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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, i have someone selling me used eco-complete, it has been used for about a year mixed with some Shultz aquatic plant soil.

Is it safe to use 2nd hand substrate? how long do nutrients stay in the substrate?

Are there things i can do to make sure everything is safe and clean?

I am planting Eleocharis Parvulus.

Thanks,
Ken
 

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Me personally would not use second hand substarte but if you want to give it a try then I would reccommend boiling it before using it. However that would most then likely strip the Eco-complete of any nutrients that may be left if there is any. IMO, I would go get unused from the store.
 

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I would second that opinion.After a year the substrate will not have the essential nutrients as i would if it was new.You might introduce some bad bacteria into you tank from the substrate.Your better off getting some new ECO for your aquarium
 

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The nutrients are still there. :D Many of the commercial substrate for the planted tank remains nutrients-rich for many years. What may concern you is the aesthetic of mixing BLACK Eco-Complete with ORANGE Schultz Aquatic Plant Soil. If that doesn't bother you and the price is right, then by all means, use it.

Should you decide to purchase the substrate second-hand, then be sure to ask the original owner if s/he had used any kind of substrate fertilizer. If so, then it would be a good idea to sift out these tabs/sticks and give the substrate a thorough rinse before use. Beyond that, there should be no other worries. In fact, the second-hand substrate is already laden with mulm so you don't want to lose all that goodness with too heavy a rinse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies, but now you guys got me confused.
i've been getting replies of good and bad.. heres what i've found out

Pro: Price, mulm from previous tank, good bacteria has been built.

Con: Not all black (mixed with schultz soil), possible nutrient deficiency, possible snails.

I was thinking since hairgrass isnt a really hard plant to grow, so it should be ok?
If i am paranoid about the nutrients, is there a soil/fertilizer that i can layer inside the substrate? will this help out with the nutrient problem? (if there is one)

Thanks for helping me out so far.
Ken
 

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You could always place a layer of peat on the very bottom of the glass. Peat has the ability to store nutrients for plants to use a later time. Also peat acid will help make oxidized minerals such as iron soluable so plants can use it better. No it won't effect your water much. Very little. We are not talking about a 1 inch bed of peat but a layer the barley covers the glass.

Even if you boil it and let's say there is 0% nutrients left (and I have no idea if there would be or not) people have been growing plants in plan old gravel for a long time.

You just need to supplement it with something like peat, maybe a laterite like Substrate Gold or even some root tabs or what not. I don't think you would do any harm getting it.

Is it cheaper to get the used stuff? Sure. Is it easier to get the new stuff? Certainly and you could still toss the peat in if you wanted. I think you weighed your pros and cons pretty well and you just need to pick what works best for you. The entire hobbie is subjective and what works for some, won't work for others and vice versa.
 
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