Cost of Substrates: Flourite vs Eco-Complete vs Aquasoil

beeky

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Because everyone says AS is very expensive, I thought I'd compare the top 3 "All In One" substrates, namely Seachem Flourite, Caribsea Eco-Complete and ADA Aquasoil.

I worked out the amounts needed and the cost for a typical 91cm x 38cm aquarium (36" x 15") to give an average depth of 5cm. This volume works out to be ((91x38x5) / 1000), or 17.29l.

Interesting result.....

Flourite:
Guidelines say 1Kg is enough for 200cmsq to give a 5cm depth. Multiplying length x width of the tank gives a surface area of 3458cmsq, so 17.29kg would be needed for this tank. Each bag is 7kg, so that means we would need 3 bags (rounding up) at £26 each. Cost: £78

Eco-Complete:
A difference of opinion here on the number of bags. My calculations from their guidelines gives only 1.5 bags (i.e. 2) needed, but this didn't seem right to me. "The Planted Tank" website given in Aquaessentials description shows 3 bags needed which seems more reasonable, so that's what I've gone with. Each bag is 9Kg, so again 3 bags needed at £27 a bag, gives £81

Aquasoil:
This is nice and easy as they helpfully give the bag in volume rather than weight. A bag is 9l, so for our tank substrate volume of 17.29l, 2 bags are needed. Each bag is £28 giving a cost of £56.

So, there you have it. ADA Aquasoil is actually the cheapest option! Even if you can get away with using 2 bags of Eco-Complete, it's still no cheaper than AS.

I hope this helps people make a decision on their chosen substrate. I was quite surprised, and wish I'd worked this out before going for tropica substrate topped with black gravel.....

Graham
 

Dan Crawford

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Thats great Beeky, thanks for taking the time to do that. I've recently argued that Aquasoil is cheaper than using Tropica substrate and gravel. ADA all the way for me, the benefits of Aquasoil stretch further than just cost too. Nice one.
 

Hoskins

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I have just invested in 4 bags of AS Malaya and a bag of power sand special. It felt like a big kick in the wallet at the time but although I was originally considering Eco complete I was talked out of it on a long term / results basis. I feel even better knowing that the difference in the cost of the AS is lower. Shame that the power sand special is not at the same level of cost.

I nearly fainted at £55 for a bag.........good job it doesnt have a price ticket on the bag that is sitting in the conservatory.....what the other half doesnt know doesnt hurt.

Anyway it is going in next week, so hopefully I will see the benefits in the not too distant future.
 

beeky

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Ouch! I've never looked at the cost of powersand.

Nice to see Malaya being used, makes a change from the usual Amazonia. Looking forward to the photos.
 

Vase

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Nice one Beeky, thats really helpful :D

I thought that the ADA soil was going to set me back top dollar if I went with that but that myth seems to have been put to rest now.

The only hard part when deciding on ADA is what colour? :rolleyes: :lol:
 

JamesM

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Vase said:
Nice one Beeky, thats really helpful :D

I thought that the ADA soil was going to set me back top dollar if I went with that but that myth seems to have been put to rest now.

The only hard part when deciding on ADA is what colour? :rolleyes: :lol:
They all have different properties, so don't base it just on colour.
 

George Farmer

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Nice comparison, Graham. Thanks for posting.

If you don't mind I may use some of this data in a forthcoming article for PFK...?
 

Vase

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JAmesM said:
They all have different properties, so don't base it just on colour.
Is there a website anywhere that gives more info on it? All I've found so far is price, colour and name!
 

GreenNeedle

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How expensive was the gravel you used on top of the Tropica

However Tropica would still be cheaper!!! They recommended substrate quantity means that 1 x 5ltr bag at £19 is enough for up to 250ltrs of tank!!!

That would mean that your gravel would have to be £37 for it to cost as much as the ADA which is expensive gravel!!!

In my 125ltr I used 1 x £2.50 back of play sand on top and chucked all 5ltrs of Tropica in so that cost me £21.50!!!

So while I do see you are just comparing all in ones against each other, I can't see how they work out cheaper than using Tropica.

AC
 

forest6

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hi ive just had 4 bags of eco complete delivered from warehouse aquatics.
£17 per bag(9kg) plus posted.very fast delivery.
hope this helps.
 

LondonDragon

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Ýou wouldn't use 5cm of flourite or eco-complete, just a 1cm layer topped up by gravel. You need to redo those calculations, very misleading!!!
 

JamesM

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LondonDragon said:
Ýou wouldn't use 5cm of flourite or eco-complete, just a 1cm layer topped up by gravel. You need to redo those calculations, very misleading!!!
Why would you top them? They look great as they are, and don't need topping...
 

Superman

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I think to get the best out of Aquasoil you'd need to use the bacter, powersand and the rest of the ADA substrate system. That's when it gets expensive! Although, I believe it would be well worth it.
 

Mark Evans

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Superman said:
I think to get the best out of Aquasoil you'd need to use the bacter, powersand and the rest of the ADA substrate system. That's when it gets expensive! Although, I believe it would be well worth it.
not strictly true.

i'm running a 60cm with jbl substrate and AS on top. i've deliberately not used the powders (which i have) just to see the effects. now i can say with this combination i still have amazing growth of e acicularis and glosso and my stems. it was only 4 days until i saw grass roots pushed against the tank wall.

i'm going to run the same set up in my local MA but i'm adding ADA iron bottom and bacter 100 capped with older AS. to be on the safe side because i can only get each weekend. so i need as much room for error as pos
 

GreenNeedle

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In that link Tom says that although ADA AS is still the best that the other ' additions' aren't worth the money as there are no noticeable differences when you use them. Quite a good read though because an ADA fan has a big argument with Tom. lol

AC
 

hellohefalump

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For me, I'd definately go with the aquasoil. However, I'm really considering eco complete because of the ammonia issue with the AS. I already have a tank full of fish, and the substrate change (I have sand and root tabs right now) is going to happen when i move house.
 

beeky

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I wasn't saying that AS is a cheap way of doing things, just that it wasn't as expensive as I expected and was comparable to others. I was always under the impression it was good, but you have to pay twice as much (if not more) for the privilege. I imagined other people thought the same.

In a previous tank I used pond soil under silver sand (no CO2). That was cheap and I had quite good growth with crypts etc. The tank that I mentioned in the first post (Beeky's Rescape) was using 1 bag of 5l Tropica (£18.99) and two bags of Hagen Extra Fine Black River Gravel at £15.49. Total of £50. Expensive gravel, yes, but I wanted black. All in all, I'm disappointed with both. The gravel is coarser than I expected (I don't think the grain size was printed before) and isn't particularly black and the tropica turns the tank into soup whenever I remove anything.

I did a comparison of the all-in-one's as there seemed to be a few posts trying to decide which one to go for. I didn't consider that you could 'top' eco-complete or flourite with anything, but if you're going to 'top' with another gravel/sand then I think most people would go for one of the other substrates like Tropica, Florabase etc (although the mess might put them off!). From what I've seen most people use eco-complete and flourite on their own.

I agree that AS has other "qualities" that should be considered, not just price. Ammonia release being one. I'm considering this at the moment myself as I'd like to rescape, change substrate or maybe replace the tank altogether but with a full tank load, I'm unsure. Perhaps use another filter with zeolite for the first few weeks?

If anyone wants to use the figures then I've no problem with that, it's only sums after all!
 
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