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Hello yall, so i bought myself a 55 galloon last week, and im gathering parts, so far i got the fluval 3.0 plant 59w light, and fluval 407 for the filter. and i got myself some fluval stratum, and i put them already in the tank. How's that substrate is it any good? or would i regret my purchase later? i didn't decide on fish and plants yet to be honest. but is it a good substrate to begin with? i heard planting in it is tough and the plants will not hold, but i know they sell specific weights on amazon for that. what about PH? does it lower ph like crazy?
 

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Welcome to the hobby! You'll do yourself a big favor by just continuing to read, watch youtube videos, ask questions, however you like to learn. Just see what's out there, what people are doing, find people who are getting the results you're interested in, and learn more about those techniques. You will of course need to observe your own tanks, in your own local conditions (tap water, weather, availability, etc.) and adapt what you have learned to what you are observing. That never stops. There will be successes, and there will be failures. That never stops, either.

OK, so for your question about the substrate. I think that's a perfectly fine substrate on its face, but in a first tank, I can guess that you might struggle a bit if you don't know what to expect. I'm not an aquasoil guy myself (and Fluval Stratum, like a lot of popular planted tank substrates these days, is just a pelletized baked soil product). So I don't speak from experience. But this stuff is going to be fairly nutrient heavy. Which is great for plants. But you should be prepared to deal with all of those nutrients, which are going to leach into the water column initially (perhaps not as much as other brands), until there are enough plants and bacteria to suck them up and sequester them. That means water changes. Lots of heavy water changes for the first few weeks, before you think about adding fish or anything other than plants.

Plant as heavily as you can from the beginning. You'll kill some plants initially. That's fine. But a lot of them will grow quickly. So will the algae. So, do those big water changes, find the balance with your lighting (start maybe 5-6 hours a day or so and adjust from there), and let the algae come and (hopefully) go for a while.

Then there's the soil itself. It's dirt. It's little balls of clay and dirt. So, it's going to turn into mud over time. Which means that you won't want to be digging in it (moving things around, pulling plants out of it) too often. It might be easier to get plants to stay down initially if you cap the stratum with a layer of sand or gravel, just to keep small stems and roots secure until they can dig down in there.

Also, another thing to think about is that, with all of these nutrients in the substrate and light above (though I don't think the Fluval light will be too terribly intense over that tank), you might find that the plants you like will also benefit from CO2 supplementation to keep them growing and using those nutrients, keeping them out of the reach of algae. So, while not a requirement, you may find that you need it at some point with a rich substrate like that.

So yeah. Give it a try. I hope this doesn't come across as discouraging at all. Like I said, I'm not experienced with this type of product. I just put sand in my tanks. Black diamond blasting sand, or eco-complete, or other inert substrates. Plus fertilizer tablets shoved down in there. And I've been doing it for 15 years. But the aquasoils are popular these days, and I think you can get an amazing planted tank going in no time with it.

Keep learning, and start a thread in the Journals section of the forum, so we can all follow along!
 

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Welcome to the hobby!! As was mentioned fluvial stratum is an active substrate and there's a little bit of work that goes into start up a far as a water change schedule, typically 50% every day first week, every other day second, 2 times the 3rd week and once a week thereafter. The plus sidesof that is you don't have to add an ammonia source to kick off your cycle. Stratum is a very light substrate, though, and I have, personally, had an issue getting plants to stay put in it.

Typically it will buffer down to about 6.5 for ph, nothing crazy. For most plants and fish this is pretty ideal. The buffering capacity is limited, though. I can't give you a time frame for it as it varies quite a bit depending on how much it has to buffer.

Breakdown into silt takes a while but it does happen. With my own personal experience stratum was one of the most silty I've come across, pretty hard to remove when replenishing is needed. It does its job, though.

Weights work but I haven't used them so I can't really advise there.

Have you decided whether you're going to jump into co2 yet?
 

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Hello yall, so i bought myself a 55 galloon last week, and im gathering parts, so far i got the fluval 3.0 plant 59w light, and fluval 407 for the filter. and i got myself some fluval stratum, and i put them already in the tank. How's that substrate is it any good? or would i regret my purchase later? i didn't decide on fish and plants yet to be honest. but is it a good substrate to begin with? i heard planting in it is tough and the plants will not hold, but i know they sell specific weights on amazon for that. what about PH? does it lower ph like crazy?
Hello and welcome!

Stratum is fine for substrate. Its one of the cheaper aquasoil substrates out there so it gets used a lot. I have been using the same stratum moving from tank to tank for going on 2 years now and its still hasn't turned to mud. One thing to keep in mind is substrate depth. A 55 gallon is a big first tank and just because you bought enough substrate to cover the bottom doesn't mean its deep enough to plant in. Basically you want at least 1.5 inches of depth to plant in and 2 to 4 inches in the back is a good thing. Doing this all out of aquasoil (fluval stratum in this case) is expensive. You can mix your stratum with other substrate options to make things cheaper. I personally like pool filter sand because its cheap and works well. Also its easier to plant into then many other options. If its shallower then 1.5" you will have a LOT of trouble keeping plants in and growing.

Speaking of planting you should definitely have some tweezers standing by to help you plant. You can buy the big long ones they sell in the pet stores or you can just buy a pair of regular tweezers at your local grocery store/pharmacy etc. The tweezers will dramatically increase the ease of planting.

Definitely check out videos on youtube. Videos from guys like MD Fishtanks has literally hundreds of new tank videos to show off the process. Other good youtubers include george farmer, and aquaium co-op. Good luck!
 
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