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Aquaground is not only a decor, but also a part of the ecosystem of an artificial reservoir. Plants take root in it, beneficial bacteria multiply and some fish burrow. Our recommendations will help you choose the best substrate for your aquarium.

Soil for aquarium

What is the best soil to buy for an aquarium

When choosing aquatic soil, first of all, consider the needs of the fish, as well as the conditions created in the aquarium.

For example, the chemical composition of water:

  • Marble and dolomite chips increase dGH, which is good for cichlids, but bad for gourami, zebrafish and some other fish.
  • Anthracite acidifies the water.
  • Crushed granite, quartz and artificial stone are neutral.
  • Special nutrient soil softens and acidifies the water, stimulating plant growth.

The size of soil particles is determined by plant and fish species. Fine sand is compacted, and the roots rot in it. Due to poor water circulation, it “sours”, forming bubbles of methane and hydrogen sulfide.

Sand up to 0.5 mm in size is a decor that is not suitable for plants, but can be used in conjunction with coarse grains. Soil 1-2 mm in size is suitable for all small and medium-sized fish that sift the substrate through the gills.

The 3-5 mm soil is universal and suitable for most aquarium inhabitants. Pebbles larger than 5 mm are a suitable decor for a reservoir with those inhabitants who are generally indifferent to the presence of an embankment.

There are also fake substrates – gravel, painted in bright colors with waterproof construction paint. This is extremely dangerous! A fake can be identified by a pungent odor, lack of markings and a chipping coating.

Recommendations:

The best decorative substrates for aquariums

This includes soils made of sand, gravel, polished and crushed rocks – that is, the usual river and lake substrate. For beauty, some manufacturers cover the grains with resins or enamel, which is safe for the inhabitants of the reservoir.

JBL Sansibar White (0.1-0.4 mm) – quartz sand

JBL Sansibar White (0.1-0.4 mm) - quartz sand

4.9

★★★★★

editorial score

89%

buyers recommend this product

It is suitable for both aquarium and aquaterrarium because it is completely safe for aquatic life.

The grain fraction is 0.1-0.4 mm, a 5 kg package is enough for an aquarium of 12-25 liters. Sand can be used throughout the life of the aquarium. In addition, it forms a successful tandem with the JBL AquaBasis plus substrate.

Advantages:

  • non-toxic;
  • Neutral in relation to the chemical composition of water;
  • Does not require replacement;
  • Snow-white shade;
  • Completely ready to use.

Flaws:

  • Not suitable for bottom heater.

The peculiarity of this sand is in its fine fraction. Such soil is ideal for freshwater and pseudo-marine artificial reservoirs with plants.

UDeco “White gravel”, natural (3-5 mm) – high-quality neutral primer

UDeco

4.8

★★★★★

editorial score

87%

buyers recommend this product

Gravel fraction – 3-5 mm. It is completely ready for use and is intended for aquariums from 25 liters, as well as terrariums and paludariums. It comes in packs of 6 liters (about 10 kg).

Advantages:

  • Snow-white color without yellowness;
  • One bag is enough for a 15-liter aquarium;
  • Homogeneous fraction;
  • Suitable for African cichlids – slightly raises carbonate hardness;
  • Not dyed – natural.

Flaws:

  • You have to rinse for a long time, as the gravel muddies the water.

Shrimps will be perfectly visible on a white crumb, fish will become contrasting, and plants will be bright.

Dennerle Nano Garnelenkies (0.7-1.2 mm) – 9 shades color palette

Dennerle Nano Garnelenkies (0.7-1.2 mm) - 9 shades color palette

4.7

★★★★★

editorial score

86%

buyers recommend this product

Natural quartz and gravel substrate is designed for small aquariums. Its grain is round in shape, so it is not dangerous for fish living on the bottom. The gravel is resistant to CO2, lightfast and does not change the composition of the water. Sold in packs of 2 kg.

Advantages:

  • Clean and does not require rinsing;
  • Homogeneous granulometric composition;
  • Safe for bottom fish and plants;
  • Gives an unusual look to the aquarium;
  • Does not increase water hardness.

Flaws:

  • The microflora in such soil reproduces very slowly.

Nano Garnelenkies is so colorful that it is sure to attract attention. And yes, the price is quite reasonable.

ArtUniq Color – the richest selection of colors

ArtUniq Color - the richest selection of colors

4.6

★★★★★

editorial score

85%

buyers recommend this product

One two-liter package of this soil is enough for a 15-liter aquarium. The size of its particles is 1-2 mm. An artificial reservoir with it looks very unusual.

ArtUniq Color allows the aquarist to be creative and create a unique landscape on the bottom using pellets of different colors.

Advantages:

  • Affordable price;
  • 12 different shades that can be mixed;
  • Does not affect the composition of water;
  • polished surface;
  • Sold in packs of 2 and 6 liters.

Flaws:

  • It is necessary to buy a nutrient substrate for planting separately.

ArtUniq Color is ready to use. However, it is recommended to thoroughly rinse it with water before placing it in the aquarium.

The best nutrient substrates for aquariums

This is a specialized substrate that contains many nutrients and trace elements for better plant growth. It is used in natural aquariums and is able to change the hydrochemical composition of water.

Aquayer 1 (AQY-PP15) – stress free plant transplant

Aquayer 1 (AQY-PP15) – stress free plant transplant

4.9

★★★★★

editorial score

89%

buyers recommend this product

One package of such soil weighs 0.70 kg (1.5 liters) – it is enough for a capacity of 25-50 liters. Top dressing with a rich composition accelerates the growth of plants and promotes their rooting. It simplifies the setup of the aquarium and the transplanting of vegetation.

Advantages:

  • Favorable acidity – pH 6.5-6.8;
  • Effective throughout the entire period of operation of the aquarium;
  • Prevents souring due to the porous structure;
  • Prevents the appearance of unwanted algae.

Flaws:

  • Without the supply of CO2, it can “flash”.

With Aquayer nutrient soil, aquatic plants grow healthy, juicy and strong.

Dennerle DeponitMix Professional 9in1 – rich primer

Dennerle DeponitMix Professional 9in1 - rich primer

4.8

★★★★★

editorial score

87%

buyers recommend this product

This dressing is sold in buckets of 4.8 kg. One package is enough for an aquarium of 100-140 liters. The mixture is ready to use. It contains natural peat, natural clay, mineralized soil, chelated iron and biofiltration granules.

The circulation of water in the substrate is slowed down by lime-free quartz sand. With it, the roots grow better, and the foliage of plants becomes juicy.

Advantages:

  • Safe for all aquarium inhabitants;
  • The mixture is wet, so the bacteria in it are always active;
  • The composition contains biodegradable granules that improve the development of beneficial microflora;
  • Prevents the development of unwanted algae.

Flaws:

  • It is used only as a substrate for decorative soil.

This top dressing improves the microflora of the aquarium, but due to the small particle size, it eventually cakes and sours in the lower layers. It also cannot be used as an independent soil.

ADA Power Sand Advance Aquarium Starter Kit

ADA Power Sand Advance Aquarium Starter Kit

4.6

★★★★★

editorial score

86%

buyers recommend this product

The substrate is enriched with ADA Bacter and ADA Clear Super additives containing preserved microorganisms. Also included in its composition is the plant growth stimulator Tourmaline BC.

The porous structure allows good water circulation and is an ideal environment for the development of organic matter and beneficial bacteria. The pellets are sold in three sizes: S, M, L.

Advantages:

  • Contains mineral fertilizers;
  • Creates a breeding ground for shrimp;
  • Long-term effect of water purification from harmful substances;
  • Provides good fluid circulation;
  • Stimulates the development of flora.

Flaws:

  • After a while, it forms dust that is difficult to remove.

This super nutritious substrate does not need to be washed before placing in the aquarium. However, a bottom heater cannot be used with it.

Gloxy GL-563509 (2-4mm) – beige nutrient primer

Gloxy GL-563509 (2-4mm) - beige nutrient primer

4.5

★★★★★

editorial score

85%

buyers recommend this product

Even balls with a fraction of 2-4 mm are used for breeding aquarium plants and creating a nutrient medium for shrimps. The soil is sold in packs of 3 kg.

Advantages:

  • Has an acidity suitable for vegetation and shrimp;
  • Maintains bio-balance in the aquarium;
  • Softens water;
  • It has a loose structure in which anaerobic bacteria actively develop;
  • The interesting shape of the granules attracts attention.

Flaws:

  • Quite a high price for 3 kg – 1100 rubles.

Gloxy helps to maintain a stable healthy water composition in the aquarium and does a good job of removing suspended matter.

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