10 Best Substrate For Planted Aquarium

Updated on: September 2021

Best Substrate For Planted Aquarium in 2021


CaribSea Eco-Complete 20-Pound Planted Aquarium, Black

CaribSea Eco-Complete 20-Pound Planted Aquarium, Black
BESTSELLER NO. 1 in 2021

Flourite Dark, 7 kg / 15.4 lbs

Flourite Dark, 7 kg / 15.4 lbs
BESTSELLER NO. 2 in 2021
  • The premium substrate for the Planted Aquarium
  • Specially fracted, stable porous clay gravel for the natural planted aquarium
  • Its appearance is best suited to planted aquaria, but may be used in any aquarium environment
  • Never needs replacement and remains effective for the life of the Aquarium
  • Not chemically coated or treated and will not alter the pH of the water

Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum, 8.8-Pound

Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum, 8.8-Pound
BESTSELLER NO. 3 in 2021
  • Mineral rich volcanic soil
  • Stimulates strong plant growth
  • Promotes neutral to mildly acidic pH
  • Suitable for plants or shrimp
  • 8.8 Pound bag

Seachem Flourite Black Clay Gravel - Stable Porous Natural Planted Aquarium Substrate 15.4 lbs

Seachem Flourite Black Clay Gravel - Stable Porous Natural Planted Aquarium Substrate 15.4 lbs
BESTSELLER NO. 4 in 2021
  • GRAVEL: Seachem Flourite Black is a specially fracted stable porous clay gravel for the natural planted aquarium. Its appearance is best suited to planted aquaria, but may be used in any freshwater aquarium environment.
  • AQUARIUM BED: Gravel modifiers such as laterite are not necessary when using Seachem Flourite Black as this product is most effective when used alone as an integral substrate bed, but it may be mixed with other gravels.
  • SET-UP: When adding water to the aquarium, fill slowly to avoid disturbing Flourite Black substrate bed. Place a bowl in the aquarium and add water directly to the bowl, allowing water to overflow softly on to the gravel bed. Initial cloudiness is normal, but to remove this simply use mechanical filtration
  • COMPATIBLE: Flourite Black substrates will work fine with an under gravel filter and will not soften or decompose to an unsuitable state within your tank.
  • SAFETY: Seachem Flourite Black is not chemically coated or treated, thus does not alter the pH of the water. Flourite Black is beneficial for the life of the aquarium and need not be replaced.

Flourite, 7 kg / 15.4 lbs

Flourite, 7 kg / 15.4 lbs
BESTSELLER NO. 5 in 2021
  • Rinse right in the bag
  • All natural Porous clay
  • For Planted Aquarium

Landen Aqua Soil Black - Normal 5L

Landen Aqua Soil Black - Normal 5L
BESTSELLER NO. 6 in 2021
  • Ideal substrate for most aquatic plants, provides healthy plant root system and for shrimps requiring softer water
  • Developed for cultivation of aquatics plants and is also suitable substrate for shrimps. It provides fundamental minerals and trace elements, which promote the health and growth of shrimps.
  • Made from specially processed natural material from the earth
  • Soil does not require rinsing and can be used directly in aquarium.
  • Black Color, Normal 3-5mm grain size, Volume 5L Per Bag, Approximate weight 10 lbs (1 Bag 5L)

Flourite Black Sand, 7 kg / 15.4 lbs

Flourite Black Sand, 7 kg / 15.4 lbs
BESTSELLER NO. 7 in 2021
  • This product is easy to use
  • This product adds a great Value
  • This product is Manufactured in United States

Carib Sea ACS05832 Super Natural Peace River Sand for Aquarium, 5-Pound

Carib Sea ACS05832 Super Natural Peace River Sand for Aquarium, 5-Pound
BESTSELLER NO. 8 in 2021
  • Grain size reduces built up detritus
  • May Also Be Used In Marine Or African Cichlid Aquariums
  • Ideal for most freshwater aquaria, including discus, tetras, angelfish, water turtles, rays, plants, cichlids and more
  • Re-create natural river environments
  • Made in the USA

Mr. Aqua N-MAR-066 1 L Fine Pet Habitat Water Plant Soil

Mr. Aqua N-MAR-066 1 L Fine Pet Habitat Water Plant Soil
BESTSELLER NO. 9 in 2021
  • Composed of organic and inert ingredients providing all essential elements
  • Long lasting fertilized plant substrate lasting up to 12-18 months
  • Prolongs water exchange periods
  • One bag Covers approximately 12" x 6" at 1" deep or 6" x 6" at 2" deep.
  • Black in Color

Landen Namaule Sand 5kg (11 lbs.), Super Natural for Aquarium Landscaping, Cosmetic Sand for Plant Tank, Natural River Sand for Freshwater or Blackwater Biotope Tank(NS-001)

Landen Namaule Sand 5kg (11 lbs.), Super Natural for Aquarium Landscaping, Cosmetic Sand for Plant Tank, Natural River Sand for Freshwater or Blackwater Biotope Tank(NS-001)
BESTSELLER NO. 10 in 2021
  • 【Nature Landscaping】NAMAULE SAND is a natural product used as a general aquarium fish tank sand and a make-up sand for aquatic plant landscaping.
  • 【Natural Color】With a gentle and natural color, available for different landscaping designs, applicable in a variety of ways; can express riverbed styles in natural landscapes
  • 【Quality Assurance】With a gentle and natural color, available for different landscaping designs, applicable in a variety of ways; can express riverbed styles in natural landscapes
  • 【Safe to Use】Purely natural product with moderate PH, friendly to the quality of water, without releasing any hazardous matter harmful to fish and aquatic plant
  • 【Size】Weight per Bag: 5kg (approx. 11.2 lbs.); Grain Size: 0.3 - 0.5mm; Average Density: 75 pounds per cubic foot

Freshwater Aquarium Substrate Setup

Ideally, a freshwater aquarium substrate setup is done at least one month before any fish or live plants are added. This ensures adequate growth of good bacteria. The best substrate should be natural colored manufactured gravel 1/8 inch size or larger.

It is always best to completely set up a freshwater aquarium with all of the equipment and substrate in place at least one month before getting any fish. This gives the tank a chance to cycle, or makes the water chemistry more conducive for keeping fish alive. Unpainted manufactured gravel at least 1/8 inch in diameter is the best substrate for freshwater tanks.

Equipment Needed

A freshwater aquarium substrate setup includes a new bucket that has never touched detergents or bleach. Mere residue of those substances can harm the fish. Ideally, the bucket should be new, but one that has been used for other freshwater tanks can do.

The substrate itself should be unpainted manufactured gravel at least 1/8 of an inch in diameter. Painted gravel may have fun colors, but the paint eventually chips off and causes mess and bacterial blooms. Do not use sand or very fine gravel because the powder clouds produced may harm the fish and constantly clog up the filter, according to Goldfish: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual (Barron's; 1995.)

Never take gravel from creeks, streams, lakes or rivers. Not only could it be contaminated with pollutants, but native species of freshwater fish need the gravel beds to spawn in.

A basic rule of thumb is to use is 1.5 pounds of gravel for every gallon of water in the aquarium. Be sure your floor can hold this much weight.

Cleaning

New gravel contains a lot of dust and none of it should go through your filtration media. Never just dump a bag of gravel into a tank! First empty some in your new bucket. Add water just to cover it and see if you can pick the bucket up. If it seems light, add more gravel.

Mix the gravel around with your bare hands so the dust is released from the gravel particles. Empty the dirty water as much as you can. Add more water and repeat the process two more times or as many times needed so the water is clear. Now you can add the gravel handful by handful to the aquarium. Just dumping it all in may cause the tank to crack. The gravel layer should be at least two inches thick. Make the layer thicker in the back of the tank to help detritus and waste roll foreword where you can easily clean it with a gravel cleaning siphon.

What About Adding Live Plants?

Before you add live plants, look at the nature of the fish in your tank. If you have a big oscar in your 55 gallon tank, forget about live plants. The oscar will destroy them. Other species of plant-destroyers include the common goldfish and silver dollars.

Adding live plants will be okay for the freshwater aquarium substrate described. Remember that not all live plant species need to have their roots in the gravel. Plants like duckweed or Amazon frogbit are meant to float.

But there will not be enough nutrients in the substrate to keep your plants alive. You must add extra plant food or CO2 for them.

Conclusion

Freshwater tanks need, at the minimum, a two-inch thick layer of unpainted gravel 1/8 of an inch in diameter at about 1.5 pounds of gravel per gallon of tank. This set up is also good for live plants. Ideally, the tank should be set up one month in advance so it goes through the crucial nitrogen cycle needed to keep fish and plants alive.

Sources

Hargrove, Maddy and Mic Hargrove. Freshwater Aquariums For Dummies. Wiley Publishing; 2020.

Bailey, Mary and Peter Burgess. Tropical Fishlopaedia. Howell Book House; 2000.

Ostrow, Michael. Goldfish: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual. Barron's; 1995.

Author's personal experience.

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