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I have a heavily planted 75g that has had eco-complete in it for a little over 2 years. I am going to take all of the plants out and do a dry start carpet of Monte Carlo. I was planning on keeping the existing substrate to add height but do a layer of new substrate over it. I don’t know what kind yet but I’m working on it. The question that I have is, should I remove the old and start with all new? My thought was that the old has a lot of nutrients due to the fish waste and such.  Am I wrong on this assumption? 

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On 7/5/2024 at 12:59 PM, Adam W said:

I have a heavily planted 75g that has had eco-complete in it for a little over 2 years. I am going to take all of the plants out and do a dry start carpet of Monte Carlo. I was planning on keeping the existing substrate to add height but do a layer of new substrate over it. I don’t know what kind yet but I’m working on it. The question that I have is, should I remove the old and start with all new? My thought was that the old has a lot of nutrients due to the fish waste and such.  Am I wrong on this assumption? 

I've never used Eco-complete, but your plan of using it to gain height makes a lot of sense to me. I don't know how well Eco-complete holds nutrients; it seems to be a matter of some controversy. But it will have a lot of beneficial bacteria and it's something you already own, so even if it's got no nutrients those are still real advantages.

If you use it under something finer than it is, like sand, you may want to put it in mesh media bags; otherwise you'll likely get bits popping up here and there, since finer particles will eventually fill in the gaps and 'push' coarser particles up.

I did that with uses gravel, not Eco-complete, and found that it worked well as long as I still had enough sand, in my case, above the bag. I found the bag too hard to plant into, though a) the plants' roots will have no problem growing into the bag; and b) that might have been a reflection of my planting technique.

That said, there's nothing wrong with going all new, if you want to try something different. If you're going to re-use the Eco-complete, I'd try to keep it wet, if I could.

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