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Caribsea Eco-complete Live Planted Substrate
November 18, 2009
10:26 pm
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rob
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hey guys /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

I've just picked up a Juwel Vision 180 as an upgrade from a 70l tank, for my clown, kuhli & zebra loaches. I want to set it up as a planted tank, so I've been looking at this substrate, as it was the 'recommended' winner in PFK earlier this year. It's not cheap, gonna cost about £55 for 3 bags, enough to cover the bottom by 3 inches, which I'm then gonna cover with an inch or two of sand, as the clown loach love digging around in this in their current tank.

has anyone used this before, as I've read some reports that it might affect chemical levels in the tank for a few weeks, before being suitable for the fish?

November 19, 2009
5:38 am
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Bluedave
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It fine, safe for fish and great for plants. You need to heavily plant from the start as the substrate is full of nutrients - no plants (or not enough) means that the nutrients may just leach into the tank (possibly affecting water stats) ready for algae to use!

Make sure you get some deep rooted robust plants like Ech. Bleheri etc as the loaches will just dig everything up. Stem plants are ok but be prepared to keeping replanting them until they root. You can forget carpet plants - I tried growing Riccia, Glossostigma, lilaeopsis, Ech. Tennelus and Hairgrass - the clown loaches just thought it was funny digging them up and watching them float away - gave up after 6 months of trying and planted anubias at the front on wood.

Good luck with it - would love to see some pics when done.

November 19, 2009
12:22 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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You might want to plant it up first and let the roots get established before adding the loaches too mate. Looking forward to seeing the result!

Cake or death?
November 19, 2009
8:19 pm
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Eyrie
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Slightly off topic, but a 180L tank isn't big enough for clowns in the long term, although it is fine for kuhlis and striata.

Mature, sensible signature required for responsible position. Good prospects for the right candidate. Apply within.
November 20, 2009
12:53 am
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Bully
South Wales
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Eco-Complete can raise the pH of soft acidic water but, after several water changes it will go back to normal. It even states this on the packaging or, at least it did, they may have re-formulated it? It did have an effect on my pH, it buffered the water to pH 7.5 instead of the normal pH of 6.8 although, my water is soft out of the tap with a GH&KH of 3.

I'm not sure it's suited to Pangio species either, it's quite a coarse substrate. The Caribsea website lists it as "Soft Belly Safe" but, not "Burrower friendly". I had it for some time in a tank, without loaches, and it did sustain good plant growth (in conjunction with liquid ferts and liquid carbon). Topping it with sand won't be effective for long, especially if you do keep the loaches in it. They will soon have it all turned over and, as is natural with grains, the larger grains will eventually make their way to the top and you will have a sand/Eco-Complete mix. You may find otherwise but, personally, I wouldn't use it in a loach tank.

http://www.caribsea.com/pages/.....aquar.html

My pH and KH went up after I put Eco-Complete™ Planted in my tank with RO water, what’s going on?

November 20, 2009
8:49 am
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Bluedave
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I have never noticed that intial rise in pH but I was using pressurised CO2 with a pH controller so this may be why? The softer your water the more of a swing you will get with the pH. If your woried about it, get the tank set up and planted and then leave it for a few weeks and do a few water changes before adding fish or doing your cycle.

Good point from Bully about the substrates mixing.

You don't need to spend a fortune on expensive substrates to grow plants well Rob (it seems to be all the rage nowadays!).

If you wanted to just use sand as a substrate then plants would root perfectly well in this - add some plant fertiliser tabs (Dupla used to do some good ones or JBL root balls) around the roots of the greediest feeders and dose the water column with ferts regularly, occasionally add root tabs into the substrate. The thing you need to remember with these substrates is that they are full of nutrients at the start - what happens in 12 or 18 months time - no nutrients left in the substrate so you need to add root tabs or replace the substrate anyway.

If your going for greedy root feeders like Echinodorus species that like a lot of iron then mix some laterite into the sand - they always do better with this in my expereince.

November 20, 2009
10:25 pm
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rob
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thanks a lot for all the replies, really appreciated /thumbs_up.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsup:" border="0" alt="thumbs_up.gif" />

actually, after posting this, I did a lot more reading around, and it sounded good stuff, so I bought some & had it delivered today. it's gone in now & the tank's being filled up. Gonna add some plants next week then leave it a good few weeks, water changes etc. til everything seems to have settled down.

I'm hoping that I can put enough sand on top so that the substrate stays submerged, I guess time will tell but I'm planning on a good couple of inches worth at least.

I know a 180l tank's not the ideal size for clown loach (& that their current 70l was WAY too small, but was only a temporary solution!), but they're not too big yet so they should be OK in here for the next 6-12 months, when we plan on moving house & putting them in a 400l+ tank (don't have anymore space in this house!)

gonna take some pics at the weekend & set up a tank diary on here somewhere. got a webcam too which I'd like to point at it & the marine tank when it's all in place with fish in

November 21, 2009
8:01 am
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Bluedave
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Looking forward to the pics and diary mate /thumbs_up.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsup:" border="0" alt="thumbs_up.gif" />

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