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You are here: Home > In Tank Decorations and Substrate > Substrate

Aquarium Substrate:

Generally the biggest reason to put substrate in your aquarium is to hold plants and to make your tank look stunning! While you should pick a substrate that compliments your fish and plant colors there are many other reasons to put a high quality substrate in your tank.

Good Bacteria!
Substrate provides a large surface area for denitrifying bacteria to grow and thrive. Smaller granules or substrate rocks provide a higher surface area per volume than larger sized substrates. If your filtration system is lacking use a smaller sized substrate, however most filters manufactured will take care of filtration by themselves regardless of substrate size.
red sea florabase planted tank substrate
How much substrate should I use?

Generally you should have 2-3 inches of substrate in your aquarium. Deep substrate beds pose a danger. Oxygen is less available in deeper parts of the substrate which can cause food particles and fish waste to rot causing harmful chemicals to be produced in your aquarium.

Basic aquarium gravel is the most used substrate. It is simple, looks decent and doesn’t affect water parameters.  A good rule of thumb is to use 1 lbs of gravel per gallon for a 1” bed of substrate or 2 lbs per gallon for a 2” substrate bed.

When picking substrates for planted or reef aquariums you should pay attention to the contents of the substrate. Substrates can act as a pH buffer for your water to stabilize the acidity. Some substrates may add in beneficial chemicals like iron, potassium, magnesium, and aluminum among others. Be careful to notice what chemicals are included in your substrate so you do not over dose with additives.

To clean your substrate try using a gravel vacuum.

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Walt Smith Fiji Mud Refugium Booster 24 oz
Walt Smith Fiji Mud Refugium Booster 24 oz
Our Price: $10.37 (Out of Stock)

Walt Smith Fiji Mud Refugium Booster 24 oz
Caribsea Arag-Alive Special Grade Reef Sand 10 LB.
Our Price: $12.99
Sale Price: $11.99
You save $1.00! In Stock

Features
You can now bring the
world’s most exotic reefs into your home with CaribSea’s Arag-Alive!™
substrates. Eight environmentally accurate ecoscapes, developed from CaribSea’s
cooperation with public aquariums and zoological parks where authenticity is a
must, Arag-Alive!™ makes any aquarium uniquely yours. Arag-Alive!™ makes it easy
to set up an aquarium. It’s ready to work, clears quickly, and contains millions
of live bacteria to cycle super fast and create a natural biological balance.
Arag-Alive!™ suppresses the dreaded “new tank syndrome”, compresses the ammonia
cycle, and discourages nuisance algae. In fact, independent labs prove
Arag-Alive!™ cycles days faster than other brands of live sand. That’s what
makes Arag-Alive!™ the choice of new aquarists and maintenance companies where
speed of set up, beauty, and reliability are demanded.
Caribsea Arag-Alive Hawaiian Black 10 LB
Our Price: $12.99
Sale Price: $11.99
You save $1.00! In Stock

Features
You can now bring the
world’s most exotic reefs into your home with CaribSea’s Arag-Alive!™
substrates. Eight environmentally accurate ecoscapes, developed from CaribSea’s
cooperation with public aquariums and zoological parks where authenticity is a
must, Arag-Alive!™ makes any aquarium uniquely yours. Arag-Alive!™ makes it easy
to set up an aquarium. It’s ready to work, clears quickly, and contains millions
of live bacteria to cycle super fast and create a natural biological balance.
Arag-Alive!™ suppresses the dreaded “new tank syndrome”, compresses the ammonia
cycle, and discourages nuisance algae. In fact, independent labs prove
Arag-Alive!™ cycles days faster than other brands of live sand. That’s what
makes Arag-Alive!™ the choice of new aquarists and maintenance companies where
speed of set up, beauty, and reliability are demanded.
Caribsea AragaMight Powder 16 OZ
Our Price: $13.30 In Stock

SeaChem Flourite Gravel 15.4 LB
Our Price: $14.38 In Stock

SeaChem Onyx Sand 15.4 LB
Our Price: $14.38 In Stock

Brightwell Aquatics KoraLagoon Refugium Substrate 1.4 kg
Brightwell Aquatics KoraLagoon Refugium Substrate 1.4 kg
Our Price: $14.99 In Stock

Brightwell Aquatics KoraLagoon Refugium Substrate 1.4 kg
SeaChem Flourite Black Gravel 15.4 LB
Our Price: $16.81 In Stock

Caribsea Arag-Alive Special Grade Reef Sand 20 LB
Our Price: $18.99
Sale Price: $16.99
You save $2.00! In Stock

Features
You can now bring the
world’s most exotic reefs into your home with CaribSea’s Arag-Alive!™
substrates. Eight environmentally accurate ecoscapes, developed from CaribSea’s
cooperation with public aquariums and zoological parks where authenticity is a
must, Arag-Alive!™ makes any aquarium uniquely yours. Arag-Alive!™ makes it easy
to set up an aquarium. It’s ready to work, clears quickly, and contains millions
of live bacteria to cycle super fast and create a natural biological balance.
Arag-Alive!™ suppresses the dreaded “new tank syndrome”, compresses the ammonia
cycle, and discourages nuisance algae. In fact, independent labs prove
Arag-Alive!™ cycles days faster than other brands of live sand. That’s what
makes Arag-Alive!™ the choice of new aquarists and maintenance companies where
speed of set up, beauty, and reliability are demanded.
Caribsea Arag-Alive Indo-Pacific Black 20 LB
Our Price: $18.99
Sale Price: $16.99
You save $2.00! In Stock

Features
You can now bring the world’s most exotic reefs into your home with CaribSea’s Arag-Alive!™ substrates. Eight environmentally accurate ecoscapes, developed from CaribSea’s cooperation with public aquariums and zoological parks where authenticity is a must, Arag-Alive!™ makes any aquarium uniquely yours. Arag-Alive!™ makes it easy to set up an aquarium. It’s ready to work, clears quickly, and contains millions of live bacteria to cycle super fast and create a natural biological balance. Arag-Alive!™ suppresses the dreaded “new tank syndrome”, compresses the ammonia cycle, and discourages nuisance algae. In fact, independent labs prove Arag-Alive!™ cycles days faster than other brands of live sand. That’s what makes Arag-Alive!™ the choice of new aquarists and maintenance companies where speed of set up, beauty, and reliability are demanded.
Caribsea Arag-Alive Hawaiian Black 20 LB
Our Price: $18.99
Sale Price: $16.99
You save $2.00! In Stock

Features
You can now bring the world’s most exotic reefs into your home with CaribSea’s Arag-Alive!™ substrates. Eight environmentally accurate ecoscapes, developed from CaribSea’s cooperation with public aquariums and zoological parks where authenticity is a must, Arag-Alive!™ makes any aquarium uniquely yours. Arag-Alive!™ makes it easy to set up an aquarium. It’s ready to work, clears quickly, and contains millions of live bacteria to cycle super fast and create a natural biological balance. Arag-Alive!™ suppresses the dreaded “new tank syndrome”, compresses the ammonia cycle, and discourages nuisance algae. In fact, independent labs prove Arag-Alive!™ cycles days faster than other brands of live sand. That’s what makes Arag-Alive!™ the choice of new aquarists and maintenance companies where speed of set up, beauty, and reliability are demanded.
CaribSea Florida Crushed Coral, 15 pounds
CaribSea Florida Crushed Coral, 15 pounds
Our Price: $19.45 In Stock

CaribSea Florida Crushed Coral, 15 pounds
CaribSea Seafloor Special Grade Reef Sand, 15 pounds
CaribSea Seafloor Special Grade Reef Sand, 15 pounds
Our Price: $20.58 In Stock

CaribSea Seafloor Special Grade Reef Sand, 15 pounds
Red Sea FloraBase Planted Tank Substrate
Red Sea FloraBase Planted Tank Substrate
Our Price: $22.64 (Out of Stock)

Red Sea FloraBase Planted Tank Substrate
Caribsea Mineral Mud Refugium Media ..1 Gallon
Our Price: $23.72 In Stock

Caribsea Ocean Direct Live Sand 40 LB..Original Grade (NO FREE FREIGHT)
Our Price: $30.51 (Out of Stock)

CaribSea Aragamax Sugar Sized Sand, 30 pounds
CaribSea Aragamax Sugar Sized Sand, 30 pounds
Our Price: $35.92 In Stock

CaribSea Aragamax Sugar Sized Sand, 30 pounds
CaribSea Florida Crushed Coral, 40 pounds
CaribSea Florida Crushed Coral, 40 pounds
Our Price: $40.75 In Stock

CaribSea Florida Crushed Coral, 40 pounds
Brightwell Aquatics KoraLagoon Refugium Substrate 5.4 kg
Brightwell Aquatics KoraLagoon Refugium Substrate 5.4 kg
Our Price: $50.99 In Stock

Brightwell Aquatics KoraLagoon Refugium Substrate 5.4 kg
CaribSea Seafloor Special Grade Reef Sand, 40 pounds
CaribSea Seafloor Special Grade Reef Sand, 40 pounds
Our Price: $51.86 In Stock

CaribSea Seafloor Special Grade Reef Sand, 40 pounds
Walt Smith Fiji Mud Refugium Booster 12 lb
Walt Smith Fiji Mud Refugium Booster 12 lb
Our Price: $91.58 (Out of Stock)

Walt Smith Fiji Mud Refugium Booster 12 lb