Well owning fish tanks can be so comforting and demanding at the same time.
Still, who doesn’t love some aesthetics in life, right?
And we already know that we need to put some extra effort to make the perfect home for our fish buddies. One of those is picking the right substrate or tank gravel for the nutrition of aquarium plants and filtering water.
However, is choosing the correct substrate that easy? More importantly, which one should you choose between different substrates?
Oh hey! Don’t be scared! We already got your back by doing some research on flourite vs eco complete. Moving forward, we’ll walk you through all the features of these two substrates and the possible differences between them. In the end, you’ll have a clear winner in your mind.
So no more dillydally, let’s just get into it!
Why Do You Need Substrates for an Aquarium?
Before we discuss the need for a plant substrate, we need to understand how substrates work. Substrates are useful in a number of ways. From nutrition to aesthetics. In short, substrates do a lot for your tank!
In layman’s terms, a substrate is a material that’s placed at the bottom of the aquarium. They cover the bottom of the tank completely. Generally, substrates are made of a mix of natural and synthetic materials.
Substrates are crucial to the well-being of the tank. They play a key role in the Nitrogen cycle of your tank. Thus, helping the growth of beneficial bacteria to grow. Also, the substrate helps the aquarium plants draw nutrition
They are crucial for the habitat of your fishes. If you have burrowing animals like snails, or bottom drawing animals, the substrate is important. It gives them a place to rest and look for remaining food.
Finally, substrates add a lot to the design aesthetic of your tank. For you as well as the fishes. For example, fishes prefer an environment that’s similar to that of their habitat. The substrate makes the tank look similar to the natural environment.
So, it goes without saying that substrate plays a significant role in the well-being of your tank. However, choosing the right substrate is crucial! Continue reading as we help you find the best substrate for your tank!
Flourite vs Eco Complete: Brief Overview
Both Flourite and Eco-Complete are popular names in the world of substrates. However, they have some fundamental differences making them useful for different users. Thus, knowing what to do with them can go a long way.
So, if you’re looking for an overview of the substrates, check the table for details-
|Grab it Today||Seachem Flourite Black Clay Gravel-15.4Ibs||Porous clay gravel||Doesn't affect pH||Porous, permeable|
|Grab it Today||CaribSea Eco-Complete 20-Pound Planted Aquarium, Black||Volcanic basalt soil||Slightly reduces pH||Highly permeable|
Before getting into the main discussion let’s take a look at the chart below for better understanding.
However, if you can’t wait around to make a decision then you can jump to our recommendation section to make an quick choice!
With the basics discussed, let’s get into details!
Fluorite vs Eco Complete: Diving Deep
Now that we’ve discussed the primary things, it’s time to get into the main conversation. Both Flourite and Eco Complete are great substrates that get the job done. However, they have many fundamental differences between them.
Thus, they’re suitable for different types of tanks. Knowing their technicalities is important before getting either of them. Here’s everything you need to know about them-
What is your substrate made of? That’s a crucial factor when it comes to choosing a substrate! Let’s discuss the materials for Flourite and Eco Complete!
As we’ve said before, Fluorite is ideal for marine aquariums. This is largely due to the material of the substrate. So, you might ask, what is Fluorite made of?
The Seachem Flourite is made of porous clay gravel. This means that this is different from sand or soil substrates. However, the gravels are broken down into small bits for a sand-like consistency.
The coal is very lightweight and permeable. As a result, it’s ideal for tanks with living plants. Moreover, Flourite is good for both marine and freshwater tanks.
On the other hand, Eco complete substrate is made of volcanic basalt soil. Since the material is a bit unfamiliar, people often ask, what is Eco Complete made of? Does Eco Complete contain iron?
The volcanic basalt salt is a mixture of 30 different trace elements. The material is a mix of Magnesium, Zinc, Iron, etc. materials. So, it’s safe to say that it’s ideal for most freshwater tanks.
Like Flourite, Eco Complete is also best for freshwater tanks. However, Eco adjust the color of the tank more nicely than Flourite.
Ease of Use
However, compared to the EC, Flourite becomes slightly more cloudy when placed in the tank. Moreover, like Flourite you don’t need to clean the Eco-complete again. Otherwise it’ll wash its beneficial bacteria away. So, you can just open your bag and directly pour the Eco substrate in your tank.
Now, if you’d like to quickly move the clarifying method of Flourite, you can try Clarity. I found this clarifier reliable and very effective. It’s convenient for both freshwater and marine tank water.
There are some more water conditioners I’ve tried in the process. They are-
- API Stress Coat Water Conditioner with the healing power of aloe Vera
- API Stress Zyme Bacterial Cleaner with beneficial bacteria
Winner: Eco Complete
The surface of your tank is crucial for the fish in your tank. If the surface isn’t good, it’ll affect your aquarium for the worst. Let’s discuss the surface formed by Flourite and Eco Complete. That’ll help you choose what you need!
Due to the presence of clay in the substrate, Fluorite gives a porous surface. Because of the deeper pores, the plants can gather nutrition better. Also, the roots spread out better and develop in a healthy way.
However, the material can seep at the bottom. That’ll keep the material tight and prevent any gravel from drifting apart.
On the other hand, the material of Eco Complete is a volcanic basalt salt. As a result, it’s very permeable. Since it’s permeable, it can spread out wider. Eco complete can provide four times more surface area compared to other substrates. However, you need to use it carefully.
However, Eco-complete is simpler to plant in but difficult to maintain the plants keeping up. On the contrary, Flourite is heavier and will keep the plants in. But it is harder to plant smaller plants such as glosso and HC in Flourite.
Here is a video that you can watch to know the 5 crucial points about substrates for planted aquariums. These informations helped me to plant in my aquarium easily and quickly.
Plant Type and Nutrition
Substrates help improve the growth of your plants. However, knowing what type of plants works well with your substrate is a good idea. Check out the details for Flourite and Eco Complete to choose accordingly-
The clay in Fluorite is rich in minerals. Thus it’ll keep your plants healthy if you choose the right plants. Due to the lightness of the gravel, there are a lot of pores in the substrate.
So, if your plants need a good base for their root system, Fluorite is the way to go! Most plants with good root systems will benefit from Flourite as their substrate. Ideal if you’re struggling with the growth of plants like java moss.
However, a lot of users found that the fluorite is not as good as Eco when it came to growing rooting stem plants like ludwiga repens, ambulia, and rotala indica.
So, in case, you already got the Flourite as your substrate, you can use some fertilizer to help your plants grow quickly. Some of the fertilizers that I used and absolutely loved are given below. Take a look-
- Thrive Planted Aquarium Fertilizer provides micro & macro nutrient rich food for aquatic plants, highly concentrated for 2500 Gallons of water and comes with handy pump bottle
- Seachem Flourish Tabs Growth Supplement provides instant and time-realeased fertilization through to the plants’ root zons
Eco complete is a mineral-rich substrate. Also, it’s completely natural with no artificial or synthetic bits. Thus, a great source of nutrition for most plants.
With the presence of minerals paired with the soli, it’s a thick, permeable substrate. As a result, both fishes and burrowing fishes prefer environments like this. If you have plants that need nutrition but can’t reach deeper layers, go for eco-complete!
Winner: Eco Complete
There’s nothing more detrimental for your tank than a pH imbalance. Whether the pH is too high or too low, it’s going to damage your tank. So, maintaining the right balance of pH is always crucial.
The substrate can play a role in maintaining pH. Let’s discuss the impact of Flourite and Eco Complete on the pH of your tank.
The materials in Flourite don’t release any chemicals out in the tank. As a result, pH remains constant. One of the main reasons behind the constant pH is the quality of the material. The clay keeps the integrity of the material. Thus, preventing any chemicals from getting out.
You might prefer the aesthetic as well as reduced pH. In that case, mix an amount of crushed coral in freshwater with the substrate.
However, Eco Complete is made of a soil-based material. So, you can ask, does Eco Complete change pH?
The Eco-complete substrate can affect your pH. The material is a bit acidic and it leaches chemicals into the water. As a result, you’ll notice a drop in your pH within a few days of setting it up. If you’re struggling with a high pH, this could be beneficial for you.
But if you have a standard pH of 7.0 or lower, it could be risky. So, measure your pH before getting Eco Complete as your substrate.
So, if you’re using Eco Compelete then you can use the Tetra correct Ph 7.0 tablets with it to balance the water pH. These tablets will help to maintainthe neutral pH and reduce stress to fish as well.
If you’re an aquarium enthusiast, then cost might not be the biggest issue for you! However, for a lot of people, the cost of materials is a big deal. Also, it’s pretty hard to find something that provides both quality and a good price.
For this reason, the cost is a key factor. When discussing the Flourite Black Sand vs Eco Complete debate.
If you’re confused between choosing either Seachem Flourite Black and Eco Complete. Knowing about the cost might help you.
When comparing Flourite and Eco Complete, Fluorite is the expensive one. Available in only 15.4lbs bags, it will set you back for around $32. However, when it comes to Eco Complete, it’s a better option financially. Thus, you already have a winner in the Eco Complete vs Flourite Black debate.
You can find Eco Complete products in 20lbs bags. Based on the vendor, you’ll get them for as cheap as $22 or so. Hence, if you’re looking for something affordable, Eco Complete is perfect for you!
Winner: Eco Complete
Pros and Cons
Now that all the technicalities are discussed, let’s summarize them. Here are the pros and cons of each of the products:
What’s good about fluorite? What’s bad? Check here to know the pros and cons of Flourite-
- Easy to set up
- Black color, ideal for dark design aesthetics
- Doesn’t require any additional materials
- Pores help plants to grow
- Helps the growth of all kinds of plants
- Ideal for marine tanks
- Too much gravel can form a thin layer of film
- Not suitable for all tank designs
Here’s everything you need to know about Eco Complete in a flash! Check out the pros and cons. Let’s see-
- Rich in minerals and nutrients
- Boosts the growth of healthy bacteria
- Porous surface
- Ideal for burrowing plants and animals
- Doesn’t require rinsing before use
- No artificial chemicals or substances
- Can affect the pH of your tank
- Not be a bit too shiny at times.
Now that we’ve discussed all the relevant factors, it’s time to reach a decision. With all the factors discussed, here’s our final verdict on each of the products!
|Buy||Image||Substrate||what's it best for?|
|Get Started Today!||Seachem Flourite Black Clay Gravel-15.4 Ibs||Best for marine water|
|Get Started Today||CaribSea Eco-Complete 20-Pound Planted Aquarium, Black||Best for freshwater|
This was everything we had to help you in choosing the right substrate between Flourite and Eco Complete.
Is Eco complete a good substrate?
Absolutely! Eco Complete is one of the best substrates in its price range. It’s very efficient and affordable for any freshwater tank.
Is Eco-complete good for plants?
Eco complete is a mix of multiple nutrients and minerals. So, it’s great for plants. However, your plants need to work with their permeable substrate system to work perfectly.
Do I need anything else with eco complete?
It’s better not to add anything extra to your Eco Complete. On its own, the Eco Complete gets the job done perfectly! Adding anything extra to the substrate could make it hard to work with.
The substrate is the base of your tank. So, a good substrate is a must in any case. However, people often find it hard to get the right substrate due to the lack of information. Thus, we got you covered!
In this article, we’ve discussed everything you need to know about two of the most popular substrates out there! In an attempt to solve the Flourite vs Eco Complete debate for good! We hope you found this helpful!