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Marine Substrates

One of the most exciting aspects of keeping fish as pets is setting up their aquarium, and adding to the aquarium as you grow your fish family is something that may take place over the course of several weeks, months and years. You can add all sorts of decorations and create a natural looking habitat your fish and other aquatic creatures will thrive in. Before adding decorations to your fish tank, however, you have to be sure you have the essentials first, and creating a bed for your aquarium is probably one of the first tasks you will undertake. In order to set up the bed of your aquarium, you will need substrate, which is a term that includes all those substances you can line the bottom of your tank with including sand, gravel, pebbles, and similar items. Not only do marine substrates add beauty to your fish aquarium, but they also provide much-needed nutrients your aquatic pets need to live a healthy life.

Just like the freshwater substrates here on our site, marine substrates like sand and gravel come in various colors, shapes and sizes, which allows you to custom design the look of your aquarium as often as you like. You can change the appearance of your aquarium as frequently or infrequently as you like. Just be sure you choose sand and gravel that are appropriate to the types of fish you have in the tank, the types of plant life and other living things. Remember that substrates provide nutrients in addition to beauty, so you have to do a little homework to ensure you choose the right type of substrate for your aquarium. An experienced aquarist can certainly provide you guidance, and there are numerous websites that provide less experienced aquarists tips on how to line the bottom of your aquarium so your fish and other creatures flourish.

Some substrates like coral sand, argonite and calcium-rich gravel, may affect the chemical balance of your tank’s water. These substrates leach calcium and trace elements into aquarium water, which improves water chemistry. Coral and other reef-tank invertebrates actively absorb calcium from the water and need supplemental calcium to survive, so when you add gravels like these, you will improve the water chemistry in your aquarium. In fish-only aquariums, you may want to use inert gravels because with tanks that have no coral or calcium-consuming invertebrates, the calcium level does not need to be changed. Some burrowing fish can be damaged by gravel, so if you have these species in your tank, you should choose sand. Live sand consists of sandy substrates “colonized” by beneficial bacteria that eat fish waste and improve water quality. Because the colonizing process takes time, you can buy live sand and speed up the process—as soon as the live sand is added, the colonies will be up and running. With such a large selection of marine substrates to choose from at Zen Pet Supplies, we’re sure you’ll find what you need, but if you don’t, please let us know or check back soon because we update our inventory on a regular basis.