Archive for July 4th, 2011
There are many aquarium substrates that are offered in the market. Here are some tips to guide you in your search and choice.
First, you should choose aquarium substrates that are appropriate to the type of aquarium that you want to keep, whether fish only aquarium, with plant aquarium, marine and reef aquarium or freshwater aquarium. For fish only aquarium, choose aquarium gravel and sand. Both are safe and facilitate a more natural habitat for fish. Sand is the cleanest substrate of all. For aquariums with plants, choose vermiculite and laterite substrates. Vermiculite substrates release valuable nutrients like magnesium and potassium and have a high caution exchange rate that enables plants to use up available nutrients and minerals. This substrate is usually mixed with laterite and aquarium gravel to maintain a porous structure. And for marine, reef and brackish water aquarium, choose aragonite sand and crushed corals. These buffer and stabilize aquarium water pH to its desired high level and release Calcium that are essential to the growth of corals and reef organisms.
Second, determine your preferred substrate mix and the size and shape of substrates. Gravel, aragonite sand, crushed corals, and laterite substrates come in fine or coarser structures. Sand may come in a fine form while vermiculite tends to compact itself over time. They may be mixed with gravel, laterite and other substrates that will give it a more porous structure. However, there are those who prefer a pure sand substrate to maintain the tank´s cleanliness better.
Consider also the maintenance requirement of the substrates. Those with coarser or porous structures like gravel need regular vacuuming. Sand is the cleanest and thus easily maintained. However, all substrates need good filtration and aquarium protein skimmers to remove wastes and avoid waste breakdowns. Substrates are sold in the market either wet or dry. Those that are sodden attract buyers because the substrates look natural and live. Seachem, manufacturer of aragonite sand and other products, sell aragonite sand in a desiccated form. It argues that buying dry sand cuts off the price because you only pay for the sand and gravel and not for the water.