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Will Fluval Stratum drastically lower ph?


Jennibird
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So I have decided to upgrade my betta Mr Darcy's tank (plus his tank mates, neo shrimp, mystery snail & nerite), from a 5gal to a 10 rimless (with clear lid). I need some advice before the change over ... My tap water runs at a Ph of 8.0 and Mr Darcy and the snails seem to have done fine, though the plants and the neos I think don't like that ph. So, for the new tank, I've decided to go with the Fluval Stratum, capped with a pea gravel, for a substrate. I read that the Fluval Stratum lowers ph quite a bit, like possibly into the 6's, which might be good for the neos. One of my questions is ... will the Ph lower gradually or fairly quick? I am trying to plan this out. Can I stick the fish/etc in right after scaping? (I have established sponge filters running almost a year in current tank). Or do I need to let the tank sit for a bit without critters then drip acclimate them? I've never used this substrate so I am just a little anxious, as I don't want to harm the critters or the plants. Thanks for your patience in reading this and any advice!  ~Jennifer

pic of current 5gal for tax

20210228_195056.jpg

Edited by Jennifer
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If you're water is at 8.0 ph, the effects of fluval startum will slowly wear off much faster. Instead of taking making 1-2 years for the effects to wear off, it might take 3-6 months instead. In reality, I think that neo's actually like the higher ph. Fluval stratum will really help some of those root feeding plants, but it looks like you've got a lot of rhizome plants. I would try to fertilize and that might help.

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On 8/31/2021 at 8:54 PM, Yanni said:

If you're water is at 8.0 ph, the effects of fluval startum will slowly wear off much faster. Instead of taking making 1-2 years for the effects to wear off, it might take 3-6 months instead. In reality, I think that neo's actually like the higher ph. Fluval stratum will really help some of those root feeding plants, but it looks like you've got a lot of rhizome plants. I would try to fertilize and that might help.

I do use liquid fertilizer for my anubias and they are doing ok.

What I really need to know is, do I need to let the new set up run for a while before putting in the plants and fish/shimp/snails? I have 2 established sponge filters. But I don't know if the Fluval Stratum will lower ph immediately? or over a few hrs/days?

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On 8/31/2021 at 9:45 PM, Yanni said:

Fluval stratum will take a couple days to actually take effect. It might only lower your water ph to about 7.0. I would definetely try to do another setup while you put in the fluval stratum because it might leech out some ammonia which might affect your fish. 

I already have them in their current 5gal. The new set up is an upgrade to a 10. Ok, so maybe I will just keep them in their current set up while I get the new tank going. Thank you!

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I have Fluval stratum in 7-8 nano tanks with Bettas and shrimp.  My experience has been that it doesn't radically change the chemistry of the water column on it's own (I have naturally low pH mineral poor "Seattle water" though,  which is much different from yours) .  What the Fluval does do for me is act like a sponge where it absorbs and holds nutrients and ammonia and concentrate them on the surface of each little bead.  When first submerged,  I've had issues with plants "burning" when coming in contact with the stratum and more delicate shrimp getting "shocked" (pH?...ammonia?...not sure) and dying when they come in direct contact with it.  I would recommend planning on a fishless cycle with frequent water changes for 4-6 weeks before adding shrimp.

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I'd give Stratum a test run in a container and see what overall impact it has on your water chemistry so you can get familiar with how it behaves in your scenario.

From what I have heard about 'buffering' substrates is that they will lower/consume the KH of your water, and in essence drive the Ph down. Stratum is supposed to stabilize around 6.6 - 6.8. Its longevity at buffering Ph will depend on how much buffering it is required to do over the long term (how frequently you do water changes, how basic your water is).  At least this is what I have heard (I think I got this info from FlipAquatics). I did try finding literature from Fluval about the actual mechanics of how Stratum works, but couldn't find anything useful. 

I only have personal experience using Stratum in a non planted shrimp tank with RO water. And when I first fill the up my shrimp tanks, the Ph drops so low I can't get an accurate reading (well below 5). Oh course this is RO water with no mineral/buffering capacity of its own. Your tap water will no doubt behave differently.

In the end, as I let the tank cycle and mature before adding shrimp, Stratus does as advertised for me, that is, keeps the Ph pretty steady at 6.6 - 6.8.

 

 

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On 9/1/2021 at 3:27 PM, Intuos said:

 stratum will lower it to 6.5-7 depending on the size of the tank. But this can be combated with regular water changes. 

I think the point of Stratum is to do exactly that. This is the Ph range Fluval considers optimal for plants and caridina shrimp species.  If someone wanted a higher Ph, it would be best to go with a more inert substrate that has no influence on water chemistry. Not saying that is your intent @Intuos, or what you do, but just saying that if someone has to do water changes to undo the effects of Stratum, it's probably best for them to just spend money on a non-buffering substrate. 

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