Aquarium soil is extremely important. However, many people perceive the soil for the aquarium as an ordinary filler, which can be filled in any convenient way and generally do not particularly think about its composition. That is why novice aquarists should first familiarize themselves with useful recommendations from experts.
There are people who do not fall asleep at all on the bottom of artificial reservoirs. However, this is fundamentally the wrong approach. The fact is that the nutrient soil for aquarium plants is a powerful biological filter, which cannot be abandoned or replaced by any other analogue. Otherwise, the microflora of the artificial reservoir will be disturbed. This will affect the condition of the plants and the fish themselves.
How can substrate for aquarium plants affect the biological environment
It is worth noting that in most aquariums a fairly large amount of greenery usually grows. If you are the owner of just such an artificial reservoir, then in thiscase, it is imperative to choose the right soil. It will be able to enrich the roots, leaves and other parts of plants with all the necessary nutrients. Much depends on the green itself.
Some don't really think about what plants should be in the aquarium, so they don't plant anything at all. But, if we are talking about a serious hobby, then you must definitely make sure that there are plants in the pond. For example, duckweed, elodea, hornwort, moss are considered the most unpretentious.
Some aquarists make their own soil. However, it must be remembered that it will be necessary to maintain a certain biological balance inside an artificial reservoir. The fact is that the aquarium is a closed ecosystem, so if you make at least some minor mistake, the plants can start to get sick. If this happens to them, it will negatively affect the fish themselves and other living organisms in the tank.
Many novice fish lovers create nutrient soil for aquarium plants, similar to a greenhouse. They mix peat, manure, clay and soil, and then pour the resulting mixture to the bottom of an artificial reservoir. However, such compounds most often have a negative effect on all the inhabitants of the aquarium.
For example, it is worth noting that peat and clay are components that need to be used in the smallest proportions. Some professionals use such mixtures exclusively as a top dressing for completelyyoung plants. In addition, it all depends on the specific water that is in the aquarium. The fact is that peat can not always be useful, since it has a softening effect on the aquatic environment. This negatively affects the he alth of the fish.
Quartz sand for aquarium and bas alt chips
If we talk about quartz sand, then it can not always be used. If we are talking about plants, then they cannot develop normally only in a sandy environment. It doesn't have the right amount of nutrients. Therefore, although quartz sand for an aquarium looks very stylish, you need to use it very carefully. It is suitable for an artificial reservoir in which there are no living plants. But even in this case, before use, such a composition must not only be thoroughly washed, but also ignited.
Marble bas alt chips and quartz sand are used in the so-called white ground for the aquarium. It should be borne in mind that such components can also affect the composition of water, changing its alkaline balance and hardness. The nutrient soil for the aquarium itself should be a substrate, which includes macro- and microelements. It will allow the plants to develop fully, and the fish will receive the necessary nutrients. The color of the fish and the algae themselves even depend on the quality of the substrate.
What is nutrient soil
In this case, we are talking about a specially designed commercial soil for artificial reservoirs in which there are living plants. It is made on the basis of clay, soil,mineral and other nutritional components that are mixed in such a ratio as to fully meet all the needs of living plants and the fish themselves.
Sometimes special bacteria are additionally added to the nutrient soil for aquarium plants, which can create the most optimal microflora. Outwardly, such a soil looks like ordinary earth. Accordingly, brown shades predominate in it. If it is slightly reddish and dark in color, then in this case there is a greater amount of iron in its composition. If the soil is grayish, then this indicates a higher content of clay.
However, there is one common feature that unites all varieties of nutrient soil. It is characterized by increased porosity, different from the standard so-called "bare" earth. In these formulations, fractions are usually no more than 3 mm, but larger ones up to 4-5 mm can be found.
The porosity of the soil also depends on the inhabitants of the artificial reservoir. For example, if we talk about the care and maintenance of guppy fish, then on the one hand there are no strict rules regarding the optimal composition. But experienced experts say that the soil of the middle fraction is more suitable for these fish. If it is too large, then the root system of plants will not fully develop. Too small a fraction will lead to faster clogging of the entire aquarium.
What are groundcovers
It is not uncommon that such plants grow in aquariums that cannot continue their vital activity without nutritionalsoil. The fact is that they have very small and thin roots. In this case, sand or quartz chips are completely unsuitable for an aquarium.
In order to form a beautiful carpet at the bottom of an artificial reservoir, it is necessary to create the necessary "atmosphere", which can only be achieved with the help of nutrient soil. And it is also worth noting that such land is vital for any plants in which a red tint predominates. Otherwise, they will lose their beautiful color and become pale.
For which aquariums should I buy this kind of soil?
Much depends on the chosen soil, as well as on the volume of the artificial reservoir. However, it should be borne in mind that such compositions are very expensive, so they are rarely used if the volume of the aquarium is more than 60 liters. In this case, other options should be considered.
As a rule, the owners of the so-called nano-aquaria, the volume of which reaches 30 liters, buy more expensive nutrient soil for aquarium plants. It is not difficult to calculate the volume of the substrate. As a rule, most plants for an artificial reservoir need a layer of soil with a height of 3 to 5 cm. However, if we are talking about ground cover plants with rather thin roots, or, conversely, those algae that have a too large root system, then in this case the soil layer must be at least 5 cm.
How to start an aquarium on nutrient soil and start caring for it
If we talk about starting an aquarium on a nutrient mixture or regular soil, then the difference here is small. In somesituations, a flushing procedure is needed. For example, if quartz sand is placed on the bottom of the aquarium. It all depends on the specific soil, its composition and manufacturer. Therefore, before using the mixture, be sure to read the instructions on the package. However, there are some features worth paying attention to.
For example, plants are recommended to be planted in an aquarium that is filled with a third of water. It is not recommended to plant them in dry soil. There is also no need to add liquid fertilizer during the first seven days. 14 days is recommended to change the water every three days. You also need to immediately correctly set the light for aquarium plants. It shouldn't be too bright. Otherwise, the algae will grow too actively, the water will bloom.
It is also worth choosing the right soil. If several proven brands preferred by experienced aquarists.
These formulations are usually sold in 7 kg packs. This "live" substrate for the aquarium can also be found at a pet store or purchased online. By itself, this soil is a fairly porous, fine gravel, which is suitable for natural planted aquariums. Also in this soil there is a large amount of soil, contains a lot of iron.
This composition is considered the best for bright red plants. It is also worth paying attention to those who are interested in the care and maintenance of guppy fish. Especially if the speechis about the inhabitants of the aquarium with a red color. For example, there is a guppy called the Red Dragon. They have a beautiful tail of a rich shade. For such fish, this is the optimal soil.
This substrate may seem a bit dusty. This is due to the presence of a large amount of clay. If we talk about its advantages, then it is great for artificial reservoirs. This substrate can be mixed with other types of soils.
However, there are a few drawbacks. For example, due to the large presence of clay, the water may become more cloudy during the start-up of the aquarium or during a fluid change. Despite the fact that this soil has a large amount of iron, there are few other nutrients in it.
ADA Aquasoil “Amazonia”
Mixes of this type are sold in packages from 2 to 9 liters. It is quite possible to find them in ordinary stores. This is one of the most common types of soil, which is popular all over the world. This product can truly be called a raw material of the highest quality. The soil is dark in color, which has a positive effect on the color of aquarium fish.
Thanks to this nutrient soil, it is possible to maintain the correct pH balance of water, which is about 6.8%. This is a premium raw material that allows plants and other aquarium inhabitants to receive all the necessary components for full growth.
If we talk about the benefits of this composition, then it is perfect for ground cover and small plants. It has all the necessary micro and macro elements. It is one of the few soilswhich is also suitable for shrimp.
If we talk about the disadvantages, we can highlight the rather high cost and the fact that over time the texture of the ground will collapse.
How to make a nutrient pad at home
First of all, you need to remember that the soil for the aquarium is the soil, which consists of several layers. If we talk about what you need to purchase for such a substrate, then you should pay attention to the fact that it is made from:
- granular activated carbon (can be replaced with birch);
- purified clay for aquarium plants;
- active additives and sorbents (they are sold in stores)
- fallen oak leaves, which are finely chopped (if necessary, can be replaced with coconut fibers);
- small pebbles or coarse sand.
If we talk about each component separately, then you should pay attention, first of all, to activated carbon. It is a natural sorbent that allows you to neutralize the products formed during the decay of various organic substances. Accordingly, activated carbon is able to clean the soil from harmful impurities, which will gradually form in it. However, it should be borne in mind that if coal is too long in an artificial reservoir, then in this case it will begin to release back all the harmful components accumulated in it. Therefore, it is recommended to completely replace such soil every 10 months.
Clay also needs to be added carefully, especially when it comes to red. And it contains a large amount of iron. This component is not suitable for every fish and plants. The sorbent, or as it is also called the absorbent, is purchased at the store. This is a granular composition, which is a layered material enriched with nutrients. You can buy it in almost any pet store for a small price.
In peat you can find a large amount of organic matter that is necessary for the root system of plants in the aquarium. However, do not confuse it with river silt. The second option contributes to the rapid oxidation of the soil. Natural forest peat is also not suitable in this case. It is best to give preference to granular or tablet peat.
If we talk about the foliage of trees, then in this case you can use oak, some use linden. However, do not forget that such foliage will throw a significant amount of tannins into the water, which are not suitable for every fish. The best option in this case would be coconut fiber.
How to lay the ground
The components are placed on the bottom of the tank in layers. At the very top there should be pebbles or coarse sand. A nutrient substrate is laid at the bottom. The total height of the soil is about 2-3 cm. If it is understood that the soil will also act as a biological filter, then this will require a bacterial activator. This component willencourage beneficial bacteria to multiply. As a result, the water stays clean longer, and the fish are happy and he althy.