I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Learn more.

Carib Sea Eco Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate Review

The substrate of your tank is the base on which a beautiful aquascape is built. If you select the wrong substrate you will not be able to create the type of environment you want.

If you are in the search of a substrate that not only looks great but also will be beneficial to your tank then your search ends with Carib Sea Eco-Complete Planted Black Aquarium Substrate.

Without any wait let us get to learn about the product in detail through this Eco Complete Substrate review.

[amazon box=”B0002DH0QM”]

The Best Option

Why do we say this you may be wondering?

Well, because it makes use of the similar rich volcanic soil that is found in places like Costa Rica and Hawaii.

It will certainly prove to be immensely beneficial for any type of tank. Furthermore, it looks amazing too.

Let us further dive into this review and learn what makes Eco-Complete Substrate an ideal choice.


One challenge that many aquarists face is a long wait.

You have to keep waiting until your aquarium sets up a proper bacterial colony to handle your tank’s bioload. It is only then that you can stock it completely.

Various factors determine how long the process will take. The size of your fishes and how many of them you plan to keep has an important role to play.

Also, how much food they eat and the kind of cycling followed by you are important factors. Generally, however, the time needed can be anywhere between one to three months.

Eco-Complete Substrate is different as it is already pre-cycled. Carib Sea has added enough purifying bacteria into the packaging that helps start the cycling procedure instantly.

This does not mean you can set up your aquarium and immediately add all your choice of fishes. The bacteria colony, keeping in mind the type of your system, can still take time to spread and grow.

Only then will it successfully convert the ammonia present in your aquarium into nitrate. This is what keeps your tank plants and fishes healthy and safe.

Yes, you may not immediately be able to add all your fishes after using Eco-Complete Substrate. But, the cycling time will speed up for sure.

In fact, some users have noticed that their aquariums cycled instantly. In other cases, it took a week, and even that is pretty fast.

No Need To Rinse

Eco-Complete, unlike most other substrates, is not dry and this might surprise you. There however is no need for you to worry, as this is how it is made.

These substrates are pre-cycled. For the survival of the helpful bacteria present in your Eco-Complete pouch, a solution is added.

The substrates that you may have used before required you to rinse them. With [amazon link=”B0002DH0QM” title=”Eco-Complete Substrate” link_icon=”amazon” /] things are different. You are suggested not to rinse it.

You cannot even use dechlorinated water for rinsing. That will only kill the beneficial bacteria that has been added to your substrate, something you will not want.

It is your choice though how you add the substrate. You may drain the liquid and discard it before adding it to your tank.

Some people have observed after they add the substrate with the solution their tank water turns cloudy. Do not worry, this cloudiness will not cause any harm.

It will subside after around 24 hours if your tank has proper filtration media and it is running well.

Contains Natural Nutrients

As a part of this Eco Complete Substrate review, it is essential to inform you that this substrate is completely natural.

It contains volcanic soil, looks beautiful, and is very beneficial to your aquarium.

It contains nutrients that are great for your fish and plants. The substrate also keeps the tank water balanced and prevents the development of algae.

Eco-Complete Substrate offers everything that your tank requires, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and more.

As your aquarium gets all these nutrients your fishes and plants will always be healthy and happy.

What is amazing is that the substrate contains no coating, chemical, or any dye, and is completely natural. You will not even need to replace these nutrients ever.

They will stay effective throughout the lifespan of your tank.

Extremely High Porosity

What people love most about the [amazon link=”B0002DH0QM” title=”Eco-Complete substrate” link_icon=”amazon” /] is its amazingly high levels of porosity. In comparison to the other average substrates available,

Eco-Complete offers four times more surface area for the growth of helpful bacteria.

Yes, it offers four times the space for bacterial development. This, however, does not mean you should reduce the amount you would otherwise use.

You still have to add enough substrate so that it functions well.


The Bimodal grading of Eco-Complete makes it even more attractive. This means it contains both large and fine granules.

When you add them to your tank they automatically sort themselves. The larger granules stay on the surface, and the smaller ones help form the bottom layer.

This configuration offers more dimensions to the appearance of the aquarium. The little granules add a kind of shine which looks amazing when light falls on it.

Also, as the little granules form a bottom layer it becomes easy for plants to develop finer and deeper roots. This results in better stability.

Pros and Cons

[amazon box=”B0002DH0QM”]


  • It is made of natural material only
  • It contains no artificial dyes, chemical coatings, or paints.
  • It helps in the healthy growth of plants and forms deeper roots.
  • It is rich in nutrients like calcium, magnesium, iron, and more.


  • In certain cases, it may raise the water hardness level.


To conclude this Eco Complete Substrate review it can be said that this product is a great choice for tanks of all sizes.

It enhances your tank keeping experience by minimizing the cycling duration. Also, it makes aquarium maintenance easier.

Since your plants will get all the nutrients it needs through the substrate itself you will not have to worry about adding any extra.

Your plants will remain healthy and happy and this will keep your fishes happy too. Not to forget, it contributes to making your aquarium look attractive as well.

Aaron Boyd
Aaron Boyd

Hello, I’m Aaron Boyd, the proud owner and author behind Aqua Movement. I hope my article was able to answer your questions. If you want to learn more about me, click the home icon above.

Aqua Movement