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Old 08-13-2017, 04:36 PM   #1
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How's your experience with Eco Complete?

Hey AA community, need some help. Just want to get some feedback to those using Eco Complete, specifically the black variety, in their planted tanks? Good or bad?

I've used it in the past, like 4 years ago, and I had decent experience in both low tech and high tech. However, I've always used some root tabs on initial setup knowing that it's somewhat inert at first. But due to the high CEC (cation exchange capacity) it is my understanding that it'll become more viable to plant nutrient delivery over time.

I'm in a bit of a debate with some Instagram planted tank folks that blame it for crashing their tanks and killing off some expensive specifies of plants (ie. Sp. Buce). I'm in disbelief because I've never heard this before. Unless the EC formula has changed in recent years, my experience says otherwise. I've been in hiatus for a while, so things could have changed without me noticing. Thanks!
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Old 08-13-2017, 04:48 PM   #2
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I've had mixed results to be honest. I think it's a good substrate however when I started up my 60g Dutch I had Eco as the substrate and was dosing full EI. The substrate absorbed a massive amount of micro nutrients and I lost a tank worth of plants twice over. They burnt away to match sticks or curled themselves into a tangled mess.

However I'm not sure I can blame the substrate for the issues as I had issues with EI even without the Eco. I'm now dosing PPS pro with a lot better results.

I also found that BBA was a big issue with Eco, it tended to grow on the substrate.

Fresh2o has been using it for years with really good results but he found that HC Cuba couldn't root properly and ended up floating once it became a thick mat
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Old 08-13-2017, 06:23 PM   #3
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I use it and like it. My dwarf chain swords grow like a weed. Like Bert2oo1, I have noticed that some sort of brushy algae tufts will grow on the substrate, which I then have to treat with hydrogen peroxide.
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:51 PM   #4
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How's your experience with Eco Complete?

Purchased EC in OCT 2012 because it was super cheap at the local big box store. All in all, good experience with it except for one incident (more on that later).
Pretty much grew anything I put in it. As for the HC Cuba, I had trouble planting it in small groups (would always become uprooted). I then would take a nickel to quarter size of it and tie it to a 1"X1" square of stainless steel. It took about 6 weeks to fully carpet the tank. Several months later sections of the HC Cuba began to lift up.
I fertilizer the EC on an irregular basis, maybe every 3-5 months with AquaFertz root pellets. It does trap a ton of debris.
If you are purist about jet black, this is so so. Quite a few granules of gray, red, and tan present as well.
Okay, the bad. Might not be an EC issue. A couple of the bags I purchased sat on the floor of my garage for several months over the winter/early spring. I used it in my shrimp tank setup. Even before adding ammonia for a fishless cycle, the ammonia spiked to +8 and the surfaces of the substrate and decor was covered with a whitish fluff. I would do multiple, large water changes and within 8 hours the ammonia would go from 1 to 8+ ppm. A heavy oil would coat the surface. Ended up pitching the substrate and thoroughly cleaning the tank. Restarted with fresh substrate and no issues some then.
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Old 08-14-2017, 02:05 AM   #5
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Thanks Bert, Barliman, and Fresh! So nothing major like total meltdowns. I've never dosed EI, I've always used PPS-Pro, but that micro nutrient overload sounds logical. Glad you got that under control. Fresh, that's strange about those bags you had laying around. I wonder if a bad batch went out and those planted tanks folks on IG ran into something similar.

Here's some of their comments that left me scratching my head. I've already considered EC a safe substrate, surely not the best, but very good for the price compared to spendy stuff like aquasoil and the alike.

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Old 08-14-2017, 04:17 PM   #6
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I've had it in my Amazonian tank for several months now and it seems to work okay. I've got 20 lbs in a 40, capped with aboutr 40 lbs of gravel. Overall, I'm unhappy with my substrate, I'd like to replace it with a sand of some sort, but as far as growing goes, I've had no problems. Amazon swords, ludwigia and anotrher plant (can't think of it) have been growing like weeds. Jungle Val, pygmy chain sword and dwarf sword haven't been doing very gfood though, but I've got an improper light and no CO2. I do use fertilizer, flourish & excel, also aquavitro envy. Oddly enough, I've got a couple small rosette swords that I haven't seen growth in several months, but I recently put a larger one in that's growing quite well already.

I would give a thumbs up to anyone wanting to use it, I would just prefer a different look.
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Old 08-14-2017, 04:51 PM   #7
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To be honest Brian after using Ada aquasoil I'd never go back to anything else. The stuff is amazing !
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Old 08-14-2017, 06:42 PM   #8
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How did you mix the aquasoil?
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Old 08-14-2017, 10:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bert2oo1 View Post
To be honest Brian after using Ada aquasoil I'd never go back to anything else. The stuff is amazing !
Does that wear out or break down after a while and need to be replaced?
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Old 08-15-2017, 03:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Does that wear out or break down after a while and need to be replaced?


Yea eventually it turns to mud but apparently it lasts about 3 years
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