The Substrate


Substrate in the aquarium is important for plant growth and bacteria production. In planted and aquascaped tanks the correct choice of substrate is important when caring for concentrated plant life in the aquarium. Nature provides plants with soils, sands and gravels rich in nutrients from shoreline runoff and rainwater. A planted aquarium is closed off to its surroundings. Adding a nutrient rich substrate is essential for the continued success and growth of your aquatic plants.

Plants in the aquarium feed from the roots and the quality of the substrate will affect their color, growth and size. Popular aquascaping plants have different reuqirements due to their root structures and growth patterns. For example HC and Glossostigma excel with finer, high nutrient substrates.

Quality aquascaping substrates can elevate the inital cost of owning a planted aquarium. These substrates however will often last the life of the aquarium making them one of the best investments during setup phase. A poor quality substrate will very be difficult to change after adding water and aquatic life.

Plain Gravel


ADA Aquasoil (Amazonia ect.)

fluorite substrate ada

Clay or laterite

DIY soil/peat moss mix

Other Commercial Substrates

Additives such as tabs or pellets


Although substrates are very important to the plants growth, most substrates will do an excellent job. Keep in mind pellets can be added later if necessary and liquid fertilizers can aid in specific element deficits.