Substrate refers to tank gravel or any other substance placed on the tank’s bottom. Good bacteria live in the aquarium’s substrate and help keep the water clean by breaking down fish wastes, food scraps, and plant debris. Here are reasons for the necessity of aquarium gravel for plants:
Filtration by biological means
The most basic role of tank gravel is to provide a home for beneficial bacteria. The organic waste in the tank must be eliminated, which necessitates the presence of these bacterial colonies. Although bacteria can thrive in an aquarium without a suitable gravel basis, they may not grow in big enough numbers to keep the fish safe.
Habitat for fish
A substrate is an essential part of providing a pleasant environment for the fish. It provides concealing areas for fish, particularly all who prefer to dig, and nourishment for the underside who seek to scavenge for food bits via the substrate. It also helps to reduce reflections in the tank, which can be stressful for the fish. The substrate can also aid in the chemistry of the water.
Plants in Natural Habitat
When it comes to keeping live plants alive, a substrate comes in second only to lighting. The correct substrate for planted tanks can help the plants root and fulfill their nutritional needs. Laterite & vermiculite are common substrates for planted tanks because they store and release nutrients for the plants. They are usually used in conjunction alongside gravel.
Although one won’t be able to see most of the small ways substrate aids the fish, one will notice how it enhances the aquarium’s overall visual quality. The substrate hides garbage and other detritus that might otherwise drift across the water.