What a great word. That’s why I wrote it all in CAPS. Sounds solid. Substantial.

  1. SUBSTRATE  substratum or an underlying stratum.

    noun, plural: substrata Word origin: Latin sub (under) + stratus from sternere (to stretch)

    "Substrate: a substance or layer that underlies something, or on which some process occurs, in particular."

    “Substrate: a substance or layer that underlies something, or on which some process occurs, in particular.”

    For me, setting up an aquarium is equal parts getting the ecology right and playing with aesthetics.

    Understanding these objectives are linked marked a turning point in the difference between a tank that survives and one that thrives.

    When I was a kid, I mixed my substrate with the same

    colorful abandon that saw angel fish sharing their digs with goldfish and neon-tetras.

    Now I understand the gravel

    isn’t (just) there to express my sense of aesthetics!

    No, it provides a purchase for plants to root:

    Nooks for eggs to drop and fish to ‘hunt’ for food ~ one and the same?

    Cory cat rooting through substrate.

    Cory cat rooting through substrate.

    It also serves as  a natural  filtering mechanism:

    And provides fish with a sense of security: 

    Cozy Clown Loaches

    Cozy Clown Loaches

    So, keeping in mind Aquariverse’s home-tank supports substrates suitable for fresh-water habitats, i.e, no pretty sea-shells…

    I put it to you: Gravel or Sand?


    * * *

    Gravel, sand and sometimes stackable rocks:
    Except, remember, not just any old rocks from the garden or river will do.

    Sure they might look particularly pretty and natural, but they could also harbor organisms and, more likely, chemical compositions that will dangerously (even lethally) disrupt your tank’s pH balance.
    * * *
    And, with balance in mind, there’s a greater habitat issue to consider. When I do finally choose the substrate best suited to my tank, I purchase materials packaged in  recyclable containers.


    * * *

    I simply will not buy those packaged in plastic netting. Nasty stuff and exceptionally hazardous to wildlife when it winds up in landfills or the world’s oceans.

    Instead, I support pet-shops that sell aquarium suitable rocks and slabs in bulk bins.


    “We may be floating on Tao, but there is nothing wrong with steering. If Tao is like a river, it is certainly good to know where the rocks are.” 

    ― Deng Ming-DaoEveryday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony

    *If you would like to read about how gravel meets your fishes’ instincitive needs: read this comprehensive article on the subject: “Aquarium Substrate”



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