Gravel is the term used for the substrate placed on the bottom of aquariums. Its primary purpose is to decorate the aquarium, but it can also affect the pH of the water, its chemical and mineral composition. It can have a beneficial or negative effect on fish and other aquatic animals in the aquarium, so you should choose it carefully. Gravel is the most common aquarium substrate. It allows you to recreate the natural habitat for fish and their aquarium neighbors. Gravel comes in a variety of flavors and is easy to use. However, you should be aware of how to prepare the gravel before placing it in the aquarium to keep fish and other aquatic life safe.
Step 1. Choose the type of gravel for your aquarium at the pet store
Gravel can be different: glass, hard gel, stone, natural, colored, etc. For best results, look for gravel that is natural or polymer coated so that it does not alter the water chemistry or harm fish and other living organisms
Step 2. Make sure the gravel you choose is safe for use in aquariums
This should be indicated on the gravel package, and it should also state that the gravel has been washed.
Step 3. Unpack the package of gravel and sort out broken, cracked and other sharp-edged gravel pieces
Sharp-edged gravel can harm fish and other creatures in the aquarium.
Step 4. Discard the sorted sharp pieces of gravel
Step 5: Use a strainer or colander to thoroughly rinse the gravel
Rinse it with warm water for a few minutes (or until clear water starts to flow).
If the package of gravel you purchased does not indicate that it was pre-washed, place it in a saucepan and boil for a few minutes. Rinse thoroughly
Step 6. Blot washed gravel with paper towels
This will help remove chemicals from your tap water that can affect the pH level in your aquarium.
Step 7. Remove fish and other inhabitants from the aquarium
Step 8. Place the prepared gravel on the bottom of the aquarium
Spread the gravel evenly over the entire bottom of the aquarium in a layer of about 1.3 cm.
Step 9. Bring back the inhabitants of the aquarium and over the next few days monitor the pH level so that no unwanted effects appear
Step 10. Done
- For best results, use pre-washed gravel. It is sterile and does not require boiling.
- Remember that even if you handle gravel yourself that has not been pre-washed by the manufacturer, it can be harmful to fish and other aquatic life. It can be a source of harmful chemicals and bacteria.
- When considering preparing gravel for your aquarium, remember to rinse it thoroughly to remove chemicals and dust that could be harmful to fish and their aquarium neighbors. Take as long as necessary to process the gravel, and be sure to wait for clear flowing water.
- Don't forget to sort the gravel for your aquarium.
- Never place gravel taken from the street into the aquarium. It is not intended for use in aquariums and may adversely affect marine and freshwater fish and other aquarium inhabitants.
- If you have any questions about which gravel is best for your type of fish, do not hesitate to ask questions to the pet store staff.
- Never use gravel in your aquarium that is not labeled for use in aquariums. Even when processed, it can cause disease and death of fish and other living things in the aquarium.