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Soil is biological filter and a necessary component of the underwater world. The ground is inhabited by bacteria that are involved in reprocessing of waste products of aquarium fish and other animals. Many types of aquatic plants root in the soil.
The plants get a lot of nutrients from the soil.
For fish the sand is a natural bottom, without which it will feel them uncomfortable. Finally, the ground is the element of aquarium ornamentation. Quarantine and spawning aquariums to facilitate cleaning can’t be left with the ground, but mainly the presence of the soil more than desirable.
What does the ground for the aquarium consist of:
GRAVEL doesn't contain nutrients, but allows penetration of nutrients from the water into the ground and serves to secure the roots of water plants. It is advisable to use fine gravel (2-5 mm) of dark tones and without sharp edges that can injure a fish.
SAND is usually used in admixture with other components. It doesn't contain nutrients. It isn't recommended to use very fine sand, because it quickly becomes clogged with dirt and ceases to pass oxygen and nutrients deep into the soil. If you want to separate the fine grains of sand from the large, the last one you need, you can sift the sand through the usual sieve.
CLAY contains iron oxides and aluminum silicates, minerals, a mixture of others inorganic materials. It is undesirable to use red clay, reason is that it has a lot of iron, which in large quantities is harmful to aquarium fish. The clay makes the water turbid, it is necessary the clay will be sprinkled to a gravel or sand on the top, especially if there are a small fish in an aquarium who loves digging the around.
PEAT is a mixture of humus partly of organic materials. It contains a lot of nutrients. Peat reduces water hardness.
You can not use the following items as an aquarium ground:
- soil from the garden or the soil for planting "terrestrial" plants;
- fine river, quartz, and especially building sand;
- marble chips (except when it is necessary to increase the hardness of the water);
- materials that can change the chemical characteristics of water.
Selection of aquarium sand
Which gravel is more appropriate? It depends on an aquarium. If you have an aquarium with undemanding water plants or without any weeds you need only gravel. If there are fishes, who like digging in the soil, the better water plants are planted in pots with a specially prepared ground - with the addition of clay, peat, other nutrients, and finally swamp all by the same gravel.
If you want to have a Dutch aquarium with a variety of fanciful and whimsical water plants, it is necessary to work on the ground, the gravel isn’t enough.