Choosing a Freshwater Aquarium Substrate - Rate My Fish Tank

Freshwater Aquarium Sand, Gravel, or Rocks? What Is the Best Substrate to Use?
Photo provided by Flickr
The most important thing to do when choosing freshwater aquarium gravel for your tank is to research the habitat preferences and requirements of the fish you will be placing in the tank first. If your fish have no specific substrate needs, you can pick and choose based on your own preferences and set your tank up in a way that is completely pleasing to your eye without negatively affecting the fish.
20 lbs. Black. Natural substrate is ideal for most freshwater and saltwater aquaria. Stays cleaner than gravel. No dyes, paints or coatings.
Photo provided by Flickr
…black substrate enhances visual depth and contrast to create the perfect stage for colorful aquarium inhabitants. Inert natural substrate contains no artificial dyes or paints that can chip or flake. Use one to two pounds of substrate per gallon. Also great for use in freshwater aquariums including… Freshwater Aquariums & Habitat Aquarium Plant Substrates
Photo provided by FlickrGrow-Pro: Freshwater Planted Aquarium Substrate
Photo provided by FlickrIn most cases, pea-size gravel makes the better substrate for freshwater aquariums
Photo provided by Flickr
The bottom of the tank is one of the mostneglected parts of the aquarium, and as far as many aquarists areconcerned there really isn't much to consider. In a freshwatertank, you use gravel, and in a marine tank coral sand. If the tank hasan undergravel filter, you'll need a fair depth of the stuff, butif it's just a decorative covering to hide the floor of the tank,then you only need enough to hide the glass. So is that really all youneed to know about aquarium substrates? Definitely not! Choosing anunusual substrate is a great way to give a tank a distinctive look, andmore importantly there are many types of fish that appreciate specifictypes of substrate. Gravel and sand One of the first purchases most aquarists will make for a new aquarium, be it freshwater, saltwater, reef, discus, goldfish, cichlid or any other – is the . It could be sand, crushed coral, Fluorite, neon pink pebbles, glass marbles or countless other materials but it all tends to be the very first thing to go into an empty aquariums. But….why? Do you really need it? Are there alternatives? Much like the eternal home decorating debate of hardwood-versus-carpets, the battle brews among aquarists over what covers the bottom of their aquariums, a layer of substrate or nothing at all.So with fish like catfish and spiny eels -- not tomention loaches, mormyrids, gobies, earth-eating cichlids, andfreshwater flatfish -- you really want to keep them in a tank with asofter substrate than gravel. Sand is an easy to use option, butaquarists do need to bear in mind that there are at least threedifferent types they are likely to encounter. Each has its uses, butbecause of their very different chemical properties they are not allequally suitable for any given aquarium. Unexpected new arrivals like can be the ban of a saltwater aquarist’s existance, and tiny little nuisance snails or flatworms can harass a freshwater aquarists to tears. Most of these critters live or reproduce to some extent within the substrate and getting rid of the substrate to go bare-bottom will help get rid of them. Unfortunately, it will also get rid of the good critters like copepods and amphipods that can provide a natural food source to some of the pickiest fish and inverts. If you are making your choice to go bare-bottom to get rid of the nuisance critters, weigh the needs of the rest of your tank carefully to see if they can do without the good to get rid of the bad.