15-02-2020, 17:26
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Gravel and sand may seem like simple materials at first glance, but with such a range of aquarium substrates currently available in the trade, it can sometimes be confusing to choose the right one. We will try to answer some frequently asked questions of beginners when choosing an aquarium substrate.

Should newly purchased gravel be rinsed?

Although the gravel is usually pre-washed before sale, the small stones will nevertheless rub together to form a fine powder during transport, so it is best to rinse the gravel before placing it in the aquarium, otherwise the water may become turbid.

To rinse the gravel, pour a small portion of it into a clean bucket and rinse in running water, stirring well and draining the water until it is crystal clear.

How much gravel is needed?

The question may seem difficult at first glance because gravel is sold by weight but it is not the weight of the gravel that matters but rather the thickness of the layer in the aquarium.

The minimum thickness of sand in the aquarium should be 2.5 cm and gravel 5 cm or more.

To find out how much gravel you need, simply determine the required volume and multiply this by the weight per litre.

Why does gravel raise the pH of the water?

Many coloured gravels are made from white dolomite, which contains calcium and magnesium, so if you keep fish that require soft water, inert gravel is needed. Some imported gravel, such as Swell Harlequin Gravel, is epoxy coated and inert, so it does not affect the water chemistry.

What is an inert substrate?

Inert substrates and stones do not change the chemistry of water. Inert substrates are indispensable for fish that require soft water, e.g. discus. All Swell-brand substrates, such as Swell Nordic Gravel, are inert.

How do I keep my substrate clean?

The easiest way to keep your gravel clean is to regularly use a gravel cleaner, a vacuum siphon with a blower for cleaning the bottom of the gravel.

How do I use a vacuum siphon for gravel?

Gravel siphons are designed to remove contaminated water from the substrate during weekly maintenance activities in the aquarium. Replace about ¼ of the aquarium water while you are cleaning the substrate.

Vacuum siphon with bottom gravel cleaner

What size gravel is required?

Coarse gravel traps a lot of dirt between the stones. On the contrary, in very fine substrate such as sand, almost all dirt is on its surface and can easily be collected with a vacuum siphon.

Can I use a gravel mixture with different grain sizes?

Of course you can. This will make the interior design of the aquarium more realistic.

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