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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-08-2018, 04:29 AM Thread Starter
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I tried this for a planted tank, and have had awful results. Anyone use this substrate with success?

50G with overflow
Co2 in sump, inline reactoron the return.
PH Controller (set only to read)/ 40ppm CO2
3" - 7" bed (Fluval Stratum)
Two Discus, half dozen cory's, ottos, and a BN Pleco.
82F
Two AI light fixtures.

Tank has been up over a year.

Plants look awful, curled tips, algae grows on the leafs, etc...

Recently added a dosing pump
Dosing NPK+Magnesium
CSM+B
extra Phosphate
and Iron Gluconate

If I dump enough Phosphate in the water to bring it to 4ppm, it will be 0 within 6hrs

If I dose enough Nitrate to bring it to 60ppm, it will be 5 within 4hrs.

I cut most of the plants down to the roots. So it can't possibly be the plants using them up

Is the Stratum soaking up the nutrients?

Have sillicates in tap, tried 100% RODI refortified with Seachem Equilibrium, No more sillicates, but didnt affect diatoms (which only seem to grow on HC)

KH 5
GH 5
Dosing pump injecting every hour to hold:

Nitrate 5ppm
Phosphate 1ppm
Iron .4 - .8
CSM+B unknown, (1/8 as much as NPK)


Ive had tanks in the past that had more Nitrate at the end of the week than this one has after a few hours without dosing. What gives?

(I did put a bag of DeNitrate in the sump a year ago, but if I pull the media and put it in an a bowl of tank water, 24h later the nitrate levels are unchanged) and the 50g without the media in the sump is still dropping to nearly 0.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 10-09-2018 at 12:00 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 12:20 PM
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I'm on Detroit city tap water. I don't know what the silicate levels are in my water. From my experiences with aquariums over the years it's best to work with water ever water you have rather then try to change the chemistry. That is unless your dealing with total sewer water. My water is rather hard my PH out of the tap is 7.6 and my general hardness is pretty high. My water has a lot of limestone and calcium. My phosphates are pretty high too. I just set up my first high tech tank 2 months ago and other then 1 bad algae outbreak every thing is going well.

When I had my algae out break my plants started looking like crap and algae took over. I messed something up with the dosing. It happened when I switched to dosing bottles. I screwed something up along the way.

One thing I did was start with a lot of plants and fast growers. If you chopped all your plants down or have a low plant mass the algae is going to use the extra nutrients. If the plants look unhealthy it's because they're not getting the nutrients they need.

Skip the RO water and start dosing by hand every day a couple hours before lights come on until you get things sorted out. Use the EI dosing chart that I'm including a link to. Use the chart without GH booster.

Use tap water and make sure you have a lot of plants. Get some fast growing plants like ludwigia repens or ovalis.

Forget all the testing and just work with what you have. Try the EI method and see how things go. I'm not using a ph controller. I have a greenleaf co2 system and I'm using 3 bubbles a second. My C02 isn't switching on and off all the time. Fluctuation in co2 levels can cause problems too.

Heres a link to the chart you should be using.

Dosing Instructions
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-10-2018, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
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I switched to the dosing pump to improve consistency and take my dosing here and there out of the equation.
I normally use pure tap water, but tried the refortified RO so I would know what I was working with exactly.
Plants include repens - I'll try to get some pictures posted next week. I'm just started a 4 day blackout to reset the algae.
When the lights come back on, I'm going to run them much lower, and heavier in the red spectrum.
For grins, I set up a 16g tank right next to it, with Seachem Fluorite substrate instead. 100% tap, and a single AI vega throttled back to fairly low intensity (mostly heavy in the red.)


Added some Dwarf Hairgrass, and a few other plants, 100% tap and Co2 to see how it goes.


Right away I'm finding the nitrate levels rising as opposed to crashing to 0 - So the substrate obviously has some nutrients in it. If things go well, I'm going to probably get rid of the Fluval Stratum. I've not been impressed with it.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-10-2018, 03:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy0x1 View Post
I switched to the dosing pump to improve consistency and take my dosing here and there out of the equation.
I normally use pure tap water, but tried the refortified RO so I would know what I was working with exactly.
Plants include repens - I'll try to get some pictures posted next week. I'm just started a 4 day blackout to reset the algae.
When the lights come back on, I'm going to run them much lower, and heavier in the red spectrum.
For grins, I set up a 16g tank right next to it, with Seachem Fluorite substrate instead. 100% tap, and a single AI vega throttled back to fairly low intensity (mostly heavy in the red.)


Added some Dwarf Hairgrass, and a few other plants, 100% tap and Co2 to see how it goes.


Right away I'm finding the nitrate levels rising as opposed to crashing to 0 - So the substrate obviously has some nutrients in it. If things go well, I'm going to probably get rid of the Fluval Stratum. I've not been impressed with it.
Black out won't get rid of black brush algae but it works well for diatoms. Black brush is a paint to get rid of. Either hack away plant leaves with it or you may want to try spraying the plants with a spray bottle and 3% peroxide. You can research peroxide and plants on youtube. Another thing to note in high tech things can go bad quick if something is out of balance ferts light co2. If things balance out a lot of the algae will clear up on it own. When that happens you'll know you're on the track. From what I understand is substrates like aquasoil and stratum are full of nutrients and can cause problems for the beginners. I just made the switch to Flourite black gravel and I really like it. You said you're using RO water and had a sump. I take it your converting over from saltwater maybe? Most people don't use a sump on a 50 gallon. I've seen them on larger tanks but I don't know how they work on planted tanks. I would think it would oxygenate the water. I'm running two canister filters on my 55 gallon. Maybe someone else more experienced can chime in to help you out.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-10-2018, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Wantsome99 View Post
Black out won't get rid of black brush algae but it works well for diatoms. Black brush is a paint to get rid of. Either hack away plant leaves with it or you may want to try spraying the plants with a spray bottle and 3% peroxide. You can research peroxide and plants on youtube. Another thing to note in high tech things can go bad quick if something is out of balance ferts light co2. If things balance out a lot of the algae will clear up on it own. When that happens you'll know you're on the track. From what I understand is substrates like aquasoil and stratum are full of nutrients and can cause problems for the beginners. I just made the switch to Flourite black gravel and I really like it. You said you're using RO water and had a sump. I take it your converting over from saltwater maybe? Most people don't use a sump on a 50 gallon. I've seen them on larger tanks but I don't know how they work on planted tanks. I would think it would oxygenate the water. I'm running two canister filters on my 55 gallon. Maybe someone else more experienced can chime in to help you out.


Aquasoil contains nutrients, Stratum doesn't but can absorb nutrients from the water column to a degree.

It is know to have a "high CEC" which means it can exchange ions readily.

Possibly the amount of substrate is causing this? A 7" bed is quite a lot.

How long has the stratum been in the tank and is it still buffering the water?


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-10-2018, 03:44 PM
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Stratum was part of the Fluval Flora kit I got on clearance a few years back. I hate the stuff. I found it much too light weight. Very difficult to get plants planted, and almost impossible to clean (you end up sucking out as much substrate as excess waste). Might be ok for high tech setups with total carpet coverage, for for typical non-CO2 setups I had better results with Fluorite or plain sand.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-10-2018, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oscarlloydjohn View Post
Aquasoil contains nutrients, Stratum doesn't but can absorb nutrients from the water column to a degree.

It is know to have a "high CEC" which means it can exchange ions readily.

Possibly the amount of substrate is causing this? A 7" bed is quite a lot.

How long has the stratum been in the tank and is it still buffering the water?
Yeah I didn't know stratum was cec only. I thought it did contain nutrients. Yeah I've seen high cec substrates rob low tech tanks of water column nutrients. I used ECO complete in one of my low tech tanks and I couldn't figure out why my anubias weren't doing well when in another tank they were doing just fine. I think it was the substrate sucking stuff out of the water column. I think your right a 7" bed of high cec substrate could cause problems.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
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Diatoms -- My sump, fills with brown sludge, there is quite a bit in the substrate as well. Is this where my phosphorus is going? Feeding the diatoms? Add more phosphate, get more diatoms? (My Phosphate is always 0ppm shortly after dosing it.) I've been dosing very large amounts of it due to plant deficiencies.

What can be done to kill the diatoms without killing my biofilter, and without reducing phosphorus?
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