Aquarium Soil – Which One Is Better To Choose

The soil is an integral part of any aquarium. He plays a leading role in the organization of the underwater kingdom. The colored substrate creates the personality of the aquarium. It strengthens plants and stores nutrients. Its selection should be approached responsibly. The quality of the substrate must necessarily meet the requirements of individual plant species and conditions for keeping fish.

Aquarium Soil - Which One Is Better To Choose

The bottom of the aquarium is not only its decoration, but also plays an important role in biochemical life.

Microorganisms accumulate on the surface of the aquarium soil : bacteria, fungi, bryozoans. With the help of it, the waste products of aquarium fish are processed.

It also acts as a filter. Microparticles settle in it, which pollute the aquarium water. That is why his choice is a very crucial moment.

Before purchasing aquarium soil, you need to decide what it is needed for. Plants need one soil. And for the fish – another.

The aquarium substrate is divided into 3 groups. The first group includes natural sand, stones, pebbles, crushed stone, etc. The second group includes soils obtained as a result of chemical processing of natural materials. The third group is materials obtained by artificial means.

Natural Soil

It is a material of natural origin: small stones, lava, quartz, pebbles , volcanic or quartz sand. It does not undergo additional processing. There are no nutrients in it. You can use it for planting plants. But they will begin to bloom rapidly only after 6 months. During this period of time, the aquarium soil will become silted up, waste from decomposed nutrient residues will accumulate in it. It is them that the plants will use for nutrition.

Read Also: How To Choose a Substrate For An Aquarium?

It is not recommended to use natural materials with inclusions in their composition. These can be reactive materials or alkaline materials that will release hazardous substances into the water.

If there are doubts about the quality of the soil, then it can be tested. You can use vinegar essence or citric acid . It will be considered usable if there is no hiss and no bubbles or foam coming out. In this way, the problem of soil for aquarium plants is only clarified, but not eliminated. If you do not want to throw away the aquarium substrate, then you can hold it in hydrochloric acid for 3 hours. Rinse under running water. Work should be carried out with silicone gloves, otherwise you may get burned. If you still get acid on your hands, you need to quickly rinse them under running water.

Glass Soil

It is not advisable to use this type of natural substrate. It is, of course, chemically neutral. But there is no porosity on its surface. It is completely smooth. It will be impossible for bacteria and microparticles to develop. There will be no ability to retain nutrients for benthic plants. They will start to wash out, the underwater vegetation will die very quickly.

Layered Soil

A common mistake is to lay out the soil in layers, alternating between coarse and fine fractions. This cannot be done. The bottom litter must be porous to breathe. This is required so that there is no stagnation of water, decay of organic matter. Otherwise, the aquarium will turn into a fetid swamp. Substances dangerous for fish will get into the water, which will lead to the death of the inhabitants of the underwater world.

Expanded Clay

This material can be used, but it is undesirable for the following reasons: It is very light and small in size. The fish will swarm in it. This will raise silt and dust, the water will instantly become cloudy; It has high porosity and will absorb organic impurities. The water will become clogged and cloudy.

Garden Land

There is an opinion that it is possible to use garden soil for aquarium plants. It’s a delusion. It will become cloudy in three days. It will be completely impossible to keep fish in such an environment. Some aquarists recommend using substrate from a pond . But this is dangerous and must be done carefully. If there is such a desire, then it should be taken only in rivers or quarries. It is very fraught to use bottom flooring from ponds.

Artificial Ground

In pet stores, you can also see artificial aquarium substrates. It is made from small particles of plastic or glass. It meets the requirements, is made from multi-color mixtures. But the color of this aquarium flooring can be very bright. The aquarium will decorate the interior, but it will not be a model of the aquadom.

What To Look For

When choosing a bottom deck, certain rules must be followed.

  • Soil size:
  • small fish – small substrate;
  • Delicate root system – small soil particles;
  • Strong roots – coarse soil.

The Nature Of The Inhabitants Of The Aquadome

It is impossible not to take into account the habits of pets. If the fish are mobile, they like to dig in the ground, then it is necessary for them to acquire a soil of a sufficiently large fraction so that the water is not cloudy.

But if the fish prefer to spend part of their life burrowing into the ground, then a large flooring is unsuitable for them. They will experience discomfort, since they will not be able to bury themselves.

Form Of Soil Fractions

You should pay particular attention to the shape of the soil. Its particles should be free from potholes and chips, even and sufficient. If it is uneven, it will be difficult to plant plants, and their survival rate will be reduced. Underwater inhabitants can injure themselves on uneven stones and get injured.


Manufacturers offer multi-colored material . It is highly demanded by aqua designers. When choosing a color, one must start from a harmonious combination of shapes and shades of the soil. You can play with contrasting colors. You can use the color rules.

How To Place Aquarium Soil

Wash And Boil The Substrate

Before placing in a container, it must be thoroughly rinsed. The pressure of running water should wash away lime and dust. If this is not enough, then you can boil it.

Do not use soap or dish detergents. Chemistry is very difficult to remove.

The soil is placed in an even layer. But you can also put it obliquely (from the far wall of the aquarium to the front). The underwater landscape will be embossed.

The optimum layer height is 7 mm . If you add more, the pressure exerted by the soil on the walls of the aquarium will increase. He may not be able to stand it.

Fill The Substrate

If the aquarium is filled with pebbles or gravel, then the thickness of their layers is allowed up to 15 centimeters. This is undesirable in amateur aquariums. Can be beautifully laid with a slide. It is very problematic to move this substrate. They will perfectly maintain the given relief of the bottom of the aquarium without additional reinforcement.

Certain advantages have a filling of the substrate with a slope:

  • Organic particles and food residues will accumulate in the low area of ​​the bottom. This will make cleaning easier;
  • The view of the underwater world will improve due to the rise of soil along the far wall;

The variety of substrate thickness will allow you to correctly position the plants: small – in areas with a thin layer. Large ones – near the back wall.

You can also put sand in a slide. But it will quickly lose its shape due to the flowability of the sand. This movement will be assisted by fish, as well as aquarium mollusks.

The loose substrate is fixed with large stones. They should be flat. They are buried tightly in the sand, fixing the level of the sand above or below the bottom of the aquarium.

You can make a multi-level soil using plexiglass plates having the required shape. It needs to be heated over fire and given the desired shape. After placing a glass form on the bottom of the aquarium, pour the soil.

A thick layer will be poorly permeable. The risk of rotting plants and stagnant water in the aquarium will increase.

You can mix colored soil to create a pattern on the bottom of the aquarium. But this is not for the long term. It will spread very quickly.

Put Ornaments

At the end of the work, it is advisable to put pots, houses, driftwood, etc. on the bottom of the aquarium. Fill half of the aquad with water and plant the plants. Add water. There should be at least 3 centimeters to the edge.

Do not rush to launch residents in the aquadom. It should take at least two weeks to establish the microflora of the water. During this time, the plants will take root and take root in the soil.

The new substrate is always poorly equipped with minerals that plants feed on. Floating plants can be fed from fresh water. But plants with a strong root system are doomed to death due to starvation. Therefore, care must be taken to add nutritional supplements to the aquarium substrate.

How To Care For Soil

If you correctly execute the bottom flooring, maintain its water permeability, then it will be easy to take care of the soil:

  • It just needs to be cleaned periodically. This will be done by a special device (siphon), which is sold at the pet store. With the help of a vacuum, it will suck the remains of organic matter out of the soil;
  • You can take care of the soil with the help of other structures. These are electric pumps equipped with cloth bags. They filter the water. But these pumps require the utmost care when operating;
  • You need to clean it as it gets dirty. And it is recommended to completely change the aquarium substrate only once every five years;
  • The new aquarium does not need to be cleaned for the first year. Plants need to be fed only with special fertilizers.

The aquarium may not be filled with soil. Plants will live in pots. And for the bottom litter, you can take the creeping Echinodorus .

Choosing A Filler

When choosing a filler for an aquarium, you must not forget about your goals. High-quality material for the aquarium will maintain biological balance and the beneficial properties of water. Microorganisms will live and work in it, which are able to provide natural air purification. And then the underwater world will decorate your cozy home every day, and his pets will be grateful to you for the housing provided.

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