Choosing the right aquarium matrix is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy aquarium. The importance of substrates in your aquarium may not be obvious, and you can even think that it is for aesthetic purposes only.
Do a little background study of the fish and plants you want in your aquarium. This will let you know what substrate you need. We’ve listed our 10 favorite substrates and reviewed them below to make the selection easier. I have judged the substrate according to the function of the substrate, what is good for the product, and also observed that the substrate is not very good.
Let’s take a look at the different types of substrates and which plants and fish are best suited to thrive in these different substrates so that you can make informed decisions.
When we talk about a substrate, the first thing in our minds is the soil. Soil is used both for garden plants and aquarium plants, so it is quite standard and commons, do you disagree?
However, there are other substrates suitable for plants in aquariums, which change from soil to soil. Let’s learn more about each to help you make your decisions.
Most soil and water contains traces of volcanic rock minerals. This is a particularly ideal matrix for aquatic plants because the roots of aquatic plants absorb all the minerals in the soil.
The soil is porous. However, its particles come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can buy such fine soil, it looks like sand. Other soilands look more like garden soil, large, thick, irregular. The important thing is that you have an idea of the type of plant you want in your aquarium, so you know which one to go to.
Aquarium soil is considered a “complete substrate”, which means it ticks all the boxes and does not need to be mixed with any other substrate. The only thing you can add once is if you want to sprinkle sand on top for an aesthetic purpose.
Fish like water and soil.
The Discus The fish do well in a water tank with water and soil. If you want to keep a flock of Discus fish in your aquarium, choose a delicate, earthy sandy fish. The reason this species performs particularly well in water-and-water tanks is simply because when you use soil and water substrates, you can plant all the plants in the aquarium.
Discus wants a lot of hiding places in their tanks, so tall plants and some driftwood are perfect tank companions. You can add sand to some areas of the water tank so that the fish can throw sand when they are looking for food. If you choose a fine soil, sand is not necessary.
Plants that like soil and water
The fact is that most aquarium plants grow well in soil and water. There are some exceptions, such as the Amazon frog. If plants like Amazon ianlets grow in the soil matrix, they actually rot.
If you are looking for a breeding tank, then marble is your preferred substrate. Marble smaller than other substrates because they can be a real nightmare to clean. The more space there is between the matrix particles, the more dust the marble becomes.
Leaving dirt and debris between marbles can lead to unhealthy water tanks because there is not enough “good” bacteria found in the water, which is necessary to reduce ammonia levels.
If you have a separate water tank for farming purposes only and contain spawning fish, you will see the eggs settle between the marble crevices and remain comfortable and safe until the fish hatches.
A fish like marble.
Danos is an egg-scattered fish that will certainly benefit from having marble in their breeding jars. However, I would not recommend adding a few marbles to a regular tank because they prefer sand or fine gravel.
Plants that like marble
Marble is not a good idea for growing the base of an aquarium. If you can’t resist the marble exterior of the aquarium, insist that only a small part of the aquarium is covered in marble. Use different substrates for the plant side of the tank.
Marble is a good base for tank fittings because they are sturdy and will prevent them from moving tanks. Floating trees, fake plants and castles are all aquarium accessories that can be placed in marble.
This is a natural substrate that can change the chemical composition of aquarium water. Your water tank may become more alkaline with marble chip substrates, so make sure your plants and fish are satisfied with this PH level.
Water GH and KH levels rise slightly with marble debris in the water. Marble chopping also releases a lot of calcium into the water, which sounds good, but is actually harmful to some fish.
Fish like marble chips
Choosing fish for an aquarium with marble crumbs isn’t too tricky. Look for fish that prefer alkaline water conditions, such as licorice, gummy, or paradise fish.
Plants that like marble chips
If you want a jar full of marble crumbs, you may have to forget that there are any real plants in your aquarium. Unfortunately, most plants don’t grow in marble debris because the calcium content in the water is too high.
Aquarium gravel is smooth erlate than gravel, you and I are used to seeing. Gravel may be the “go” matrix for most people unless they have really delicate fish that do not thrive in gravel. Not all gravels are the same size, so you can choose the size of the grain depending on your look or what plants and fish like in the tank.
Gravel allows water to flow through it, thus filtering water to prevent harmful gases from accumulating in the pockets of the substrate. Gravel is indeed a little dirtier than other substrates because it collects algae and moldy food in all corners and crevices. When cleaning the water tank, clean the gravel properly to maintain the health of the bacteria in the water tank.
Fish, like gravel.
Goldfish It must be stored in a water tank with gravel substrates. This is because the sand gets stuck, causing a blockage inside the goldfish. There should be no more than 2 inches of gravel in the goldfish tank. In this way, toxic glasses do not accumulate between the crevices of gravel, poisoning the fish. Second, the thickness of the 2-inch substrate is just right for you to clean without too much trouble.
Like a gravel plant.
The Amazon Sword Growin in gravel or soil. If you plant an Amazon sword on your gravel base, make sure it is a finer, more compressed gravel type so it can root deep in the gravel.
Coral substrates are made up of broken corals and are ideal for coral reef aquarium environments. This is a very special substrate, the responsibility is quite considerable. Coral substrates correct PH problems in the water tank that require higher PH levels.
Corals are very porous and actually dissolve in water. Once it reaches a PH level of about 7.4, it will stop dissolving in water. You don’t need a lot of coral to change the chemistry of the water, so if you like, you can mix coral gravel with other substrates.
Top tips: Put a little coral gravel in the filter of the water tank, which is enough to increase the PH level in the water, if you don’t like its appearance, it will make the coral gravel invisible.
Fish like coral
Clown Fish Probably one of the aquarium’s most popular coral reef fish. They are a saltwater fish with a long lifespan. When they were cared for, they could actually live to six years.
The PH level in the water should be between 7.8 and 8.4 for optimal fish health. This is where there is a crushed coral substrate that really comes in handy. Corals can prevent PH level smudged from being too low and may harm fish.
Plants like corals.
You can grow. Seaweed In a water tank consisting mainly of crushed coral substrates. The saltwater reef fish in the water tank also appreciate the seagrass that grows in their marine environment, as it gives them a comfortable and hidden place.
Can you have a baseless aquarium?
Technically, yes, you can. You can even have plants, such as Java fair, Water Lintus and Hornworth You’ll thrive in your base aquarium. To survive, Javan ese mustangs only need to be attached to driftwood.
However, fish do like a certain matrix in aquariums. Most fish either use the bottom of the water tank during mating or are looking for food. Without a comfortable environment in their water tank, the fish will become very distressed.
Our best aquarium base reviews and comparisons
1. Caribbean Eco-Black Aquarium Base
This substrate is only available for freshwater aquariums. It is a combination of nutrients that will benefit your aquatic plants.
- Suitable for freshwater plants
- Encourage healthy root growth
- Contains: iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sulfur
- No dyes or paint
- No artificial chemicals
- High porous particles
Our favorite Caribbean Eco Black Aquarium Base
This is one of the most recommended substrates for aquarium plants. One reason is that it greatly shortens the cycle time of the tank. Another convenience is that you don’t need to flush the gravel before being used in aquariums.
In addition, the bag comes with a substrate, partially filled with water. This gives you immediate access to the active bacteria and ready to be placed in the water tank. The bags contain grains of different sizes, and the smaller grains are brighter and slightly shiny overall.
We don’t like the base of the Caribbean Eco Black Aquarium
The CaribSea Eco Black Aquarium substrate will change the ph level of the water and may cause the water to reach about PH level 8. Shrimps and invertebrates don’t like this matrix because it can change the PH level of water. If you are not used to this matrix, it can also cause fish to become ill.
- No flushing required before use
- Shorter fuel tank cycle times
- Gravel has a nice sparkle
- No dyes or chemicals
- Can hurt fish.
- Improve ph levels in water
2. Fluorine plants and shrimp base
This is another great substrate for planting aquariums, or if your aquarium has any fish like slightly acidic water PH levels.
- Volcanic soil
- Rich in minerals
- Suitable for aquatic plants
- Suitable for shrimp
- PH level neutral to acidic
Our favorite fluorine and shrimp base
This is a beautiful dark chocolate color. If you take care when you add water to the water tank, the water will not become too cloudy from the soil and water dust.
The matrix is filled with minerals that aquarium plants crave. Shrimps and other fish that like acidic PH levels will love this product in their tanks.
We don’t like about fluorinated plants and shrimp base
The substrate breaks and turns muddy if you overwork, or there are bottom residents throwing it a lot in the tank. It’s a bit brittle and can make the water tank look dusty between cleaning.
Water hardness, also known as GH, softens because the substrate absorbs all GH in water. The soil and water are too light to float on to the surface of the water tank.
- Ideal for plants and shrimps
- Rich in minerals
- Rich chocolate
- Won’t muddy the water too much.
- Too light.
- Softening water
3. Sea Chemistry Aquarium Substrate
SeaChem’s flour dark substrates are made of clay gravel. It is natural and does not change your aquarium’s PH level.
- Dedicated to naturally grown aquariums
- Suitable for any aquarium environment
- No replacement required
- Unchemical coating
- Gravel does not deal with
- does not change the PH level of water
We love the base of the Sea Chemistry Aquarium.
The base is irregular in size and slightly rougher, allowing the root of the plant to catch it more efficiently. Its beautiful colors and sweet milk chocolate make a good difference to the darker substrates on the market. Fortunately, there was little cloud in the water when it was disturbed.
We don’t like about the sea chemistry aquarium base
If you fish with a long, delicate tail, such as the male Betas, this matrix can damage and sometimes even crush their beautiful long tails. To avoid this, the substrate needs to be covered with something softer to suit the bottom residents you live in in the water tank.
“Dark” is more difficult to flush than fluorescent “black” and requires higher maintenance. You’ll find that if it doesn’t wash properly before joining the aquarium, it’s going to make a lot of water.
- Plant roots grip to the substrate
- No man-made materials
- Does not change water PH level
- Bright colors
- Cloud the water
- Damaged delicate fish
4. Sea chemical black clay gravel for the growing and freshwater aquarium
Another flour matrix from SeaChem, but this time we are looking for black clay. Let’s see how different it is from dark fluoride clay.
- Gravel substrate
- Suitable for all freshwater aquarium environments
- No successor to this substrate is required
- Can be mixed with other gravel
- No chemical coating or treatment
- Ph doesnot change water
What do we like about sea chemistry black clay gravel?
If you cure gravel in the sun, you will reduce the clouds in the water. Plants are really easy to root and leave in the black clay gravel, so there is no need to use root anchors. The color is really special and stands out next to plants and colorful fish.
What we don’t like about sea chemistry black clay gravel
It takes you a little effort to prepare this product, including cleaning and baking in the sun, which takes hours. If you have a bottom-perched fish, you need to cover the gravel with softer sand. Although large plants remain in the soil, small plants find it difficult to take root in the matrix and need to be crushed.
- Bright colors
- No cloud water
- No chemicals
- A lifetime of continuous aquarium
- Small plants struggle to take root in it
- The residents of the ground don’t like the substrate.
5. Pure Water Pebble White Aquarium Sand
Move to a more fish-friendly substrate, this sand is alive and full of natural bacteria that will immediately cycle through your aquarium.
- Keeping PH level
- Contains cobalt, zinc, plutonium and plutonium
- Removal of nitrogen waste
- Bacteria found in sand are naturally found on the ocean floor
- Chilled likes this substrate.
Our favorite pure water pebble white aquarium sand
Bacteria are naturally activated and preserved. Sand is added to the bag with water to keep the naturally active bacteria. With the help of a good filter, any initial cloud will precipitate after approximately 24 hours. Ammonia levels in the water will be significantly reduced over a period of time in about a day, which will really help to recycle the newly set water tank.
We don’t like pure water pebble white aquarium sand
Bacteria cause the inevitable “skunk”, just like the smell in a water tank. Cloud volume takes a long time to resolve and there is no good filtration system, so be careful. Larger tanks require more weekly and monthly maintenance to keep the sand clean. If you have a bottom-perched fish that swims around in the bottom, the sand will always create a messy and dirty look in the water tank.
- Full of healthy bacteria
- Reduce ammonia levels
- Perfect for Chillides.
- Rich in zinc
- Looks “chaos” in larger tanks
- High maintenance
6. Active Plant Red Aquarium Matrix
The active plant aquarium matrix is made from bioactive and nutrient-rich gravel. It naturally contains trace elements that aquatic plants need to reproduce.
- 100% natural
- No dyes or additives added to the substrate
- it won’t change the aquarium’s PH.
- Iron rich
Our favorite active plant Red Aquarium matrix
This is a very unique copper-burning color that adds depth to the aquarium. Gravel is very easy to clean and does not collect debris between grains like other substrates on the market.
The plants remain where they are and root wells in the gravel. Fish don’t dig out plants. If your aquarium is burying both fish and aquatic plants, they should live happily together.
We don’t like the active plant Red Aquarium matrix
The color of the gravel stains the aquarium, so you may find that the water is always slightly toned. Promote sedation of algae and make the water tank look “dirty” all the time.
- Easy to clean
- Fish don’t disturb plants.
- Easy to grow
- Water of clouds
- The tank looks dirty.
7. Global importof bioactive Sirid gravel
Live bacteria in gravel stabilize the water tank quickly and reduce ammonium levels as the water changes.
- Contains “good” bacteria with live biological activity
- Removal of nitrogen waste
- Restoring organic balance
- Colorful and unique
We love the bioactive Cilicd gravel.
The substrate helps to cycle through the new tank. Rocks and shells are mixed together to make a unique substrate. You can combine this gravel with another substrate of your choice to create the perfect blend for your tank.
We don’t like the biological activity of the West Ridgede gravel
After you place the appliance in the water tank, the water will be cloudy for a few days. It is unavoidable that healthy bioactive bacteria cover rocks. You don’t want to wash the rubble before, otherwise it will wash away all the bacteria. This is the best practice for saltwater tanks, but the effect is much smaller in freshwater tanks.
So consider what type of fish you will be in the water tank, because this product is very rough and rough, delicate fish will be bruised by the matrix.
- Ideal for saline cans
- Helps cycle the tank faster
- It looks beautiful.
- Easy to clean
- The gravel is rough.
- Cloudy water is inevitable.
8. Glover Fish Aquarium Gravel
This gravel design takes into account aesthetics. If you’re looking for a striking substrate, give this to go.
- Different color options
- Fluorescent accent
- Stand out in the blue light
Our favorite Glover Fish Aquarium gravel
The gravel sparkled under blue light. No matter what color you get, the rocks are vibrant and stand out. It does not take long to rinse off the dust. A bag is the perfect amount of a 5-gallon fish tank.
We don’t like the gritty gravel of the Glover Fish Aquarium.
Gravel is not 100% natural and sensitive fish will suffer with this gravel tank. Gravel is man-made, so it won’t naturally get its color. As a result, paint becomes cluttered over time. Paint is extremely toxic to aquatic fish. It doesn’t help to cycle your tank because it lacks any necessary healthy bacteria.
- It looks great.
- Glowing in Blue Light
- There are different colors.
- 1 bag, a 5-gallon tank
- Tank loop s
- Paint toxic
9. Broken coral substrates in the Caribbean
The caribbean’s crumbling corals are packed with Aragon stones with huge cushioning capacity.
- Full of Aragon stone
- Budget performers
- Contains calcium and magnesium
- Reducing fish stress by simulating coral reef habitats
Our favorite Caribbean crushed coral matrix
Crushed corals bring water PH to a healthy level, and plants and animals are naturally found on coral reefs. It dissolves until it reaches the PH level of 7.4, and once the PH level reaches, the coral stops dissolving.
You can use this product as your substrate to improve your water quality. Just put a few scoops in the filter and watch the water improve every day.
We don’t like the Caribbean crushed coral matrix
You must rinse and drain the crushed coral about 30 or 40 times to make the substrate clean enough for your water tank. There are many delicate, dusty corals in the bag that must be washed away or the water will be cloudy.
Once the dust is washed away, a 10-pound bag will not be enough to hold a large water tank, so be sure to buy a little more than you think, just for safety reasons.
- Effectively changing the PH level
- Can be used as water treatment
- Reef animals love it.
- Full of calcium
- Very dusty.
- Only for coral reef marine life
10. Caribbean Marine Base
Sand with natural bacteria is the best way to rebuild the natural marine environment. The Caribbean Ocean Ocean Base is a sandy delight that keeps your fish feeling at home withno time.
- Natural bacteria are 1,000 times more than conventional sand-based
- No pre-cleaning required
- Create a thriving aquarium in minutes
We like the Caribbean Yankees.
The sand is packed moistand and ready for the aquarium. Two bags will fill a 75-gallon aquarium. Sand does not move at the bottom of the water tank without interference from the bottom residents, so there is no need to worry about the water tank becoming messy. When the substrate is ready to be put into service as soon as it arrives, your water tank will cycle quickly because the bacteria are activated.
We don’t like the Caribbean Yankees.
Sand cloudy fuel tank, especially because you should not rinse it in advance. After you introduce sand into the water tank, you may need to turn off the water pump for a period of time because it creates foam and carries the risk of water tank overflow. The tiny disturbance in the sand thickens the water mist.
- Quick lythrough your tank
- A bag goes a long way.
- Sand is good and heavy
- Soft and delicate fish
- Cannot be pre-cleaned
- When sand clouds and water, disturb
Caribbean Black Aquarium gravel is the winner. It works for plants and fish, and looks great when you have delicate fish, supported by softer substrates such as sand. It is the perfect base for aquariums with plants and fish, so you are not limited to the aquarium you place at your aquarium.
What substrate sounds best? Whatever you choose, we want to help youTo protect a healthy and prosperous aquarium. Keeping the substrate in good shape is a good start, so we think we’ll recommend how you clean your substrate and which one requires minimal maintenance.
Aquarium Base: Which is the easiest to clean?
Now we’ll cover the most frustrating part of having an aquarium, Clean. If this is a huge job, it is very important that you find it difficult to find motivation to do and then choose an easy-to-clean substrate.
There are several obvious indications that your substrate is about to be cleaned. Keep an eye out for any algae that grow between the surface or rocks and gravel. Does the substrate change color? Does it look like it’s changed the texture? Does it taste? Pay attention to your substrate as it plays an important role in maintaining the health and livability of the aquarium.
Gravel is not too difficult to clean. However, you need to make sure you wash it correctly before you put it in the aquarium as it becomes dusty. Each time the aquarium is cleaned and some water changes are made, the gravel should be cleaned, possibly weekly or biweekly, depending on the fish in the water tank.
You can use a vacuum to pick up debris between gravels. Stir the gravel with your fingers to make sure you get all the necessary places. If you don’t have a vacuum, you can suck it, or you can take it out and wash it by hand. Washing it by hand will be very clean, even too clean, so be sure to put one or two cups of gravel aside and not wash. Here’s how to clean the gravel by hand.
- 1. Remove the fish and ornaments from the water tank.
- 2. Pour some of the water into another bucket to lower the water level so that you can reach into the water.
- 3. Fill 2 cups with gravel and set aside, which will be the gravel that you keep “dirty” so that you don’t wash away all the good bacteria.
- 4. Dig the remaining gravel out of the tank without disturbing any plants and place them in a bucket.
- 5. Wash the gravel in the bucket with a hose until the water clears.
- 6. Gently put the gravel, fittings and fish back into the water tank.
These steps take longer than using a vacuum cleaner, but at least your tank cleans well even if you lack some equipment.
Introducing a sand cage into the aquarium will really help keep the sand looking bright and vibrant, and it will also reduce the time you spend cleaning the aquarium’s sand. Aquarium snails and sand scans are good little cleaners that you introduce to your aquarium to help you.
The biggest problem with sand is that water doesn’t flow through it like gravel, which means harmful gases get trapped under the sand in airbags, which can be bad news for your fish. If you don’t have any sandfish in your tank to screen the fish, you need to move around the sand.
Watch out for black sand! Black sand means that anaerobic bacteria have accumulated in the sand, causing it to leave an unpleasant smell. Black sand is unlikely to be obtained if the substrate thickness is kept below 2.5 cm. You should move the sand with your fingers from time to time, and then clean the sand with a siphon or a gentle vacuum to make it all fresh.
Top tips: Using only special aquarium sand in your water tank, it’s not a good idea to use the sand brought home from the beach, nor is it a cheap reptile sand from a pet shop.
Clean water and soil
Cleaning the aquarium’s soil can be very messy. In fact, soil and water do not need to be cleaned before joining the aquarium. It really doesn’t need to be screwed up too much once it’s in your tank.
If your tank doesn’t have bottom residents, naturally filter and graze the base, you should draw the soil together from time to time or run along the bottom of the aquarium. This will make a big mess, so do the routine tank cleaning before.
Coral substrates should be treated like gravel, the only difference being that they are whiter, so knocking graintogether together will cause water clumps. Vacuuming is your best bet because it won’t disturb corals too much.
Because marble may be kept in a very small part of the tank, you should remove them and thoroughly clean their hands just like any other tank accessory you would. If the entire water tank floor is covered with marble (i.e. in a breeding tank), remove all marble and rinse it. When you put them back in the tank, add bacterial supplements and make sure to cycle once before introducing the fish into the tank for reproduction.
The winner is…
Which do you think is the easiest to clean? We chose gravel again as our winner. It allows a lot of water to flow through it. Therefore, although it will collect plant debris and fish waste stuck between stones, it can prevent any accumulation of harmful gases and bacteria.
Gravel also comes in many shapes, sizes and colors. It is much easier to find natural gravels such as red, black or white gravel, which have not come into contact with any chemicals or dyes than to find natural sandstone.
If you still have some unanswered questions to choose from all the different substrates, this section should want to make everything clearer for you.
Ask:How much gravel do I need for my aquarium?
For:You should expect to fill your tank with gravel to a depth of 2.5 inches. Anything more difficult to clean than this, and less than this point will look very sparse.
Ask:Why did the substrate change the PH level of my water?
For:As we mentioned earlier when talking about coral substrates, other substrates also chemically alter the PH levels of water. In the case of gravel, some gravel is covered with calcium powder, which increases PH levels in the water. If your substrate is chemically treated, this will also change the PH level in the water.
Ask:What is a siphon?
For:The siphon is like a vacuum that sucks dirty water between the matrix particles. It will remove some of the water from the water tank, and when you finish, you will leave a water tank, about 30% full.
You should suck water on the day you plan to do some water change. If not careful, sand will be sucked into a vacuum, however, gravel and other larger substrates will not be moved.
Ask:Will the matrix hurt my fish?
For:Yes, the wrong substrate will damage your fish. If you have a water tank full of soft belly fish, you don’t want to fill the tank with a rough substrate because they are easily injured.
As we mentioned earlier, changing the matrix of PH levels is also harmful to fish because it makes water too alkaline or acidic to suit them.
Ask:I’ve heard of inert substrates, but I’m not sure they have an inert matrix.
For:Whenever you hear that the substrate is called “inert”, this means that it does not change the PH level in the water, or in any way changes chemistry.
Inert substrates are usually selected according to appearance or texture. If you have fish in your water tank that resembles a soft water environment, look for an inert substrate.
Ask:Does it matter if I mix sand and gravel?
For:Mixing gravel and sand is not the best idea because they have different densities. They won’t keep looking attractive, and they won’t keep mixing for a long time. The sand sinks to the bottom of the tank, and the gravel will sit at the top of the sand.
Ask:I want to change my substrate, what should I do?
For:The size of the job actually depends on whether you are rooted in the plant in the substrate and the substrate you currently have. If your aquarium has a lot of plants, the best way to change the matrix is in stages.
Suck the substrate out of the tank, where no plants are attached to the tank and replaced with a new substrate after proper washing.
After this operation is complete, you should replace the absorber, wait a week or so, and then remove the plant and the remaining old substrates. To be sure, the fish in the water tank will not be under too much pressure because of the change in water.