One of the first choices you’ll have to make for your new aquarium will be what kind of substrate to use as the floor. There are a few different choices, but the two main competitors have always been gravel and sand.
Sand can look really cool, but it comes with a few downsides, mainly, that it gets stuck everywhere. You have to watch out that it doesn’t end up in your filter, and that you don’t suck it up when trying to vacuum out other debris from the tank. Sand can also hold nitrogenous gasses, which you can only get out by stirring the sand (and therefore disturbing the inhabitants). Sand is a must though, for certain types of species that make it their home, such as fish that like to burrow in it. Sand will also hold plant roots more firmly if you want to have real plants in your aquarium.
Gravel, on the other hand, tends to be easier to deal with and still looks quite good. It’s inert, and there are plenty of spaces between the rocks so that water gets filtered through, so it can remain relatively clean. It’s also too large to get stuck in filters. Last but not least, while sand happens to be, well, just sand, gravel for aquariums now comes in virtually every size and color you can image, which means you can do some really cool color combinations.
Ultimately, there’s no right choice when it comes to which substrate to choose for your tank. The best choice will depend on many factors. If you’re currently trying to decide, feel free to reach out to us with the specifics of your tank, and we’ll be happy to provide our opinion on which would work better for your purposes.