Aquarium Gravel & Substrate | That Fish Place - That Pet Place

Jan 29, 2014 - The material you use to line the bottom of your fish tank is called substrate
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Replacing substrate in a saltwater tank is not recommended if the existing substrate isn’t causing a threat to aquatic life. It's discouraged because disrupting the substrate can stir bacteria, ammonia and waterborne compounds that are trapped in the substrate, disrupting the delicate balance of the tank. When substrate is no longer fit for a fish tank, though, it's time to swap it for new.
Also, fish that burrow into the substrate can encounter injuries for the same reason – jagged edges on larger gravel pieces.
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If you are setting up a goldfish tank or thinking about re-landscaping a tank that you already have, read on to learn all about using sand as your substrate. Live plants can be grown in the substrate and provide better aeration in the tank. They also give fish places to explore and hide.
Photo provided by FlickrThis is a really convenient substrate that provides nutrients for your plants, lowers pH, and is great for fish too.
Photo provided by FlickrAquarium substrate has various functions and should be chosen according to the type of tank, i.e. freshwater, planted, fish-only, reef, etc.
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Most new fish owners do not realize how important the gravel or substrate on the bottom of their tank really is. For those that occasionally for their child as a pet, there is not much thought given to this at all. They choose gravel according to color, size and price and then wonder why the fish dies soon after purchasing it.Increasing substrate structural complexity has been linked to higher densities of various refuge-seeking aquatic macroinvertebrates, many of which constitute major prey species in a variety of freshwater communities. We investigated (1) whether the three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus, a predator of such macroinvertebrates and an established model organism in studies of animal behaviour, is capable of discriminating between structurally complex and simple substrates, and (2) whether they show a substrate preference when foraging. Hunger-motivated sticklebacks presented with a choice of simple and complex substrate types preferentially foraged over complex substrates. This was seen when the prey density was equal on both substrate types, and when it was greater on the complex substrate. Where prey density was greater on the simple substrate, fish showed no preference for either. The preference for complex substrates existed in both the allocation of time spent foraging and in the direction and frequency of feeding strikes. No substrate preferences were seen in fish that were satiated, or when prey were absent from both substrates. This ruled out refuge as an explanation for the observed preference. We discuss the results in the context of the relative usefulness of substrate discrimination in effective patch foraging in fish.In short, either is suitable. Sand is popular with serious aquarists, though aquarium gravel is still widely used. Sand is more natural-looking, and, with proper filtration, easier to keep clean. Waste sits on the surface rather than falling deep into the substrate. Well-positioned filters can pull waste from the surface, reducing the need to vacuum. Care must be taken to avoid sucking sand into filters and aquarium vacuums. Gravel needs to be cleaned more often but stays in place better in cleaning or if you have fish who like to stir up the substrate. If you are using under-gravel filtration, gravel is required.Many of the lakes in Africa are all sand so it would make sense to use sand if you're keeping these type of fish. I think fish find sand easier to move around and it may actually reduce the risk of injury to their mouths as well. Some fish such as Jurupari, also known as Eartheaters sift the substrate, probably looking for tasty morsels, you can actually see the sand falling back through their gills, I think they would have a pretty hard time doing the same with gravel. There are quite a few readily available sands that people use in their aquariums. The most common are probably play sand, this is often sold in most building and hardware stores, it's typically used for sandboxes and in the building trade. You also have Silica, also sold as blasting sand. There is also sand that is known as Black Beauty. This is actually iron slag and not sand, but people still use it quite often in their aquariums. Then you have Coral Sand, this is mainly sold in fish stores. Black Tahitian Moon Sand is also available fish stores.