Aquarium Gravel Choices

Choosing the best aquarium gravel for the needs of a fish tank is an important decision because gravel forms the base on which the rest of the aquarium depends.  When it comes to setting up a new aquarium any hobbyist, whether a beginner or more advanced, finds themselves delighted with the many options available to them.  There are many different ways to customize a fish tank such as type of plant (real or fake), what fish to choose, how to decorate the aquarium, and many more.

Aquarium gravel comes in a variety of options, but the best way to separate them by both appearance and function is by particle size.  From smallest to largest, the choices are sand, ‘typical’ gravel, and pebbles.

Aquarium Sand

Aquarium sand has the smallest particle size of the various aquarium substrates available.  Options include play sand, silica sand, and sand from other sources such as crushed coral.  The biggest factor influencing what type of sand you will choose is likely the color.  Sands for fish tanks are available in light brown/tan, darker brown, black, and white.  Because sand does not allow fish waste to filter deep into it, your weekly water changes will be pretty easy to undertake.  Just siphon along the surface and you will get most of the dirt out of the aquarium.  Finally, aquarium sand is a great substrate for most plants!

Basic Aquarium Gravel

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Basic aquarium gravel is what you will see most commonly at aquarium supply websites.  It has particle sizes anywhere from a few millimeters to 7 or 8 mm and the pieces are quite irregular.  This substrate is great for plants because it has lots of space for roots to work their way through, and the irregular surface makes it easy for plant roots to grab on.  Gravel is available in a multitude of colors, both natural and vibrant so the decision is based on the purpose of the fish tank.


Pebbles are a great way to have a larger sized aquarium gravel.  They resemble smooth small rocks which makes them a great choice for aquariums that are being designed to resemble a realistic natural habitat.  Unfortunately, though, pebbles are not the best choice if you plan on having a planted aquarium.  While there is some choice of color, most pebbles are found in various shades of gray.

There you have it – a quick guide to the available aquarium gravel sizes and colors.  Be sure to choose the best gravel for the needs of your fish tank and your aquarium will thrive for years into the future!  If you have any plants in your tank, one of the best options is ECO-COMPLETE aquarium substrate!

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