Stratum and insane PH swings?

icyybunny

Member
i think i made a huuuuuuge mistake. i would appreciate some advice. i’ve been in the hobby for about 3 years now (mostly bettas) and the whole time, watching videos of well known fish keepers, i was seeing this substrate that looked amazing n grew amazing plants that i eventually figured out was fluval stratum. i assumed it was the gold standard bc of this. awhile ago i decided to overhaul my planted tank and naturally, i picked stratum as my new substrate. had no idea about its PH lowering properties (i bet i’ll take a closer look at products from now on. smh) i read something recently that said stratum lowers ph and i started thinking, wait, if it’s lowering my ph, what’s happening when i’m doing my weekly 50% water changes as per my EI dosing method? has to be causing an insane PH swing. i tested my tap and my tank today and they were at 7.6 and 6.6. holy angelfish what a difference. my bettas have had this substrate for about 4 months now, (no issues with their health atm but i still don’t want to subject them to this any longer) i can’t help but feel negligent for not noticing this. anybody have any ideas on how to manage this issue? or do you think replacing the substrate is the only way to go? if so is there a substrate you recommend? thanks all in advance. i’m sure my poor bettas appreciate it too
 

dylan118tang

Member
The stratum's pH lowering ability is great for shrimp tanks, as some shrimp require a pH of 6 to be healthy. 6.6pH is not really that low. The betta should be fine in a neutral pH environment, so a pH of 6.6 isn't that bad. Just monitor the pH closely, to prevent if from dropping too low. If you have a tap of 7.6 then weekly water changes should keep your tank around a neutral pH. You don't necessarily have to change your substrate, since the pH lower capacity will fade over time.

I you want to raise the pH, you can add baking soda slowly to the tank. I haven't tried it myself though, so be cautious of how much you add. Try to add only a little a time, and space them out.
 
  • Thread Starter

icyybunny

Member
thanks for replying! it’s not that i’m worried about the Ph being too low, i’m just scared that doing water changes is causing a swing in ph instead of it staying stable. for example yesterday, the PH in the tank was 6.6. then once i did my 50% water change with fresh tap water, i tested again and it was at 7.2. these two tests were within an hour of each other, just enough time for the water change, so my fish was going from 6.6 to 7.2 instantaneously. and on top of that sudden rise, it steadily drops back down to 6.6 throughout the week bc of the stratum, so it’s never stable. surely a constantly swinging PH can’t be good for fish? especially since it’s kind of a big change. i’m worried it’s gonna cause some sort of shock to them and weaken their immune system to disease
 

Convoluted77

Member
icyybunny said:
thanks for replying! it’s not that i’m worried about the Ph being too low, i’m just scared that doing water changes is causing a swing in ph instead of it staying stable. for example yesterday, the PH in the tank was 6.6. then once i did my 50% water change with fresh tap water, i tested again and it was at 7.2. these two tests were within an hour of each other, just enough time for the water change, so my fish was going from 6.6 to 7.2 instantaneously. and on top of that sudden rise, it steadily drops back down to 6.6 throughout the week bc of the stratum, so it’s never stable. surely a constantly swinging PH can’t be good for fish? especially since it’s kind of a big change. i’m worried it’s gonna cause some sort of shock to them and weaken their immune system to disease
I have a couple ideas.Neither one seems super convenient. You could do minor water changes throughout the week instead of the 1 big water change weekly.Multiple small water changes should keep you from the big ph change.The other idea I have is to keep a water change bucket with stratum and water in it and do water changes with that water after its sat for a few days . Then refill your bucket and let it sit until next water change.Youll have pre buffered water on hand each week.
 
Top Bottom