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Straight up Substrate(for shrimp)


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OK, so after what seems like weeks of researching almost every shrimp substrate known to man, I still feel like I'm at day one!!  So I would research one particular brand....  reading all the pros and cons about, then research another and so on.  To my many hours of researching, Amazonia seems to be the most "purchased" soil but the reviews to me are about 70% on the good side.  Many speak of it breaking down too fast, not buffering correctly, long initial cycling time, etc.  A personal note, I bought some Amazonia used(3monthsold) and have had in my tank for about 3.5 weeks now.  I have it in a couple of ten gallons which are on the same rack as other ten gallons with Fluval Shrimp Stratum and UP Aqua Aqua Sand all of which have the exact same remineralized RO water and the same lighting too.  I am growing riccia on stones in each of the tanks mentioned, and the ones in the Amazonia tank are by far the most healthy and fastest growing BUT almost 4 weeks of the Amazonia in my tanks, one tank reads a PH 4.1, the second 3.6, and the third 3.1.  These readings for PH have been the same since day one and I have, on numerous occasions, recalibrated my PH meter to assure proper readings and also checking the Fluval and Up Aqua tanks which are around 6.7-6.8

 

Going on to others like Mr. Aqua Aquarium Soil seems to be a top contender, very stable, and long lasting but very little reviews as compared to Amazonia. 

 

Getting to the point of my thread, I would like see PERSONAL experiences with any BUFFERING substrates you love/hate and WHY.  Doesn't matter if it's a common brand, something new to the market, etc.  Make a nice lengthy post as to why you feel the way you do about your substrates ;)

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I have extremely limited experience with buffering substrates since I focus mainly on neos, however I did like Up sand when I was using it.  Some people say it doesn't last too long with tap, buut since I was using RO I found it lasted a very long time for me.  Even up until I broke down the tank.

 

Also Up sand doesn't leech ammonia.  It did drop the ph to 6.3ish, which is a little low, but I didn't have to wait for months for it to cycle.

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are you only using a meter? have you tried liquid test kits to test the ph? also what is the ph of your tap? that might be playing a roll in how the amazonia is buffering. also how deep of a substrate are you using. the depth and starting ph of your water can play a roll as well. i know mine is 1.5-2 inhes deep and my ro water comes out with a ph of 5. in my tank with amazonia its between 6 and 6.4. my api kit is marked 6,6.4,6.6 ....... so that is what i am wondering. ive used fluval shrimp stratum with crs and it did great for them took my tap from 7.3 down to 6 and it stayed there for a year but did start breaking down after about a year. i was using tap water so i think that is why. it was not leaching anything just when i moved stuff i started getting dirt/mud cloud in the tank. it would clear in an hour or so and shrimp were never fazed by it

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I went with a bottom layer of Fluval Shrimp Stratum, and a top layer of Black Moon Sand, so far, I can keep the PH at 6.4 to 6.6.

But I also have some miniature alder cones in the tank, and one Indian Almond Leaf, and a couple of Peat Pellet cups that

float on top of the water. They are in the kcup filter that people use for coffee. I just fill it with peat pellets, close the top

and let it float on top of the water.

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are you only using a meter? have you tried liquid test kits to test the ph? also what is the ph of your tap? that might be playing a roll in how the amazonia is buffering. also how deep of a substrate are you using. the depth and starting ph of your water can play a roll as well. i know mine is 1.5-2 inhes deep and my ro water comes out with a ph of 5. in my tank with amazonia its between 6 and 6.4. my api kit is marked 6,6.4,6.6 ....... so that is what i am wondering. ive used fluval shrimp stratum with crs and it did great for them took my tap from 7.3 down to 6 and it stayed there for a year but did start breaking down after about a year. i was using tap water so i think that is why. it was not leaching anything just when i moved stuff i started getting dirt/mud cloud in the tank. it would clear in an hour or so and shrimp were never fazed by it

 

I am using a PH pen.  A\I do have API liquid kits for PH but have steered away from them because of inaccuracy.  I skimped on the substrate thickness since my primary goal is shrimp.  The substrate is about 1" deep.  My RO comes out at 6.8.

 

I am setting up four more 10 gallons soon and am thinking about trying the Mr. Aqua and Azoo substrates in those so that will be five different substrates total in all my tanks, then depending the results, I will eventually narrow my favorites to one or two and use those when it comes time to replace the others.

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