ECA stands for Efficient Complex Acids. ADA claims it contains natural organic acids and iron in liquid form which is easier for aquatic plants to absorb. The organic acids in ECA help to enhance bacterial activity and improve the overall condition of aquatic plants. ECA contains iron in a form which does not easily combine with other ions making it easily available for plants. The actual ingredients of ECA are not disclosed by ADA.

I decided to try out ECA when I started seeing almost white colorless leaves in new growth in plants like R. rotundifolia and R.wallichii. I tried supplementing with another brand of liquid chelated iron, but it was not helping. It improved the color of the stems a little but I still had colorless new leaves which on R.rotundifolia had started turning transparent. I brought the 50 ml drip feed dispenser of ADA ECA and started dosing as directed on the package. Within a span of one week I could see a lot of improvement in the fast growing stems. The color had started to return, but was still not where I thought it should be. So I decided to up the dosing. I have never used any kind of testing kits and I dose all the fertilizers for the tank observing the plants. The growth and color are very good indicators of an aquatic plant’s health. After a couple of weeks the R. rotundifolia’s tops had turn beautiful pink and the R.wallichii had turned deep red and pink. I have been using ECA in all my tanks since then. ADA recommends use of ECA with caution as it is highly concentrated and overdosing can cause water discoloration as well as algae.

ADA recommends 2 drops of ECA per 5 liters of water. But this can be changed depending on type of plants you have and the amount of whitening on the new bud. I guess the trick is to understand your plant requirements and modify the dosing as needed. I generally add it right in front of the filter outflow as ECA is heavier than water and the drops tend to settle where they are dropped if the water flow is not enough. This prevents even distribution of the supplement through out the tank. When using ECA regularly it is recommended to change atleast 1/3 rd tank water every week. Excess accumulation of iron in an aquarium can hurt plants.

In my experience the best results can be obtained from ECA by using it along with Brighty K and Green Brighty Step Series. The opinions of people who have used ECA have been mixed. I have seen quiet a few beautiful tanks where it has been used so I will stick with what I believe is a good product when used in an educated way.


2 Responses to “ECA”

  1. Yeah, I feel the same. If I use it, I can tell the plants are ‘happier’ by their obvious faster signs of growth and robustness. If I don’t use it, the plants do not grow faster.

  2. bhushandalvi Says:

    Paul, How do you use ECA ? Do you use it only at water changes as ADA recommends?

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