Soil for aquariums, its significance, types and features
As a rule, soil is laid at the bottom of the aquarium. Also, the soil is important for other inhabitants of the artificial reservoir, as it accumulates many different bacteria that can absorb fish secretions and help maintain cleanliness in the aquarium. Saprophytes live in the ground (as in the filter). The soil is not unimportant for animals living in water layers located close to the bottom, as well as for bottom animals.
The soil used in aquariums must pass water through itself, and also - not to injure fish and not emit any harmful substances. The best option is called rounded river gravel, 1-5 millimeters in size. Such soil will pass water well, it is too large to clog the filter, and small enough to create the appearance of a homogeneous mass. As a rule, the composition of river gravel includes minerals that do not emit harmful chemicals into the water (mainly quartz and feldspar). In addition, the rounded grains of such gravel are safe for fish digging in the ground.
Crushed shells and sea sand cannot be laid on the bottom of a freshwater aquarium. Such soil is suitable only for reservoirs with sea water. If used in a freshwater reservoir, the water hardness will increase, which is absolutely unacceptable for many species of fish and plants. You can check the soil for the content of minerals that increase the hardness of water using vinegar. If foam appears when vinegar enters the surface of gravel, it is not suitable for use as soil for a freshwater aquarium, as it contains a lot of limestone and marble.
When choosing soil for an artificial reservoir, it is necessary to ensure that it does not contain pieces of rust and minerals containing metals (they poison the inhabitants of aquariums). Also, the soil should not contain petroleum products and agricultural poisons. Such substances cannot be removed, so it is better not to acquire soil with a specific smell.
Unsuitable for domestic ponds stone crumb, as well as small gravel. The sharp edges of such soil can injure fish. In addition, it is almost impossible to clean it well in the aquarium (this is of significant importance, since the voids between the stones will eventually fill with dirt, which will need to be removed). Not suitable for aquarium and river sand. It is too small, often rises in the water column, quickly coalesces, contributes to the development of decay processes.
As a rule, the purchased soil contains a certain amount of garbage (silt, clay, fine sand, etc.), so before placing the soil in the aquarium, it must be thoroughly washed. Otherwise, a suspension will appear in the water. Flush the soil with clean, warm water. If you fill a bucket with soil with water, install it in a basin, then, while mixing the contents, dirty water will drain, taking with it small grains of sand that will accumulate at the bottom of the basin. In this case, debris and sand will not get into the water supply. By shaking and renewing the water, the soil is completely cleaned of particles of silt and clay. When the water remains clear after mixing the soil, flushing can be completed.
It is also worth considering that the reservoir cannot be completely sterile. Bacteria purify water, various microorganisms help fish digest food, they are also needed for plant nutrition, without them it is impossible to establish ecological balance in a reservoir. Washing the soil with disinfectants or detergents, as well as calcining it, is an exercise that is useless, and sometimes even harmful. A sterile vessel is very quickly colonized by various kinds of microorganisms (they get there from the air, and also - together with the inhabitants of the aquarium).
An alternative to natural soil is artificial soil, which can be purchased at pet stores. When choosing artificial soil, it is worth considering that, for example, on a black background, the fish look most vivid, and on white - the color of the majority of the inhabitants of the aquariums brightens (against this background only yellow and red swordsmen, mollies, pecilia and some cichlids remain bright). Colored soils make the aquarium colorful, they are not suitable for reservoirs with a natural design style.