When it comes to planted tanks, one of the essential elements you need to focus on is a substrate that you’re going to use. Choosing the best substrate is very important for your planted tank because it makes a big difference and also has a significant impact on the aftermath of the container, either positively or negatively.

While not having a proper substrate can hinder the growth of tank-inhabitants, overdosing can also harm them. Balance is key here. So, if you happen to have an aquarium that contains aquatic plants and fish, then the Fluval Stratum for plant and shrimp is for you.

In this Fluval Stratum review, we’ll be focusing on the factors you need to consider before purchasing this product. In addition, we’ll highlight the features and benefits of this Fluval Stratum, and based on the review; you can decide if the product is good enough for your aquarium.

fluval stratum review
Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum

Things to Consider Before Buying

The primary reason for using a substrate in an aquarium is to increase the growth of the plants, and this is what Fluval Stratum does. It contains volcanic soil, which is different from the regular soil.

If you’re looking for substrates that will conveniently hide even the larger size of shrimps, then this product isn’t for you. Although the substrate is pretty gravel-like, the size of the particles is quite small.

So, even if it protects the shrimp while they’re still tiny, it’ll not accommodate the larger shrimps because they will outgrow the substrate’s particle size.

Instead, you can buy the Carib Sea Eco Substrate. Its bimodal feature will allow you a proper shelter for the large shrimps.

Before buying the Fluval Stratum, you need to consider other factors such as its nutrient levels, to see if it is compatible with the desired aquatic plants and marine life.

Furthermore, before using this product, you will have to wash it thoroughly to prevent it from clouding the tank water. It will also decrease the fluctuations of the water quality as the tank gets used to the new material.

Presenting The Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum

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Product Features
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Product Features
  • Fluval Stratum is made of mineral rich volcanic soil
  • Stimulates strong aquarium plant growth
  • Promotes neutral to mildly acidic pH
  • Suitable for live plants or shrimp
  • 8.8 lb. bag

The Fluval Stratum is an ideal product for freshwater aquarium and the growth of your plants. This substrate has a wide range of nutrients, which can help with the development of aquatic plants.

Other than nutrients, it also has micro-nutrients and a porous structure which works excellent with nitrifying bacteria. The substrate prevents discoloration of water and has a neutral PH level.

However, dominating the market right now is the Carib Sea Stratum. Among the many benefits of this product is its lack of paints, chemical coatings, and artificial dyes. It helps keep the tank as robust as possible.

Though unlike Fluval, this substrate is likely to increase the pH levels of your planted tank, so one needs to be careful before switching over to the Carib Sea. The Fluval Stratum is for those that are looking for enhancing the growth of plants and fish.


  • The substrate is made of volcanic soil that contains several nutrients
  • It has a porous and light texture which helps with plant and root development
  • It has many minerals which make it the best substrate for shrimp tanks
  • It can naturally decrease the pH level of the tap water


  • It clouds the aquarium for a few days due to its light structure which takes time to settle
  • Since it’s too light, it sometimes fails to hold the roots of plants

Fluval Stratum Review: Features and Benefits

  • Volcanic Soil

Usually, the best types of substrate for planted tanks contain the mineral-rich and organic volcano soil, which consists of many elements that you cannot find in the standard soil. This substrate also comprises of rich nutrients.

These nutrients are ideal for plants with soft and spreading roots. Since the soil grains are light and small, it’ll allow the roots to efficiently infiltrate the top layer of the substrate to hold the plant securely into the ground.

The combination of Nutrafin Plant Gro and Nutrafin Plant Fertilizer Sticks with the shrimp stratum gives you the extra micro and macro nutrients for the aquatic plants and fish.

  • Porosity

The porous holes present in the grains are very beneficial because it will effectively filter the tank water from pollutants and also harbor healthy bacteria in the planted tank.

Other than being porous, it is also light and non-compacting. These features make it easier for nitrifying the bacteria to develop and grow in the tank. So overall, the bacteria will maintain the tank’s cleanliness and health.

  • Neutral to Slightly Acidic pH Level

Different kinds of fish and plants adapt to the various water environment. However, one of the essential features to consider for your planted aquarium is the pH level. This product can naturally lower the pH level of your tap water.

A higher pH level might damage the plants, so for aquatic plants having a low pH is ideal. This substrate can neutralize the pH level, which will significantly benefit the fish, plants as well as the shrimps.

The substrate also has a dark, natural color, which will look great in aquariums and will also add an aesthetic touch to your natural décor.

It will prevent discoloration of the tank water and control the organic discoloration, which is sometimes present in natural driftwood.

  • Ideal for Shrimp Tanks

Not many of the substrates out there support the growth of shrimp. But this substrate comes with an added feature that encourages the development of shrimp.

The compound present in the substrate contains lots of minerals that support the growth of baby shrimps. Furthermore, the size of the particles provides an excellent refuge to the tiny shrimps.

This will allow the baby shrimps to hide in the soil until they are big enough to leave their shelter and are ready to look after themselves. There are plenty of nooks and crannies for the baby shrimps to hide from the predators.

Final Words

By now, you understand the significance of having a substrate, and Fluval Stratum is no slouch. Despite its lack of compatibility with large shrimps, this product has several unique features even compared to the leading substrate in the market.

For instance, this substrate is pH-neutral, so no headaches there.

In this Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum review, we highlighted the benefits and demerits and cogently discussed why, when, and where this substrate is appropriate. We hope you found this article informative and wish you a happy shopping!

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