With so many options available to aquarists, deciding which substrate to use for your
aquarium can be overwhelming. Even though a substrate's aesthetic appeal is important, it's not everything!
A wise aquarist considers the properties of each available substrate so as to make his or her aquarium more
stable and ideal for the fishes within it. For more than three decades, CaribSea has been a pioneer in
developing cutting edge aquarium substrates. In this article, we'll review two of their latest and most
advanced substrates: Eco-Complete™ for African Cichlids
and Eco-Complete™ Planted Aquarium Substrate.
Eco-Complete™ for African Cichlids
Why use Eco-Complete™ for African Cichlids? First of all, it's minerologically
complete. This substrate contains Aragonite, making it a perfect African cichlid substrate. Aragonite,
which is unique to just CaribSea substrates, maintains the high pH African Cichlids need without the
constant addition of chemicals. When the pH in your aquarium falls below 8.2, Aragonite snaps into action,
breaking down into calcium (great for water hardness), carbonate (your buffer), and various beneficial
trace elements like Magnesium. Your pH comes back up and the tank stays healthy, all without ever adding
a single chemical. Other types of calcium carbonate don't react until the pH is in the mid 7's. In fact,
Aragonite holds the highest pH of any gravel or sand, and has up to 30 times the buffering capacity of
Dolomite, Calcite ("crushed corals"), or Oyster shell! Plus, unlike ordinary substrates, Aragonite never
needs replacement, buffering automatically for the life of an aquarium. Eco-Complete™ for African
Cichlids has a unique composition that re-creates the African Rift Lake environment in your aquarium.
In addition to maintaing the pH of your African cichlid aquarium, Eco-Complete™
for African Cichlids is also high capacity bio-filter. Aragonite is extremely porous, about 20,000
square inches of surface area per cubic inch! Imagine the beneficial bacteria population you can maintain
with it. This is why Aragonite is unsurpassed in reducing nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia, allowing a
bio-load many times greater than other substrates. You would have to buy 4 bags of ordinary gravel to equal
the surface area available for water purifying bacteria in this one bag of Eco-Complete™
African Cichlid Substrate!
Further differentiating Eco-Complete™ for African Cichlids from other
substrates, it's biologically complete. Foremost, each bag of Eco-Complete™ contains live
water-purifying bacteria. This makes for cycling a new aquarium faster and safer! This substrate also
creates a natural biological balance to discourage nuisance algae in the aquarium. Most substrates require a
tedious rinsing ritual whereas Eco-Complete™ African Cichlid Substrate! needs no rinsing at all.
It's packed in a water conditioning solution for immediate results.
Eco-Complete™ African Cichlid Substrate comes in a dark color, encouraging
the richest coloration in fishes. It's available in both fine and coarse grading. The fine grade is recommended
for small cichlids, Featherfins, and Xenos. The coarse grade works well for all others. One advantage to the
coarse grade is that you have the option of using an undergravel filter. Or mix them both for Bi-Modal efficiency.