Eco Complete vs ?
I think I"m going to redo my NPT this weekend and go with something a bit easier. By easier I mean "Oh that plant is huge, I need to remove it.." slow... slow pull.. BAM soil everywhere! GRRR I just can't stand it and all I wanted to do was pull a dwarf sag that was huge and sending babies everywhere. I decided it wasn't the plant for my tank.
I want to put something in the tank that can sit by itself without a topper. I have access to most of the major brands but I like the look of Eco Complete the most by looking at people's aquascapes.
I have a question though for those of you who use it by itself:
If you move a plant does it "poof" up. If I use a plant with runners and trim the runners and I don't want a cloud where I pulled it up from.
The problem I have is that the bags of this stuff are huge and I need about half of it. Isn't there water in the bag? if I don't use it all should I store it in a specific way?
I don't want to go over $20 for my substrate.. $10 would be best but I realise that isn't gonna happen.
Thanks for answering
I have about 47 lbs of pool filter sand that I can use lol. I like sand OK but I like the look of the Eco and wanted to give it a try
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I can certainly understand how you feel. The additional ferts will probably still be necessary to get the growth you're experiencing now. Best of luck !
I think going NPT on a 5.5 was a bit of a jump for me. it's too much to take in. Things are growing so fast I can't trim or rip out runners. It's not tall enough for many stem plants and it feels crowded. I am also a fert newb. Completely! I once put a couple drops of excel into my 10 gallon and all of a sudden my 2 year old java fern lost 90% of its leaves. They just melted away. I'm still mad about it since I had just given away 90% of my ferns to a LFS and kept the ones I wanted. I only did a NPT so I wouldn't have to do so many water changes on the tank but I think it's just better to replant it and rescape it into something easier.
BTW this is the tank in question
the sags on the left are the ones I ripped out. My fish kept getting caught in them
That tank is beautiful. I wouldn't touch a thing but, that's just me. The best fert I've found is Seachem Flourish Comprehensive. It's an all purpose balanced product. I've heard about problems with Excel and I think that it is because it is a very specific fert that is meant to be used in conjunction with other formulas. Used by itself, it can overdo in some areas. Keep in mind that there are folks who would kill to be in your position with having to thin their plants. Holding them back is never good. Perhaps you could just look into getting some slower growth rate plants. They would flourish in your substrate without over running your tank.
I don't know what fish you have, but with Eco-Complete (or Flourite, a near-identical product) substrate fish can have problems. Corys, pleco, loaches can be damaged by the roughness of these products. I speak from experience.
Second point is that I have not found these two products made any difference in plant growth, so they are in my view a waste of money. Last week I tore down my 70g that had been running for just under 2 years with Flourite. Now has play sand, much better. And I can have corys again.
Once you get good plant growth and have bits of wood, etc, the substrate becomes less "obvious." One other thing about black substrates, they show every speck of detritus, something I never see with the sand or gravel that are mixes.
I don't mind the black specs of the soil here and there, what I mind is when I want to move a plant that is taking over my tank it doesn't spew soil everywhere pretty much making the layering useless. I sprinkled more sand over the area and I'm hoping for the best but I'm no so sure.
I think I just need different plants. The ones I have in there aren't what I'm looking for and the stores around me just have the generic "beginner" plants like java fern and anubias etc .. Maybe I should just do the whole thing in Mini Pellia and call it a day LOL
All that's in there is 1 betta, a nerite and a handful of MTS
Do you think if I switched to sand, and dosed about 1/4th to 1/2 mil of comprehensive 2x a week I'd be ok? I can't commit to dosing every day, and I'm not a chemist but it'd give me the ease of use that I'd be looking for so I could move things around if I needed to..
Stem plants need reguar trimming, which usually means pulling them up, cutting off the tops and replanting those. I can see how a soil substrate would be a mess. Another option with the soil would be plants that don't need this, say crypts, or pygmy chain sword. Floating plants are essential for Betta and any anabantid.
Stems IMO are not actually much of an issue in soil byron. They don't really root. It the crypts, swords, ect that root heavy that are a huge pain. You don't have to remove one often but when you do it makes a huge mess. Soil is quite different then other substrates in how very strongly plants can root in it. Removing a medium to large crypt your likely to tear half the roots in the process and pull up soil. I've occasionally killed larger crypts in my 15 gallon soil tank as its easier then trying to remove them. TBH if you don't get a very firm grip on the base of the rosette, the plant its liable to snap in half regardless.
As far as 'plant substrates' depends on looks and ease of use. It is certainly much much easier to dig up plants in eco-complete and flourite, so I like them alot in propagation tanks. I've yet to really try plain sand completely alone as I'm a bit skeptical on how much extra fertilizer I would have to dose. The gravels are easier if you have to move a tank IMO. I've moved my 55 twice in the last 2 years and its simple enough to pull up all the plants and just give the substrate a gravel vac before scooping it into buckets. My current fluorite is about 7 years old and my eco complete is 5-6 years old.
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