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Can I disinfect Fluval Stratum?


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So I’m currently taking down and disinfecting my 10 gallon because I suspect it was harboring a bacterial shrimp disease. Whatever it was came in with a group of cherry shrimp from my LFS and survived several months with no shrimp in the tank, reinfecting a group of amanos I added later. And yes it could totally have been a nutrient deficiency instead of a disease, but it had enough of the signs of a disease that I’m just being safe.

Part of the substrate was Fluval Stratum that I got from a friend. I know it’s a very porous substrate, so is there any way for me to disinfect it? If I soak it in dilute bleach will it totally fall apart? Will the bleach even penetrate? (I know vinegar is recommended for penetrating moldy surfaces rather than bleach.) Or is this just a lost cause and I should trash it?

I’m more worried about it absorbing and holding onto something that could harm fish in the future, rather than losing the stratum altogether.

Edited by Hobbit
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If you're worried about it you can chuck it out and start over. Otherwise like someone said above you can let it dry out for a few weeks and put it in the oven for a while to kill anything. If you bake it, it may break down and crumble to dust and you may have to through it out anyway if it dries out too much. 


Do you have any other tanks with shrimp? Are they impacted too? If it is bacterial it would impact your other tanks if you are sharing nets and tools. You could buy a copper test kit just to double check to make sure you don't have high copper content that is poisoning inverts if you really wanted to look into it. 


Ammano can be touchy sometimes. Most tanks you have to make sure and feed them specifically because they are pretty big for shrimp and can't subsist on algae alone if it is all gone.  I throw in crab/invert pellets in occasionally and a few green beans to make sure all my shrimp get food. I'm not saying you're not feeing them, just thought I'd mention it. Shrimp and bottom feeders can get overlooked by fishkeepers sometimes. 

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Thanks for the feedback everyone. The oven is a great idea. If it crumbles, I’ll just toss it.

@David Ellsworth I do have another tank with amanos but I have been disinfecting tools/nets between tanks. The amanos in my 55 look great, thankfully.

I was feeding them shrimp-specific food in the 10 gallon but maybe not enough? I was giving them some every night and I enjoyed watching them find the pellets and then zoom off with them, but maybe I should have given them more. It’s very possible I just didn’t give them the right environment. If it happens again I’ll be back! 😁

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  • 4 weeks later...

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