By using Seachem Matrix in your fish tank, you will be able to reduce ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. However, this biological filter does take some time to become effective.
You can check out this guide from Aquarium Blueprints to see how long it will take for Matrix to work.
Depending on your tank setup, Seachem Matrix can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months to become effective.
To make the wait as short as possible, you can try adding live beneficial bacteria, setting the water temperature range to 80°F to 85°F (or 26.7°C to 29.4°C) and/or decreasing the flow rate.
How Seachem Matrix gets rid of ammonia, nitrites and nitrates
Seachem Matrix provides surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize. The bacterial colonies that consume ammonia and nitrites will grow on the outer surfaces and many of the nooks and crannies from insides the pores of these stones.
There are also microscopic chambers that are devoid of any oxygen from within Matrix, which provides an ideal environment for the bacteria colony that consume nitrates to proliferate.
How long does it take for Seachem Matrix to become effective?
In the ideal situation for Seachem Matrix, it may take a couple of weeks to see a reduction of ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. If you have a brand-new tank that hasn’t been fully cycled, however, then the process can take several months.
It is very important to note that Matrix does not add any beneficial bacteria inside your aquarium. Instead, these microorganisms should appear naturally as long as there are organic wastes present.
The bacteria that consume nitrate will also take a lot longer to grow when compared to the bacteria colonies that consume ammonia and nitrites.
How to shorten the length of time for getting Seachem Matrix to work
In order to speed of the process of charging Seachem Matrix with beneficial bacteria, we recommend doing the following:
1. The first step you can take is to add live beneficial bacteria to your aquarium.
You can do so by adding décor, substrate, rocks and/or filter media from another tank.
Alternatively, you can also purchase a commercial product, such as the Seachem Stability, to add the beneficial bacteria to the fish tank. If you are interested, you can purchase the Seachem Stability Fish Tank Stabilizer from Amazon with this link.
2. If possible, you can also try to increase the temperature of the aquarium to 80°F to 85°F (or 26.7°C to 29.4°C).
Make sure that your fish, as well as other aquatic pets and plants, can tolerate the warmer tank waters. If they can’t, then you can skip this step.
3. Furthermore, you should make sure you have something that is creating organic wastes in your tank. These wastes will turn into ammonia, which will kickstart and maintain the cycling process.
If you already have fish or other aquatic pets inside your tank, then you don’t need to do anything.
If you don’t have any animals in your aquarium, then we recommend adding a pinch of fish food every day in order to charge Matrix with beneficial bacteria.
4. You may also want to consider slowing down the flow rate of your filter as doing so will result in your tank water having less oxygen.
The bacteria colony that consumes can only live on surfaces with little to no oxygen. Therefore, lowering the oxygen level will help speed up the cycling process.
With that said, your fish, plants and other aquatic plants will need oxygen. If you see issues after slowing the flow rate, such as your fish gulping for air at the water surface, then you should increase the flow rate.
If you have a brand-new tank that hasn’t been cycled at all, then you can check out this step-by-step tutorial to see how you can quickly add biological filtration.