Role of Aquarium Gravel in Various Fish Environments


aquarium gravel

Aquarium gravel is used to create a natural look in an aquarium. It is the base material for the aquarium, and there are many different types of gravel that are available. gravel comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and it is useful for the fish to rest on as well as the decorative plants.

The most important thing to note about aquarium gravel is that it provides the fish with a place to rest. Gravel that is too small is uncomfortable for fish to rest on, so it is important to choose gravel that matches the size of the aquarium. A large gravel will actually cause the aquarium to be smaller than if you had chosen a smaller one. Aquarium gravel also has biological filtration benefits, because it adds bulk to the biological filter system. Biological filtration is helpful because it slows down the rate of nitrate accumulation, which is one of the causes of algae growth.

An Overview

A close up of a fish

There are two different aquarium gravels that can be used in freshwater tanks. Sand, which comes in many colors and granules, is the first type. Sand has many benefits, but it is not suited for all tanks. Live sand tends to suffocate certain fish, which can cause them to be stressed. Live sand also lacks the proper filtration benefits.

An alternative to live sand is to use a combination of aquarium gravel and live sand. This combination is called flat sand, and is often made by mixing together larger pieces of sand that have been sanded. These pieces will settle to the bottom of the aquarium, providing a good base for aquatic plants and other features. This type of gravel does have biological filtration benefits, but the slower rate of settling means that live aquatic plants will not be disturbed as much by the sand moving around. This type of gravel is a better choice for tanks with plenty of space.

Role of Aquarium Gravels

For a tank that does not have a large amount of space, or for a tank that does not have a lot of live plants, a fine sanded gravel is the best aquarium gravel to use. Fine aquarium gravel can be made from pieces of shell or oyster shells that have been cut and formed into fine strips. These strips can be mixed together and used as one piece, or they can be broken into small pieces to look more like coarse sand. Either way, aquarium gravel that is fine grained will be able to dissolve into the water without clogging up. Clogging can be a major problem with aquariums containing aquatic plants.

In a tank that does not contain a lot of live plants, the fine-grained gravel will give off a nice sheen and be very colorful. Aquatic plants can produce their own coloring by rubbing up against the surfaces of the gravel. If you are using this type of gravel in your aquarium, you should be aware that it may become discolored after a few years. The dark colors will initially remain, but overtime the light colors will begin to fade, and the pebbles will turn into white.

When choosing an appropriate substrate, you will want to choose something that does not contain too much air. This is especially important in a tank with live plants. Porous substrates, such as sand, can cause problems with some types of aquarium filtration, especially under high levels of filtration. The small amount of air present in the sand may cause the roots of the plants to be affected. In some cases, aquarium gravel will not clog up if it is comprised mostly of sand.

Bottom Line

Aquarium gravel can also play an important role in water chemistry in smaller tanks. It helps to lower water temperatures of fish that live in these tanks. If you have a tank with only a couple of fish, gravel can help regulate the evaporation rate so that the water stays slightly warm. These small granules can actually help prevent fish death if they remain submerged in the water for a long time. They do not cause any harm to fish, although they may be unsightly.

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