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12:21 PM   December 18, 2014
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Paving the Way with Substrates

Aquarium substrate recommendations mean the difference between success and failure … If not for the health of fish, than for the ease of maintenance and satisfaction of the beginning hobbyist. Before making the same recommendation for every fish customer, make sure you consider the whole picture. Don’t overlook old standbys that can still offer many benefits, particularly to the beginning aquarist.

Common aquarium gravel offers a practical solution to most consumers looking for the bare necessities. Its neutral attributes, conferred by its mainly quartzite composition, provide a simple backdrop for creative hobbyists to experiment with.

Colored gravel has its place in some aquariums. Though frowned upon by most serious hobbyists for its lack of authenticity, some hobbyists prefer these products. Their bright colors create a sense of excitement around the hobby and pave the way for more naturalistic products as the beginning consumer upgrades their aquarium, later on. Particularly for children, colored options add fun and playfulness to the equation and can further foster a lifelong hobby.

Sand should not be overlooked as a suitable substrate for community tanks. Though by far the cheapest option to recommend to the consumer, few things match its practical attributes. In most cases, sand dramatically lowers the consumer’s maintenance requirements. For a customer looking for a more carefree setup, sand’s ability to prevent food particles from sinking to the bottom where they can rot and cause water quality issues makes it the perfect choice.

Vermiculite – a standard tool of the nursery trade – has found many uses in the aquarium world. Its large surface area makes it the perfect substrate for beneficial bacteria colonies. For hobbyists hoping to one day add plants to a tank, it serves as an excellent reservoir for nitrogenous compounds that nourish root systems. These factors make it the perfect recommendation for a consumer who intends on expanding their involvement in the hobby in the near future.

Baked clay substrates also pave the way for hobbyists interested in delving into planted tanks. It has a remarkable ability to hold minerals and nutrients, suspended in its porous surface, until plants are able to utilize them. Though not commanding a high price point, baked clay options still provide the best recommendation for customers who insist on including live plants in their new setup. <HOME> 


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