Fish & Aquarium Supplies: Freshwater Substrates & Gravels

The two most common types of aquarium substrate used today are complete and compound.
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Looking for the best substrate for planted tank? we have narrowed it down to 6 top options that are very effective which we highly recommend. Keeping reading for a detailed write up on each covering all you need to know about substrate and why you need to use it in your aquarium.
The motion of water deposits materials in river beds, much like a substrate in an aquarium.
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Why use ? First of all, it's minerologically complete. This substrate contains Aragonite, making it a perfect African cichlid substrate. Aragonite, which is unique to just CaribSea substrates, maintains the high pH African Cichlids need without the constant addition of chemicals. When the pH in your aquarium falls below 8.2, Aragonite snaps into action, breaking down into calcium (great for water hardness), carbonate (your buffer), and various beneficial trace elements like Magnesium. Your pH comes back up and the tank stays healthy, all without ever adding a single chemical. Other types of calcium carbonate don't react until the pH is in the mid 7's. In fact, Aragonite holds the highest pH of any gravel or sand, and has up to 30 times the buffering capacity of Dolomite, Calcite ("crushed corals"), or Oyster shell! Plus, unlike ordinary substrates, Aragonite never needs replacement, buffering automatically for the life of an aquarium. Eco-Complete™ for African Cichlids has a unique composition that re-creates the African Rift Lake environment in your aquarium. Let’s look at the importance of aquarium substrates and how to choose the right one for you and your aquarium.
Photo provided by FlickrAn aquarium substrate can be deemed successful if it serves as an efficient biological agent in a given aquarium scenario.
Photo provided by FlickrCalculating the volume of a sloped substrate bed in a rectangular shaped aquarium requires ,  and two height measurements:  and .
Photo provided by Flickr
Substrate is defined as the stuff you use as the foundation of your tank. The color, how it reacts with your water, and even the particle sizes have an impact on the health of your fish, the visual foundation of your tank, as well as the health of your other aquatic plants and creatures. I’ve explained aquarium substrate in detail in my previous post – .The substrate you plant in your aquarium needs to be carefully selected. Think about what you need your tank to represent. Should your substrate be penetrable? Will it provide enough nutrition for the living aquatic creatures to survive? Will it provide enough support for your plants and other objects you would want to add to the tank?Substrate colors can range from natural ones to shocking neon colors to dark colors. The choice is entirely up to you, depending on what you prefer, what will compliment your fish, and the theme of your aquarium. Just a quick reminder: , so choose wisely. Lighter substrate will work wonders for darker colored fish and darker substrate will do some color enhancing for lighter colored fish.If your option is to save money with substrate, you can always go with sand as it is a natural substrate and can also blend in well with other substrates or potting soil, but it may cause filtration problems. One aspect some people do not know is that you can add up to four levels of planted aquarium substrate if you want.An eco-complete substrate such as the is also a great natural looking substrate to use in planted aquariums. It also lasts long and contains all the nutrients plants and your aquatic creatures require for thriving and growing.The other option is to permanently encase the river rock substrate with aquarium safe silicone or epoxy resin. This creates a permanent substrate that looks very natural and provides nowhere for detritus to collect. The necessity for planning, the required project time, and the expense of this option discourages most small scale hobbyists from using it. This option is generally reserved for very large tanks and should only be attempted by experienced aquarists.