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Old 02-20-2007, 09:12 AM   #1
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The Best Substrate

Here are my experiences after 3 months. Would love to hear about other experiences.

Eco-Complete
+ Not hard to wash
+ Plants stay rooted
- Expensive

Substrate from aquariumplants.com
+ 22% cheaper than Eco-Complete
+ Easy to root plants
- Hard to fully wash
- Easy for fish to uproot plants
- BGA can grow on it


Regular creek sand <-1mm over garden soil that is mixed with perlite and osmocote.
+ Healthy plants
+ Minimal BGA
+ Cheap if you don't burn out your garbage disposal from getting grit in it while cleaning the sand.
- Messy to rearrange

Regular creek sand <1mm over Peat moss with perlite and osmocote.
+ No BGA ever
+ Plants seem to do ok
+ Cheap if you don't burn out your disposal
- Messy to rearrange


P.S.
Has anyone found a good, cheap, long lasting substrate fertilizer wo phosphorous?
ARH
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Old 02-20-2007, 06:06 PM   #2
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Overall, I think Eco-Complete is one of the best substrates available. Size is good, plants like it, and it's fairly affordable.

If I had to pic the best substrate I've used, regardless of price, I would definitely go with ADA Aquasoil. I've never seen plants grow so well right off the bat, or for the long term. It is also great to work with and holds plants perfectly. But you do pay for what you get.
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Old 02-20-2007, 10:03 PM   #3
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Eco-complete
+ No rinsing necessary
+ No cloudiness when setting up
+ Great contrast to show off fish/plants
- Expensive

Flourite
+ Natural looking
+ Good plant rooting and growth
+ No algae growth on substrate
- Lengthy setup time before water is clear
- Will always cloud the water a bit when disturbed
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Old 02-20-2007, 10:52 PM   #4
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+ Inexpensive ($10/50lbs)
+ High CEC (great for storing nutrients)
+ Great Color (charcoal grey - other colors available)
+ Easy to Rinse (minimal clouding lasts less than 24 hrs on setup)
- Lightweight (plants that have a fine root structure or aren't rooted well can be easily uprooted)

Flourite
+ Descent plant growth
+ Natural coloration
- Rinse forever and it still clouds

Onyx
+ Descent plant growth
+ Great Color (charcoal grey)
- Will raise your KH and pH

Gravel
+ Relatively inexpensive
+ Easy to obtain
- No nutrient storage
- Can be hard to root carpet plants
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Old 02-21-2007, 11:13 PM   #5
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After having plants in Eco-Complete for a few weeks, it seemed to pack down and make it hard to re-root or add new plants. Is this a problem for anyone else?
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Old 01-02-2008, 02:31 PM   #6
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After 15 months, Aquarium Plants.com's substrate is still the best as far as I can tell. Over the months, I bout 4 five gallon pails of it and now have it in most of my planted tanks. It still has problems getting it fully clean, but plants do very well in it and it doesn't get packed down like I've found Eco Complete does. The plants I planted in Eco Complete never thrived, but the ones in the Aquarium Plants substrate have multiplied many fold.
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