When it comes to putting together an aquarium for the first time, many people overlooking the importance of the substrate layer. As this layer a crucial part of an aquarium ecosystem, the type of substrate material you choose can have a huge impact on the health of your fish and any aquatic plants you might be looking to introduce. However, the actual colour of your substrate gravel also demands some serious consideration.
Opting for a Natural Aesthetic
Although an aquarium is an artificial environment, many aquarists prefer a more natural aesthetic. When choosing substrate gravel, many fish lovers prefer to keep things simple, with muted tones and colours that are far more in keeping with what you would expect in the wild. A more natural colour scheme is good for a variety of reasons.
For one, it adds to the overall realism of your tank interior. This is especially important if you are looking to introduce organic ornaments and objects to accurately replicate a freshwater environment.
However, many varieties of freshwater fish will also benefit from natural-coloured substrate. Many fish species have evolved to blend in with their natural surroundings. Therefore, having substrate that is close in appearance to what you might find at the bottom of a riverbed or lake will promote more natural behaviour from your fish.
However, it’s worth noting that domestic fish that are kept as pets will not have to worry about natural camouflage and evading predators. Provided your tank is maintained well and your fish are kept healthy with quality diets and regular water cleaning, the colour of your substrate will have no direct effect on their health.
Vibrant Gravel Colour Options
The vast majority of freshwater fish species are incredibly adaptable. This is especially true of those fish varieties that have been bred exclusively to be housed in captivity as part of an aquarium. Therefore, you have complete freedom when it comes to selecting gravel colours.
You’ll find a huge variety of readily available options on the market, although white, red and blue gravel are arguably the most popular. Opting for a more vibrant gravel colour is a good idea if you want to use your aquarium as an arresting display piece, especially if you want the contents to tie in with the décor of a particular room or area in a larger indoor space.
Owners GloFish, a novelty line of fluorescent aquatic animals, may find vibrant and neon-coloured gravel particularly attractive for use in their tanks. Not only will such gravel coordinate well with their fluorescent fish, it will also respond well to the integrated lighting that is a hallmark of such tanks.
What to Avoid When Choosing Coloured Aquarium Gravel
Although the colour of your gravel has no real impact on the health of your fish and tank occupants, there are some things to consider if you are seeking out artificially coloured substrate. Inferior gravel products tend to featured coloured coatings that break down quickly when exposed to water. Depending on what the colouring is made from, this can be lethal for the occupants of your aquarium.
Even if these coloured dyes don’t contain anything particularly harmful, they can quickly dissolve into tank water and obscure your view of your fish and plants. This will ultimately lead to more frequent water changes and tank maintenance, which not only takes time and effort, but the disruption can prove stressful for fish. Poor quality coloured gravel is also likely to lose much of its lustre when the substrate material is thoroughly cleaned.
Your best option is to invest in a natural gravel substrate that has been deemed suitable for use with aquariums. You can always introduce colourful accents through the use of decorative objects, plants and ornaments.