If you are planning to build a planted tank, then one of the potential substrates you can use is the CaribSea Eco-Complete (which is now called the CaribSea Eco-Planted).
So, will these rocks end up eventually breaking down in your fish tank? You can find out in this article at Aquarium Blueprints.
What are Eco-Complete and Eco-Planted made of?
These substrates are sourced from basalt, which is a type of volcanic rock. When you pick one of them up, then you should notice how solid its structure is as it should be hard to crush.
Will Eco-Complete or Eco-Planted break down?
It is highly unlikely that Eco-Complete or Eco-Planted will break down in your tank. For that to happen, you will need to have highly acidic water with extremely low pH. Even in that scenario, the rocks should be able to retain its structure for your lifetime.
What if you see your substrate breaking apart?
If you see that your Eco-Complete or Eco-Planted is breaking apart then it may not be related to the substrate at all. Instead, it may be due to the following:
- The Eco-Complete and Eco-Planted will come with dust and other particles in the bag. If you don’t rinse the substrate before adding it to your tank, and the filter doesn’t pick up these smaller pieces, then they will end up falling down the substrate. To see how you can properly rinse this substrate, you can take a look at this article.
- Another possibility is the organic wastes. Uneaten food and/or excrement produce by your fish will makes it way to the bottom of the substrate if they aren’t pick up by your filter.
In both cases, the smaller particles may eventually squeeze through the openings of your substrate, settling underneath. As a result, you may think that your Eco-Complete or Eco-Planted is breaking down when, in reality, the substrate was actually being mixed in with different particles.
Keep in mind that, even if the Eco-Complete or Eco-Planted most likely won’t break down in your tank, the substrate will eventually lose its nutrients. Therefore, you will need to replenish the rocks if you want to keep growing live plants.
To replenishing the substrate, you can use a liquid fertilizer or root tab. Fish food will also help as well as the rocks will absorb the nutrients from the food and/or excrement that come from your fish.
To see how you can use this substrate to fishless cycle your aquarium, you can take a look at this guide.