7 Freshwater Aquarium Substrate Tips

The topic of freshwater aquarium substrate is often neglected by many who don’t realize how important it is in a freshwater aquarium set up. Seven pieces of advice are given in this article to help ensure nothing goes awry for you.

Quite often the question of freshwater aquarium substrate is not given enough attention when a new aquarium is being set up. It is more crucial than many folk realize. Here are just 7 tips pointing out what could go wrong if certain advice is not taken.

1. Always wash your freshwater aquarium substrate thoroughly with hot water before you use it in your aquarium.And ensure that the tank itself has been thoroughly sterilized too.Beneficial bacteria need to develop and thrive in the substrate ensuring the fish have a healthy environment and the nitrogen cycling process is facilitated.

2. To give your aquascape a realistic look ensure the level of substrate rises from the front to the back of the tank. In addition put some localized dips and rises in it as you get in natural surroundings. Consider a combination of rocks, pots (to act as caves/shelter) and other decorations plus a range of different sized plants to complete the realism.

3. Limestone in your gravel can cause your water to harden and the pH to rise. Fish who prefer a less alkaline environment and softer water could suffer as a result. To check that there is none, add a few drops of vinegar to a piece of gravel and if it fizzes then there is limestone in it.

4. If your fish like to dig into the substrate, do not use large particle size gravel. This would be unfair to them. If you have bottom dwellers then do not use sharp, rough edged gravel pieces. They can get injured. Find out about their behavior before you buy them.

5. Never place rocks on top of your substrate. Always bed them into the bottom of the tank and fill around it. This is more secure, especially if you have other rocks and decorations on top of them. And it may stop your fish from being crushed.

6. To take into account an under gravel filter you will need to have a depth of about 7 cms, give or take a centimeter. If sand is used as a substrate then if you are using an under gravel filter don’t forget that it will probably need additional maintenance than usual. It will clog up more frequently.

7. When filling your tank, first of all place a piece of brown paper over the gravel substrate. To stop the substrate being greatly disturbed use a cup to pour the water into and it will flow gently onto the paper when full. Continue filling until it is safe to remove the cup and the fill completes. Remove the brown paper carefully. This method stops you disturbing the substrate layer.

So now you have been given 7 tips regarding freshwater aquarium substrate. Take note of the advice given, carry these out actions and you will have removed several potential problems you may have otherwise had.

Paul Curran is webmaster at Fresh-Water-Aquariums-Guide.com and provides a care information system for fresh water aquariums [http://www.fresh-water-aquariums-guide.com]. Get your FREE E-Course on how to set up and maintain a beautiful aquarium, have the healthiest, happiest fish around AND learn about more freshwater aquarium substrate [http://www.fresh-water-aquariums-guide.com/freshwater-aquarium-substrate/]