I got a Fluval Edge today on clearance for an insanely hard to pass price and want to go with shrimpies. I want to do Plant Stratum topped with Shrimp Stratum but I am not sure if this will be safe for them.
The plant and shrimp stratums sold by Fluval are made of the same material, however, I believe that the shrimp stratum is a bit larger, so that it can be used with various types of dwarf shrimp.
I have the shrimp stratum in two planted tanks and carpeting plants like
dwarf hairgrass, microsword and baby tears do quite well with this substrate, when used with enough of the proper lighting, fertilizer root tabs and injected CO2.
The only shortcoming with using injected CO2 in an aquarium with dwarf shrimp is that they have a very difficult time adapting to rapid PH swings within the water column.
I have, however, found that once these carpeting plants are allowed to completely cover the bottom of an aquarium, as long as you continue using the proper amount of lighting and fertilizer root tabs, the plants do tend to do well. However, they will no longer propagate as rapidly as they did when using injected CO2.
Prior to using a Mr. Aqua 1.5 gallon bookshelf aquarium for housing some red cherry shrimp, I used this tank to grow dwarf hairgrass and it carpeted within a few months.
I then removed all of the hairgrass and replanted it in two different aquariums, where it is still doing quite well under about 3 watts of light per gallon of water.
I now have some microsword in the 1.5 gallon tank along with some baby red cherry shrimp and guppy fry, all of which are doing well.
The MS is maintaining its green color, however, growing much slower than it would be if I were using some form of injected CO2. My preference is the DIY method by fermentation, which costs me about $60 a year for six tanks, as opposed to about ten times that amount using a Fluval CO2 88 or some other mini CO2 canister system.
I have also found that in nano aquariums (under about 20 gallons) all it takes to get about 2 weeks of CO2 production doing the DIY method, is about 1/2 cup of granulated sugar to 1/3 of a teaspoon of bakers yeast, and just a pinch of baking soda to stabilize the mixture.
In the past I was using 2 full cups of sugar and a teaspoon of yeast which gave me rapid CO2 production for about a week before it began to quickly lose its effectiveness.
This method is just as effective in the long run (slower CO2 production but for a longer period of time) and far less expensive.
As for purchasing either Fluval plant or shrimp stratum, I would suggest going with whatever you can get a better deal on, since the prices of these items can vary drastically depending on where and when you purchase them.
For instance, I purchased a bag of Fluval shrimp stratum on Amazon.com
for about $16 and change, and I was able to add that to some other items that I was purchasing to make the $35 minimum for free shipping.
A week later the same 8.8 LB bag of shrimp stratum was selling for over $30. And recently I have seen this size bag of shrimp stratum being sold by some pet stores who market their products on Amazon.com, for as much as $60 for an 8.8 LB bag - more than $40 above the price I paid!
So it pays to shop around.