I got 3 bags 1 from one shop and 2 from another.
The 2 that i got last were multi coloured and the first was mainly black and seemed finer i thought it was just me but since i read this i know it is not so just fired them an email.
More of a concern for me after using Eco complete for the first time is what I think 'IT' is doing to my KH levels! Filled my tank with 75% RO and my KH was 14 !! got it down to 9 now but I didnt anticipate it doing that.
Thought I would just stop by and let you all know that despite the intial KH issues I now have a thriving tank. The plants look great against the dark Eco complete substrate So im a happy chappy at last. You can see the results in my journal 'The Cube' link in sig.
As for equivelant substrates, ECo complete is unique in that it is 'Live' with beneficial nitrifying bacteria for instant cycling.
If you just want a recommendation for another planted tank substrate then your best advised to check some of the othere threads in this section 'substrates'