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Old 06-17-2006, 06:06 PM   #1
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Eco-Complete and Pool Filter Sand? Plant advice also needed!

I'm still working on what exacty I want to do with my 58 gallon, but I know I want to have a sand substrate (I'm going for a faux river look and it will bring out my black ghost knife, the centerpiece fish). However, I think I'm ready to make the jump to planted tanks, and I would like to use Eco-Complete to grow those in. I currently have two ideas on how to integrate these two substrates:

1) Have a 2" layer of Eco-Complete on bottom, with the plants planted in it, and then a 1" layer of pool filter sand over the Eco-Complete. My main concern here is that any burrowing fish I get would dig up the eco-complete and ruin the look of the tank, and that moving plants would likewise be difficult.

2) Have the substrate be 2-3" of pool filter sand, and have pots of eco-complete that the plants would be planted in. Then just dig up a hole in the PFS and put the pot in there, then cover it over with PFS. It would also make moving plants a cinch, since there wouldn't be any actual transplanting.

I prefer the latter idea myself, but since I've never heard of anyone doing it before, I'm assuming there's some inherent flaw I'm not seeing. I would of course make sure the pots would be large enough for some root growth, and I would use the ceramic ones that wouldn't have any contaminants.

As some more information, I'm planning on using low to medium light plants with medium lighting and no CO2 injection. I will do some fertilization. The plants I'm looking into are anachris, water wysteria, anubias, amazon swords, water sprite, java fern, salvinia (floating), and java moss. The tank will be purely freshwater, with the temperature at 76-78 degrees F.

Any feedback/advice/etc. is welcome!

PS- also, a random question about PFS: can you clean it with a normal gravel vac?
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Old 06-17-2006, 07:30 PM   #2
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Usually if you layer substrates they will eventually get mixed. It will probably be the fish that ends up mixing them, so I'd just use the pots.

If you want both, you could do a sand "beach" and separate the two substrates with plastic dividers.
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Old 06-17-2006, 07:46 PM   #3
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The pots would work well, but won't allow the plants to spread, if they want to. I like JustOneMore's idea about a "beach" of PFS, with Eco Complete behind the beach. A little creativity with some plexiglass or slate and driftwood and some aquarium silicone and you could get the best of both worlds. If you did want some plants in the PFS area, a few root tabs would go a long way towards keeping the plants happy. Many folks here grow plants in PFS alone , so it can be done (check out maxwell1295's threads in the Aquascaping forum...his tanks look great). That said, I love Eco, I think it would grow roots on my fish if they sat still long enough!
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Old 06-18-2006, 07:20 PM   #4
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Topic moved to the Planted Forum.

Yes, you clean pfs with the same gravel vac that you would use for gravel. But if it is a planted tank, you won't want to be doing much vacing anyway.
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Old 06-18-2006, 07:57 PM   #5
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I thought this is the planted forum? the other is also planted forum but aquascaping?
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Old 06-18-2006, 09:07 PM   #6
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The topic was moved from the General Discussion forum to the Planted Forum. That is why it is now in the Planted forum.
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Old 06-18-2006, 11:12 PM   #7
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Yeah, I'm just worried that as a first-timer at a planted aquarium, I'll need to boost eco-complete would give. I'm also planning on lot of vacuuming due to the fack that this tank will have a plecostomus in it for a while.
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Old 06-19-2006, 12:05 AM   #8
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While nice, specialty plant substrates aren't necessary to have a lush planted tank. When using nutrient poor substrates like sand and gravel, you can simply add some root tabs to give the plants the extra boost.
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Old 06-19-2006, 03:26 AM   #9
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Could you tell me more about root tabs, please? How exactly does one use them, and where can I find them?

Thanks for all the help so far!
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Old 06-19-2006, 08:32 AM   #10
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I have been growing plants in pool filter sand using root tabs for the heavier root feeders. Root tabs are made by the usual suspects (for example, Seachem). I have found it easy enough and much more cost effective to make my own. Basically, I purchased dry fertilizers and clay on-line. The fertilizer and clay are mixed together with a little bit of water, then shaped into small pellets. Once they dry, they will be quite hard. You can place them under the plant in the substrate and it will release the fertilizers over time.
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Old 06-19-2006, 05:11 PM   #11
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These are the ones that I use, just follow the directions on the package. I may end up making my own in the future, but for now these are working well.
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Old 06-20-2006, 12:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishyfanatic
The topic was moved from the General Discussion forum to the Planted Forum. That is why it is now in the Planted forum.
oh got it, sorry just making sure so I know where to post stuff in the future. I was tired yesterday lol could'nt make sense out of it lol
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Old 06-20-2006, 01:08 AM   #13
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I've got 20 lbs of tahiti moon sand on top of 20 lbs of eco-c in my planted 20L. In retrospect, not the brightest thing I've ever done, as it is incredibly difficult to work with.

The biggest problem is that the sand will eventually end up underneath the eco. I've been set up about a month, and the eco is already showing through the sand in the corners (i believe mostly from some strong water flows I had).

The other thing, the point of using eco is for planting the plants in it (ie, roots in it), which means you have to push the plant through 1"-1.5" sand to get it deep enough, then the sand, not the eco, fills in behind your finger.

I would vacuum it out ... but it looks so cool under my PC 50/50. It looks like I have diamond and gold flecks scattered all over the bottom.


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Old 06-20-2006, 05:02 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the advice everyone, I relly appreciate it. I think I'm just going to go with PFS and root tabs, though I'm going to look into eco-complete for one of my smaller tanks eventually, I think.

Thanks again for all the help!
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