Choosing the right substrate for a planted aquarium is important. Its structure will determine how easily the plants take root. Some of them also assist in the growth of plants by providing them with nutrients. They also help in maintaining the right living conditions for plants by encouraging beneficial bacteria. There are different substrates for freshwater and saltwater aquariums. If you are looking for the best substrate for planted aquariums, then here are a few great products for you.
1. Seachem Flourite Black Clay Gravel
Seachem Flourite Black Clay Gravel is a popular option among the buyers of the best substrate for planted aquarium. It is a stable porous clay gravel that has been specially fracted for freshwater aquariums. The gravel is suitable for live plants but can also be used in fish tanks without them. Its black color contrasts the greenery of planted aquaria and makes the aquarium vibrant. It doesn’t require any gravel modifiers, although you can mix it with other gravels. You can use it with an under-gravel filter as the gravel won’t decompose or soften. Seachem Flourite Black Clay Gravel is free from chemicals and doesn’t affect the water’s pH.
2. Carib Sea Eco-Complete Planted Black Aquarium Substrate
Carib Sea Eco-Complete is a highly recommended item on the list of the best substrate for planted aquarium. It consists of rich basaltic volcanic soil that provides major and minor trace elements for nitrifying aquatic plants. The substrate is rich in iron and eliminates the need for laterites. Its grains are highly porous and contain Heterotrophic bacteria for converting fish waste into nutrition for plants. Carib Sea Eco-Completeis suitable for freshwater planted aquariums and promotes the health and growth of plant roots. It is free from artificial dyes and chemicals but can slightly affect the pH of tanks with high water movement and hence should be used carefully with shrimps.
3. Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum
Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum is one of the best substrates for planted aquariums with shrimps. It consists of volcanic soil mined from the foothills of Mount Aso Volcano in Japan. The substrate is rich in minerals that promote aquatic plant growth. It allows plants to take root throughout the substrate. Its addition will make the water pH neutral to mildly acidic and create a suitable environment for shrimps. Newborn shrimps can shelter themselves in the substrate as well. Nitrifying bacteria will flourish in its porous structure and will convert waste into nutrients for the plants. Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum also helps to control organic discoloration of water.
4. Caribsea Super Naturals Aquarium Sand
Caribsea Super Naturals aquarium sand is the best substrate for planted aquariums with a sandy bed. Its grain size reduces the build-up of detritus and minimizes the chances of trapping food particles and waste in the bed. It won’t affect the water pH and can be used with different aquarium setups without any issues. Caribsea Super Naturals aquarium sand is suitable for most freshwater and marine tanks as well as African cichlid aquariums. The substrate is free from any chemicals such as paints and dyes and is safe for plants and fishes. You can use root tabs for plants with larger roots.
5. Carib Sea Arag-Alive Fiji Pink Sand
Carib Sea Arag-Alive Fiji Pink Sand is a suitable choice among the best substrates for planted aquarium with marine water setups. It consists of aragonite that looks aesthetically pleasing while being functional. The substrate has marine bacteria that benefit the aquarium’s ecosystem by compressing ammonia cycles for improved biological filtration. They assist in breaking down waste at a fast pace for reducing ammonia and nitrites. It helps to maintain suitable water pH levels without the need for additional chemicals. Carib Sea Arag-Alive also discourages the growth of algae and keeps your fish tanks crystal clear.
6. Nature’s Ocean Bio-Activ Live Aragonite for Aquarium
If you are looking for the best substrate for planted aquariums with marine setup, then Nature’s Ocean Bio-Activ Live Aragonite is a great product for you. It is completely natural and prevents the occurrence of biofouling in fish tanks. The substrate has live marine bacteria that are beneficial for the aquatic life in your aquarium. They remove ammonia and nitrites that can be toxic to fishes. Nature’s Ocean Bio-Activ Live Aragonite has essential trace elements that assist in the growth of plants. It maintains a proper pH level and instantly cycles nitrogenous waste.
7. Imagitarium Black Aquarium Sand
When it comes to the best substrate for planted aquariums, Imagitarium Black Aquarium Sand is another product for creating sandy beds. It is black sand with fine coarse grains that can be used in freshwater and saltwater fish tanks. The structure of the sand promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria. They assist in breaking down waste and removing toxic substances like ammonia and nitrites. Most aquatic plants will take root easily in the Imagitarium black sand. It is also available in white color and different-sized packagings.
8. Mr. Aqua N-MAR-066 Fine Water Plant Soil
Mr. Aqua N-MAR-066 water plant soil is a good option for the buyers of the best substrate for planted aquarium. It contains both organic as well as inert ingredients and is fertilized for providing essential nutrition in desirable quantities to aquatic plants. The plants will root firmly in the porous granular structure of the substrate and won’t move with water current. It counters water contamination due to driftwood and also softens it with a buffering pH capacity of 6.6 to 6.8. Mr. Aqua N-MAR-066 water plant soil will last for 12 to 18 months.
9. Ultum Nature Controsoil Freshwater Planted Aquarium Substrate
Ultum Nature Controsoil is an alternate choice among the best substrate for planted aquarium with freshwater setup. It has been specially formulated from volcanic ash to meet the needs of freshwater plants. It is suitable for tropical fishes and freshwater dwarf shrimps. Its dark black color complements the appearance of fish tanks and highlights the colors. Ultum Nature Controsoil substrate acidifies and softens the water naturally and improves the living conditions for fishes and shrimps. Its fine (3mm) granules allow plants to root easily and firmly. It is also available in extra fine (1mm) and normal (5mm) granule sizes as well as brown color.
10. CaribSea Coraline Aquarium Gravel
CaribSea Coraline Aquarium Gravel is the best substrate for planted aquarium with corals. It promotes the growth of corals by providing the right environment for them. The substrate assists in maintaining a pH value of 8.2 for marine aquariums. It facilitates the free flow of nutrients to promote nitrifying bacteria and getting rid of ammonia and nitrites in the water. Plants will take root easily in the crushed substrate. It is free from any toxic impurities or purities and is safe and healthy for the aquatic life in your saltwater tanks.