Bare Bottom Tanks
Bare bottom tanks are not right for goldfish or any fish for that matter. It’s becoming more common in recent years for keepers to leave the bottom of their tanks bare and without gravel or any kind of substrate. In this article we’re going to explore the reasons why this trend is creating unhealthy environments for our fish.
When reading from various sources online, including an article by Dr Erik L Johnson, I found there are many myths around bare bottom tanks; the most common one being that substrate encourages the growth of bad bacteria. It seems even veterinarians themselves ignore scientific facts. Our tanks are ecosystems, they not only house the fish but also millions of different types of bacteria
Each bacteria plays an important part in ensuring the tank or aquarium remains healthy. In an environment in which the water is heavily oxygenated and kept fresh, no bacteria should become a major issue. Unfortunately with people relying on air stones we continue to see unhealthy ecosystems being built and with the misconception the gravel is the cause of poor conditions. With a good pond pump installed you have no fear of low oxygen levels and uncontrollable amounts of bad bacteria.
Substrate goldfish aquarium
As our tanks are small environments, all bacteria is competing for surface space to build their colonies. This is why it’s important to have a thin layer of gravel and places for these different organisms to live. Each little pieces of gravel you may have on the bottom of your tank will be providing a home for various bacteria all of which contribute something to their community. A good example is de-nitrifying bacteria; in all healthy fish tanks a small amount of this should exist.
It is this bacteria that reduces nitrates, although not eradicating them completely as there is only a small colony. This bacteria prefers to live in areas such as gravel where the water is still and the oxygen is low. The reason people tend to encounter nitrate spikes when they over clean or are inconsistent with their routine is because they’ve upset this balance of bacteria. A light gravel vacuum once per week, ensuring all the gravel gets a turnover will keep levels of bacteria under control, the waste reduced and makes sure any gases forming will be released, thus reducing any risk to the fish.
Gravel aquarium bottom