Substrate for a large tank - Ecocomplete plus what else?

Discussion in 'Substrates' started by jayne, 3 May 2008.

  1. jayne

    jayne Member

    Stourbridge West Mids
    I've already done a thread on general discussions telling you about my new 8'x3'x3' which is currently being set up.

    I'm looking now for some specific ideas/help for areas where I'm unsure and the first one is the substrate.I currently have 16 bags of ecocomplete waiting to be used in the new tank but that is only 320lbs and if I'm looking for 3" depth approx. I'll need much more,about 576lbs total according to the substrate calculator.

    I'd rather not buy another 12+ bags of EC as it's an expensive product but on the other hand I don't want to risk spoiling the look of the tank by mixing it with something else cheaper as a top layer,unless it looks equally as good.

    I'm wondering about using something underneath the EC as a base - maybe something like an aquasoil,similar to a Walstad set up,but I really don't know :?

    The most important thing is that I get things right at the outset as you can imagine with such a big tank,the thought of stripping it down after a few weeks/months makes me feel faint :wideyed: So if I have to bite the bullet and buy another load of EC I will but if you can think of any viable alternatives that might save a few quid I'd be very grateful.

    Btw,following on from my previous thread we have decided to have CO2 and add nutrients etc. to try to keep something a bit more adventurous and high tech(gulp).So I'll be asking about all that in other threads as we progress,I'm a bit scared but very excited too.
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Chicago, USA
    You could use Akadama as a base. It sells here at £10 for 14L but I haven't checked the shipping charges. ... odSHqifgit It sells here at £10 for 14L

    Check JamesC's thread discussing the use of this substrate=> viewtopic.php?f=17&t=741

    You could easily use this as the base upon which you place the ecocomplete, or you could use it on top of the ecocomplete if the color and texture appeals to you. There are actually plenty of options you can top the ecocomplete with. There is no need to be stressed out about this phase at all. If you plan to dose the water column you need not worry too much about substrate choice as long as you use something that is porous to give good circulation. ADA Aquasoil is generally accepted as being the best of the lot but it is as expensive as the ecocomplete.

    Depending on aesthetics you may want to think about increasing the substrate depth to make it easier to reach the substrate for planting and maintenance.

    Have a look at Oliver Knotts super large tanks for some ideas.=>

  3. jayne

    jayne Member

    Stourbridge West Mids
    Thanks for your reply,I've found a supplier of Akadama not too far from us in Redditch who sell it for £5.99 for 10kg so that could be the way to go I think.

    Using the substrate calculator I need another 250lbs of substrate so I reckon 12 bags of Akadama may be about right,at £6 per bag that's not too bad,certainly compared to EC.

    Questions about CO2,ferts etc. will no doubt follow :lol:
  4. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    You could also add a few large pieces of slate underneath the substrate to reduce the amount of substrate needed. I used slate pieces to attach my wood to in my tank and the knock on effect was to reduce the amount of Aquasoil I needed quite significantly. There was still a couple of inches depth over the top, plenty to plant stem plants in IME. The areas with plants like Crinums, Echinodorus and Nymphaea in have a deeper amount to help anchor them.

    If you do so with another substrate underneath I'd try and use something with a smaller particle size as, over time, larger particles will work their way to the surface as the smaller particles settle and work underneath the larger particles. If you stick with pure EcoComplete obviously this can't happen at all.
  5. Graeme Edwards

    Graeme Edwards Founder Staff Member

    Wirral/Chester Cheshire.
    Re: Substrate for a large tank - Eco complete plus what else?

    If its the black echo complete, you could by a few sacks of Unipacs Limpopo, which is black and looks just like Eco complete. Mix the two together, hey presto, you have the quantity of substrate you want.
    You may have to ask for the Limpopo gravel, but you shouldn't have a problem getting it. If your struggling, one of our sponsors do stock it.........TGM.

  6. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Aston, Oxfordshire
    As Graeme says you could just mix it with some black gravel, to bulk it out a bit. That's what Ive got in my 20g and the plants grow really well. I don't think they mind it not being 100% EC. You'd have 50% EC which should be plenty.


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