Artificial aquarium soil is a relatively recent development. It is still rarely used. However, for the realization of some ideas without it can not do without it. If you decide to decorate the interior of your apartment with the help of an aquarium, then the home pond, copying natural biotopes is not the only possible design solution. In a room decorated in avant-garde style, the same avant-garde aquarium will look more harmoniously. When creating such an unusual body of water, you will first of all need artificial soil.
Most often it is a colorful plastic or glass balls. Sometimes painted with bright colors pelletized to the disappearance of sharp edges of natural materials. Artificial soils also include expanded clay. These materials are used most often.
Disadvantages of expanded clay
It should be noted that expanded clay is often called artificial soil, but we do not recommend using it for this purpose. There are a number of reasons for this.
- It is more common to find a coarsely fractionated product, which is already bad in itself.
- Over time, its strength decreases and it can break down to form a clay-like sludge.
- It’s a porous material. It would seem to be good, but it is not. Its pores are clogged with organic residues, which are practically impossible to extract from these pores. Organic matter rotting there can spoil the water.
- Claydite is too light. Therefore, it is practically impossible to plant plants in it. Plants will not be able to hold in it. In addition, taking advantage of the lightness of granules fish will definitely start to play them in soccer (or what is the correct name for it, given the lack of legs?). This will additionally agitate the water.
- Claydite has one color – red-brown and cannot be painted.
All these disadvantages are devoid of decorative material made of plastic or glass.
Modern artificial aquarium soil
The substrate consisting of glass or plastic balls is, above all, chemically inert. In other words, it does not participate in any way in the establishment of biological balance behind the glass of your aquarium, however, it does not disturb it in any way.
The absence of sharp edges or edges of the pellets is also an undeniable advantage, especially when keeping bottom fish or delicate varietals of goldfish such as water eyes or telescope fish.
The size of the granules is commensurate with the particle size of inert natural materials (granite chips, small pebbles, coarse sand) commonly used to cover the bottom of the aquarium. There are fractions from 2 to 10 millimeters.
Artificial aquarium soil Colors unlimited
The main charm of these materials is determined by the great variety of colors that can be painted glass or plastic, from which individual balls of substrate are cast. Modern technologies of production of these materials allow you to color them in any of the sixteen million colors that your monitor can reproduce.
For the avant-garde aqua designer, this fact opens up truly limitless possibilities for the implementation of the most daring, unusual and colorful projects.
- The simplest solution is to use pellets of one color, such as turquoise.
- The second solution is not much more complicated than the first and consists in mixing two basic colors in approximately equal proportions. Mixtures of blue and green balls, red and yellow, white and black will look good. The rest will be prompted by your imagination.
- A variation of the previous method – mixing two or more primary colors in different proportions, thus obtaining different shades of the resulting mixture.
- Zoning the bottom of the aquarium with different colors.
- Sprinkling various simple (or maybe just the opposite, very complex) drawings and inscriptions. For example, congratulations on the new year…..
All of the above mentioned options for using these materials are only rough outlines to awaken your imagination. It will give you ideas that I never dreamed of.
Luminous artificial aquarium soil
More recently, there have been reports of luminous artificial soil. Its granules have a diameter of 2 to 8 millimeters. They consist of self-luminous polymers of PL brand, to which luminosity catalysts have been added. During the day, this plastic has a pale pink color, it is able to accumulate energy from any light source. And at night, when darkness falls, the bottom covered with it begins to glow with an even greenish light. According to the manufacturer’s statement, the luminous artificial ground does not contain harmful or toxic substances.
What do you think of the idea of a glowing congratulatory inscription on the bottom?
Now let’s remember about the inhabitants of our water body, which are alive and consist of flesh and blood, as well as water and chlorophyll. How will they feel in an aquarium that is decorated like this?
Artificial aquarium soil as a background for aquarium fish
First, do not use this decoration in ponds for swarming fish, namely American cichlids are prone to dig all the bottom cover to their liking, unlikely to appreciate the new material.
Secondly, on such a bright background will be acceptable to look as bright fish. For such an avant-garde pond will be suitable guppies, representatives of the genus danio, neons, barbs, swordfish. Bright coloring of these fish will prevent their disappearance behind the colorful background.
Thirdly, it is often stated that artificial soil, being an inert substrate, will not allow rooting plants to develop normally. However, the basic aquarium substrates used for centuries to cover the bottom are also inert.
Artificial aquarium soil and plants will make friends
Therefore, if you take artificial soil with a fraction of 2 to 5 millimeters and give it time to silt up, the plants will feel great. Nevertheless, if you have doubts or do not have time (which is more often the case) to wait until the siltation of the substrate, then you can plant aquarium plants in pots filled with a nutrient mixture, made according to the needs of the plant. You can also lay on the bottom of the usual nutrient mixture according to all the rules, and artificial soil used only to cover the main layer of substrate. This technique will save some money on the purchase of this decorative element.
After all, such an aquarium is not equipped to recreate natural processes, but to give a certain color to the room. Therefore, you can do without plants at all or replace them with plastic moulages too cheerful colors. Only you are the designer of your aquarium. Try – you will definitely succeed.
Lighting Must be moderate
Do not light such an aquarium too brightly, otherwise algae covered balls of substrate can turn any of their color into brown-green.
Here we go! Not only do you have to worry about getting the right lighting for the plants and fish. Now it’s the soil! 🙂
There are also substrates consisting of natural materials pounded to remove sharp edges and colored with water-resistant paint harmless to living things.
If given the choice between multi-colored glass or plastic and pebbles with paint on the surface, I would choose the former.
The main suppliers of aquarium colorful substrates today are Dennerle Color-Quarz, Hagen, Nechay ZOO.
That’s probably all we wanted to tell you about such a design tool as artificial soil. Have fun with your design ideas and their realization.