EcoComplete Substrate

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Your aquarium’s substrate is the foundation on which your aquascape is built. Choosing the wrong substrate can make it hard or impossible to create the environment you desire. EcoComplete Substrate is manufactured by CaribSea with the goal of making your tank more easy to manage by adding nutrients and minerals to your substrate. EcoComplete comes in two varieties. One is designed to be used in a planted aquarium while the other is for use by those aquarists specializing in African cichlids.

Considerations When Choosing Substrate

Your aquarium’s substrate is an important but often overlooked part of your tank’s initial setup. Choices need to be made when first setting up a tank. You need to consider if it will be fresh or saltwater. In the case of a freshwater tank you need to decide if you will have a tank with live plants or if you will be going with artificial decorations. The type of fish you will keep also needs to be considered as certain substrates are not suitable for some fish species. In some instances using the wrong substrate can have catastrophic effects on your fish.

An example is using small, pea sized gravel with goldfish as this will lead to ingestion of the gravel and injury to your fish. Using the wrong substrate in planted aquariums can pose difficulties in getting the root system to grow properly and hinder the ability of the plants to thrive. If you plan on keeping African cichlids very strict water conditions need to be maintained to ensure their health. These fish need a high PH in order to survive and that can be challenging when using ordinary substrate.

EcoComplete Substrate

The EcoComplete line of aquarium substrates by CaribSea solve some of the problems encountered with both planted aquariums and African cichlid tanks. The addition of trace elements and PH buffering minerals can greatly increase the chances of your success in keeping these kinds of tanks. The planted tank substrate is sized to allow for maximum root growth of your plants.


  • Easier to maintain a planted freshwater aquarium.
  • Helps maintain proper PH for your cichlid tank.
  • Makes initial cycling of your new tank easier.


  • EcoComplete is more expensive than other substrates available.
  • Only 2 color choices for planted aquariums.
  • Can cause rising PH levels in planted tanks when introduced to an existing tank.
  • In some cases can raise water hardness level.

EcoComplete Substrate Features and Benefits

EcoComplete For Planted Tanks

This substrate will get your planted aquarium off to a great start. It is made with rich basaltic volcanic soil that contains iron, calcium, magnesium and more than 25 other trace elements to nourish your aquatic plants. EcoComplete substrate for planted tanks is sized correctly with highly porous spherical grains to allow for maximum root growth of your plants. It also contains contains live Heterotrophic bacteria. These bacteria are helpful in rapidly converting fish waste into natural food for your aquatic plants. The initial tank cycling that is critical to an aquarium’s success is assisted by the live water-purifying bacteria that are included in this substrate. It comes packed in a Liquid Amazon black water solution that enables immediate use with no rinsing. It is available in black and red as seen here.

EcoComplete For African Cichlid Tanks

African cichlids require high PH to thrive or even survive. EcoComplete eliminates the need to dose your aquarium with chemicals to maintain the proper PH levels. This is accomplished by the addition of such minerals as aragonite, calcium and magnesium among other trace elements. Its composition mimics the natural environment of the African Rift Lakes that are the natural home of these cichlids. It is packed in a water conditioning solution and can be used out of the bag with no rinsing necessary. EcoComplete is manufactured to allow for maximum surface area to encourage the growth of beneficial water cleansing bacteria. Cycling of a new aquarium is speeded by the addition of live water-purifying bacteria contained in this substrate. It is available in a number of colors and sizes as seen here.

Users Like This Product

There are many positive reviews for both varieties of EcoComplete Substrate. In addition to being great for plant growth the dark color gets raves for bringing out the vibrant colors of tropical fish. The cichlid product gets great reviews as well both for maintaining optimum water conditions for the fish and highlighting their colors as well.


1. Flourite

Seachem’s plant enriching substrate is called Flourite. It is a reasonable alternative to EcoComplete in that it also introduces iron and other minerals into your tank’s substrate reducing the need for other plant foods and supplements. Flourite is made of red clay that will not break down in your aquarium. It comes in a variety of colors and sizes as you can see here.

2. ADA Aquasoil “Amazonia”

This is another substrate designed to enhance your planted aquarium. It contains buffers to maintain water PH at 6.8 which is perfect for the Amazonian aquatic life it is designed to complement. This PH may not be suitable for the fish you will be keeping so caution should be taken when deciding which substrate to buy. Amazonia is also more expensive than the other plant enriching substrates.

3. Nature’s Ocean Bio-Active Live African Cichlid Substrate

Here is an alternative for those keeping African cichlids rather than planted aquariums. It promises to maintain proper PH for the life of your tank. It also contains live bacteria to assist with tank cycling. It comes in a number of colors and grades to allow you to create a natural looking environment for your cichlids.


The EcoComplete family of substrate products can greatly enhance your aquarium keeping experience by reducing cycling time and simplifying tank maintenance. The PH buffering the cichlid substrate and the plant enriching nutrients of the planted tank product means you will not need to add additional chemicals to achieve a beautiful tank. You should checkout this product by clicking here.

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