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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
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Using Liquid/Powder PH+ in an Active substrate

So i'm new to aquariums but I've done a fair amount of research in order to make a low tech planted aquarium. I want to put red cherry shrimp in this tank so while i was researching i found Fluval Stratum substrate that seemed great for shrimp and plants and impulsively purchased it before learning that Neocardinia shrimp want an inert substrate that keeps the PH higher while this susbtrate lowers it. Ive read the complaints about the fluval stratums hard to clean, breaks down easily etc. was going to cap it with some black diamond.

Anyway what i was wondering was if I could simply use the fluval stratum and add some liquid or powder ph increase to keep it at an ideal level for the RCS, or will the substrate just continue to bring the PH lower over time. I do know that RCS will survive in the lower PH and can be fairly hardy but if i can i'd like to provide an ideal environment. I've been taking it slow to be sure not to mess anything up in the preparation of this tank, so I haven't put the water in yet and i want to know if i can do this and maybe keep some of the plant benefits from the substrate or if i should just go full inert substrate.

like i said i've got black diamond which a lot of people have been pretty happy with. So i can just use it as an inert substrate. If you think i should just go with it and store that stratum what would you recommend as a plant supplement in a tank with RCS snails possibly a crab that wouldnt harm them? I've seen a post that said inverts are pretty sensitive to root tabs and liquid ferts which is why i was gonna try to use the stratum for plant food.


i know about potting mix with a cap and was open to it but after A LOT of searching i found out miracle gro organic choice potting mix is not sold anywhere near me so gave up on it.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 12:16 PM
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So i'm new to aquariums but I've done a fair amount of research in order to make a low tech planted aquarium. I want to put red cherry shrimp in this tank so while i was researching i found Fluval Stratum substrate that seemed great for shrimp and plants and impulsively purchased it before learning that Neocardinia shrimp want an inert substrate that keeps the PH higher while this susbtrate lowers it. Ive read the complaints about the fluval stratums hard to clean, breaks down easily etc. was going to cap it with some black diamond.

Anyway what i was wondering was if I could simply use the fluval stratum and add some liquid or powder ph increase to keep it at an ideal level for the RCS, or will the substrate just continue to bring the PH lower over time. I do know that RCS will survive in the lower PH and can be fairly hardy but if i can i'd like to provide an ideal environment. I've been taking it slow to be sure not to mess anything up in the preparation of this tank, so I haven't put the water in yet and i want to know if i can do this and maybe keep some of the plant benefits from the substrate or if i should just go full inert substrate.

like i said i've got black diamond which a lot of people have been pretty happy with. So i can just use it as an inert substrate. If you think i should just go with it and store that stratum what would you recommend as a plant supplement in a tank with RCS snails possibly a crab that wouldnt harm them? I've seen a post that said inverts are pretty sensitive to root tabs and liquid ferts which is why i was gonna try to use the stratum for plant food.


i know about potting mix with a cap and was open to it but after A LOT of searching i found out miracle gro organic choice potting mix is not sold anywhere near me so gave up on it.


It can work with tap water, just know that it will cause pH swings as the substrate uptakes carbonates from the tap water after a water change. It was a limit, and you can pre-exhaust the buffering prior to adding shrimp, but who knows how long that would take?? Harder the water, faster it will exhaust the substrate.

For what it's worth, stratum provides little in terms of nutrients. Fluval doesn't claim it provides significant nutrients, so you'll have to fertilize anyway.

Liquid ferts and root tabs are perfectly safe for neo / cherry shrimp when used in any "normal" matter - PPS / EI / Custom / tabs / etc. I've never had shrimp die because of fertilizers - both root tabs and liquid / dry.

Go with the inert substrate. You're right about Fluval breaking down. I moved a nano tank with it, and the 4" of water or so looked like chocolate milk after the move, it took weeks before I got all the dust controlled from it. It's brutal after it breaks down.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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It can work with tap water, just know that it will cause pH swings as the substrate uptakes carbonates from the tap water after a water change. It was a limit, and you can pre-exhaust the buffering prior to adding shrimp, but who knows how long that would take?? Harder the water, faster it will exhaust the substrate.

For what it's worth, stratum provides little in terms of nutrients. Fluval doesn't claim it provides significant nutrients, so you'll have to fertilize anyway.

Liquid ferts and root tabs are perfectly safe for neo / cherry shrimp when used in any "normal" matter - PPS / EI / Custom / tabs / etc. I've never had shrimp die because of fertilizers - both root tabs and liquid / dry.

Go with the inert substrate. You're right about Fluval breaking down. I moved a nano tank with it, and the 4" of water or so looked like chocolate milk after the move, it took weeks before I got all the dust controlled from it. It's brutal after it breaks down.
thank you i truly appreciate the advice.
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