There are many significant steps that are necessary for setting up a healthy aquarium. Choosing the right planted tank substrate is the most important step of all. This step can be a bit tricky for new and first time tank owners. Substrates are available in various types and shapes. That is why you need to make your decision based on your needs and requirements. Actually, the type of fish, plants and other tank inhabitants is a major factor in making a decision.
- The truth about Substrate
Substrate for planted tanks is like soil for farming fields. Substrate is a natural or an artificial material that covers the bottom of fish tanks. It acts as a medium. This medium carries good bacteria in an aquatic environment. This material plays a significant role in making an aquarium healthy and appealing for the fish and the viewers. Substrate contains food or necessary nutrients for all tank population. Substrate varies in features and nutrients. This way it can suit the needs of each species.
- The function of substrate
All types of substrate offer important contributions in the wellbeing of tank population. Substrate can affect water pH balance and overall chemistry. This material can also play a big part in filtering and purifying the water and tank environment. Substrate is also important for making the tank look and operate normally. You can depend on substrate in many functions and roles:
- Covering tank bottom
This is the most straightforward role of any type of substrate. It can cover the glass bottom of any tank. This cover will keep the fish comfortable and prevent any sort of irritation. Such irritation might come from light reflection on glass. This cover will block any sort of image reflection. Such reflection can make the fish feel threatened or afraid. In fact, image or light reflection can affect the mood of aggressive fish. This way the fish might consider its own reflection an enemy.
- Natural feel
Substrate is able to give your fish the feel of their original home. It can create the appearance and feel of river, sea or ocean. This will make the tank population happy and comfortable in the new home.
- Medium of food
Substrate contains decent and sometimes large portions of nutrients. This will make plants able to get necessary food to grow and thrive. Substrate is made to allow rooting process for plants. It is also important to select a type of substrate that plant roots can easily penetrate.
- Supporting nitrogen cycle
Substrate has the ability to let good bacteria thrive and build colonies in the tank. These bacteria are essential for the chemistry of the tank. These organisms can generate nitrogen cycle. This cycle will eliminate the presence of harmful organisms and toxins. This process can keep the tank clean and healthy for your fish.
- Importance of planting an aquarium
Planting an aquarium is not the easiest thing to do, especially if you are a newbie fish keeper. There are many types of substrates out there. Each type has its own features and specification. Determining the right type of substrate requires some effort, patience and money. Some tank owners ignore growing real plants and go for plastic items. This solution is absolutely easy and might give a pleasant appearance to the tank. However, this option is not the best thing to do for the best interest of tank population and inhabitants. Plants make the tank environment healthier. Subsequently, your fish will be happier and healthier. Plants are necessary for making oxygen level in the tank balanced. It also encourages growth and thriving of useful bacteria and other aquarium organisms. Plants add beauty and natural look to the tank. Plants can give cover and privacy to fish. If you want to plant your tank, you will need suitable substrate. Also you need to provide proper light and water. The type of care and attention you would give to the plants can vary based on their needs.
- How to choose the right substrate for a planted tank
There are many steps and tips that can help in achieving your quest. Following them can spare you the process of learning by making errors. Such method can take your time, money and your thrill about your new fish tank. These tips include:
- Knowing the needs of your aquarium
It is the most essential thing to do before you buy your first substrate. Aquarium population can have different needs based on their species. For example, fish only tanks different requirements in substrates compared to coral tanks. Also the type of plants and fish you want to have might require a specific type of substrate. Going for the wrong type of substrate can threaten the harmony and wellness of tank inhabitants. For instance, some inhabitants need alkaline water to grow and thrive. In that case you should choose a substrate that can raise pH levels of tank water. Knowing the needs of your plants can spare you a lot of effort, many bad decisions and undesired loss.
- Ask experts
This is a good way to avoid wrong decisions and dead-end solutions. You should ask for help from experienced tank owners and fish keepers. These experts have sufficient knowledge of planted tank substrate. They are aware of the features of popular substrate types such as gravel, sand and crushed corals. You can discuss the type or theme of your planted tank and might end up with useful suggestions about the ideal type of substrate
- Reading online reviews
It is another reliable step that can bring you closer to the right type of substrate. There are trustworthy reviews that highlight the features of popular and common substrates. These reviews contain explanation and description of each product. They can also explain the pros and cons of each type. These reviews provide detailed buyer guides that will be helpful for newbies. With such reliable reviews you can get an in-depth idea on the specs and market prices of recommended or suggested products.