Marine substrate is essential for your marine tank, and it is important that you get the right type of substrate for your fish and the tank you have set up.
Substrate refers to any type of material that is used to fill the bottom of a fish tank, such as sand, pebbles and gravel.
It is an important part of a marine fish tank, as it can help to increase the amount of beneficial bacteria found in the water.
Crushed coral is a beneficial type of substrate, particularly if you have live coral in your tank. Crushed coral contains calcium carbonate, which is released back into the water, helping the live coral to grow. It will also maintain the correct PH level of the tank's water.
Before placing crushed coral into your tank, you should thoroughly rinse it with clean water. Unwashed crushed coral can sometimes contain coral dust, which will cause the water to turn cloudy - and this will cause you more problems.
Aragonite is a great live substance which can be used as a marine substrate. Like crushed coral, it has high calcium carbonate levels which help to maintain the PH levels and promote live coral growth.
It also naturally contains helpful bacteria and small organisms that are required for a healthy marine fish tank. Never use artificially coloured substrate in your fish tank, as it often lacks the beneficial bacteria that uncoloured aragonite has.
Sand may be a suitable marine substrate for your tank, depending on what type of fish you are keeping. The sand can come in a variety of sizes, usually fine-grain sands work the best. Sand requires a different filtration system than crushed coral, in order to prevent it from clogging up the filter.
Always purchase your sand from specialist aquarium stores, to make sure that it is clean and suitable for use in your new marine tank.
Eco substrate is a relatively new product on the market. It provides a completely natural way to line the bottom of your tank. Eco substrate is packed full of beneficial elements, such as calcium, magnesium, sulphur and iron.
It is free from any nasty additives, dyes and synthetic chemicals. It also contains beneficial heterotrophic bacteria which will break down your fish's waste and turn it into food for the plants in your tank.
Eco substrate does not require rinsing prior to putting it in your tank. An ideal bed depth for eco substrate is two to three inches.
Some marine fish, such as clownfish or angel fish, do not require any type of substrate in order to live.
Substrate may sometimes trap fish waste, which in turn raises the nitrate level of the tank’s water. Always test the water regularly to make sure it is right for your fish.
Substrate can be purchased from fish stores or speciality on-line retailers.
Always refer to a marine guide book, or ask for help, when choosing substrate to ensure you get the right type for your tank.
Choosing the wrong substrate can be very bad for the health and well-being of your marine fish.
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