Frequently Asked Questions On Aquarium Gravel

Aquariums have been a source of fascination for many people around the world. The beauty of an aquarium comes from the diverse wildlife that it contains. Many hobbyists find it rewarding to create and maintain a successful aquarium.

When it comes to setting up an aquarium, the gravel is one of the most important elements. It can set the mood for the overall design, provide a happier and healthier home for fish, and bring your underwater world to life. But before you dive into the depths of aquarium gravel selection, there are a few things you should know. From composition to color, let’s explore what to look for when selecting the perfect aquarium gravel.

Do I have to have gravel in my tank?

Do you need gravel in your fish tank? It’s a common question, and the answer depends on the type of tank and the fish you’re keeping.

For most tank setups, adding a layer of gravel or aquarium substrate is a great way to create an attractive base for your fish tank and to provide a hiding place for some fish. Unlined tanks can look quite barren, and the substrate helps to create a space that looks more like a natural environment for your fish.

Most fish, with the exception of loaches and burrowing species, will do just fine with a gravel or aquarium substrate. Fish like guppies and danios love to search through the substrate for food. Likewise, tanks with live plants benefit from the extra nutrients available in the gravel which helps to support healthy plant growth. Sand or fine gravel can also provide more oxygen to the tank which makes for better water quality.

However, you don’t need to use gravel to have a successful fish tank. A smooth and cleaned tank liner is often just as viable. If you’re keeping bottom-dwelling fish, such as corydoras or loaches, it might be better to skip the typical gravel and go for a larger, smooth substrate. Loaches, in particular, like to burrow and a smooth bottom allows them to do that without the hassle of the sediment getting stuck in their gills and eyes. Smooth surfaces can also reflect more light so if you are keeping bottom dwelling fish, the number of lighting chances may encourage schooling behavior.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing your substrate. If you’re looking to create a more natural environment for your fish, gravel may be a great choice. If you’d like to keep bottom-dwelling species, you may feel more comfortable with a different type of substrate. Make sure to do your research and get the best substrate for your fish tank and its inhabitants – it will make a big difference in the quality of your aquarium.

Do fish prefer gravel or sand?

It can be difficult to know what type of substrate to use in our aquariums. The answer to the question “do fish prefer gravel or sand?” is not a one-size-fits-all answer. Depending on the type of fish and their natural habitat, both substrates can be used with great success.

Gravel is a popular choice for many freshwater aquariums, primarily due to its affordability and low maintenance. Gravel provides great filtration and can easily trap debris, allowing the filter to more effectively clean the aquarium water. Fish enjoy the burrowing and swimming opportunities provided by the larger grain sizes of gravel and can often be seen playing among the stones.

Sand is also popular option, especially in saltwater aquariums, as it allows underlying currents to move freely, creating an environment similar to the ocean floor. Sand also offers plenty of filtration, trapping organic matter and providing nitrifying bacteria plenty of room to thrive. Many types of fish, such as cichlids, will enjoy the looser grain size of sand and waste from fish food is easy to spot and remove.

So, the real answer is that it is ultimately up to you and your fish. Each aquarium and it’s inhabitants are unique and what works for one may not work for all. Gravel and sand both have advantages and disadvantages and it’s recommended to do your research on what works best for your particular set-up.

In conclusion, either substrate will work for most aquariums and the type you choose is up to your personal preference and how your fish reacts to it. There’s really no right or wrong answer, so feel free to experiment to find what works best for you and your fish.

What Colour gravel do fish like?

When it comes to colour in the fish tank, many people assume that the fish aren’t particularly fussy. After all, what colour of gravel matters much to a fish?

However, it turns out that fish do care a bit about the colour of their gravel, and in some cases, the colour of the tank could even impact their behaviour.

Aesthetics are important to a fish tank and the type of gravel you pick can make a big difference. Fish need their environment to be aesthetically pleasing. The right gravel can add a lot to the appearance of a tank and make it look more beautiful.

When considering the best type of gravel for fish, natural pebbles and stones are usually the best choice. Their natural textures and colours are usually most appreciated by fish. Natural options such as coral, quartz, and pebbles with iridescent colours are popular among tank owners. Stones come in a variety of colours, from grey to black and yellow, to many shades of blue and green.

In terms of colour, there’s no one colour of gravel that’s particularly better than any other. The most important thing is to find the one that looks best with your tank setup and that suits the fish type you choose.

For example, many community freshwater tanks prefer bright, vibrant colours such as yellow and light pink, while saltwater setups commonly use darker earth tones like brown, black, and dark blue.

Darker substrates are better for planted tanks because they provide a contrast that allows the plants to stand out. The more natural colours in a tank will also help brighten it up and will provide more colour variation that can make a tank appear more vibrant.

No matter what colour gravel you choose, always make sure it’s safe for fish. It should be free from sharp edges as well as any loose material or dirt that could harm your fish.

When deciding which colour gravel to buy for your fish tank, remember to consider the impact it will have on fish behaviour. Your fish’s natural instincts such as responding to prey, predators, or seeking shelter, might be affected by changes in colour.

At the end of the day the colour of gravel you choose for your tank mostly comes down to personal preference, but always remember to think about its potential impacts on your fish. Whatever you choose, with the right care, your tank will look beautiful in no time!

What can I use instead of gravel in my fish tank?

When it comes to aquariums, the options for what to use instead of gravel in your fish tank can seem a bit overwhelming. You have a range of choices including bare-bottom tanks, live sand, and nutrient-adding substrate. All will have different effects on the water parameters, overall health of the tank, and appearance. To help you decide what’s best for your aquarium – we’ve made a brief guide to help explain the various options.

Bare-bot tom tanks:

Bare-bottom tanks are exactly as they sound: there is no substrate, just the glass bottom of the tank. This can be a popular choice for fish-only tanks, as it’s easy to keep clean and it won’t become a breeding ground for parasites or disease. It also won’t affect the water parameters, so you won’t need to monitor them extra carefully.

However, if you want your aquarium to look more natural, this may not be the best choice for you. Without the mineral-rich substrate and the addition of rocks and live plants, the tank will become quite one-dimensional. Some fish do not mind living in a bare-bottom tank, but if you want something more aesthetically pleasing, you may want to go with a different option.

Live Sand:

Live sand is a great option if you want to add a natural look and feel to your aquarium, while still keeping maintenance minimal. As the name suggests, the sand will consist of several types of microorganisms that actively break down waste and release beneficial minerals that help regulate pH and ammonia levels.

This isn’t the most suitable choice if you have fish that dig or sift through the sand, as it can easily become clouded (which will also start to reduce water quality). You’ll also need to be very careful when adding live sand to avoid compaction and to ensure the beneficial microorganisms can establish themselves throughout.

Nutrient-Adding Substrate:

Nutrient-adding substrates like soil or clay-based aquarium substrates are a great way to boost the aesthetics of your aquarium, while still providing helpful minerals to the water. Soil and clay substrates come in different shades and will slowly release beneficial minerals over time. This helps keep the water parameters consistent, and it can also help promote growth of beneficial nitrifying bacteria.

Soil and clay substrates can be a great option for tanks that contain a lot of live plants, as they can help provide the plants with the additional nutrients they need. They also help to maintain beneficial bacteria levels, so your aquarium filter won’t be working as hard – which means less maintenance for you.

Choosing the Right Substrate for Your Aquarium:

Before making a decision about what use instead of gravel the aquarium, think about the type of tank you want to create and the effects you want it to have on the water parameters. If you want something low maintenance and that won’t affect the water, go for the bare-bottom option. If you want a more natural-looking aquarium, live sand and nutrient-adding substrates are great choices. Good luck!

Is aquarium soil better than gravel?

When it comes to the substrate of an aquarium, many hobbyists debate whether aquarium soil or gravel is the better choice. It can be difficult to decide which substrate is best, as both offer unique benefits and drawbacks.

When it comes to the pros and cons of aquarium soil versus gravel, it is important to consider the environment of the aquarium. Aquarium soil is typically made up of clay and organic matter, which can differ from tank to tank. Aquarium soil can provide many benefits for an aquarium. In some cases, it can help to add nutrients to the water.

Aquarium soil can also provide a place for beneficial bacteria to colonize and help with the nitrogen cycle. Additionally, aquarium soil can help to provide a more natural look in the aquarium, rather than the bare bottom look of gravel.

On the other hand, aquarium gravel can also provide many benefits to an aquarium. Gravel is typically made up of inert rocks, and can come in a variety of colors and sizes. Gravel can provide a more decorative look to an aquarium, and can help to keep the water clean. Additionally, gravel can provide a place for beneficial bacteria to colonize and help with the nitrogen cycle as well.

In the end, the decision of whether to use aquarium soil or gravel in an aquarium comes down to personal preference and the environment of the aquarium. Both substrates have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, and both can be a great addition to any aquarium. It is important to research the pros and cons of each substrate, and decide which one will be the best choice for your aquarium.

Why is my aquarium gravel turning green?

The most likely cause of green aquarium gravel is algae. Algae is a type of plant that grows in water and can be found in many aquariums. Algae growth is usually caused by excess nutrients in the water, such as nitrates and phosphates. These nutrients can come from fish waste, overfeeding, or even from tap water that has not been properly filtered.

To prevent algae growth in your aquarium, it is important to keep the water clean. Regularly change 25% of the water in your tank and use a good aquarium filter to remove excess nutrients from the water. Additionally, you should avoid overfeeding your fish and make sure to clean up any leftover food particles from the bottom of the tank.

If you already have green aquarium gravel, there are a few things you can do to get rid of the algae. First, you can manually remove the algae by using a siphon hose or a small aquarium vacuum. You can also use an algae-removing product, such as an algaecide, to treat the water in your tank. Lastly, you can increase the amount of water flow in your tank to reduce the amount of nutrients available for algae growth.

What is the difference between aquarium gravel and regular gravel?

the difference between aquarium gravel and regular gravel. Regular gravel is used in the construction of pathways, for landscaping, and in other general gardening tasks – and is often a less expensive option when compared to aquarium gravel. The correct choice of substrate will contribute to the health of your fish and the appearance of your aquarium; so it’s important to understand the difference between these two types of gravel before purchasing.

Aquarium gravel is specifically designed for tanks containing fish. It is typically circular or ovoid in shape, and has a rougher texture than regular pebbles – ideal for coating the floor of the tank.

The stones are usually lighter in hue and often contain more porous minerals, giving them a brighter, richer appearance. These gravel particles also support beneficial bacteria; these organisms improve the water parameters of a fish tank, making it an ideal environment for aquatic creatures to thrive.

Although regular gravel can be used in aquariums, it will decline in appearance over time, partially due to its higher rate of erosion. If regular pebbles are used, an additional filter should definitely be included – allowing for a reliable and constant flow of clean and oxygenated water.

Do Under Gravel Filters work?

Under gravel filters are a type of biological filter, often featuring fine gravel substrate added to the filter chamber. These filters are very popular amongst aquarist as they are inexpensive and also provide a secondary level of filtration beyond the main filter system. Waste created by fish and other inhabitants of the aquarium will slowly accumulate underneath the gravel, where it is broken down by beneficial organisms.

These filters help to break down and dissipate waste, aiding water clarity and reducing the amount of maintenance required. The colonies of bacteria present will also help to keep ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites for stabilizing the water quality – helping to keep the tank inhabitants healthy. However, the effectiveness of the filter will depend on the size, purity and age of the gravel substrate used.

Where Does the Waste go on a Under Gravel Filter?

The waste created by filter-feeding organisms, such as fish and aquatic invertebrates, will make its way into the under gravel filter. The water trapped underneath the gravel substrate then gets broken down into harmless compounds, with the microbial colonies in the substrate removing essential nutrients as they do. This allows for a more regulated water chemistry and improved water clarity.

It’s important to note that, although under gravel filters are effective, they require regular maintenance in order to maintain the health of the tank and keep the water clean. The gravel should be cleaned with a vacuum at least once a month, with any excess material removed from the filter to prevent clogging. Providing these conditions are met, an under gravel filter can be an effective way of keeping an aquarium healthy.


Creating an aquarium can be a fun and rewarding project, but selecting the right substrate is one of the most important steps. There are many factors to consider when choosing between different types of aquarium gravel, including your budget, the size of your tank, the types of plants and animals you plan to keep, and your own personal preference. Whether you opt for colorful, eye-catching gravel or sand that provides natural filtration, the choices are varied. Explore the advantages and disadvantages of aquarium gravel to find the best fit for your home aquarium.