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The best aquarium substrate for your aquatic plants

The nitrogen cycle in aquariums makes the beginning stages tricky, especially if you have delicate fish and plants. A good aquarium substrate helps you during this sensitive stage by allowing helpful bacteria and plants to grow so your fish can swim in purified waters. We’ve done the work and researched the top planted aquarium substrates to help you find the right material for your tank.

The typical planted aquarium substrate has essential nutrients like magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and other minerals. Some will turn your water slightly acidic, while others have no effect on your tank’s pH. Keep this in mind as you search for your substrate, as it might affect how well your fish and plants adapt to their new home.

Some common substrates include volcanic soil and synthetic clay gravel. Both contain high levels of nutrients that support plant, fish, and bacterial growth, so some things to look for are whether they’ll affect water pH, whether they’ll stain the water, and how well they’ll work with other parts of your aquarium. Now, let’s take a look at our candidates.

CaribSea Eco Aquarium Substrate

Best Complete Substrate

CaribSea’s substrate is a nutrient-rich basaltic material that encourages good bacteria and aquatic plants to grow. This complete substrate contains more than 30 minerals needed for a healthy aquarium like potassium, iron, calcium, and magnesium. When you mix this into an already established tank, gradually introduce a pound or two a day over a week or longer.

Fluval Plant And Shrimp Stratum

Best Volcanic Soil

The Fluval plant and shrimp substrate is sourced from nutrient-packed volcanic soil sourced from Japan’s Mount Aso. It’s ideally used for plants or juvenile shrimp in freshwater aquariums. Its light, porous surface makes it an attractive breeding ground for beneficial bacteria that keep your aquarium water clean. This substrate does not stain your water.

Seachem Aquarium Substrate

Best Clay Gravel

Seachem’s aquarium substrate is the best clay gravel alternative to volcanic soil. It works best as a single substrate, but feel free to mix this material with other gravels in your tank. This neutral gravel will last forever as long as your aquarium is in use.

Planted aquarium substrates are fundamental to healthy plants, fish, and your overall water tank system. They support healthy bacteria growth that helps purify your water so it doesn’t get loaded with waste and debris. Incorporate a layer of nutrient-filled substrate to your aquarium to discover just how much cleaner your water is and how much happier your precious aquatic pets are. Luckily, any of the substrates on our list is compatible with most water tanks, plants, and fish.

Aquatic turtles: Care and feeding basics every Testudine enthusiast needs to know
The fundamentals of aquatic turtle care and feeding
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Did you know the difference between turtles and tortoises is that turtles live at least partially in the water, while tortoises live exclusively on land? Both types make great pets, but caring for them can be a time-intensive task. If you’re considering buying an aquatic turtle, you should first know how to best take care of one. You certainly don't want to bring a new turtle home and realize you're in way over your head. Read on to learn the fundamentals of aquatic turtle care.

What is the water vs. land ratio?
Most turtles spend some time on land; even sea turtles venture to dry ground to lay their eggs. Turtles do not need and should not have enclosures full of water. Small floating platforms that turtles can climb onto should suffice for turtles that spend most of their time underwater. However, some aquatic turtles enjoy exploring the land and need more of a dry area. Research the particular species of aquatic turtle you’re interested in to find out how much time they spend in the water compared to on land.

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Gus, Copper, and Oliver-Clyde live busy lives at the Beck International Academy in Greenville, SC. When they aren’t playing in their enclosure the guinea pigs are hanging out with students at their desks or visiting other classrooms. In addition to spreading joy, middle school teacher Alexandra Jackson says that the guinea pigs have been an incredible source of growth and learning for her students.

Jackson acquired two of her school guinea pigs with help from The Pet Care Trust’s Pets in the Classroom grant program. These grants provide financial support to teachers for the adoption or purchase and maintenance of small animals in Pre-K through Grade 9 classes. Since its inception in 2010, the program has impacted more than 8.1 million students across the U.S. and Canada.

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