Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
magpie14

Gravel Bottom Vs Bare Bottom

Recommended Posts

What are the pros and cons of both? Any reason why one would be better than the other?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bare bottom is just easier to keep clean. Goldfish are so much messier than a tank full of small tropicals. LOL Surprisingly, you don't see the poop laying around on the glass like you'd think. If you position your intakes right at the bottom poop/debris gets sucked in pretty quickly! Bare bottom does not have to be 100% bare. I have a couple handfuls of glass marbles scattered around. Pots can be used for live plants. It can look very beautiful.

If you like the look of gravel it is recommended you use no more than 1/2 to 1 inch layer, and large (pea size or larger) pebbles. This must be thoroughly vacuumed and lightly stirred around with every water change. Poop & debris sinks into gravel before the filters can get it all. Pockets of bacterias and gasses can form which are dangerous for your fish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of it is personal opinion. For my part, I started with gravel and eventually liked bare bottom, which I prefer, so here my pros for bare:

No gravel means no waste gets trapped in it, and so there is no need for weekly gravel vacuuming. If you have 10x filtration, the filters will remove the waste from the water / bottom. So it is not like you are gonna end up with poop all over the bottom (which was what I feared before I went bare bottom).

The less substrate, the more room for water volume. Increased water volume means better water quality. This depends though on how much gravel you have. Like if it is only a very thin layer, then the difference is rather insignificant.

Fish won't be able to swallow or choke on gravel. This happens rarely, but it CAN happen.

EDIT: As Red said, bare bottom can still be nicely decorated. Larger rocks with plants tied to them, nice glass ornaments, glass marbles, river rocks scattered over the bottom or placed nicely. I'd recommend you check out the tanks of Red, stakos, Sakura and Captain Findus Goldfish. These four are the first that come to my mind who have beautifully decorated bare bottom tanks :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also started out with gravel. I don't really see my tank as bare bottom. I have lots of blue glass and blue polished rocks in my goldfish tank.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a fish get a piece of gravel lodged in his mouth. It does happen and it isn't pretty.

Also, if you use bigger rocks with smaller fish, watch the fish as they grow because ultimately, the gravel can and will fit in their mouth. They love to suck on the rocks. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right now in my tank I have a 1/4 of the tank with Crushed coral and gravel mix, This just gives my Jupiter a place to sleep and to keep my PH up there. So you can have a bare bottom tank or a gravel tank or a tank with a little gravel or river rocks in it. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm more of a gravel person. I prefer it so...

-the goldfish can enjoy their natural behavior of sifting through the substrate

-I can have a planted tank besides just pots of plants

-the look is more natural

-there is more room for bb's in the tank. Of course, there is debate as to how much bb's really live in the substrate.

The grain size of gravel is very important. You have to choose a small enough grain that the goldfish can easily fit a couple pieces in its mouth to prevent choking, but a larger size will prevent anaerobic pockets. Anaerobic pockets are caused when small grains of substrate (such as play sand) compact so much that no water moves through that pocket. Eventually all the bacteria in it use up the oxygen and die, so the area will be colonized by anaerobic bacteria. These are of concern because some anaerobic bacteria produce hydrogen sulfide, a rotten egg smelling gas that is toxic in certain quantities. Used in depths of a couple inches, standard pet store gravel is large enough that the chances of anaerobic pockets forming are very small. I'm sure it can happen, but I've never personally heard of gravel turning anaerobic, only sand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really like my mostly bare bottom tank. I have a few larger rocks with plants tied to them, and then some pebbles scattered around. It is mostly bare, but the fish like to move around the handful of pebbles that are there, so I feel like it is the best of both worlds (super easy to clean, but still a bit of substrate for the fish to play around with)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been a long time user of aquarium gravel. However I've recently spoken with a few people whom I consider "experts" in the fancy and they've recommended that I remove the gravel from GF tanks considering that I keep only Telescopes. I'm in the process of gradually removing the gravel from all three of my GF tanks and should be bare bottom within two months. It's going to take some time getting used to the new look but after quite a bit of discussion I don't believe there's any alternative to help keep my Telescopes healthy by eliminating any possibility of detrimental bacteria. Again, it's going to take some time getting used to it but in my opinion I think it's your best option to go bare bottom in your tanks. :thumb:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I confess, I'm a gravel girl. I had barebottom tanks for my goldies back in the day, but they just didn't appeal to me aesthetically -- plus my goldfish really enjoy picking through the gravel. It's a natural behavior and when I went barebottom, they seemed depressed with nothing to do.

Just my personal preference, though. I definitely see the drawbacks of gravel from a bacterial and potential choking hazard standpoint. But I vacuum the heck out of it every week and am taking my chances.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My goldfish tanks all have at least some gravel. Even it there is only a little. I just watch the size for the smaller fish.

I, too, prefer the look of gravel or substrate, as opposed to barebotoom. Although, there are some really pretty barebottom tanks around here. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like bare bottom tank for a couple reasons.

1) You can tell how much food is being eaten and you know all the food is being eaten.

2) If the food is not eaten it is very easy to remove it or spot clean the tank.

3) When you have power filters the tank usually cleans its self.

4) No place for parasites, fungus, or bacteria to hide.

5) It is a very clean look.

6) No choking or impaction hazard.

7) Easier to disinfect if the needed.

8) When you have lots tanks the above items speed up maintenance.

I do love a natural tank with sand or gravel. I usually have 1 out of every 5 tanks a planted tank. Just an estimate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could also do a combination. Like bare bottom, and get a shallow glass "bowl and fill it with a shallow layer of gravel. Something sort of like this http://www.le-tom.com/img/duralex-bowl-medium.jpg

That way the fish have a place to play in the gravel. By keeping the gravel shallow in there, it should mostly stay in the bowl. You only need to gravel vacuum this one area then, and if you keep the bowl close to a filter intake, it might even keep most waste from ending up on the gravel.

Another idea would be to dedicate one end or one corner of the tank to gravel, and make a "barrier" with large river rocks to keep most of the gravel in it's area. I like to looks of party decorated bare bottom tanks (mine is currently completely empty except for of course the water and fish). In addition to the great tank setups by members of Koko's, here a few pics I found googling as examples that bare bottom does not necessarily mean plain and boring :)

http://www.fishforums.net/uploads/post-22-1101952434.jpg

http://rieger.id.au/Coppermine/albums/userpics/10001/tank011.jpg

http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=102498&d=1250341977&thumb=1

http://rieger.id.au/Coppermine/albums/userpics/10001/tank014.jpg

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=14318&d=1247021435

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for those great examples, Fang!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally have one of each. My big tank has gravel and is planted. I couldn't stand the large tank with no substrate. My smaller tank is barebottom. I have this tank without substrate as the fish in this tank have issues. But I like the look of the fine gravel better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like gravel. I like the natural look in my tank with gravel, plants and some larger rocks. I actually don't mind cleaning my gravel and tank. :heart

I've actually never had a bare bottom tank.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i have gravel in both my tanks. Personally i like the look of it and i can insert plants anywhere i want to place them. I have removed 30 percent of it because i started out with too much. I vacuum my gravel extensively.

That being said, i see a lot of nice bare bottom tanks here, but its just not for me right now. I may change my mind in the future. I think the member "red" has a real cool glass "8" ornament that may inspire me to look at removing gravel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i have gravel in both my tanks. Personally i like the look of it and i can insert plants anywhere i want to place them. I have removed 30 percent of it because i started out with too much. I vacuum my gravel extensively.

That being said, i see a lot of nice bare bottom tanks here, but its just not for me right now. I may change my mind in the future. I think the member "red" has a real cool glass "8" ornament that may inspire me to look at removing gravel

Both Ross and Marshalls have those glass sculptures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks Chris. i have a marshalls next door

It is hit or miss though. I looked for months and finally found glass like Red's at TJMaxx (Marshall's affiliate).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a tip about the glass sculpture. If they are the same as mine, there is a glass base glued to the piece with a thin sheet of glue/silicone, I'm not sure what it is, but it came away as a thin bit of plastic type stuff after a couple weeks in the tank, no ill effects with the fish. I stuck it back together with aquarium silicon. So perhaps soaking your piece in a bucket of water for a couple weeks first would be a good idea. Or maybe soaking in hot water for a while will loosen it off so you can silicon it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Red. I haven't put mine in yet and was wondering about the base. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
  • Create New...