Seachem Matrix is a biological filter media that you can use for your fish tank. So, is this product also safe to use for axolotls, plants, shrimps, snails, turtles and your other living aquatic pets?
You can find out in this guide at Aquarium Blueprints.
Seachem Matrix is completely inert as it won’t leech anything in your aquarium, which makes it safe for axolotls, plants, shrimps, snails and turtles.
With that said, it does take some time for the beneficial bacteria to grow on this filter media. Not to mention that these ammonia, nitrite and nitrate consuming organisms need regular maintenance to survive as well.
As long as you properly and regularly rinse Seachem Matrix, then the filter media should provide nothing but benefits in your fish tank.
What is Seachem Matrix?
Seachem Matrix is a material that provides surface area for beneficial bacteria.
For the uninformed, your fish tank needs beneficial bacteria in order to get rid of the toxic ammonia, nitrite and nitrate compounds.
Ammonia comes from organic wastes created by your pets. If you have beneficial bacteria colonies established inside your tank, then ammonia will turn to nitrites. The nitrites will then covert over to nitrates. Finally, the nitrates will then be removed from the aquarium.
Thanks to its very porous structure, the Seachem Matrix provides a lot more surface area density when compared to a vast majority of other biological filter media when it comes to growing bacteria colonies that consume ammonia and nitrites.
Some of the pores are so microscopic that there is little to zero presence of oxygen, which makes it a great environment to grow bacteria colonies that consume nitrates.
Is Seachem Matrix safe for axolotls, shrimps, snails and turtles?
Seachem Matrix should be inert as it won’t leech anything in your fish tank. As a result, the product is definitely safe to use for axolotls, shrimps, snails, turtles as well as other inhabitants in your freshwater, brackish water or saltwater tank.
With that said, we do recommend that your thoroughly rinse the filter media before adding it in your fish tank in order to get rid of the dust and dirt particles.
Is Seachem Matrix safe for aquatic plants?
Seachem Matrix should also be completely safe for use with aquatic plants as it does not leech anything at all in your tank.
While the beneficial bacteria growing on Matrix will consume the ammonia and nitrate compounds that most aquatic plants will need, your plants should be able to outcompete the bacteria for these nutrients.
In fact, we highly recommend using both Seachem Matrix with live plants so that you can keep the ammonia and nitrite levels both at zero as well as nitrates to an acceptable level (less than 40 ppm for most species or less than 20 ppm for the more sensitive pets).
How Seachem Matrix can become unsafe
While the Seachem Matrix is completely safe on its own, the product can become unsafe if you don’t use it appropriately.
For example, if your rinse Seachem Matrix with tap water, then the chlorine and chloramine will kill off the beneficial bacteria that are living on the surface.
If you don’t rinse this filter media at all, then the pores will eventually clogged up, which will starve and eventually kill off the bacteria colonies as well.
Both of these scenarios will disrupt the biological filtration in your fish tank, leading to ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels spiking.
Furthermore, while Matrix will reduce nitrate levels, it most likely won’t get rid of it. So, if you have been negligent with water changes, then nitrates will start to build up over time.
It is also important to note that it will take some time for beneficial bacteria, especially the bacteria that consume nitrates, to establish themselves on Seachem Matrix. In fact, the process can take many months if you have a brand-new tank. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect this biological filter media to be effective right away.