eco complete and sand?

Discussion in 'Substrates' started by soton_dave, 22 May 2009.

  1. soton_dave

    soton_dave Member

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    i might be getting a new tank the weekend,the bow front i have at the minute just isnt doing it for me so i may be getting a fluval roma 240,only looking because the tank has only been filled once and would be coming with some marine gear,skimmer etc.that ive found someone who would buy my old tank and the skimmer etc off me making the tank even cheaper :D

    at the moment ive got eco complete but rally cant afford to get another few bags for the bigger tank so was wondering if it would be worth capping it of with some black sand/fine gravel or having the gravel/sand under the eco complete or mixing the 2 together?

    i'll be re planting what ive already got hc,parvula,blyxa and rotala.

    any advice?

    cheers dave
     
  2. john starkey

    john starkey Member

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    Hi dave,I have Eco complete and as you know it's a all in one substrate,I don't suppose capping it would be a problem as long as it wasn't capped to deep,a black fine gravel would be okay I would have thought,regards john.
     
  3. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

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    if it were me I'd mix the two so the plants can access the EC without having to grow long roots to get to it below the gravel :)

    Sam
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually, contrary to popular belief, EC does not contain significant quantities of NPK, although it does have trace elements and has a high CEC. It's main claim to fame is the liquid it's packed in, which supposedly is high in bacteria and organic matter. If you dose the water column properly, you need never worry about roots reaching the substrate as this will happen in short order. If you're looking for a substrate high in NPK then Aquasoil Amazonia is a much better bet.

    Cheers,
     
  5. soton_dave

    soton_dave Member

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    thanks for the replies :D
    went and got another 2 bags in the end....lol no where had any black sand/gravel and i picked the new tank up sunday so needed it because the old tank had to go the same day.

    cheers dave
     
  6. baron von bubba

    baron von bubba Member

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    CEC??? what is this please?
    thnx
     
  7. Garuf

    Garuf Member

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    cation exchange capacity
     
  8. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Cation is the word used for positively charged atoms, i.e. those atoms that have lost some of their electrons. If you take a look at Trace element mixes you'll see that many of them are actually metals, Iron (Fe) for example. It is the nature of metallic substances that the outermost electrons are only loosely bound to the rest of the atomic structure. This is why metals conduct electricity so well, because they lose and then attract electrons very easily, allowing these electrons to flow, like a stream.

    You'll often see our nutrient metals expressed in terms of their cation for which indicates that they have lost some of their electrons. Iron Fe++ (missing 2 electrons) or sometimes Fe+++ (missing 3 electrons), Magnesium Mg++, Potassium K+ and so forth. these are the nutrients we want to attract so that the plant roots have access to them as they make contact with the soil.

    Soil is constructed of various materials including metallic ones, but not always metals that plants need in abundance. For example, clay is very high in Aluminum (Al+++), yet it has the ability, if in contact with other metals to swap some of it's outermost (surface) Al+++ cations for Fe++ or K+, so this is an extremely valuable property of soils because they act as a conduit through which nutrient metals are "exchanged' for non essential metals. So while a particular soil like clay may not itself be composed of nutritious elements it is among the best soils for our purposes because it has the capacity to pull large amounts of nutrient metals from the surrounding environment (assuming they are available) and to pass them on to the plant roots which are in contact with theiir surface.

    This is what makes AS Amazonia such an excellent substrate: first, it's a clay which means it has one of the highest CEC and second, it is baked with NPK, so it has the best of both worlds. Very few of the other substrates have NPK baked onto their surfaces, and in fact many of the modern substrates were developed during the period in which the phrase "Our products do not contain any algae causing nitrates or phosphates" was popular.

    Cheers,
     
  9. baron von bubba

    baron von bubba Member

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    thanx for that explanation! 8)

    every day is a school day!!
     
  10. AdAndrews

    AdAndrews Member

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    so what you are saying is that eco complete is not as good as other substrates???
     
  11. Nick16

    Nick16 Member

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    i guess it depends what you want it for. it wiould be fine for a short term scape of a few onths but it probably cant cope with a longer scape of a year or 2.
     
  12. AdAndrews

    AdAndrews Member

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    dont mean to curupt someone elses thread, but, whats the best substrate, reasonably cheap?
     
  13. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    What I'm saying is that EC and most other substrates are not as good as Amazonia, specifically because of the added NPK.

    This is not true at all. All substrates and substrate additives ultimately lose the nutrients that were added to them at manufacture. Some of these nutrients, mostly Nitrogen, are replaced by bacterial nitrification of ammonia which develops due to waste and organic decay. There is also movement of other nutrients from the water column into the sediment and vice versa. While the concentration may never approach that which was added by the manufacturer, as long as the substrate maintains it's structural integrity and CEC it will capture some nutrients and pass them on to the plant roots. The hallmark of submersed aquatic plants is their unique ability to feed directly through the leaves. That's what makes them aquatic. So as long as you dose the water column you need never really worry about exhausted sediments. The plants in this scene are in EC + inert gravel exactly as queried by the OP. This combination is over two years old. It would never even occur to me to replace the substrate. The reason is that the tank is dosed per EI. People need to stop fretting about substrate longevity.
    [​IMG]

    As already stated, Aquasoil Amazonia should be at the top of your list, however again, you should implement a strict water column dosing scheme, especially if you plan on having a high light CO2 injected tank. AquaSoil is not cheap, however JamesC has a thread on using Akadama where you can add your own NPK which will work just as well. Ideally, plants will feed from both substrate and from foliar uptake.

    Cheers,
     
  14. AdAndrews

    AdAndrews Member

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    ok, thanks, what about if i used, 1 cm rising to 2.5 cm of cat litter clay and then an 3cm thick layer of ADA SOIL?
     
  15. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, this will be fine. Somewhere here is a thread by The Hungarian Massive regarding the usefulness of cat litter. Cat litter is also clay based, however some brands are less sturdy than others. Again, since AS is expensive it's a very good idea to "fill in" with a clay product such as litter, and as long as you dose the water column I see no reason why this should not succeed.

    Cheers
     
  16. AdAndrews

    AdAndrews Member

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    ok, thats good then.. i will be dosing ferts EI, do you know any good makes of cat litter lol, im just thinking, isnt it designed to clump up? - surely that will pose a problem?
    thanks
     
  17. baron von bubba

    baron von bubba Member

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    i used 4 bags of EC topped with normal black substrate in my 240l. i did a lot of reading up and it seemed a good "budget" option!
     

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