Types of Substrates for Your Aquarium

Generally, when choosing a substrate, a beginner is advised to pick the type best suited for a specific type of aquarium. Substrates provide not just a terrain for your tank, but it will also lessen the light reflected off the surface of the aquarium that might spook the fish. It also serves as a playground, colony, and breeding ground for your pets and other microscopic lifeforms.

Tips for Choosing Substrates

Keep these in mind when choosing the substrate for your aquarium.

  • Research its reactivity with water
  • Make sure it’s easy to clean and will work with your filtration system
  • Consider how it will affect the bottom-dwellers
  • Fish-only tanks should have at least 2 inches of substrate
  • Reef and marine tanks need at least 2 inches of substrate
  • Planted tanks need two layers of substrate, with the lower level as high as the roots

Types of Aquarium Substrates

  • Common Gravel. Do not use glass pebbles and painted gravel for your aquarium, because they can injure your fish. Instead, choose common gravel that contain quartz.

  • Calcium Carbonate. Also called dolomite gravel, this is used in saltwater tanks, but it has a tendency to trap debris and uneaten food. If it is regularly cleaned, however, calcium carbonate can maintain ideal water conditions in the tank.
  • Sand. Sea sand isn’t recommended for aquariums because they could contain impurities that will harm your fish and change the water condition. It’s also difficult to clean, unless you have an effective filtration system installed. If you need to install sand, pick sandblasting sand and play sand instead.
  • Aragonite. This is a type of calcium carbonate that is ideal for raising the pH level in a reef tank. Most hobbyists mix aragonite with crushed corals and live sand to achieve the ideal water conditions in a saltwater tank.
  • Vermiculate. This substrate is made up of iron, aluminum, and magnesium, which is ideal for planted aquariums, although it has to be mixed with common gravel and laterite to keep its appearance consistent.
  • Crushed Corals. Like aragonite, crushed corals are ideal for saltwater tanks to create ideal water conditions. It is usually mixed with calcite and dolomite to make it suitable for almost all types of aquariums.

  • Laterite. This is a type of clay that contains iron oxide, ideal for planted aquariums because it can hold and release nutrients slowly over time. This is usually placed at a lower layer under another substrate.
  • Marbles. Choose large flat marbles that are easier to clean than the round small ones. This is usually recommended for aquariums made for breeding fish because the eggs can be hidden from predators in between the marbles. Another substrate, marble chippings, can also serve as alternative to coral sand.
  • Miracle Mud. This is a new type of substrate that is often used in saltwater tanks as a sump or to inoculate sand beds.
  • No Substrate. Most saltwater tanks prefer a bare bottom reef because it is easier to maintain. However, a tank with no substrate can be stressful for some fish.

18 Dec 2019

6 Human Foods That Could Be Dangerous For Your Pets

One of the important things to remember with pet care is knowing what you should and shouldn’t feed to our little fury friends. While domesticated cats and dogs have developed a liking to human food, some of the foods we eat could pose a threat to their health. Check out what foods you should keep away from your cats and dogs.


  1. Raisins and Grapes

It only takes five raisins or grapes for a pet dog to get sick. Small amounts can already damage your dog’s kidney, so make sure to take your pet to the vet immediately if it eats grapes, especially raisins as they can be gobbled up easily in large amounts.

  1. Chocolate

Chocolate is one of the most common human foods that are bad for your dogs as it contains theobromide—a chemical that can cause complications to a dog’s heart, kidney, lungs and nervous system. Baked chocolate is the most toxic for dogs, but pet owners should still avoid feeding their canines any kind of chocolate.

  1. Onions

Any form of onions—cooked, raw, or powdered—is unsafe for felines. Just a small amount of this vegetable can cause onion poisoning—a complication that breaks down a cat’s red blood cells causing lethargy, anemia, weight loss, and more.


  1. Dough

Raw dough contains ethanol, a substance that can cause negative effects to a dog’s respiratory and nervous system if they eat it. Consumption of ethanol can result in lowered body temperature, lethargy, and weakness of the body. Immediate medical attention is required if your canine has ingested a yeast dough.

  1. Raw Eggs

Unless you’re 100% sure that your raw eggs are bacteria free, no one should eat them—including your cats. The risk of E.coli and salmonella is too high on this food and both can cause serious health problems to your pet cat.

  1. Milk

Consumption of milk can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal problems to dogs. While it is not life-threatening, these problems can contribute to bacterial exposure, which could eventually cause other diseases.

However, note that the severity of damage of these foods vary on the breed and size of your pets. Like humans, pets are not created equally—whether cats or dogs—and therefore can react differently to foods.


12 Oct 2015