CARIBSEA Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate, Red, 20-lb bag -

CaribSea Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate, 20-lb bag

By CaribSea
Rated 4.5238 out of 5 stars
Color: Red

$23.09Chewy Price
$29.99Chewy Price
$21.94Autoship Price
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About This Item


  • Ready-to-use with volcanic basalt rich in minerals and essential elements to support plant growth and health.
  • Bi-modal grading separates into a fine bottom layer for root development, and a coarse top layer to enhance root oxygen uptake.
  • Dual-biotic formula contains heterotrophic bacteria to convert fish waste into plant food, and mycorrhizal symbionts for strong root development.
  • Biologically complete with beneficial microorganisms that help cycle new aquariums faster; it comes packed in Liquid Amazon™ water conditioner.
  • Natural deep black color encourages vibrant fish colors and reduces stress, with no artificial dyes, paints or chemicals.

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Learn More About CaribSea From Our Team of Experts

Soluble Potash0.28%

Derived from: Shale.

Humic Acid0.03%
Bacillus Amyloliquefaciens1166 cfu/g
Bacillus Licheniformis1166 cfu/g
Bacillus Subtilis1166 cfu/g
Glomus Intraradices0.002775 spores/g
Glomus Mosseae0.002775 spores/g
Glomus Aggregatum0.002775 spores/g
Glomus Etunicatum0.002775 spores/g

Questions & Answers

28 Customer Questions

how long can I store in original bags I am not planning on setting up my tank until spring but this is to good a price to pass up also how much will I need for a least a 2" bed in a 55 gal tank
Answer by ChewyNov 10, 2018
Eco complete has no shelf date on the product itself because it is good for many months into years if stored at room temperature. The bacteria in it are spored and do not become active unless they are exposed to a food source. To fill a tank 1 inch thick with substrate, it is roughly equivalent to 1 pound of substrate per gallon. To fill a tank 2 inches thick with substrate, it is roughly equivalent to 2 pounds of substrate per gallon.

Is this used as a base layer with other substrate layered on top of it?
Answer by ChewyDec 20, 2018
This substrate is biologically complete, with beneficial microorganisms that help cycle new aquariums faster. However, it may also serve as a bottom layer with your choice of non-carbonate substrate.

I have a 180 gallon tank. I plan to use tap water and treat it with a water conditioner to remove chlorine and heavy metals. Should I put the substrate in after the water has been treated?
Answer by ChewyFeb 05, 2019
For new aquarium setups it's recommended to pour in the substrate and then fill the aquarium with de-chlorinated tap water.

Is there a difference between the red and black version? I don't want to harm my fish by choosing the wrong one.
Answer by ChewyAug 05, 2019
The only difference is the color. Please note, this may elevate pH above neutral and may not be suitable for Discus sp., P. alta and sensitive freshwater shrimp.

ReviewsWrite a Review

Rated 4.5238 out of 5 stars
42 Reviews
Would recommend to a friend

42 Customer Reviews

Filter by reviews that mention

Rated 5 out of 5 stars
By wendy on Oct 22, 2022

Be patient it's worth it

I had sand before and started to hate it. It was great for holding plants but drifted too much. This has the best of both worlds. It has the bottom layer for the roots and the gravel top does not shift. Use a shallow bowl or plate to add water slowly just like you would with sand. I filled the tank halfway, then let it settle. In about 2 days it was clearing up. I carefully added the rest of the water and started the filter (with the old filter pad). Next say it was clear enough to put the fish back. I cleaned the filter and put in new media. They really should put this info on the bag. It looks great. I couldn't be happier with it.

Rated 3 out of 5 stars
By Daniel on Sep 26, 2022

Just buy it from the store

my advice to anyone reading this is to just go buy it in person if you can. sure it's a little more expensive, but then at least you can physically inspect the bag yourself and check for leaks. The bag I had ordered and received has a small hole and leaks gradually. this sucks because I'm still gathering some stuff for my aquarium before filling it up.

Rated 5 out of 5 stars
By TNTTim on Jun 20, 2022

Great product

Many reviews rated this product very low due to poor water clarity. If installed properly there is no issue. I have a 110 gallon aquarium. It was time to tear it down and replant. I removed all of the water and some of the old gravel. I left some old gravel in the tank, then topped the gravel off with 2 bags of substrate followed by a thin layer of new gravel. Using a garden hose to fill up the tank I directed the water into a glass saucer. The end result crystal clear water in the aquarium.

Rated 5 out of 5 stars
By Bob1330 on Nov 13, 2022


Perfect gravel for plants. Cycling and plant growth have been fantastic.

Rated 5 out of 5 stars
By Deedee on Jun 11, 2022

great product

my aquarium plants are growing like crazy. This substrate helps to keep the environment natural for the health of both the fish and plants. By keeping the environment natural letting the plants use the waste from fish there is less clean-up.

Rated 3 out of 5 stars
By Fred on May 8, 2022

Material is good. Not great though.

My only real issue with the product is the sediment that comes in the bag. The gravel itself is supposed to have at least some and I wasn't misunderstanding about that. The amount of sediment these had in them was crazy though. I already had 3 bags of black in my tank and adding 3 red clouded the water for a day easily and then there was so much that settled out, everything in the tank was brown. Took 3 days of intermittent vacuuming to clean it up. The bags also arrived damaged and leaking.

Rated 5 out of 5 stars
By ProactiveAgony on Apr 14, 2022

A Must For Planted Tanks!

This substrate is heavy enough to root plants and is a vast improvement over others of its kind. Just make sure you get enough. I recommend two 20 pound bags for a 30 to 40 gallon aquarium if you intend to cover the entire bottom. My plants were visibly healthier with new growth after just one week. Some half-dead plants from a lesser tank came back to life! I will definitely be using this as I convert other tanks to planted. For scaping ideas, look up Serpa Designs if you find black substrate unappealing. I did a white sand "beach front" in my main planted tank and sloped it back to blend with the Eco-Complete substrate. Amazing stuff, and it has a minimal effect on the PH if you do everything correctly.

Rated 3 out of 5 stars
By Chaz on Apr 24, 2022

Nice substrate, needs better packaging.

I ordered several bags, and they arrived in three shipments. Two arrived quickly, and while the bags were intact, they weren’t protected at all. They went into the aquarium easily, plants are thriving. The remaining bags arrived later and had ruptured. Didn’t have much luck with customer service, so I gave them a shot. The nutrients were probably a bust since the substrate had mostly dried, and it is behaving differently. I’d be cautious with a large order.

Rated 3 out of 5 stars
By Wolfpets on Apr 25, 2022

HOLE in bag....

When I opened the package I noticed the bag was a little wet, but didn't think much of it. About an hour later I realized there was a small hole at the bottom of the bag, so I put it in a bucket. It's leaking a ton of water and its gonna have to sit for at least two weeks until I get all the supplies for the tank... Hope its still usable...

Rated 5 out of 5 stars
By WyattBriar on Apr 11, 2022

With Adding Clarifier Afterward, Perfect

This stuff clouds water something awful; I literally couldn't see 1/2 inch into the tank after adding it. I had some water clarifier on hand, add it and, by the next morning, perfectly clear. Fish and plants seem happy so far.