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Any pet owner wants to accommodate their pet within reason, and in general you want your pet to enjoy their environment. You aquarium substrate is a huge facet of your fish’s immediate surroundings and can be either harmful or great for your fish. Because your fish will want this medium for hiding out in, or even laying eggs it is necessary to try and find the right substrate.

What type
First, keep in mind that your fish will come into contact with your substrate regularly. For this reason you should try and get smooth surfaced objects that won’t scratch or cut your fish’s skin. Also, you want something rather substantial in size, smaller objects can cause all sorts of problems such as getting sucked into the air filter etc.
Color is also important. You want your fish to feel at home so research where they might hang out in nature. While typically fish live in darker earthy toned environments ask a pet store employee about it just in case.

What you should avoid
In general avoid substrates that you don’t know a whole lot about. Go to a good pet store to make sure you know all about what you are putting into your tank. Problems such as bacteria growth, mineral and lime deposits can all have a negative affect on you fish’s environment.

Maintenance
Make sure and only put the amount of substrate in that you need. If your filter is under gravel then three or four inches is appropriate, if the filter doesn’t pull waste and food from the bottom keep a thin layer. Make sure and also clean your substrate regularly. Cleansing can be accomplished by simply putting it in a strainer and running cold water over it. Do so before you put it into the tank after buying it as well.