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Fluval Stratum Review
Today, I’m reviewing one of the most acclaimed substrates for the healthy growth of both plants and shrimp. In this Fluval Stratum review, I’ll discuss its features, how it can be unique from the others, and what downsides it might have.
As you might already know, the
Make sure to stick around till the end of this post. I’ll present some alternatives in case the Fluval Stratum isn’t good enough for you.
Without any further ado, let’s get going!
- Fluval Stratum Review
- Fluval Stratum: Pros and Cons
- What’s Unique About Fluval Stratum
- Fluval Stratum General Features
- The Drawbacks of Fluval Stratum
- Fluval Stratum Alternatives
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Final Word
- Fluval Stratum
Fluval Stratum: Pros and Cons
In a hurry? Well, you can save time by quickly browsing the following list of pros and cons. It should tell you all the basic information you need to decide on whether you’ll purchase this
- It contains lots of beneficial nutrients thanks to its volcanic nature
- The delicate roots can penetrate it easily
- The baby shrimp can hide in its pores for protection
- It maintains perfect pH for plants and shrimp
- Its dark color makes the small shrimp stand out more
- The light soil might not provide enough anchorage for large plants like the Amazon Sword.
- Baby shrimp can outgrow the small pores quickly
- It might cause water turbidity
- It’s a bit expensive
What’s Unique About Fluval Stratum
I’ll begin by highlighting the top features that set the Fluval Stratum apart from any other
It’s Based on Mineral-Rich Volcanic Soil
Over the course of history, anthropologists were always dazzled by the behavior of our ancestors. They think that several civilizations chose to migrate and live beside an active volcano that pushes flaming rocks every now and then.
When they looked closer, they knew it had to do with agriculture. As it turned out, the fresh nutrients coming from the center of the earth provided a multitude of healthy nutrients for plants. We’re speaking about potassium, sodium, iron, and more.
As you can tell, aquatic plantations aren’t that different from the plants in your backyard. In fact, some aquatic setups might be a bit harder for the plants due to the absence of proper light and photosynthesis.
For that reason, volcanic soil is the ultimate
Its Granules Are Delicate With Lots of Pores
Unlike most of the other substrates, Fluval is keen on keeping the granules small and delicate. This way, the small roots recently grown by the plants can easily infiltrate through the soil and pick up nutrients.
Thanks to the lightweight granules, the surface can maintain a non-compacting state. In other words, the
After the shrimp eggs hatch, the delicate newborn shrimp might be sent into the most dangerous environment. They can be harassed or even eaten by the bigger, stronger fish. That’s why it’s crucial for them to hide until they’re big enough to fend for themselves.
That’s where the Fluval Stratum comes in handy. The baby shrimps can easily dig into this delicate
Fluval Stratum General Features
After highlighting the unique aspects, we’ll take a look at the general features that you can find in most of the other commercial substrates.
The color choice of the
If you’re growing shrimp, a dark
It Lowers the pH
Generally speaking, most shrimp and plant species prefer slightly acidic, soft water. Without getting into chemical details, the Fluval Stratum is built to do that. It has the ability to lower the pH of tap water to make it perfect for the delicate shrimp.
That’s why I generally recommend it for beginners. It’ll take one variable off your plate to let you focus on what’s more important.
The Drawbacks of Fluval Stratum
Nothing is perfect, right? In this section, I’ll highlight the things that might not be that great about the Fluval Stratum. You’ll be left to judge whether these disadvantages are that critical to your setup or not.
It Might Not Provide Enough Plant Anchorage
Earlier in this post, I stated that the granules of Fluval are kept delicate with interstitial porosities so that the small roots can penetrate it easily. Well, that very advantage might also be a significant drawback.
The lightness of this
The Baby Shrimp Will Outgrow It Quickly
Unfortunately, you can’t depend on Fluval Stratum as the only hideout for your shrimp. The small pores between the granules will be too small for the shrimp to hide once they get a bit older.
But to be fair, this can’t be considered a major disadvantage. No
That said, you can pair the Fluval Stratum with a bunch of other hideouts to get the best result.
For baby shrimps, Java Moss is a must-have. Its spaces are small enough for baby shrimp, yet it has a bit of freedom to accommodate them as they’re getting bigger. Best of all, shrimp is the best inhabitant of Java Moss. It’s capable of cleaning algae and debris off the leaves without causing damage to the dainty structure.
For adult shrimp, placing a couple of cholla wood pieces should act as a hideout and food collector simultaneously.
It Might Cloud the Water
Just like any dark
But truth be told, water cloudiness depends on the aquarist more than the
While this works for hard substrates like gravel, it’s absolutely wrong for granule-based substrates like Fluval Stratum. Washing with water crushes the grains into small particles that would flow around the tank and cause turbidity.
The same effect also happens when you move the stones and driftwood too much after filling the tank. Likewise, avoid filling the aquarium with water in an aggressive or rapid manner, or else the
It’s a Bit Expensive
When compared to other substrates, you’ll find that the Fluval Stratum costs nearly double the average. But since it doesn’t need to be changed that often, we can’t view this as a significant flaw.
Check out this video from Fluval describing Stratum in their own words.
Fluval Stratum Alternatives
If you don’t think Fluval Stratum can satisfy your needs, no worries! Here are two of the best substrates that can be used alternatively.
The Tropica Aquarium Soil is an active
Although Tropica didn’t build it from volcanic rocks, it still provides exceptional nutritional value for growing plants. This is possible through its high cation exchange capacity (CEC). In simpler words, this
If you’re planning on breeding shrimp, make sure to buy the version with the large particle size. Tropica produces a compacted, powdered edition that won’t provide enough hideouts for shrimp.
Just like the Fluval Stratum, this
ADA produces its Amazonia
But unfortunately, the small grain size of the Amazonia isn’t suitable for breeding young shrimp. Also, it has a much higher tendency to cause cloudy water. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Fluval stratum break down?
Fluval Stratum is known to break down more easily than other types of substrates. It could be one of the reasons why it makes a powdery mess when first introduced to your tank. But once it settles on the bottom, the water becomes clear once again.
Should you rinse Fluval stratum?
It really depends. I personally don’t rinse it before use, but others recommend that it’s rinsed. In my experience, if it’s rinsed before use it starts to become muddy and is difficult to work with.
Typically you would place stratum in your tank, place your decor add a little bit of water so you can start to add some live plants, then fill the rest of the tank. That said when you fill your tank be sure to protect the stratum with either a plate or a plastic bag.
Can I mix Fluval stratum with gravel?
Stratum is lighter than gravel so if mixed the stratum won’t mix well. However, if used as a base gravel or
The Final Word
As you saw, the Fluval Stratum is among the best substrates intended for breeding shrimp and plants at the same time. Since it’s based on volcanic ash, it provides exceptional levels of nutrients to grow the plants in the fastest time possible.
Remember, I strongly advise against washing this
Further Reading: Be sure to check out our round-up Best Substrate For A Planted Tank and learn which substrates promote the fastest plant growth.
Wishing you all the best!