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My understanding of how it works...

It does nothing when first putting it in the tank. It begins to decay after one to two months, taking about 6 months for the entire process to complete. If water flow with high dissolved oxygen moves through the straw and it is exposed to light, it enhances bacterial activity in the straw. This activity breaks down the lignin in the straw and it forms homic acid. Homic acid then acts as a flocculant, causing many of the nutrients algae needs to precipitate out of the water column. The flocculation is what clarifies the water, and the homic acid is what adds the tint to the water.
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