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Your ultimate guide to substrate types

Fish tanks are absolutely beautiful additions to homes or even business places. These tanks are always a sight for sore eyes. Looking at a well-maintained aquarium or a fish tank can make you de-stress and relax. Also, fish is a popular choice as home pets. Fish tanks can make you home look good in the eyes of your visitors. All these benefits and more can depend on one particular step. This step is choosing the best substrate for planted tanks. Substrate is essential for the health and well-being of all tank inhabitants.

  • Definition of substrate

Buying substrate is a top priority for everyone trying to set up a fish tank. Substrate is a medium or a material that covers the bottom of tanks. Substrate is available in various types, brands and colors. This will give the tank owners an opportunity to decorate the tank according to their taste and preferences. Such variety of appearances will give tanks individuality and personal touch. There many factors that can be associated with the choice of substrate. That is why you need to make your choice wisely and based on study and investigation. Substrate in planted tanks can perform many functions related to the environment and appearance of the tank.

  • What does substrate do?

Substrate is a main player in customizing and setting up planted tanks. There are many functions that substrate can perform. These functions include:

  • Making the tank natural

Giving the tank natural-like feel is essential for the well-being of the inhabitants. Substrate can imitate the feel of the bottom of fresh or saltwater. Glass, on flip side is not a usual thing for fish. That is why glass bottom can irritate these creatures. Glass can also annoy the fish that likes to dig at the bottom. Many tanks contain bottom-dwelling fish. These creatures love gathering food that falls and accumulates in the tank bottom. Substrate can make collecting that food easier and more enjoyable for these bottom-dwellers.

  • Increasing safety element

Safety is a major point for tank inhabitants. Substrate can stop any sort of image reflection in the tank bottom. This is never the case with glass bottom. Image reflection can make the fish feel threatened. Covering the tank bottom can also save the eggs from getting eaten. Some types of fish like to lay their eggs in the bottom of the tank. Unless this area is properly covered, other fish can easily consume the scattered eggs. Substrate will make the eggs less visible compared to glass bottom.

  • Success of planting the aquarium

Substrate is the main element in the success of planting a fish tank. It can act as conventional soil for plants. The right substrate for a planted tank will let food reach a plant roots. It can store organic nutrients that are essential for any plants. Gravel and sand are the most ideal substrate materials for planted tanks. Usually, you should divide the substrate into 2 layers.

  • Adding beautiful touch

Beautiful appearance is an essential quality of fish tanks. It is one of the main things that make people purchase them. Substrate comes in different shapes and colors. You can find gravel substrate in blue or pink colors. Mixing your chosen substrate with suitable decorations can increase the beauty of the tank. Properly chosen substrate can make the color and shape of your fish more obvious and visible. Attractive tanks are totally important for improving the mood and state of mind of the owners. They also have many positive health effects.

  • Not recommended types of substrates

Planted tank substrates come in various shapes, types and materials. It is important to choose the type of substrate that works properly with the tank type and fish nature. However, there are some types of substrates that you should avoid. These types include sand and shells taken from the sea. This particular sand is harmful for the environmental balance of tank. It can trap various tiny organisms. These organisms would subsequently die and cause pollution to the tank’s environment. Sea shells are highly effective in manipulating ph levels in tank water. Shells will make ph level higher than normal.

  • Useful types of substrate

If you are about to buy substrate for your tank, you should target the common types. These types are basically sand, gravel, dirt or crushed corals.

  • Gravel:

Gravel falls under the category of the most frequently used substrate material. Gravel can be either natural or artificial. Gravel is a proper solution for fish only aquariums. You should buy gravel with gentle edges in order to prevent fish from getting injured. Gravel varies in size, as it can be tiny or big. The nature of tank inhabitants can decide the size of gravel. Bigger gravel is easy to clean. Usually, bigger gravel substrate comes with big rocks. This contributes to the appeal and natural sense of the tank.

  • Sand

Sand falls under the category of clean and healthy substrate types. It is also one of the best substrate for planted tanks. In order to fully enjoy the perks of sand substrate you need to choose a reliable filtration method. Sand is able to give tank inhabitants more natural feel. Sand substrate does not require constant cleaning like many other types of substrate. Sand is also great for bottom-dwelling fish and burrowing organisms

  • Crushed Corals

Many tank owners prefer using crushed corals in their aquariums. These corals add great value to water quality. They have proven ability to enhance ph levels in tank water. This will make water more alkaline. It is not rare to find crushed corals substrate in the market that is mixed with calcite. Crushed corals are totally convenient if you plan to have a tank with African cichlids theme. Cichlids thrive in alkaline conditions.

  • Marble substrate

Marble is another preferred option in tank substrate. This is not the right option for lovers of natural appeal. However, it is a good choice for protecting fish eggs. The eggs will not look very different from substrate marble. This will keep the eggs safe from other fish.