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Nutritional substrate for aquarium do it yourself

maintenance, care, compatibility

Recipes for its preparation quite a lot. Some homemade mixes are suitable for a particular type of home aquatic system, others claim to be universal.

Consider one option for self-preparation of a two-layer soil saturated with the necessary substances for the development of aquarium flora.

It can be prepared using the following ingredients:

  • coal (activated in granules or natural birch);
  • clay;
  • special sorbent as an active additive;
  • peat;
  • finely chopped fallen leaves or coconut fiber;
  • coarse sand or small pebbles.

Coal, being an absorbent, it is necessary to neutralize the decay products of organic matter, to clean the soil from harmful elements.

When using it, the following should be considered: coal tends to “throw” accumulated harmful substances back into the environment.

That’s why experts strongly recommend that in 8–10 months completely change the soil where this component is used.

Clay. In different areas, it can have a completely different composition.

In the most common red clay there is a lot of iron. Far not all plants and fish are suitable for too many of this element. Forest and lake clay contain a lot of humus.

In an aquarium, a similar component can affect the unauthorized rapid growth of algae.

To avoid this unpleasant moment can be subject to the use of gray clay.

In terms of its composition, it is able to satisfy the demands of almost all the representatives of flora that are common in aquaristics.

Sorbent. As a sorbent that binds all the components and affects the growth of the grass, often use the composition of “Vermiculite” in granules.

This layered mineral retains nutrients in the soil, preventing them from dissolving too quickly in water.

Peat is a supplier of beneficial organics that plants absorb through their roots. Some aquarists use river silt for this, but it is believed that in large doses it contributes to the acidification of the soil.

Natural forest peat can also cause this phenomenon, therefore it is recommended to use high-quality granulated (or pelletized) pressed peat.

Organics. Some recipes indicate the possibility of using finely chopped fallen leaves as an organic additive. But in this case you need to take into account some points:

  • oak and linden foliage secrete many tannins into the aquatic environment;
  • maple leaves decompose too slowly;
  • in aspen leaves, on the contrary, the decomposition rate is very high.

The cutting of coconut fiber has proven itself in the best way.

Such a substance slowly and continuously releases organic matter, and also has an average rate of decomposition.

Commercial nutrient primers and substrates: an overview

Such branded products for aquarism used to be produced in the form of earth, to which various substances were added. Soils balanced in this way were simply poured to the bottom of the “can”.

At present, granulated bottom substrates have become most popular, many of which are produced by many companies: German Dennerle, JBL, Tetra, Polish Aquael and many others.

Aqua soil. An example of a soil is Aqua Soil – Africana, Amazonia, Malaya. This mixture helps to reduce the pH and hardness of the aquarium water.

Designed exclusively for freshwater aquariums.

Experts do not advise using this soil when keeping fish digging for soil.

Soil mix Dennerle DeponitMix Professional consists of selected natural peat, high quality natural clay, soil with nutrient minerals and iron, quartz sand and granules to ensure biological filtration and removal of nitrite from water. It helps to strengthen the root system of vegetation and healthy foliage.

The absence of a mixture of phosphates and nitrates eliminates the formation of green algae.

JBL AquaBasis plus – Received a wide distribution, it consists of:

  • natural peat, performing the role of humus;
  • selected clay in the form of granules;
  • mineral supplements that also contain large amounts of iron;
  • porous granules for the formation of colonies of denitrifying bacteria.

The mixture is laid out evenly along the bottom of the aquarium (layer thickness 2–3 cm), and carefully treated gravel of fine fraction is poured on top. In this case, a commercial mixture, whose service life is 3 years, plays the role of the substrate.

Plant Complete Substrate Concentrate from the company Tetra is a ready-to-use primer. In its composition there are: a mixture of different varieties of natural sand, mineral substances, humic acids, which have ion-exchange, sorption and biologically active properties, as well as peat.

The soil is poured at the bottom of a new aquarium with a layer thickness of 2 cm. In places where it is planned to plant water plants, the layer can be made a little thicker.

It is allowed to use both finished product and mixing with fine-grained run-in gravel. This concentrate prevents the appearance of algae, strengthens the roots, contributes to the normal development of stems and leaves.

The range of nutritious soil mixtures is very wide, and for the right choice, you should carefully familiarize yourself with their composition, as well as carefully read the instructions for use.

Nutrient soils are designed to ensure the good development of aquarium plants, but this is not their only function. Modern commercial ready-made mixtures significantly improve the quality of water.

And this is the most important factor in the good health of ornamental fish.

Video tip on how to make a nutritional substrate for aquarium plants:

Good soil has nutritional properties that allow plants to properly grow and grow. The main function of aquarium plants is photosynthesis, during which water is saturated with oxygen.

In turn, the fish get it in the right portions.

Soil for the aquarium should be laid in 3 layers. Layer 1 – clay or laterite, layer 2 – clay with peat, layer 3 – gravel, pebble or sand. So that the contrast between the layers is not noticeable, it is better to indent 2 cm from the front glass in order to fill this line with decorative ground.

The nutrient substrate is allowed to be laid only in the places of planting.

See how to lay aquarium soil.

For the preparation of the first layer, you need to take the clay (one tenth of the total volume of the soil). Dip it in water and soak to a soft state. Mix clay with gravel – it is necessary for access of oxygen and prevention of caking.

Then lay the mixture on the bottom of the tank. Laterite can be used instead of gravel and clay. The height of layer 1 is from 3 to 5 cm.

In places of dense planting, you can put separately prepared clay balls. Do not use iron sulfate in this layer.

To prepare the second layer, mix gravel and peat (15% of the total volume of all layers). In this layer, you can put clay balls for fertilizer (in places dense planting). Peat at first allocates a high concentration of humic acids, as a result, water will acquire a dark color.

Permissible layer height – not higher than 3 cm.


The last, third layer has a decorative purpose, it covers the first two layers, prevents the clouding of water from clay and peat. If in the aquarium live fish who love to dig the ground, then the upper ball should be thicker.

Choose pebbles, sand or gravel.

The first days after the launch of the aquarium, nutrients will be released into the water, bacteria will multiply. After a few days you will notice that the concentration of algae has increased.

To avoid this, once a day you need to replace 20% of the water with fresh and infused, similar parameters. Nutrients love algae, so plant in an aquarium fast-growing plant species that can quickly absorb these substances.

Slow-growing plant species can be planted later in the soil.

Why do you need a nourishing soil for plants and how to make it

How a primer coat affects the biological environment in an aquarium

If the inside of the aquarium grows a lot of greenery, then you need to look for the soil, which will enrich the roots, leaves and stems with all the necessary substances. It is necessary to find or make a nutritious ground with your own hands. The biological balance within the reservoir is closely directly dependent on everything in the water, since the aquarium itself is a closed ecosystem.

If one plant gets sick, everybody gets sick.

The mistake of novice aquarists is to create a nutrient soil such as greenhouse. The use of peat, manure, clay interspersed with the soil adversely affects the health of the plants and all living inhabitants of the aquarium. Peat and clay should be used in minimal proportions, and then, as a top dressing for young plants.

Peat is not always appropriate, because it softens the aquatic environment that not all fish will survive. Adding marble or basalt chips to the soil can add alkalinity and hardness, which is also inappropriate for some fish and plants.

The nutrient primer for the aquarium is the following substrate:

  • In its composition there are macro-and micronutrients;
  • It may look like a nutritional substrate for a certain type of plant.

These components should be laid with their own hands on the bottom of the tank with a layer thickness of 2-3 centimeters. The top layer is a pebble of a small fraction of 2-3 mm, or coarse sand.

The soil is formed with two layers, in the lower part it will be nutritious, and in the upper part it will protect the organics from rapid leaching. If you expect the soil to serve as a biological filter, use a bacterial activator that stimulates the growth of the reproduction of good bacteria.

See how to lay the soil in the aquarium.

What are the types of nutrient grounds for aquarium plants of commercial origin? Branded products are made in the form of earthen soil, in which nutrients are added.

The most popular substrates are bottom soils in the form of granules, they are produced by German, American, Italian and Polish manufacturers, such as: Tetra, Dennerle, JBL, Aquarel, Estes, Euragurium.

Aquarium soil from Aqua Soil – series Amazonia, Malaya, Africana is considered good. By name it is clear that it is suitable for a certain type of plant and is suitable for fish that come from Africa and South America.

This soil mix reduces the pH and water hardness in a freshwater aquarium. But it is not recommended for use in aquariums, where the fish digging the ground live.

Dennerle Deponit Mix Professional soil mixture includes selected natural peat, high-quality clay, soil with iron oxide and nutrients, quartz sand, biological filter in the form of granules to remove nitrite from water. This type of soil perfectly nourishes and strengthens the root system of plants, heals the leaves, and prevents the growth of green algae.

Another useful blend for a soil substrate is JBL Aqua Basis plus, which has the following components:

  • Peat of natural origin;
  • Granular selected clay;
  • Iron oxide and mineral supplementation;
  • Porous texture granules that form denitrifying bacteria. This mixture should be laid on the bottom of the tank with a thickness of 2-3 centimeters, and pour a layer of processed small gravel on it. The soil serves as a substrate for plants. The life of a commercial soil is three years, after which it must be replaced.

Soil and nutritional substrate for aquarium plants: selection, preparation, laying

Substrates, nutritious soil for aquarium plants

No less important substrate for plants are nutrient soils. Their variety is also very large.
Substrates for aquarium plants should be distinguished from Aquael Grunt soils, as these are not granules, but nutrient substrates consisting mainly of: clay and peat, as well as other components. Substrates can be applied both with ordinary soil and with Aquael Aqua Soil type substrates.
Nutritious substrate for aquarium plants – It is a nutrient store in the soil. It fits under the bottom of the ground, makes it possible to achieve effective growth of aquatic plants with relatively small financial investments.

When choosing a substrate, it is worth paying attention to the composition of nutrients that will come with it to the aquarium. With some manufacturers you can get a set of trace elements and iron, while others feed with nitrates, phosphates and other useful substances.
Nutrient grounds – provide nutrition of aquatic plants through the roots and support their growth, also stabilizes the aquatic environment, normalizes the water parameters. Aquarium plants are able to absorb nutrients, both through the leaves and through the root system.

Many species of plants in an aquarium in their natural habitat in dry weather live for months as marsh and at this time they develop an extensive root system in the ground through which they receive water and nutrients. Usually, such aquatic plants are strong absorbers of nutrients and require good soil in aquarium for good growth. And therefore, the consumption of nutrients only through the leaves is not enough for them.

Liquid fertilizers can be used in an aquarium only as an addition to nutrition, but in no way replace a rich nutrient soil. Therefore, it is very important to choose the right nutrient soils and substrates for your aquarium!
It should be noted that in spite of the usefulness of such substrates, they should not be used in an aquarium, where there will be two – three spreads. Such substrates need good herbalists.

In addition, nutrient soils require stronger filtration, otherwise the water may turn sour.
Below is a description of the substrate that I use.
JBL AquaBasis plus – This is a ready-made mixture of nutrients for aquarium plants. Used when launching new aquariums. Provides asthenia with all nutrients for healthy and fast growth.

D & B Aqua Basis contains iron, trace elements and minerals that all aquatic plants need. Favorable fast, healthy and strong development of the root system of plants.

The clay in the mixture acts as a storage pantry for nutrients, which binds nutrients when they are oversupplied and releases in case of shortages. Provides long-term and complete nutrition of aquarium plants. Does not contain phosphates and nitrates, causing the growth of unwanted algae.

Validity 3 years!
Application: Contents 5 kg. a package is enough for an aquarium of 100-200 liters. It is laid on the bottom of the aquarium with a uniform layer about 2 cm high.

The top layer is covered with a layer of basic soil about 4 cm high with a fraction of 2-3 mm. Do not use coarse gravel!
Video about JBL AquaBasis plus

The ground in the aquarium is necessary for the fish just as the ground is under our feet. It is there that plants grow, crawling and spawning the various inhabitants of the underwater world. Due to the correctly selected and placed ground in the aquarium, biological balance is maintained.

It works as a kind of filter.

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