The substrate of your aquarium
The basis for your plants and the habitat
Breeders of ornamental fish mostly run their breeding tanks without a substrate to make the cleaning faster and easier. But an aquarium with substrate not only looks more attractive, it also functions much better because the substrate supports the filter with its own significant filtration effect. It is furthermore important for the plant roots, and quite a few fish species use it as a hiding place (flounder, loaches, catfish, rays).
These substrates are available
The different grain sizes of the substrate have different advantages and disadvantages.
The aquarium substrate: gravel, sand or nutrient substrate?
We show you all types of aquarium substrate from sand to coarse gravel with all their advantages and disadvantages. Why are some substrates unsuitable for undergravel heaters or for burrowing fish? What are nutrient substrates and soil?
How thick does the substrate need to be?
This question cannot be answered generally since there are very different types of aquariums. Generally the substrate layer shouldn’t be thinner than 3-5 cm. In a heavily planted tank, the layer thickness can certainly be 6-8 cm thick.
Try piling the substrate higher towards the back. This will make your aquarium seem more spacious and dirt is more likely to collect at the lowest point. However, it’s no use trying to form "mountains and valleys" with the substrate.
How does the substrate in the plant aquarium need to be layered?
For most aquariums with aquatic plants we advise following the framework: First a layer of long-term substrate fertiliser ( JBL PROFLORA AquaBasis plus ) and above a natural substrate ( JBL Manado ).
Only for extremly heavily planted aquariums (aquascaping) the structure is different: With the help of JBL PROSCAPE VOLCANO MINERAL the landscape can be coarsely modelled. On this lava substrate you can directly place the stones or the wood. It prevents the sinking of the heavy decoration elements. Then everything can be covered with JBL PROSCAPE PLANT SOIL BROWN .
Does the substrate need to be completely renewed?
Sand, gravel and natural substrates, such as JBL Manado don’t need to be replaced. The regular siphoning of the substrate with a gravel cleaner ( JBL AquaEX Set 20-45 ) is a sufficient care measure.
In our experience soil substrates lose their positive characteristics after two years at the latest and need to be replaced. But since aquascapers are constantly recreating their “works of art” anyway, this is not really a disadvantage.