– More than Grit in Your Craw
The Inside Scoop on Aquaria Substrates from Aqualand Pets Plus
Misc Frogs II
Misc Frogs III
Misc Frogs IV
Misc Frogs V
Pet World Visit
Let’s start by skipping some of the minor uses of gravel(covering the bottoms of bird cages and driveways) and getting into the real reason gravel (or aggregate for you geologists) was invented – covering the bottom of your aquarium.
Gravel sets the tone of your aquarium.
It is always the first item of decor you add and the last item you
change. Most people think
they’re stuck with the color they start with.
Untrue. As John Leach
says, “You can always add colorful highlights to your driveway.”
In other words, one of the easiest and most economical ways to make
a dramatic change in your aquarium is to change your gravel.
Dark gravels show off the natural colors of your fishes the best.
Subdued gravel colors also emphasize your fish and plants.
Bright-colored fishes look much brighter over dark colored gravels.
Many fishes (especially cichlids) bleach out over light-colored
gravels. Black fishes,
gouramis, and livebearers look fine over light colors.
Very few fishes stand out when displayed over fluorescent gravels.
Bright gravels, fluorescent ceramics, and bright-colored plants
give your tank a look that emphasizes your aquarium rather than your fish.
fluorescent gravels are “dyed” and will discolor your water.
The carbon in your filter takes these colors out.
If you put a goldfish over yellow, orange, or red gravel, it
“disappears” into the background.
Even these very bright colored fishes need to be displayed over the
“right colored” gravels. Likewise,
avoid putting blue fishes over blue gravel (and similar color
Sand Substrate? Sand grains come in a variety of sizes (as well as colors). In your aquarium, sand runs thru the holes in your under gravel filter. Use only a thin layer. It packs as hard as a rock. Cleaning sand is difficult. It siphons out when you use a gravel vacuum cleaner. However, it can look pretty good and shows certain fishes off quite well.
Colored gravel loses color over time.
Constant exposure to water and grain abrasion cause the so-called
“permanent color” to wear off.
For instance, black gravel becomes checkered gravel and eventually
turns a dirty white.
The other colors also wear off,
but not as rapidly as the black.
Natural gravels hold their original colors better than the plastic
or epoxy-coated varieties.
The plastic-coated naturals stay fresh looking the longest.
Light colored gravels tend to attract algae growth like a magnet.
Simply stirring your gravel cures this for a while.
Eventually, your gravel gets grungy enough that you need to change
Smaller gravels filter better than larger gravels.
They have more surface area to grow bacteria upon.
Smaller gravels also encourage plant growth by giving your plants
the best places to anchor their roots.
However, smaller gravels take a little longer to clean.
You need to run your gravel vacuum cleaner more slowly or you can
suck the gravel out of your tank with the water.
Larger gravels look better in larger tanks and with larger fishes.
(Careful, some large fish enjoy “pinging” large gravel and
small rocks against the glass.)
A mixture of
gravel sizes looks more natural than the “screened”
Flat gravel looks boring.
The easiest way to aquascape is to pile your gravel up in the
Every time you vacuum your gravel, you will need to re-aquascape.
Terracing some of your gravel behind rocks or wood also adds
interest to your tank.
Gravel tends to flatten out over time.
Unflatten your gravel frequently.
Whatever "look" you prefer, gravel plays an important part.
Summary. Bored with the way your tank looks? Update it. Change your gravel. LA
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