01-04-2010, 01:32 PM
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Something to bear in mind with choosing a substrate is the fish that you intend to have in the aquarium. The substrate is an important part of the aquascape not only through its appearance to us, but its effect on the fish. Some fish are fine over a light substrate (like the rift lake cichlids in Teammuir's tank in the photo), but South American tetras or SE Asian rasbora and gouramis would prefer a darker substrate to feel more "comfortable" and thus less stressed. There are darker types of play sand, Home Depot in Canada carries a dark gray one, which would work better for SA fish. If you look at the photos of Aunt kymmie's loach tank you will see black sand, perfect for those fish.
Everything in the aquarium, from substrate to wood, rocks and plants should be there with regard to the needs of the fish.