When arranging the underwater environment of an aquarium, one of the mandatory attributes is the soil. And it is not so easy to choose it, because in this case an individual approach is needed. The best option is considered to be the one that is ideally combined with the size, shape of the container, the species and number of fish, plants inhabiting it, and the degree of salinity of the water. The nutrient medium for freshwater fauna is detrimental to structures with a salty microclimate.

According to their composition, soils are divided into the following types:

  • mechanical;
  • artificial;
  • natural.

It is also worth paying attention to the size and configuration of the particles, since they are perceived differently by different types of aquarium animals. Coral sand, shell rock, glass and puff substrates, expanded clay, etc. should be completely excluded from the list of possible materials. It remains only to find out how to correctly calculate the right amount of a useful accessory. To do this, we multiply the capacity parameters by a factor of 1.5 and divide the resulting figure by 1000. And what soils are most often purchased by aquarium owners, you will find out from our rating.

TOP 5 best soils for an aquarium

5 Aquayer

The proprietary development contains a large number of useful trace elements, including calcium, iron, nitrogen in a high dosage. A balanced composition helps planted plants overcome stress and start the growth mechanism. The maximum effectiveness of the lining is observed in the spray type Cryptocoryne. The pH of this product is 6.5-6.8. Aquarium material has no expiration date. For a good result, the main soil is poured on top of the substrate layer. Packing at the rate of 5 liters is enough to maintain an aquarium of 100-150 liters.


The material of dark brown color goes well with bottom fish, including catfish and loach, plant nutrient medium. It strengthens the root system in the best way, reduces the growth of algae, and due to the large amount of iron in the composition, saturates live plants with it if necessary. The microclimate created by the porous structure has a good effect on the reproduction of beneficial bacteria. The ability of the soil to purify water is also noted, without a negative impact on it. Packing with fractions of 1.5-2.5 mm is intended for 5 liters of substrate. In total, the manufacturer offers packaging in several dimensional options.

3 UDeco River Amber Amber Gravel

The line “Amber Sand” is represented by a wide size range of fractions included in the packaging – from 0.1 mm to 5 mm. Our review includes the most popular variety, which includes particles from 2 to 5 mm. The rounded material does not change the overall and carbonate hardness, so it is appropriate to use it in universal designs. It is characterized by a natural sandy color, light transparency. Both plants and fauna feel equally comfortable in it, especially if, in addition, volcanic lava of the same brand is used as a substrate for it. “Amber gravel” can also be laid in paludariums or terrariums.

2 Barbus “Mix”

If you are concerned about finding bottom material for rooting plants in an aquarium for not the smallest freshwater fish, then this proposal will resonate in the hearts. The best option is represented by particles of white and black colors of 5-10 mm, which resemble natural coarse sand deposits. This is natural stone chips, neutral in chemical composition. She is simply adored by those inhabitants of the underwater world, in whose character to conduct frequent excavations of the soil. In order to avoid turbidity of the water, a fine substrate is not suitable for them. And to deprive them of pleasure means to cause depression. The 3.5 kg package is designed for 20 liters, and it is recommended that the material be pre-washed.

1 Aquaground “Rounded Quartz”

The material is perfectly compatible with freshwater fish, which love not only to burrow into it in search of food or rest, but also to spawn. The substrate is a fraction of 1.5-2.5 mm in size, with smooth edges, safe for small aquarium inhabitants. They serve as a mechanical and biological filter capable of retaining large particles. In addition, it is an excellent breeding ground for beneficial bacteria. The substrate is suitable for planting plants that will not only decorate the local landscape, but also saturate the water with oxygen. Neutral in its specificity, the material is in wear-resistant packages of 3 kg, which are well tolerated by transportation and storage.