Can I use Flourite black as bottom with Fluval Stratum at top? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Can I use Flourite black as bottom with Fluval Stratum at top?

Hi, I'm going to use fluval stratum on a 75 gallon tank but unfortunately using only fluval stratum will be too expensive plus the plants doesn't seem to stick pretty well with fluval stratum so I was thinking to use a layer of flourite black at bottom and then using fluval stratum at top, with this my plants should have a better way to stick at bottom and not float.

what do you think about this guys.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 07:26 PM
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They will mix eventually, especially if you are planting deep into the base layer of fluorite.

The Stratum will break down into much in 1-2 years, and will mix into the fluorite pretty bad. If you are okay with this than go ahead.

The stratum is also a buffering substrate and should really be used with gH boosted RO water only.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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When you say "will break down" what do you mean with that?

Do you mean that it will become dust like the Flourite?

So in 1-2 years I will have to remove everything or that exactly will gonna happen after the Stratum breaks down?

Why should the stratum be used with RO/DI only?

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by enb141 View Post
When you say "will break down" what do you mean with that?

It will break down into muck. Picture the nastiest swap you can. Reach into a black mucky part of that swap and pull up the "substrate". That is what the stratum will turn into.

Do you mean that it will become dust like the Flourite?

Fluorite is not dust at all. The normal grained Fluorite is "flaky" - irregular, jagged gravel. Fluorite sand is, well sand

So in 1-2 years I will have to remove everything or that exactly will gonna happen after the Stratum breaks down?

You don't have to remove it, it just is muck and is very easily disturbed and causes the water to look like chocolate milk if you uproot any plants.

Why should the stratum be used with RO/DI only?

Stratum is a buffering substrate. It strips carbonates out of the water (carbonates from tap water) which leaves you with very soft water, and 0 degrees kH (carbonate hardness). The Stratum can only strip so much from your water, so as you do water changes you will be causing pH swings, and "filling up" the Stratum. Over time it will lose its buffering ability, and your tank water will shift to your tap water in terms of hardness and pH. By using RO water, you are not "filling up" the substrate with carbonates, and it will maintain a stable pH of around 6.0-6.5.
Answered in bold. I hope this helps.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the explanation

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2020, 03:20 AM
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Hi, would you recommend the fluorite black gravel as a substrate or the fluval stratum?

Thanks
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2020, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
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Hi, would you recommend the fluorite black gravel as a substrate or the fluval stratum?

Thanks
Neither:

Flourite is inert, hard to plant into and too expensive for what it brings to the table.

Stratum is no cheaper than ADA soil in my part of the world, and it isn't as well refined nor does it claim to supply any nutrients.

If I were to go inert, it would be a plain sand of any type (Blasting sand, pool filter sand, astro turf infill sand, aquarium specific sand) or a very fine inert gravel such as Caribsea super naturals.

If I were to go with a buffering substrate, it would be ADA, Landen or Tropica soil.

If I were to go in the middle of the two, it would be calcined montmorillonite clay (Shultz aquatic plant substrate, Safe-T-Sorb, cat litter etc.)

If I were to try something new, mienralized top soil capped off with sand or calcined montmorillonite clay (probably not the best approach for new planted tankers as dirt brings in a lot of "mess" that can easily lead to algae and inconsistent results.)
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2020, 03:17 PM
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I do dirted tanks capped with an inert sand/gravel. I've used Flourite before in a planted tank. The F. Red needs to be rinsed heavily. I made the mistake of not rinsing it and it turned my water to red clay color with zero vis for weeks with daily 90% water changes. The F. complete is good out of the bag. My personal opinion is that all the planted aquarium soils are over priced. Check out CEMEX sands or some of the other inert options and any organic soil from your local hardware store that doesn't have added ferts.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2020, 05:36 PM
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I don't disagree with @Quagulator but will offer another perspective. I like both of these substrates for their intended purposes and find both easy to plant in, though that's admittedly subjective. Aqua Soils like Stratum and ADA are very light and while easy to get plants into, don't hold them in as well as heavier substrates until they take root. Flourite and EC are a bit harder to get fragile roots into, but tend to keep them there better. I've yet to have an aqua soil turn to mush, but expect it will happen one day. My oldest tank with Aqua Soil is only about 2.5 years old, but so far it seems to be performing about as well as it did new. It only gets RO water and I expect this would've been a different experience if I were to have used tap water in it. I have 2 shrimp tanks I've used small amounts of aqua soils of varying brands mixed with Flourite or EC -not nearly 50/50 mix, more like 10-20% AS. These are about a year in so who knows what the next year will bring. But I figure that with water changes and gravel vacuuming that I'm removing any "muck" as it forms. For sure the substrate levels are lower than they were upon set up, and it isn't the Flourite that is gone. I think the biggest drawback to mixing them is trying to gravel vac -the soil is so much lighter that to even get the inert stuff lifted up, you have AS going down your siphon tube. And I suspect that the jagged, much harder Flourite is breaking up the AS particles all the while. I personally wouldn't start a tank using both, but I were to I think just putting a thin (< 1") layer of AS on the bottom and carefully covering it with a much deeper layer of inert would be the safest way to go.

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