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I just replaced my flourite substrate with eco-complete and noticed a couple of strange pieces in one of the bags...

I tested them with acid and got a decent fizz, so they must contain carbonates.



The pieces have a small hole that runs through the center of them. I've noticed white bits in eco-complete before, perhaps this is where they come from.

Anyone have trouble with eco-complete raising their kh?
 

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It raised my kh only for a short while, then dropped back down.
 

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Yeah! Amazon black water!

I can't say I had the hardness issues, but I personally had nothing but problems with Eco-Complete. I have swords that have never done worse than when planted in the stuff. I am sure if you bolster it with a bunch of other additives you can get around the issues- but when I used it by itself- not good. When Amazon swords don't do well, something is definitely wrong. Where are all the nutrients that the package claims? What form? I don't mean to digress from the issue at hand- I just am very skeptical of this product- mostly due to the package "claims".
 

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I just added 4 bags to an aquarium and also saw the large chunks. I also had a few large white rocks. I think this may have something to do with quality control in their sieving process. I didn't run tests on them though.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm not sure if I'm clutching at straws here, but this stuff reminds me of dead coral.. only black on the outside :p
 

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Someplace, somehwere, I saw a post about this problem. The source responded to queries saying they thought these alien items were blown from one container of aragonite into that containing the unbagged Eco-Complete mix. Apparently, these materials are stored outside. Search as I will, I cannot find the posting. But that sounds like a possibility.

Andrew Cribb
 

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i remember that post. The caribsea rep said that it was stored outside and that it would be possible for the batches to get contaiminated due to wind (since everything is stored outside uncovered).

On a side note i also had the white chunks. They're easily crushed with your fingers. Could we have found our kh+ culprit? My KH skyrockets every week.
 

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That's the post. The original implication, as I remember, was that Caribsea was using some carbonate-rich grains dyed black for one reason or another. The rep denied that was the case.

Andrew Cribb
 

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Caribsea's response to cS:
We do have control over the material as it is a very distinct deposit both chemically and physically (note the unusual natural sphericity) and we own exclusive rights to its use. Properties do not vary within this singular deposit.
Our material is basaltic in composition. Unlike the granitic /continental volcanic material you are used to seeing, basaltic material is rich in all of the nutritive elements necessary for good plant growth. We achieve nutrient delivery directly from the grains via a combination of high reactivity of the material (being geologically recent)
No geological deposit is homogenous throughout its body. There are sure to be impurities. The people Caribsea contract to extract this stuff are certainly unable to pick out carbonate grains... to ensure purity.

Basalt is volcanic in origin and extrusive in nature - meaning it is errupted from terrestrial and subteranean vents. Basaltic lava is often cooled quickly, giving little time for large crystals to form. Hence, its fine-grained nature. Gas bubbles are trapped inside the lava when it cools. As groundwater percolates through the deposit it carries soluble minerals some of which may crystalize out into the vesicles (holes left by the gas bubbles). It is common to find calcite in such vesicles. That's one possible source of carbonate content.

Anyway, I think the source of Eco-Complete is from a deposit of Scoria. Scoria shares some textural characteristics of pumice: relatively high porosity.

Scoria: A vesicular rock, with holes caused by escape of gas bubbles just prior to eruption of the lava, typically occurring on the crust of lava flows, heavier and darker than pumice and likely to be of basaltic or andesitic composition.
(Andesite is a type of lava tending to be less iron rich than basalt).

Here are a few links that might be of interest:

Scoria soil products

Scoria fragments from an eruption

Scoria from a recent deposit in Japan

Andrew Cribb
 

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jsenske said:
Yeah! Amazon black water!

I can't say I had the hardness issues, but I personally had nothing but problems with Eco-Complete. I have swords that have never done worse than when planted in the stuff. I am sure if you bolster it with a bunch of other additives you can get around the issues- but when I used it by itself- not good. When Amazon swords don't do well, something is definitely wrong. Where are all the nutrients that the package claims? What form? I don't mean to digress from the issue at hand- I just am very skeptical of this product- mostly due to the package "claims".
I have always been skeptical of those claims. That's the reason I never used it.
 
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