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How long does your active substrate last?


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Hello Everyone,

I'm curious to see how long your active substrate last before needing change.  It would be nice to know what type of substrate you use? Do you use remineralized RO water only?

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Controsoil and Akadama both last around 1.5 years for me, Stratum maybe 9moz.  I have Brightwell running in a couple tanks for 1.5 years right now and it's still buffering to 6.3 or so.  

RO Water remineralized with gH only.  

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4 hours ago, wyzazz said:

Controsoil and Akadama both last around 1.5 years for me, Stratum maybe 9moz.  I have Brightwell running in a couple tanks for 1.5 years right now and it's still buffering to 6.3 or so.  

RO Water remineralized with gH only.  

 

Excellent info, wyzazz.  Yeh, just curious.  It will be my first time using ADA AS and Controsoil (tanks are cycling) because I've heard so much positives about them.  I want to see if there is a consensus how long they last for everyone.  

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On 5/31/2019 at 7:48 AM, wyzazz said:

Controsoil and Akadama both last around 1.5 years for me, Stratum maybe 9moz.  I have Brightwell running in a couple tanks for 1.5 years right now and it's still buffering to 6.3 or so.  

RO Water remineralized with gH only.  

What would be your water ph after it sat for a while without the soil ??

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32 minutes ago, HumanArtRebel1020 said:

What would be your water ph after it sat for a while without the soil ??

Water with no kH and no active substrate (or something to keep the pH stable) will have pH fluctuations.  pH readings would change from night to day, especially in a planted tank.  

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23 hours ago, HumanArtRebel1020 said:

Ohh haha ok . Im just wondering for experiment and knowledge purposes what it would effecte ph before and after and what it would possibly buffer mine to for the planned tank im looking to do. I wouldnt wanna buy soil and have it not result well uk.


That really depends on the soil you choose and the source water you utilize.  You will want water with no kH (that pushes the pH up) so most of us use RO remineralized with a gH only salt.  Some are lucky enough (Washington comes to mind) to have almost no kH in their water from the tap.  

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8 hours ago, HumanArtRebel1020 said:

My ph is basically off the chart 8.8 

So my assumption is that you're using Tap Water?  You won't want to utilize that with Active Substrate.  Pick up RO or Distilled Water, or better yet an RO unit, then you can remineralize to your desired gH.  
 

Here is what will happen if you use Active Substrate with your water (I'm assuming your kH is pretty high).  

 

1.  You will exhaust the buffering properties of the soil very quickly and end up with inert substrate.  

2.  When you do water changes, your pH will fluctuate.  Say that your pH in the tank is 6.7.  You remove 10% of the water and add tap water.  Your pH will swing up rapidly in to the low 7s' and the substrate will try to pull it back down to that 6.7.  This will happen at every water change until the substrate finally exhausts.  When it does your pH will swing rapidly up to that 8.8pH you mentioned above.  

Most, if not all of the shrimp won't survive that.  

You could look in to Sulawesi Shrimp, they may be a fit for your tap as it is.  They require warmer temps and dine almost exclusively on Algae and Biofilm.  

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My tap water is just very alkaline and stays at 8.8 water change or not, it’s the final result of my cycled sitting water . Looking for lower ph. Kh is pretty average but is group category for keeping mollies guppies and invertebrates. Could I use the soil and it will permanently bring it from 8.8 to lower? I want plants as well so I do need soil .

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  • 3 months later...

Just thought I'd update this thread.  I have a 20g tank running fluval stratum for 2yrs holding my CRS.  Although it seems like it's still buffering the water I have since decided to move them to a newly cycled 10g with ada amazonia.  I didn't want to take a chance to lose the colony.  So far they are happy in their new tank.  I did the same for my PRLs, and they are happy too 😋

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  • 2 months later...
35 minutes ago, pastu said:

ada amazonia still working for  me after five years, only use  ro water  and salty shrimp gh plus,  help  shrimp soil still working after 3 years under the same regime. ph stays  at 5.5-6

 

5.5-6 is quite a range, I'd be interested to see if that pH is stable (ie, the substrate is still buffering as it is supposed to).  Maybe measure it first thing in the morning before lights come on, then before lights go out in the evening and see if the reading is the same.  Or maybe you've already done that, but 5 years is a crazy amount of time!  

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ada amazonia still working for  me after five years, only use  ro water  and salty shrimp gh plus,  help  shrimp soil still working after 3 years under the same regime. ph stays  at 5.5-6

 

i can never trust the accuracy ot the  systems to measure ph, do you?

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  • 3 months later...
Quote

My tap water is just very alkaline and stays at 8.8 water change or not, it’s the final result of my cycled sitting water . Looking for lower ph. Kh is pretty average but is group category for keeping mollies guppies and invertebrates. Could I use the soil and it will permanently bring it from 8.8 to lower? I want plants as well so I do need soil .

The answer above your question explains how maintaining stability of pH in any water works. Two separate mechanisms, using different buffering systems, KH for alkaline water, buffering substrate for acid water. Regardless from what we want. Without one of them there will be nothing to keep pH stable.

 

Using buffering soil for binding KH permanently doesn't work: aquasoil has to remove interfering with its work KH first, before being able to lower pH, doing this at cost of losing its buffering capacity (see it as a battery with limited charge, after you use part of that, it is gone). And new KH will be added with each water change if use tap water. In addition to exhausting aquasoil buffering capacity, this creates fluctuations of KH and pH, stressing shrimp a lot, what affects their health.

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  • 7 months later...
i have a quick question. I kept my crs in fluval stratum with ro water and bee shrimp mineral. Lately i removed the fluval stratum because it got old and i exchanged it with regular substrate that doesnt buffer. I did this because i got tired of changing the vacuuming and cleaning it was a mess. With fluval my ph was at 6.2. Obv my ph is going to be much lower sinze ro water water and bee shrimp mineral doesnt have any kh. Here comes my question, To keep my ph stable around 6.2 without buffering substrate, can i use salty shrimp gh kh and bee shrimp gh together to add about .5 kh to keep my ph stable? What do you guys think? Ive dont the math and 25ppm of gh+kh and 100ppm of Gh+ would give me .5 kh , gh 6, and tds 125. If i dont use the kh , my ph drops to under 5 and i prone to ph swing since there is no buffering substrate, do you guys think buffering substrate is all that necessary for crs to live and thrive?
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