Freshwater Substrates and Decorations
There are many different substrates to choose from when setting up an aquarium. For freshwater there is gravel, fluorite, and cichlid sand. For saltwater tanks the best substrates are aragamax sand, live sand, and dolomite. Choosing the right one depends on what type of setup and fish in the aquarium.
Gravel is the number one choice for a basic freshwater aquarium. There are a variety colors from natural stone to rainbow. So there is something for everyone’s liking. It is important to change the gravel every couple years, as the gravel will become porous and absorbs nitrates. Too high of a nitrate level may cause fish loss.
Fluorite is great to use with live plants. It is clay-like in texture and thus easier for the plant roots to grow in. The colors are more natural looking and when landscaping it with the live plants, a beautiful tank will be achieved. Another benefit of this type of substrate is it needs little to zero cleaning because the plants absorb the excess nutrients that fall into the gravel bed. Many people using fluorite have stated they never change the substrate as long as it is heavily planted. It is safe to declare that this is low maintenance indeed.
Lastly, choosing sand for a freshwater tank is nice, but only certain types of fish can tolerate the higher PH released from the sand. Cichlids do best but there are a few others that prefer sand too, freshwater stingrays and brackish fish! Make sure to visit PetSolutions.com to find out which fish like sand before purchasing some. Sand is easier to clean than gravel because the sand is so fine that the algae doesn’t attach to it as much. That certainly helps out when it is time to maintenance the tank.
Decorating a freshwater aquarium is a lot of fun. Adding plants, sunken submarines, bubbling fish, rocks and little mermaids are just a few of the various options we carry. If you like SpongeBob we have him, his friends, and the pineapple house too. Finding the style that suits you is part of the aquarium adventure!
Saltwater Substrates and Decorations
If saltwater substrate is what is needed, live sand is the best! It has millions of living beneficial bacteria in it which helps start a new aquarium and keep it stable. It is natural and looks like an ocean landscape. Try to put 2-3 inches in the bottom, especially for a reef aquarium, as it is a great breeding ground for the healthy bacteria to thrive.
Dry sand and dolomite also work however, they do not have the benefits of live sand. Some people mix the two together to save on cost. Whatever type of substrate is selected remember to add 1 and 1/2 pounds per gallon of water up to a 75 gallon. After that it is 1 pound per gallon.
>Once the substrate is added it is time to decorate the aquarium. Ah, the best part. Try to have fun with it. Look at the aquarium like a work of art. Balance is always good. Putting taller plants in the back and shorter ones in the front is appealing to the eye. Fish act natural when they have safe spots to swim in. A centerpiece or large focal point of rocks or a decoration is great for the fish to feel secure in their environment. Live rock and corals make excellent natural decorations as long as the proper lighting is used and additives are added to keep them healthy and strong. With the myriad of substrates and decorations available there is something for everyone.