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post #1 of 6 Old 01-24-2013, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Question about substrate

So I have a simple question. Do I need to put anything over my substrate? Or can I just leave it as is?
Eco Complete Planted Black Aquarium Substrate - Aquarium Rocks and Fish Tank Rock from
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-24-2013, 04:39 PM
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What size tank is it? In larger tanks, some people mix it with another substrate to offset the costs. For example, in my 90g I used 80 lbs of ecocompleted topped with 50 lbs of black blasting sand. Using a finer sand on top may also help certain carpeting plants spread.
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-24-2013, 04:56 PM
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Either, as was noted by previous post. But mixing substrates does not always work, as the finer (sand) will end up on the bottom with the larger (gravel, Eco-complete, etc) on top.

Another problem with this is fish, substrate fish especially. If you intend corys or loaches, I would not use this or any similar substrate, but stay with fine gravel or (preferably for corys) sand. I have Flourite in my 70g, which is near-identical to EC, and I choose it because it felt less rough than EC in my fingers. But my corys in this tank began having issues and I ended up removing them to the sand substrate tank; they recovered nicely. I have also been advised by a catfish breeder never to put corys over EC or similar substrates. I think that is good advice.

Plain sand will be better (with substrate fish), and plants grow fine in it. And that's another issue; I spent $180 for Flourite for my 70g, and now after almost 2 years the plants are and have been no better in this tank than in my other 5 tanks with sand (some of the same substrate-rooted plants, same light, same fertilizing, etc). It would have cost me a grand total of $15 for sand. Actually, I have the sand, and any day now I intend tearing this tank down, throwing out the Flourite, and using play sand.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-24-2013, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Its a 50 gallon. I have no idea as to what fish I will put in yet. I actually wanted feed back on that as well. I want a pleco and wanted to make sure it was okay with that gravel. Thanks for the replies!
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-24-2013, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Also, where could I get good plants for a reasonable price? The local stores (Reno, NV) don't really carry much for a good price.
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-24-2013, 05:52 PM
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I've personally had good experiences with Planted Aquariums Central. You can also see if there's a local club that you can join. My local club has an auction each meeting with fish, plants, equipment, food, etc.
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