Top Rated Aquarium Substrate for 2020 – A Comprehensive Comparison
Because not all people have plenty of spare time to do their research, here you can find all the information you need to know regarding the best aquarium substrate. After carefully examining indicators such as expert feedback and customer reviews, Dr. Fox has found a winner, the Carib Sea 770. Featuring a newly enhanced root development formula, the product contains rich basaltic volcanic soil that nourishes the plants inside the aquarium. In addition, it is free from artificial dyes and chemical coatings which translate in a natural and balanced environment for the fish and plants. If the product is not available, you might want to consider the Seachem 67137330.
Our Top Choice
If you’re looking for a substrate product that will help the species in your aquarium thrive, this option should not go unchecked. The formula contains magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, sulfur, and more than 25 elements that provide many benefits and are ideal not only for plants but also for fish. Due to the live heterotrophic bacteria it contains, the fish waste will be converted into natural nutrients for plants.
Several buyers say the product raises the pH level of the water.
Help both the fish and plants in your tank develop healthily by adding this product to your aquarium.
Formulated to help you enhance the live fauna inside your aquarium, this product has also gathered positive reviews that make it worth trying. It is made from a special porous clay gravel and acts as food for the plants in your tank. The product is free of chemicals and does not interfere with the water pH. The quantity you get is ideal for a 2-inch water height and 10-gallon water capacity tank.
It might leave the tank a bit foggy, according to a buyer.
Give this substrate a try if you want to help the live fauna in your aquarium grow healthily and do so safely.
In case you’re interested in a product that will help you reduce nitrates and nitrites from the first use, you might want to check this formula. Safe to use for most aquariums and featuring a neutral pH, the product contains essential ingredients such as live bacteria that will work as water conditioners. It eliminates ammonia and detoxifies metals while neutralizing the chlorine and the chloramines.
The water may get an unpleasant smell when using it.
You might want to consider this product if you want to keep a healthy environment for the fish and plants in your aquarium.
5 Best Aquarium Substrates (Reviews) in 2020
1. Carib Sea Eco Complete 20 Pound Planted Aquarium
This bulk bag of eco aquarium substrate from Carib Sea comes in w twenty pounds bag and offers a complete substrate for freshwater fish tanks. Due to its content in rich minerals, there’s no need to add any other extra substrate or chemicals.
The substrate benefits from a new formula for enhanced root development and the ingredients are the same as found in the rich soils from Hawaii, Bali, and Costa Rica.
Perfect for nourishing aquatic plants, the product contains magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, sulfur and more than 25 elements taken from rich basaltic volcanic soils.
Not only suitable for plants, this aquarium substrate is also excellent for the fish. Due to the porous spherical grains that are specially designed to increase the diffusion performance, the waste is quickly removed from the surface and absorbed into the layer of the substrate.
Because the substrate contains the live Heterotrophic bacteria, the fish waste is basically converted into natural food and nutrients which are extremely beneficial for the aquatic plants in the tank.Buy from Amazon.com for ($37.42)
2. Seachem Flourite Black Dark Gravel
Ideal for live plants, this aquarium substrate from Seachem is the perfect solution for fish tank owners that want to enhance their live fauna inside the aquarium.
Made from a special porous clay gravel, the product is suitable for use in any type of natural aquarium. Besides, it can be mixed with existing gravel or used alone for better results. Just keep in mind that to benefit from all the rich ingredients, at least half of the mixture must have this composition. Basically, this substrate acts as food for the plants inside the water tank.
Chemical free, this substrate is not treated with strong substances that might interfere with the ph of the water. Thanks to the large quantity, the item is great for at least 2-inch water height and 10-gallon water capacity tank. Plus, the bag has a built in mesh strainer that allows the user to rinse it in the bag.Buy from Amazon.com for ($19.02)
3. Carib Sea ACS00821 Tahitian Moon Sand for Aquarium
Safe to use for the majority of aquariums, this substrate from Carib Sea is a great product that is able to reduce nitrates and nitrites from the first use.
Featuring a neutral ph, the product is packed with essential ingredients such as living bacteria that purify the water and act like water conditioners.
The best part is that this substrate can be used in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. Quite simple to use, the product requires only tap water, and the cycling process begins. Due to the finer gravels and the sands, the substrate does a great job at detoxifying metals and eliminating ammonia. Besides, it neutralizes the chlorine and the chloramines, providing a perfect coat of protection for the fish.
Thanks to the living purifying bacteria, it offers the perfect environment for the plants and transforms the fish waste into real natural nutrients for plants and fish inside the aquarium. Because of the black shade, this aquarium substrate is able to deliver an interesting contrast.Click to see the price on Amazon!
4. Flourite Black Sand
This premium substrate from Seachem is excellent for plants inside the aquarium due to the essential nutrient content that is quite beneficial for the plants.
Because of its black color, it is suitable for a variety of aquariums. Moreover, it provides strong plant root structure that proves to be extremely important for the well-being of the fish and plants.
Although most effective when used alone, the substrate can be mixed with other types of gravels. Also, there’s no need to include gravels such as laterite in the mixture because this product has all the important substances that matter when speaking of fish tanks.
Made solely from natural ingredients, the substrate is not chemically coated or treated and won’t interfere with the ph level of the water from inside the tank. The porous clay gravel is great for aquariums that have natural plants the black color grain have a perfect size, so there’s no need to worry about algae growing within the substrate.Buy from Amazon.com for ($31.52)
5. Spectrastone Blue Jean Aquarium Gravel for Freshwater Aquariums
Aquariums have never looked so stylish and sleek before, but thanks to this bright, colorful appearance the water tanks will catch everyone’s eye.
The blend of blue and green give a lovely look to the aquarium substrate. Furthermore, the product can be used without worries in freshwater aquariums.
Because it doesn’t have any chemicals among the list of ingredients, the substrate is able to provide a great coating of slime for the fish that doesn’t harm them. Plus, it doesn’t interfere with the ph of the water.
Outfitted with natural dyes, there’s no need to worry about fading or washing off. Even after long periods of time, the color won’t dilute in the tank water.
Due to the large size of 25 pounds, aquariums owners will benefit from plenty of gravel no matter the size of their water tank.
Using a 100% environmentally-friendly high gloss resin, this gravel is dust free and safe to use for both fish and plants.Buy from Amazon.com for ($27.91)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
In their search for the best substrate for aquariums, some people have a hard time deciding which product offers more benefits than the other. Therefore, there are many substrates for sale that seem to have similar features but don’t provide the same nutrients and bacteria that are mandatory for fish and plants.
If you want to learn how to make smart shopping choices, you have an interesting buying guide below that teaches you what to look for before purchasing this type of items.
Size of the particles
There are many sizes of particles when it comes to aquarium substrates. From aquarium sand to large river rocks, they are all used to create a natural and healthy environment for the fish and plants.
Substrates that have large particles allow the waste food and debris to build up toxins inside which are harmful to the livings inside the tank. On the other side, small particles are too compact which translates into areas that don’t benefit from much oxygen. Eventually, these spaces release hydrogen sulfide that is known to be extremely dangerous for fish.
You must take into account the impact produced by the size of these substrate particles on the health of the fish and the process of cleaning the water tank. According to the aquarium substrate reviews, it is mandatory to check whether your fish has specific needs when talking about the appropriate size of the particles.
For instance, some fish enjoy scooping the substrate and moving it around with their mouths, while others are irritated by sand. There are species that like making nests or homes out of the substrates and need smaller particles instead of larger ones. Moreover, sand can be quite difficult to clean because small particles often get vacuumed out of the fish tanks when removing the waste. However, you should invest in a good aquarium filter that ensures the water remains clean and toxin-free.
In your search for a good aquarium substrate, you must be aware that there are endless possibilities when it comes to colors. You have options that run from natural shades to neon-colored substrates.
You should choose a color that suits your personal preferences. There are people that enjoy an aquarium that has bright pink gravel while others don’t want to see anything but black inside their aquarium.
Before you decide on the color you must understand that the one purpose of the substrate is to enhance the color of the fish. Therefore, darker tones are ideal for light-colored fish. On the other hand, a lighter substrate won’t look the same but can be useful if you have fish in dark colors. Asa side note, there are special aquarium lights that you can get if you want to make your tank look sleek and glamorous.
Too much dark can make your tank look smaller than its actual size so it is advisable to choose lighter colored substrate if you want your aquarium to look bigger and brighter.
Don’t overlook the way substrates look when they get dirty. It’s a known fact that brown-colored gravels tend to hide fish waste more than white substrates.
The substrate that you choose has an important impact on your fish. For instance, if you select glass chips with sharp edges, it can be potentially harmful to them.
Moreover, light-colored substrates can scare the fish especially if you combine it with bright lighting. This might cause them to hide if they don’t feel safe. So make sure you read about their natural habitat and behavior and try to purchase something that copies those elements.