*NOTE: This review is based on My experience, as well as the experiences that my friends have had with this product. I cannot guarantee that you will have the same experience with it however, I will do my best to explain how I ended up getting these results.
FLUVAL SHRIMP STRATUM PRODUCT DESCRIPTION:
-Description taken from the Hagen Website-
“Fluval® Shrimp Stratum is the ideal substrate for shrimp and planted aquariums. The substrate’s light, non-compacting, porous structure is highly beneficial to nitrifying bacteria which rapidly colonize the vast porous surface, providing optimal water quality for shrimp.Shrimp Stratum also provides newborn shrimp with excellent refuge, a safe place to hide from predators until they are large enough to emerge.
In addition, Shrimp Stratum helps plants flourish as their roots easily spread and take advantage of available nutrients. The use of NUTRAFIN® Plant Fertilizer Sticks and NUTRAFIN® Plant Gro in conjunction with Shrimp Stratum will help ensure a full complement of essential macro and micro nutrients.
The inherent properties of Fluval® Shrimp Stratum will help support a neutral to slightly acidic pH that is ideal for most shrimp and plant species. This highly attractive substrate will not discolor water and helps control organic discoloration usually present when natural driftwood is used. 4 kg (8.8 lbs)”
Price: Can vary from store to store. In our area the price range is aprox. $23.99CAD – $29.99 before tax for a 4kg bag. In my honest opinion it is quite expensive. If you compare the average price and volume for what is available to me, Akadama (varies around $44.99 for 9kg) and ADA (varies around $46.99 for 9kg) are actually cheaper when you break it down. You get a higher quality product as well, in my opinion. It depends on the area though, because I live in a larger city we have easier and cheaper access to certain products. Always compare the prices available to you when you are buying.
Availability: Fluval is convenient to buy, because it is found in most chain pet stores that offer aquarium equipment, such as Petsmart, big Al’s, and most smaller fish stores who carry shrimp will sell it as well. It’s pretty much everywhere.
First time I used this substrate I used 100% tap water in my tank. This water had an average kH of 3-5. pH was a constant 7.5 -8. gH was around 5-6. I also added Fluval Shrimp Mineral Supplement. I put the substrate to cover the bottom of the tank completely (1 inch-1.5 inches thick). I also put a few plants present in the tank. The pH in this setup would only drop to 6.8. With using pure tap water after a few water changes the buffering capacity was almost gone. After 3-5 months the shrimp were not doing well. The babies were not surviving and it would take longer for shrimp to grow.
I tried to use it with complete RO water. The water parameters were at pH=7, gH=0 and kH=0. Once we added fluval to cover the whole bottom of the tank (1 inch-1.5 inches thick) it would buffer it to a pH of 6.4. We used Mosura Mineral Plus on the water which raised the gH to 7. We noticed that with this setup the shrimps coloration was a bit better, they were more active and healthier. The degrading of the soil was postponed for an additional 2-3 months. It lasted about 6-8 months before it started to degrade.
- -Fluval soil is a good soil to use if you are mainly keeping Neocaridinas.
- -It does very well with plant and Neocaridinas. It also cycles fairly quickly without leeching out huge amounts of ammonia or no2 or no3s.
- -For Crystal Shrimp it does very well in the beginning but around the 6-7 month mark you can notice the shrimp are starting to not do so well.
- -The buffer capacity is drained very fast from the soil if you use tap water with high pH and kH. Also, you will not be able to maintain a lower end pH for your crystals. However, if you use RO water or rain water, the buffer capacity can be extended for a longer period of time.
- -The soil is quite light, and fine, so if you have stronger filtration it will end up being blown everywhere and moved around. Too small and light for my liking.
Overall this soil I rate it 3/5 only, due to packaging suggesting it being good for crystals but its not, and also it has a short of lifespan. I personally recommend using ADA or Akadama, and those other soils I will review later.