Pros and Cons of Aquarium Without Substrate

Creating an ideal environment of an aquarium is not as simple as it may seem at first glance. Even if you don’t have a typical bottom (ground) coating, you can face a number of problems that lead to unsightly feeding, unsightly appearance and difficulties during the periodic clean-up. How can you make the most of your space in a practical way?

Is Substrate even needed?

In modern aquariums it is customary to use several most common types of natural or artificial soils: coral crumb, deposit, pebbles, burnt clay and sand with gravel. The main criterion for choosing the composition of the substrate for your tank is the combination with fish and plants that will inhabit the aquarium.

But many fans prefer the bright bottom of minimalism and do not cover the bottom at all. Because of these conflicting opinions on the issue of design, beginners should become familiar with both options in advance, to weigh all pros and cons.

Aquarium Without Substrate Cons

Aquarium With Substrate

These are the cons for an aquarium without substrate:

  • Aquatic vegetation grows slowly and does not take root well without a base of substrate;

  • The sandy soil performs its biological functions perfectly, and its absence influences the fact that the aquarium becomes more polluted (especially the walls and filters);

  • For some types of fish the top layer of the ground is the ideal shelter, a place of rest and games, so without it they are uncomfortable;

  • The effect of natural look disappears, as the interior of the aquarium seems half-empty;

Aquarium Without Substrate Pros

Bare Bottom Aquarium

But there are advantages for aquariums without substrate as well:

  • Periodic washing and cleaning of the aquarium without the need for a siphon requires much less time and effort from the owner;

  • There is no need to renew the substrate when it gets polluted;

  • The composition of water does not change chemically and you should not worry about the condition of its inhabitants;

  • Aquarium is more clear as there is no substrate the active fish will throw around;

Can I Have Plants In Aquarium Without Substrate?

If you have to give up the substrate layer when you design an aquarium, it does not mean that you cannot have plants in your aquarium. There are plants do not rely on their roots to take in the nutrients they need to grow, they can get their nutrients just fine straight from the water through their leaves. Instead of the classic planting method, alternative methods have to be used. THese type of plants are more easy to take care of and provide you with more creative options, when deciding where to put them.

Some popular and relatively easy to take care of plants that do not require substrate are:

  • Java moss (any other kind of moss as well)
  • Java Fern
  • Water Lettuce
  • Water Weeds (Elodea)
  • Hornwort
  • Marimbo Moss Balls
  • Anubias
  • Cabomba

All in all, it is completely up to your wishes about whether or not you want to have substrate in your aquarium. If You are interested in having substrate in your aquarium, you can check out our Ultimate Aquarium Substrate Guide.