say not to.

The previous poster is right, you still need ferts - but I rarely use them in my planted tanks with ecocomplete, because I rarely vacuum cycled planted tanks (it's all fertilizer in the end) and generally don't have high light or high tech tanks so the plants don't have high requirements.

If you are planting, EcoComplete is a MUCH better choice than gravel. I haven't used Floramax.
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:02 PM   #4 
intothebloo
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Eco Complete is designed as a first layer type substrate fertilizer. It's 100% better to go with it than gravel for a planted aquarium. From everything I've read about it it's supposed to be the best in the industry next to all Amanos stuff. It's awesome, gives your roots all the stuff they really need. Gravel is just rocks. No minerals with them whatsoever. I've never used root tabs in planted aquariums. Just use a good substrate and liquid fertilizers + CO2 and good lighting. If you went with plain gravel I'd use root tabs.
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:35 PM   #5 
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I have ecocomplete. Get it. You might pay 20 bucks for it but you'll pay 15 for gravel that wont enrich your plants. You probably wont have to use root tabs with ecocomplete unless you have a high care level plant. You can also use flourite, but it looks more "natural" than ecocomplete or gravel so it depends on the look you are going for. I hear that flourite build stronger root systems so look into it :) Eco complete is also a lot cleaner, there is some initial clouding but you are going to be rinsing flourite forever. The only advantage that gravel has over eco complete is that gravel is a lot heavier, and you might have to replant things that do not have roots in ecocomplete or secure it with river rocks or something. If you can afford ecocomplete, getting gravel would be a waste of time and money unless color is a big deal to you.
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:43 PM   #6 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by intothebloo View Post
Eco Complete is designed as a first layer type substrate fertilizer. It's 100% better to go with it than gravel for a planted aquarium. From everything I've read about it it's supposed to be the best in the industry next to all Amanos stuff. It's awesome, gives your roots all the stuff they really need. Gravel is just rocks. No minerals with them whatsoever. I've never used root tabs in planted aquariums. Just use a good substrate and liquid fertilizers + CO2 and good lighting. If you went with plain gravel I'd use root tabs.
Eco-Complete contains NO fertilizer. It is high CEC, so it can hang onto fertilizer, but you absolutely definitely need to use fertilizer with it - even root tabs. It is completely inert on its own. Even the packaging tells you that.
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:09 PM   #7 
heavenlolwut
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Originally Posted by tekkguy View Post
Eco-Complete contains NO fertilizer. It is high CEC, so it can hang onto fertilizer, but you absolutely definitely need to use fertilizer with it - even root tabs. It is completely inert on its own. Even the packaging tells you that.
Poking my head in because I just ordered Eco-complete myself, what kind of fertilizers are best for it?
Also can you put a cap on Eco-Complete?


/supersorryforhijackingthread ;-;
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:56 PM   #8 
Mashiro
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Originally Posted by heavenlolwut View Post
Poking my head in because I just ordered Eco-complete myself, what kind of fertilizers are best for it?
Also can you put a cap on Eco-Complete?


/supersorryforhijackingthread ;-;
Heh, no worries.

But I've heard the best ferts are by Seachem. Flourish and Flourish Excel. Some people get Flourish Iron too for their red colored plants. Iron really makes the Rotala indica look redder, or so I hear.

I would not recommend a cap as it would eventually just fall down into the substrate and give you a 50/50 sand/Eco-Complete substrate that's all mixed together.

I see no benefit there.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:10 PM   #9 
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Any ferts are fine. I use Flourish Comprehensive for the water column, and if I bother to use any kind of root tabs, I have some Osmocote+ gelcaps that I bought from another hobbyist who made them. Any kind of root tab is fine also.

As far as a cap goes, yeah, capping with anything will result in an eventual mix. However, Eco is VERY hard to plant in when the tank is full of water because it is very light. Sand will help with that to some extent if you decide to cap. I just use two pairs of planting tongs instead of one. One to hold the plant, and one to do the planting. That way the plant doesn't float up while I'm trying to fill in the hole with floating Eco.
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Old 04-29-2013, 05:17 PM   #10 
MoneyMitch
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ive used eco complete in the past along with gravel and sand... all with high light. the eco complete didn't yield any better results then any of the other substrates in my experience. I just stick to sand gravel and eventually going to try a soil sub.
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