Neither lighting or substrate are my expertise, but my heaviest experience is with flourite. I have never used eco-complete, though some (not saying any names :) ) will swear by it. Only reason I don't use it is because it's not available at ANY of my local fish stores.
However I've had good results with flourite. I started my 16 gallon with playsand and shortly thereafter realized I wanted some real plants, so after a bit of research I went out and got some flourite.
Here's an example of my successes with such. My tank is a small bowfront and not very practical for lighting upgrades at 19" wide. I have a 15w 6700k daylight bulb in it which equates to less than 1 watt per gallon of lighting. Most plants want in the 2.5-4wpg range, some higher, some less. Java Ferns and Java Moss can often live and grow with barely any light at all. I placed a patch of flourite in a corner of my tank and added an amazon sword which is supposedly a medium light requirement plant. Within a month it's grown roughly 7" in height, sprouted many new leaves, and sent up a shoot with 2 baby plants. My conclusion: flourite isn't very aesthetically pleasing, but it boasts good results even in very poor lighting conditions, and I believe the nutrient(s) supplied (IRON, a very necessary nutrient) are much longer lasting than eco-complete supplication, therefore should be used as the foremost BASE layer in substrate layerings. Anyone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, please.
Looking forward to seeing your future results. =D
Edit::: just realized..if you weren't aware..Java Fern and anubias have something called a rhizome which resembles a tiny ''bulb''. It's best to keep this exposed to the water column and not bury it in the substrate, which is most easily accomplished by letting it attach to something such as a rock or log. There are various ways to do this. Much like floating plant varieties these plants take most of their nutrients in directly from the water column. I found this out the hard way after planting my Java Fern in the flourite only to have the main part of the plant rot away, luckily sprouting tens of new baby plants along its leaves.
Last edited by Tmercier834747
on Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.