How Much Gravel Does An Aquarium Need?

Lauren Kiekbusch
How Much Gravel Does An Aquarium Need

The substratum is far more essential than you would envisage for your aquarium. It is incredibly important to add substrates if the marine species want to be able to swim safely inside.

The substrate is the material at the base of the tank, which gives the living beings an appropriate environment. For the substratum, sand, rocks, dirt or gravel may be applied. It’s not difficult to place a substratum inside your aquarium, but it’s important to know how many. 

Gravel is available in all forms, colors, and sizes, but some are more suitable than some for fish or aquarium types. Gravel is available in all shapes and colors. The substratum is much more critical than you would imagine in your aquarium.

The support is the substrate on the bottom of the tank that may consist of sand, some sort of aquarium grounds, rocks, or gravel. It is not all that difficult to set up a good aquarium, but you need to know about some difficult aspects and interesting points.

The depth of the fish tank is also determined by a substratum. The gravel type you select depends primarily on the type of fish in your aquarium. While some fish like fine gravel, others may survive on coarse gravel. 

Many fish like to drill or grab into the tank bottom and a heavier form of gravel should be used to avoid this. Finally, what’s introduced to the aquarium must be considered. In this post, we will clarify the gravel you will need for your aquarium in depth. Let’s start.

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What is Aquarium Gravel?

Gravel can be obtained from coarse to very fine in various grades depending on the form. Aquarium gravel is especially good to use because it spreads nothing into the water, which makes it inert. 

Gravel consists of rock fragments ranging from granules to boulder pieces. Gravel has large sections, making it very brittle, compared with other substrates. It stays intact and flexible, although it is heavy, for a longer time.

Salty Or Fresh Water Tank

Sand and gravel are appropriate for the freshwater tanks, while marine substrates are needed for the saltwater tanks.

The key distinction is the fact that marine sands and gravels consist of coral and shell components that increase aquarium levels of pH and calcium. You can be pretty sharp too. 

The substrates in freshwater need primarily to be neutral, which means they can not influence the pH or alkaline quality of or lift the water to a degree that is not comfortable for most freshwater fish. 

The exception to African Rift Sea Cichlids, which thrive in harsh alkaline waters with a high pH, even if exclusively freshwater. If cichlids from Lake Malawi or Lake Tanganyika are retained and live in harsh waters, sand and gravel would do, but if your tap water is soft and you require a pH-raised substratum then aquatic substrates should be used on freshwater or Rift Sea.

Gravel For Beneficial Bacteria

A substratum of gravel was meant to permit bacteria to expand and create settlements within it. The combination of good bacteria in the tank makes your fish survive in water and preserves it. A further explanation that gravel is used is because the fish is oriented. 

If no base layer is present at the bottom of the tank — such as the substrate — the glass and reflects can disorientate the fish, and cause intense stress and even death.

If gravel in a fish-only tank is used only for certain specific purposes, therefore a depth of 1 to 2 inches is appropriate. If your tank has low-lying feeders, you can apply more depth to the gravel to ensure that the substratum is fine instead of hard.

1. Depth

Profundity is also important. Gravel must be at least two pounds tall or fill an under gravel filter to anchor live or artificial plants. Too big and the tank loses a lot of dirt to fish swimming.

Slide the gravel from the front to the back, assisting with the angle and also allowing debris to accumulate low, fast removal from the front. 

Naturally, the depth of your aquarium can tell you how much gravel you need at the bottom of the tank. On a side note, you can also decide how much gravel you need to decorate your pool.

2. Size

When it comes to gravel, size is critical. Every fish that scrubs the substratum like loaches, corydoras, and geophagous squid needs fine and smooth sand, which can move through their kernels easily.

Parrots and goldfish can stick big gravels in their throats so that they can suck them up, mouth them, and then spit them out again without them sticking. 

From an aesthetic standpoint, more gravel would look better if you have plenty of large decorations. Furthermore, you need a decent amount of gravel if you have decorations that have to be anchored.

How Much Gravel Does An Aquarium Need

Which Types of Fish

The sort of gravel you may need and the amount needed are highly determined by the fish you intend on putting in your aquarium. 

While some fish prefer cough gravel to be fucked up, others prefer fine gravel to dig in and drill in. Find the type of fish that you can maintain in the aquarium and study to classify their habits to assess the quality and quantity of gravel.

Is Gravel The Only Option?

Other people tend to use much fine aquarium rocks rather than dirt, which are softer than anything else. Sand, particularly in marine environments, is also another good choice to pursue. 

Aquarium Soil is another choice you can take with you if you have a heavily planted or want to create one, and you don’t think too much about cleaning time. Few people don’t use substrate, but it is certainly not advisable.

Types of Plants

The type of gravel in the aquaria, which draws its nutrients off the water, is least disrupted in plants without a root system. However, the type of gravel embedded at the base of the fish tank most certainly influences the rooted plants. 

Read Also: Can You Grow Aquarium Plants In Gravel? Which Are The Best?

Wide-rooted plants need a very deep gravel layer. Since large plants are thicker on the top and require a considerable amount of nutrients, they have a very large gravel layer.

Type Of Gravel

To secure nutrients from washing and keep plants in place, a plant tank requires about a one-inch nutrient layer (vermiculite or laterite) on the ground and is covered with about two-inch gravel or sand.

In traditional, non-clumping cat litter, laterite is an ingredient but can be bought packaged for aquariums. Cat litter can contain flavors and/or clumping agents. Substrates with part blends chosen for planting tanks are also available.

Volume of GravelCan You Grow Aquarium Plants In Gravel

For instance, the base of a freshwater tank is 2 inches of gravel. The minimum level of gravel as a substratum required is 2 inches. 

As we described, the size and size of the fish tank is another significant aspect to remember. The aquarium scale should be correct. The bigger the reservoir, the more gravel it needs to shape the foundation is a no-brainer. 

You multiply the depth of the aquarium inches by the amount of gravel you measured per inch to determine the exact amount of gravel needed.

Cleaning And Changing Gravel

Note that gravel is necessary for your aquarium or fish tank, and before measuring the quantity of gravel for your aquarium take account of all the above factors. 

Before putting in the other decorations, add water and place the fish, you always have to add the gravel on the bottom of the tank. Gravel will float and will not linger if you add water to it after filling the tank. 

Read Also: How to Clean Fish Tank Gravel: (With Vacuum & Without Vacuum)

Often, make sure that the fragments of food are not falling to the aquarium floor. The food piles up within the gravel and continues to decay and it creates hydrogen sulfite, a very toxic material for fish.


In the final review, it is necessary though the gravel may seem like a minor point to be remembered. Before you inject the gravel into your tank, take note of all the conditions and make the right measurements. 

After taking into account the aforementioned considerations, it is easy to correctly assess how much gravel you need to install.

Make sure that you are imaginative with your gravel configuration, whatever form, and number. If aesthetic aspects are not taken into consideration, the method of applying gravel to the aquarium tank can be fun-filled.

For more information, you should watch this video below, enjoy!

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