Published at Saturday, March 03rd, 2018 - 06:30:41 AM. Aquarium Equipment. By Dorothy Wulan.
Choosing your substrate: Substrate can help add to the overall biological filtration and take some of the load off your filter. When choosing your substrate, it is really up to you what you want. You could choose sand, rocks, gravel, river stones or even no substrate at all. The only time it really matters is when you have bottom dwelling fish that require a specific type of substrate. For instance if you want catfish you need a smooth substrate like small round pebbles so it doesnt irritate their skin as they rub across it. If you are growing high maintenance plants you may want to consider an aquatic soil or clay. This can cloud up the water for a few weeks but will eventually go away and your plants will love it. Regardless of the type of substrate, it is recommended you use 1-2 pounds, or roughly 2 inches of substrate to cover the bottom of your aquarium.
For growing plants, I would recommend high output T5 fluorescent lighting or metal halides pendants, using 6,000-6,500k bulbs. (Kelvin is the color temperature of the light produced by the bulb used in plant photosynthesis). If you want to keep low light demanding plants without the high maintenance of trimming, fertilizers and CO2 injection, I would recommend around 2 watts of light per gallon. Aside from T5 and metal halides, LED lighting is growing more popular in the aquarium industry today. Although more expensive, LED lighting seems to be the direction aquarium lighting is going. Unlike T5 and metal halide bulbs that need to be replaced every 6-12 months, LED bulbs should last the lifetime of your aquarium. This is something to consider when comparing price differences between light fixtures.
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