Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner Reviews 2023

Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner Reviews 2023

If you want to keep your aquarium clean, you will need a gravel cleaner. By presenting you with our guide containing the best aquarium vacuum cleaner reviews you will be able to identify a gravel cleaner to suit your needs.

There are many models of vacuum cleaners on the market today that are helpful in ensuring that you maintain an excellent aquarium substrate.

Comparison Table

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

With the best environment, the aquarium inhabitants will have an easy time living in a home that is clean from build-up of debris and waste on the bottom of the tank.

Many years ago my thinking process about aquarium gravel was simple. The gravel was gravel and therefore inherently dirty like road gravel.

I believed that since this gravel was underwater, it must be as clean as it could possible be.

If you are seeking an aquarium siphon, or vacuum, you are in the right place.

In this buyer’s guide, we look at the different types that can be bought and summarize their benefits.

After researching 40+ different gravel vacuums, we have narrowed it down to the selection below which we have reviewed for you. The ones we selected are suitable for every aquarium size.

We aim to give you a better understand aquarium gravel dredgers, including which one is perfect for your tank.


Why Do You Need a an Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner?

Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner Reviews 2022

One of the most common causes of marine and freshwater fish disease is stress. Poor water conditions in the aquarium often cause stress, so keeping your tank meticulously clean is critical for your fish to thrive. But it is not always easy to remove fish waste and uneaten food from the substrate. This waste can change the chemistry of the water, which may hinder the health of your fish.

Thus having a gravel vacuum will enable aquarium maintenance to be speedier and much more efficient to just using a siphon hose. A cleaner aquarium environment means healthier happy fish.

If you own an aquarium, it is your responsibility to maintain a healthy environment for your aquatic life. This includes cleaning substrates regularly. The best way to do this would be by using an underwater vacuum cleaner specifically designed for aquariums.

Left over food, fish waste and plant material end up in the substrate and begin to decompose. Decomposition increases ammonia levels that are toxic to fish and it reduces oxygen in the water. Cleaning, using traditional methods, where you need to siphon water from the aquarium is not the best way to go. It can be messy and cumbersome.

Many fish, corals and plants, have very narrow parameters with water chemistry and with water PH that ensures their survival. When wastes build up the fish will stress. A vacuum cleaner helps maintain a consistent water chemistry.

Top 10 Best Gravel Cleaners 

Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner Reviews


1. Python No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Maintenance System

Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner

The health of your aquarium is always important. This requires having the correct maintenance system. The Python No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Maintenance System should help you with this.

So why do people like this product?

One thing is for certain, you will always get the best performance when using this type of product. It is easy to operate.

Setting up complexed equipment can be off putting for some. This product does not need to be assembled. The manufacturer will send it assembled. Just open the packaging and use it in your aquarium.

I am impressed with the quality. It is well made and value for money and the materials are FDA approved.


  1. Save time
  2. Environmentally friendly
  3. Best quality
  4. Easy to use


  1. None that I can see
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2. SunGrow Aquarium Gravel Cleaner Kit

Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner

There’s no point in being messy when it comes to cleaning your tank. The Sungrow Aquarium Gravel Cleaner Kit comes with all the necessary equipment to clean the aquarium.

You get a portable controller that is effective at removing debris from the aquarium easily. Within minutes of cleaning you should start to see a difference in your aquarium water.

The product is suitable for fresh and saltwater tanks.

The equipment will allow for easy routine maintenance. Use the short nozzle to clean gravel and substrate. The flexible tube allows you to reach the behind rocks and plants where debris has built up. The vacuum is designed for ease.


  1. Easy to use
  2. Less time to set up
  3. Compact for hassle-free storage
  4. Easy maintenance


  1. Some quality issues
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3. Luigi’s Aquarium Siphon and Gravel Cleaner

Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner

This is the perfect option if you regularly change the water in your tank.

The Luigi’s Aquarium Siphon and Gravel Cleaner, allows for easy filtering of the gravel at the bottom of the tank. It easily removes uneaten food, waste and debris that has accumulated over time.

There is a filter in this cleaner, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally sucking up small shrimps or fish. Other vacuum cleaner suction tubes do not have this function. However, the holes in the filter are a little small, so it is not able to suck up the bigger chunks of debris.

This product is affordable, being value for money, and comes with a 100% money back guarantee. So you can buy it with confidence.


  1. The filter prevents it from sucking up small fish or shrimps
  2. The affordable price makes it good value
  3. Hand pump


  1. No instructions are supplied
  2. Syphon hole small- not able to suck larger pieces of debris
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4. SSRIVER Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner

The SSRIVER Aquarium Gravel Cleaner has a practical design that allows you to clean aquariums of different sizes, and it is easy to operate.

Having a filter feature prevents the suction of gravel or even small fish or shrimp. The filter allows for easy separation of waste from things that should remain in your tank.

To use this aquarium vacuum cleaner, simply press the air push button to pump water. You can use the flow regulator, so you can go as fast or slow as you want while sucking the water out of your tank.

The product comes with some great accessories that other vacuum cleaners don’t have. These include a glass scraper, flow clamp, valve and filter.

The company offers a money back guarantee if customers are not happy with the product.


  1. Adjustable flow
  2. Lots of accessories, including a glass scraper.
  3. The air push button starts the water flow


  1. No seals, so air can escape and weaken suction
  2. Leaks can occur
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5. Marina Easy Clean Gravel Cleaner

Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner

This Marina Easy Clean Gravel Cleaner is designed to be a hassle-free option.

This device comes with a hose that will never kink. It also has a comfortable grip and the tube is oval in shape, making it easy to tuck the hose into the corners of the tank.

The cleaning vacuum component is 15 inches long and 2.5 inches in diameter. It comes with a 1.8 meter tube. The gravel vacuum works quickly to pick up dirt without any problems. A protective attachment prevents you from vacuuming up gravel or fish.

The tube is soft and flexible, making it easy to use and manoeuvre. A feature of a flow valve, allows you to control the speed of the water flow.


  1. Soft flexible hose that doesn’t kink
  2. 6 foot tube, perfect for large tanks
  3. Includes a protection accessory to prevent suction of gravel or fish


  1. Not a very sturdy product
  2. Very small pieces of gravel can pass through the gravel protector
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6. LL Products Gravel Vacuum for Aquarium

Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner

This LL Products Gravel Vacuum is a BPA-free gravel cleaning kit. The kit helps you clean the area around the gravel, and it does this quickly and easily.

The vacuum has one-way flow control, so you don’t have to worry about water spilling onto the floor or into the tank.

This kit also comes with a shut-off valve, allowing you to adjust the flow of the water. You can also cut off the flow completely, which is convenient when you’re done cleaning the gravel.

Having a feature of a hand pump enables easy starting the water flow. Another feature, a filter ensures that the vacuum will not suck in any of your fish or gravel.

You can cut the rigid tubing to a length that suits the size of your tank. Therefore the vacuum can suit a 10 gallon tank through to a large 100 gallon tank.


  1. Comes with a filter to prevent sucking fish/gravel
  2. Easily adjusted water flow
  3. BPA-free design (not toxic to fish)


  1. Joints can leak water
  2. It is big and bulky compared to other vacuums.
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7. EHEIM Quick Vac Pro

Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner

The EHEIM Quick Vac Pro is a battery run electric gravel vacuum. Being an electric vacuum, it comes with a higher price tag to the simpler manual hand gravel cleaners.

What’s good about this battery electric vacuum, is that it does not have electric cords that could pose a danger and they get in the way.

This product works as a vacuum cleaner and not as a water exchanger.

4 AA batteries are required, giving you 4 hours running time. Plenty of time to clean your tank many times over.

The Quick Vac is ideal for tanks with a lot of organic waste and uneaten food on the gravel bed. The vacuum uses gentle sucking to draw in debris. The water flow passes through a fine mesh that traps the debris, then the water returns to the tank.

When you’re done, it is a simple step to take out the mesh cartridge, empty and clean it, then put the mesh back for use next time. It’s that easy.


  1. Easy to use
  2. Doesn’t suck the water out of the tank
  3. Gentle suction
  4. Convenience of being battery operated


  1. More expensive
  2. Some reviews say the construction is poor quality
  3. Some reviews point out that the impeller tends to jam
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8. KollerCraft TOM Mr Cleaner

Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner


Update as of 11th April 2022: This product is no longer available on Amazon.

The KollerCraft TOM Mr Cleaner is another battery operated unit and the company says it gives a 3-in-1 cleaning option. You can use it to clean gravel, remove algae, and extract dirty water.

The unit uses 2 C-batteries. The vacuum can be fully submerged under water and better suits smaller nano tanks.

Although better suited to smaller tanks, it does have a tube that stretches to 16 inches. The aquarium gravel vacuum sucks in the water, with the water passing through a filter screen to catch the debris.

The water can then be either returned to the tank, or is drawn through a hose into a bucket.


  1. Works well once the operation is understood
  2. Well priced
  3. Assembling it is easy, however, it was noted that a small black piece must be removed before putting on the “sock” that catches the debris.


  1. You will need to be careful so that you don’t end up close to the edge of your tank so the water runs out onto your floor.
  2. Requires a certain tilt for it to work correctly
  3. Some reviews say the debris catching sock doesn’t work so well (these people replace it with a standard women’s nylon stocking)
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9. Fluval EDGE Gravel Cleaner

Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner

The Fluval EDGE Gravel Cleaner is an effective and affordable tool for cleaning gravel in moderately sized tanks.

The angled design of the vacuum head makes it easy to access the gravel depths of your aquarium. Additionally, the siphon comes with two different head attachments: one that is designed for cleaning bulk gravel, and one that is narrower for easy cleaning of the corners of the tank.

The gravel guard built into the top of the hose prevents the hose from clogging with gravel, avoiding the headache experienced with other gravel siphons.

Another advantage is that this siphon is designed with an easy start valve, which only requires moving the vacuum head up and down to pressurize the tube and start continuous water suction.

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10. Siphon-style Gravel Vacuums

Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner

Consisting of little more than a hose and a hollow tube, this is the most popular type of gravel dredger. The Siphon-style Gravel Vacuum is inexpensive and available in a wide variety of sizes. This product is a favorite for beginners and experts alike.

The downside to this simple vacuum is that to clean your gravel you also have to drain the water from your tank.


  1. Affordable
  2. Wide range of sizes
  3. Option to siphon water from tank and/or clean your gravel
  4. No batteries required as gravity does all the work
  5. Simple


  1. It takes practice to use it correctly
  2. Improper use can lead to spillage
  3. You cannot clean the gravel without draining the water
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Our No1 Pick for the Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

We selected the best aquarium Vacuum cleaner options, ensuring we included in our review the cheaper simple products through to more expensive electric products that come with greater features.

That said, the Python No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Maintenance System is, in our view, the pick of them all.

The Python is well designed, is simple to use and allows for quick cleaning without disturbing the fish or decorations in your tank.

Customer reviews rated it well and this vacuum gives good value for money.


How to Use an Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner?

It is not easy to fully explain how to use an aquarium vacuum as it may vary from model to model. Therefore, it is important that you refer to the vacuum cleaner manufacturer’s instructions to understand the specifics of their product.

For the majority of the models, the operating systems are quite simple.


How often Should You Vacuum the Gravel in the Aquarium?

When it comes to how often to vacuum your gravel, it depends on the type of aquarium you have. Some aquariums may have more fish or plants, so it’s important to vacuum more often.

For most fish aquariums, once a week should be sufficient.


Final Comments

Using a siphon to clean the gravel in your tank is an important job in maintaining a welcoming environment for your fish, and for the prevention of ammonia build-up. Gravel siphons can make water changes easier to do.

Identifying the right cleaner from the many models sold in aquarium stores has required much research into reading about the product features and looking carefully at customer reviews.

Ultimately, we are confident that all the products we have covered in our Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner Reviews are worth considering. It does depend upon your type of aquarium and what you are prepared to spend.


Top 7 Best Substrate For Hermit Crabs 2023 (Reviews + Guide)

Top 7 Best Substrate For Hermit Crabs 2023 (Reviews + Guide)

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Believe it or not, the substrate is the most important part of a hermit crab’s habitat. Substrate is the sand (mixed with other materials) you will use within your hermit crab tank or habitat. Hermit crabs depend on this substrate as they use it to bury themselves. One reason is that it provides protection against predators (for camouflage and feeling safe – especially in a new environment), and the other is for when they are ready to molt (shed their old shell). The best substrate for hermit crabs is super important, especially for the longevity of your pet.

The ideal primary substrate in your tank or habitat for your hermit crab should be a good quality sand with some coco fiber mixed in. This helps with the aeration in the sand as well as adding humidity, which is needed to keep the substrate moist.

Hermit crabs’ homes do not need to be elaborate, however, as most land hermit crabs come from warm, tropical climates, keeping their habitat at the right temperature and humidity are vital for their health and survival.

Comparison Table


As mentioned above, because the substrate is critical to the hermit crabs’ health and well-being, it is important to get the best substrate for hermit crabs. This may well be one of the most important decisions you will make for your pet.

Top 7 Best Substrate For Hermit Crabs

Best Hermit Crab Substrate Reviews

1. Fluker’s All Natural Premium Sand Substrate Mixture

Best Substrate For Hermit Crabs

If you’re looking for the perfect substrate for your hermit crab tank, consider Fluker’s all-natural premium sand substrate. It is designed exclusively for hermit crabs to withstand moisture and encourage natural digging behavior.

Much of the sand sold for hermit crabs is pure calcium carbonate, which is made from small pieces of broken shells. Fluker’s uses something different.

This all-natural premium sand is actually a blend of all-natural silica sand, coconut fiber, sea salt, calcium carbonate, with an added probiotic. Together, these ingredients make the perfect mix for digging, but they also each serve a specific purpose.

Silica sand and coconut fibers retain water. Sea salt is added to mimic the natural coastal habitat and the probiotic helps keep the substrate clean by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria that break down organic waste.



  • Non-toxix
  • Retains moisture
  • Formulated mix
  • Probiotic


  • Some viewers don’t like that it arrives damp
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2. Hermit Habitat Terrarium Sand

Best Substrate For Hermit Crabs

If you’re looking for a way to add some color to your hermit crab’s habitat, this beautiful, sparkling blue Hermit Habitat Terrarium Sand might be just the thing.

Don’t worry, the pigments are completely natural and safe for your pet.

This particular substrate is a great source of calcium carbonate that hermit crabs need to grow and form an exoskeleton.

It is 100% digestible and contains no silica or phosphates. It also has a great, regular consistency for digging and a natural odor neutralizer. This would be most beneficial if you have your hermit crab’s tank inside your house.



  • Natural pigments
  • Source of calcium carbonate
  • 100% digestible


  • Sand is sticky
  • Difficult to clean
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3. Reptile Sciences Terrarium Sand for Aquarium

Best Substrate For Hermit Crabs

This Reptile Sciences Sand substrate is made from 100% natural calcium carbonate sand.

It is obtained from all natural sources and contains no silica or phosphates. The fine texture is really great for two reasons – it’s 100% digestible and perfect for digging.

Another great advantage of this product is the natural, white color. This natural look will help you create an environment similar to where hermit crabs live, when in their natural beachy environment.

This sand is also a natural odor neutralizer that comes in handy between cleanings.



  • 100% natural calcium carbonate sand
  • 100% digestible
  • White color
  • Natural odor neutralizer


  • Poor packaging
  • Dusty as the product is very fine
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4. Zoo Med Laboratories Hermit Crab Soil

Best Substrate For Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs need a variety of substrates in their habitat to maintain ideal living conditions. If you’re looking for a convenient and healthy way to increase humidity, check out this hermit crab land from Zoo Med.

This product contains two compressed stones. Just add a little water and each expands to seven to eight liters of substrate. You can use it alone or mix it with hermit crab sand. It’s great for digging in and keeps crabs busy and happy.

Each stone is made of coconut fiber. This eco-friendly, renewable material breaks down waste products and absorbs odor, keeping the living environment smelling healthy and fresh.



  • Increases humidity
  • Eco-friendly
  • Absorbs odors


  • Some reviews say it doesn’t expand to 8 liters
  • May need to mix with sand
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5. Zilla Jungle Mix

Best Substrate For Hermit Crabs

This Zilla Jungle Mix is a mix of peat moss and spruce shavings. Mix it with a little sand and it will help create an ideal home for your hermit crabs. Because it takes up more than its own weight in water, it adds the moisture that hermit crabs need to thrive.

Hermit crabs love to dig and this product has an ideal texture. It is smooth and light, which makes it easy for them to manoeuvre  through. This 100% natural product has an earthy scent and is completely biodegradable, so it is also good for the planet.

You can choose from three different sizes: four quarters, eight quarters and 24 quarters. Change it when necessary to ensure that your hermit crabs always have a clean place to dig.



  • Texture for digging
  • Smooth and light
  • 100% natural
  • Biodegradable


  • Some reviews said it had minute splinters/spikes in the mix
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6. Carib Sea ACS05820 Super Natural Moonlight Sand

Carib Sea ACS05820 Super Natural Moonlight Sand for Aquarium, 5-Pound

If you’re looking for a great sand substrate to mix or use alone, Super Natural Moonlight Sand is worth checking out. The natural white color is simple, but beautiful, and makes an appropriate background when accessorising your decor for your pet hermit crab.

This product is made in the USA and contains no paint or dyes. It also has no coating, so it’s completely safe for your pet. The super fine and smooth texture also encourages digging for your pet.

One of the remarkable things about the super natural sands of the Caribbean Sea is that it is meant to mimic natural environments. So if you are going for a natural look for your hermit crab’s habitat, then this is it.



  • Natural white color
  • No paint or dyes
  • Natural look
  • PH neutral


  • None that we can see
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7. Exo Terra Coco Husk Brick Tropical Terrarium Reptile Substrate


Best Substrate For Hermit Crabs

Humidity is important in a hermit crab tank and coconut fibers are the perfect substrate to sustain humidity. The Exo Terra Coco Husk is 100% natural and also helps support your hermit crab’s natural digging behavior. It has a natural appearance, enhancing the aesthetics of your hermit crab tank, and it is very affordable.



  • Helps with humidity
  • Natural look
  • Non-toxic
  • Stimulates digging


  • Non that we could see
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How Much Substrate for Hermit Crabs?

Best Substrate for Hermit Crabs

By now you will definitely know that the substrate is the most important part of keeping a pet hermit crab happy and healthy.

In nature, hermit crabs have access to everything they need to keep them healthy and happy. If you keep them as pets, it is your responsibility to give them the same attention and make their environment as natural as possible too.

In the wild, hermit crabs burrow underground when it’s time to molt. One reason is that they need darkness to activate their bodies to start the process. of molting.

Once the hermit crabs shed their old exoskeleton, they are vulnerable to predators. Not only do they lack protection, but they are also unable to control their muscles until the new exoskeleton hardens. That’s why it’s so important for them to be able to hide.

Some hermit crabs can remain buried for up to 3 months while waiting for this process to be completed. The importance of having a deep, moist substrate that needs little maintenance during this time so as not to disturb them, is essential.

The type of substrate you use is important, but there are two other things to ask yourself.

Are you using sufficient substrate? And is it wet enough?

To some extent, the amount of substrate you need depends on the size of the hermit crab. Tiny hermit crabs about a dime to a quarter in size, need no less than 6 inches of substrate. Large baseball-sized hermit crabs need a substrate that is at least 12 inches (30 cm) deep.

A general rule of thumb is that the substrate should be deep enough so that the largest hermit crab in its habitat can dig 2 to 3 times its size.

However, remember that using the right amount of good substrate is not the only requirement. Humidity is absolutely crucial as well.

Hermit crabs create an underground cavern with plenty of air spaces to move into. If the substrate is too dry, they will not be able to dig the tunnels and caves they need. Everything will collapse on them as they try to dig.

How wet should the surface be?

The surface needs to be about the same consistency as you would need if you were trying to build a sandcastle on the beach.


How to Clean Hermit Crab Substrate?

Like any pet that lives in a small space, the hermit crab’s habitat can become very cluttered, which can lead to strong odors and a large amount of bacterial growth.

This not only causes stress for your pets, but can also make them sick. A clean tank is a healthy tank. A healthy tank is a happy hermit crab.

How often the habitat needs to be cleaned depends on a number of things: how many crabs you have, what size they are and how large the habitat is. A large tank with only a few small crabs may take longer between cleanings than a small tank with a large hermit crab.

Ideally, check the substrate every day and remove any obvious dirt from the substrate surface. Use a simple sand shovel to remove any dirt or lumps.

If you see any signs of mites or flies, or if you notice a strong odor, a thorough cleaning is needed.

So how do you deep clean the surface?

First of all, you should prepare for this by having a temporary second home ready for your pets. Humidity and temperature are very important for hermit crabs, so get this secondary home prepared ahead of time.

Cleaning the substrate at the bottom of the tank is not easy and it is often easier to replace it with new material.

If there are stains on the surface that are difficult to clean, use hot water or a vinegar solution to clean them. Hermit crabs are very sensitive and most cleaning products will be too harsh on them, especially bleach.

When cleaning the substrate thoroughly, also pay attention to the rest of the habitat. Take out empty shells and toys and boil them in running water for a few minutes to disinfect them. Wood or live plants should also be cleaned with hot water.

Hermit crabs are smart. They can get bored, so swap out toys and different obstacles with every cleanup.

Final Comments

Hermit crabs are really cool pets and part of what makes them so interesting is watching them molt. To do this, they must burrow into the substrate and make a safe little cave for themselves while they wait for their new exoskeleton to harden.

So keep in mind that the substrate remain deep enough, wet enough and clean enough for your hermit crab to use it effectively (especially when it comes time for your precious pet to molt).

It is precisely for this reason that choosing the best substrate for hermit crabs is one of the most important decisions you will make as a hermit crab owner.


The Best Aquarium Rock Buyers Guide – 2023 – Aquarium Hunter

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If you are setting up your tank for the first time, you may want to consider adding some rocks to your tank. While you may think of stones that simply serve as a visual aid in your tank, in fact, they have many benefits for your fish and other things that live in your tank.

Best Aquarium rocks serve many different purposes. They help create a natural-looking aquatic landscape, provide a home for colonies of beneficial bacteria…

Comparison Table

CustomSiteStripe ImageTitleReviewBuy
Top PerformanceNature’S Ocean Coral Base Rocks For Aquarium4.5/5.0Check Price
cheapestCarib Sea ACS00372 3 Case South Sea Base Rock Bag For Aquarium4.6/5.0Check Price

Give your fish and others a place to explore, and it can even provide a base for coral to grow.

What are the best aquarium stones? It depends on what you are looking for!

Today’s post covers it all. I will review the types of stones used for freshwater aquariums and then compile a list of the best stones to buy online. In the posts, there will be affiliate links where I can get a commission if you decide to make a purchase at no cost to you. Let’s get on with that revelation.

The 9 Best Rocks For Freshwater, Saltwater Marine Aquariums

Best Aquarium Rock Reviews

1. Carib Sea ACS00370 South Sea Base Rock for Aquarium


 Best Aquarium Rock

This base rock of the southern seas of the Caribbean Sea is absolutely beautiful. They are formed by natural weather processes and erosion that create beautiful shapes that make any aquarium look like the bottom of the ocean. However, these rocks do more than just look cool.
They have an impressive 50% empty space for incredible porosity levels. While water moves easily through this rock, it is also extremely durable and long-lasting. Plus, all the little nooks and crannies are the perfect place for beneficial bacteria to thrive.
The rock of the South Seas has more structure than almost any other rock used for water construction. It is safe for all saltwater tanks and freshwater systems operating at a high pH. This rock is composed of calcium carbonate that supports a high pH and is mined from ancient underground coral reefs. You can use it as an alternative to live rock or as a base to start a colony.

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2. Nature’s Ocean Coral Base Rocks for Aquarium

 Best Aquarium Rock

These Nature’s Ocean Coral Base Rocks come in 2 large pieces, each about 12 to 18 inches, for a total of about 40 pounds. To get the shape you want, just use a hammer and chisel to cut it through until you have what you need.

You’ll find that if you’re working with large chunks of rock, dust and other debris will break away to open them up further, revealing holes and tunnels that you may not have noticed right out of the box.

This is an all natural 100% premium aragonite stone. They are absolutely covered in holes and cracks, which makes them exceptionally porous. It also allows you to create very elaborate and interesting setups as you lay a foundation for new coral growth. It is also a great addition to established coral tanks.

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3. Carib Sea ACS00372 3 case South Sea Base Rock Bag for Aquarium

 Best Aquarium Rock

This next rock from the Caribbean Sea is a base rock in the South Seas that’s perfect for reef and marine tanks or if you’re looking for something to add with African cichlids. It is an excellent base for living coral because it is clean and extremely porous with macro and micro parasites.

There is no need to cure this stone, it is immediately ready to go in your aquarium. This pack contains a total of 10 pounds, but as each stone is unique, the number of pieces in each pack varies.

One great thing about this rock is that it is filled with so many nooks and crannies that building a structure to suit a waterscape is quite easy.

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4. Marina Naturals Rock Outcrop

 Best Aquarium Rock

For a piece that really makes a statement, this Marine Naturals unlock is sure to turn heads.

These large, intricately designed formations can be used individually or together with others to create arches, cavities and tunnels that fish will love as it gives them plenty of nooks and crannies to swim and hide.

This product is made of non-toxic material that does not affect the chemistry of the water. It is safe for freshwater and saltwater aquariums.

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5. Deep Blue DecoConcepts Texas Holey Rock

 Best Aquarium Rock

Last on our list is Deep Blue’s man-made Texas holey rock. Although it is not a natural rock, no one will be able to see it because they look very realistic. If it is in an aquarium, it is indistinguishable from the real thing.

Deep Blue uses polyresin material that is safe for any aquatic environment and does not alter the chemistry of the water. It is safe for plants and animals.

This design is very long and hollow and the fish love it. They are attracted to it because it makes their environment more interesting. Add interesting arches and holes for them to swim in and create a focal point in the aquatic landscape.

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6. Ohko Dragon Stone Rock – Great Rocks for Planted Tanks

 Best Aquarium Rock

Ohko Dragon Stone is one of the favorite aquarium stones to use in Iwagumi Aquascapes. These rocks are not only beautiful, they are also natural in nature. They will not change their pH or hardness because they are based on granite. They look great in any planted tank setup. They are full of holes, nooks and crannies, making them great rocks as a natural refuge for your fish.
These are the hot stones for pro aquascaping projects these days. Watch the video above from BucePlant to see how amazing they look. Like any favorite aquascaper rock, they come at a higher price.

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7. Black Mountain Seiryu Stone – Best Value In Unique Looking Rocks

 Best Aquarium Rock

If you are looking for a unique looking Best aquarium rock, check out Black Mountain Seiryu Stone. The unique white veins really show up in a waterscape. They won’t change your pH or hardness, so you can add them to any aquarium setup. These rocks are hard to find, so be wary if you like them and want to buy one. The best thing about buying from our link is that Buce Black Seiryu sells very high quality and in packs up to £30!

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8. Black Lava Rock – A Great Budget Aquascaping Rock

 Best Aquarium Rock

Quality lava rock is hard to find online. It is quite common to see lists of lava rocks used as biomes or chimneys. This makes sense because they are excellent at harboring beneficial bacteria and are excellent hearthstones. However, this limits what you can buy online. When it comes to aquarium lava rock, these black lava rocks from BucePlant are exactly what we’re looking for. These are large stones with unique shapes, unlike what you will find in most pet stores. If you are looking for quality lava rock, check out their store and selection.

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9. Traditional Seiryu Rock – The Aquascaper’s Choice

 Best Aquarium Rock

If you want a professional quality waterscape rock, but the Ohko is out of your budget, I highly recommend Dive Seiryu Rock. Seiryu is the godfather of all water rocks. These are stones collected by hand at Buce. With their excellent customer service and high-quality reviews, you can’t go wrong!

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Types of Rocks to Use For Aquarium

There are different types of natural stones that you can put in an aquarium. They are classified into 3 categories: sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic.

Sedimentary rocks include limestone, sandstone, and shale. They are made of small particles and chunks of sediment that settle over time and press against each other. As time goes by, the cycles repeat. This forms layers that are actually visible in most sedimentary rock formations.

Igneous rock forms when molten rock crystallizes from the Earth’s core or reaches the surface. Finally, metamorphic rock is the result of another type of rock being subjected to intense heat and pressure causing it to change from one shape to another.

Be sure to do your research before adding rocks to your aquarium that are not from a reputable company. There are some that you should definitely avoid such as limestone, marble, geodes, dolomite and shells or broken corals in tanks, except those in which African cichlids live.

Also keep in mind that not all aquarium stones you buy are natural stones. Today, there are companies that make polyresin bricks that look just as real as those found in nature. They’re usually a bit cheaper than the real thing, but because they’re made from molds, they don’t offer that much variety.


How to Choose Rocks for Aquarium?

There are a few important things to keep in mind when choosing rocks for your aquarium.

First, you should know that the rock is suitable for aquariums. If you order from a reputable company, you are almost guaranteed to receive a safe aquarium product. While it may be tempting, it’s not a good idea to collect rocks outside and assume it’s safe to put them in a tank.

Avoid stones with sharp edges. Some of the natural rocks we include in our list may break during shipping or you can choose to modify their shape and size. If so, round off any sharp edges.

If you are using real rocks that are not hollow or porous, be careful not to exceed the weight limit for your aquarium as this can cause significant damage. Also make sure there is a layer of sand or pebbles between the rocks and the glass bottom of the tank.

Soak or clean the rocks before adding them to your aquarium. Some stones need to be cured by boiling them in water. Follow the instructions that came with your Best aquarium rocks to be safe.




Generally, using rocks you find outside in your aquarium is advised against. This is because the rocks outside have not been treated and can therefore sometimes contain micorogranisms that could harm your fish. They can also contain calcium which can alter the pH of aquarium water. It is for this reason that you should buy rocks specially designed for aquariums.


Saltwater and freshwater aquariums are different and therefore have different requirements. Just like some fish can’t live in freshwater and saltwater and others can only live in freshwater, the same goes for rocks. The wrong type of rock in the wrong water can also affect the water, which can then harm your fish. You should always check the rocks you use are suitable for the type of aquarium you have.

Rocks for saltwater aquariums include Fiji Rock, Pukani Rock, Aquacultured Live Rock, Dry Rock and Tonga Branch Rock. Rocks for freshwater aquariums include Slate, Lava Rock, Petrified Wood, Mountain Stone and Quartzite.



When it comes to choosing the best stone for aquariums, there are many things to consider. Do you want natural or artificial stone? Something just for looks or looking for a solid foundation to start a reef tank?

Regardless of your needs, the Best aquarium rocks we’ve included in these reviews are among the best available. We’re confident you’ll find one that’s right for your aquatic landscape.

Top 10 Best Aquarium Sand Reviews – for Plants, Freshwater & Saltwater Aquariums

Top 10 Best Aquarium Sand Reviews – for Plants, Freshwater & Saltwater Aquariums

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When it comes to setting up their aquarium, aquarists often use different types of accessories to ensure that their aquariums provide the best environment for fish and other forms of marine life.

In the early days of aquarium maintenance, the only thing you could add to the bottom of your tank was colored aquarium gravel. Options were limited to artificial fluorescent and primary colors. Today we have more natural colors and gravel sizes to choose from.

Comparison Table

CustomSiteStripe ImageTitleReviewBuy
Top PerformanceCaribSea Arag-Alive Fiji Pink Sand4.8/5.0Check Price
cheapest 3. Nature’S Ocean No.0 Bio-Activ Live Aragonite Live Sand4.5/5.0Check Price

Sand as a substrate has become more popular in recent years and is in the spotlight in the same place as gravel.

What follows is a discussion of the benefits and uses of sand, as well as a review of five products to consider when choosing the best sand for your freshwater aquarium.

As part of making the aquarium habitable, many now use the best aquarium sand.

This type of sand is essential for keeping fish comfortable in their new environment, as some come from sandy habitats.

We’ll now discuss different types of sand and some of the best brands to choose from, to help you make that important decision about which one is best for you.

And the right foundation is the best place to start – aquarium sand. Below are our top picks when it comes to the best aquarium sand.



The 10 Best Sand for Your Aquarium & Plants


Best Aquarium Sand Reviews

1. Caribsea Super Naturals Aquarium Sand

Best Aquarium Sand Reviews

The first thing you want from your aquarium sand is to be sure that it offers more value than destruction. That’s what you get when you choose this product, because it has an important neutral pH value for your aquarium.

The product is also designed not to increase the hardness of carbonates while in the water, so this is something that users of this sand need not worry about.

The manufacturer made the sand using unique sand-sized grains that resist the build-up of dirt, food on the substrate bed and fish remains. In general, you will find that this type of waste makes maintaining your aquarium easier than ever.

This sand also helps to keep the water crystal clear. With clear water, you can enjoy watching your different types of fish in the aquarium. It is also designed to withstand packing and anaerobic dead spots under coral and rocks, creating a good healthy environment for your fish to thrive in.

Many people have adopted this product and found that it creates an exceptional experience that mimics the natural world of their home.

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2. CaribSea Arag-Alive Fiji Pink Sand

Best Aquarium Sand Reviews

This type of sand is unique and attracts many aquarium owners. The product comes with millions of autotrophic, heterotrophic and chemolithotrophic bacteria important to aquarium health.

These bacteria help reduce waste and also improve cycle time for new settings. Ultimately, you need less maintenance to keep the water clean.

This product is effective in suppressing the new tank syndrome as it helps to simulate the natural home of fish. It will also act as an ammonia reducer, nitrate filter and much more, keeping the level of contaminants in the aquarium low. It also acts as a high capacity biological filter for the aquarium, keeping it clean.

This particular sand product is vital for cleaning the water quickly, leaving your aquarium water clearer than ever before. In addition, it naturally also maintains the correct PH of the aquarium water without the need to add more chemicals to moderate the pH level.

The sand also provides more surface area for bacterial adhesion. This is important for the bacteria to do their job in removing waste.

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3. Nature’s Ocean No.0 Bio-Activ Live Aragonite Live Sand

Best Aquarium Sand Reviews

This product will be very beneficial to your tank. The formula of the sand is important because it removes most of the nitrogenous wastes commonly found in aquariums. This type of waste includes ammonia, nitrite and nitrates.

With these compounds removed, you will easily have a cleaner aquarium and a better environment for your fish. Ultimately, you need to perform less maintenance when using this product.

One of the advantages of this type of sand is that instant cycling is guaranteed. This means you don’t have to wait; Once the sand is added to the aquarium, you can add fish right away.

That’s not all, because sand also helps maintain a proper pH level in the water. When the correct pH level is reached, the fish will feel more comfortable in their environment.

The sand also provides a better buffering capacity, which is a big advantage for those looking for these properties in their aquarium sand. The best part is that the sand is still affordable. You don’t have to spend a lot to keep your aquarium looking its best.

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4. Flourite Black Sand

This is one of the most important accessories you could get for your aquarium. This type of sand is made of a premium substrate that will keep your aquarium looking good.

It is designed to work great in planted aquariums, as it will provide all the essential nutrients that the plants need for growth. It is also made to last and supply the plants with food for a long time, so as to improve the success rate of your planted aquarium.

The design of the grains should make it easier on the plants and fish in the aquarium. It is also porous enough for aeration to be effective. The aeration process is always important to the plants’ roots, making sure that they get the amount of air they need for growth.

The appearance of the sand itself is excellent for a planted aquaria. However, you can always use it differently from the other types of aquarium environment, and will do its part.

You will not need to remove the sand even after years, as it is designed to remain effective for the life of your aquarium. This means you save money, with no need to replace the sand after only a few years.

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5. Stoney River White Aquatic Sand Freshwater and Marine Aquariums

Most people don’t put much effort into the sand they use in their aquariums and tanks. However, this might be a bad idea. You need to ensure that it is safe and suitable for your purposes.

The Stoney River White Aquatic Sand is ideal for marine and freshwater aquariums. Some sand products are designed for one or the other. This one works well in both types.

It is specifically designed not to affect the pH of your tank. This is essential because some products can change the balance of the water. As such, your fish might not thrive or could die.

Sometimes, people worry about their water pets. You might fear that the fish will lay on the sand and injure itself. As such, you may stress that they will eat bits of sand with their meal.

This product is designed with a non-toxic coating. Therefore, it won’t hurt if your fish eat a bit of it or brush against it while swimming.

Amazingly, this is ‘live’ sand, so it is designed to work well with your plants and animals. You may notice that the water is clearer and you clean less. This is because the sand doesn’t change the water chemistry.

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6. Up Aqua Aquarium Shrimp Sand

Many people have found that sand and other substrates break down over time or make a tank toxic. If you’ve had these issues, maybe it’s time to consider something else. Up Aqua Aquarium Shrimp Sand may be the best option for you.

Provides a longer life. Therefore, it lasts much longer than aquatic sediment before it decomposes. This is mainly due to the small and uniform grain sizes.

However, it should be noted that there is some variation between the grains. It’s not much, but it can be seen when you hold it in your hand. As such, it adds some variety to the tank.

You will also find that this product can lower the pH of the water between 6.5 and 7.0. This is important, because shrimp require a different mineral balance than other sea creatures.

The configuration is also important. You will notice that this sand does not cloud the water. In addition, it is designed in such a way that no ammonia enters the water at the beginning.

When you add it to the tank, pour it slowly. Add enough water to cover the sand. A handy advantage is that you can start planting right away.

It is quite easy to do as the sand is light. You can easily bury your stem plants so they stay in place.

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7. FairmountSantrol AquaQuartz Silica Sand

FairmountSantrol AquaQuartz Silica Sand is an excellent choice. It can help to keep your pool or aquarium crystal clear and clean. Although it is called pool filter sand, it is also suitable for freshwater tanks.

This sand will not stain anything on it. In addition, it is easy to maintain. It filters algae, dust, oil, leaves, insects and even sunscreen.

You will see that this sand is ecologically safe and does not solidify. So it does not clump and does not become a problem for your fish. As such, this product can prevent ducting and clogging.

It is important to find inert and odorless items. These products do not change the pH balance of the water and do not add anything that is not necessary. This silica sand is mainly 100% natural and contains no chemicals.

Naturally, the sand particles are of uniform size. This will keep the tank looking nice. As such it is quite fine, but the sand is also firm enough to stay in place.

When it first arrives, it will look brown instead of white. However, a thorough rinse will remove the color. You can expect it to light up the tank, especially if you have a lighting system.

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8. Seachem Fluorite Black Sand Substrate

Seachem Fluorite can be a perfect choice if you prefer to decorate your aquarium with a natural black background. The sand has no chemical coating and is made of high-quality durable materials. The sand comes in small and large packs so you can buy the one that fits the size of your tank.

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9. Carib Sea Tahitian Moon Sand

Another great product from Carib Sea, this black aquarium sand can also instantly change the overall look of your aquarium by making the bottom attractive and beautiful. The great thing about this sand is that it can be used in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums, making it flexible to use. With this special sand you get the perfect color contrast in your aquarium.

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10. Carib Sea African Sahara Sand

The last category of the Caribbean Sea, this American-made sand can transform your aquarium into a piece of beautiful desert with its unique color. Not to mention, the sand will constantly buffer the water in your tank and help significantly reduce the amount of debris in your tank.

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Benefits of Using Sand in the Aquarium

If you are using sand in your aquarium for the first time, you may have some reservations. Many people feel a bit uncomfortable when using it for the first time.

To put your mind at ease, here are some of the benefits of using sand in an aquarium.

1. Some types of fish come from sandy environments. Therefore, a sand substrate in the aquarium will help them feel at home. For some species, sand may not be mandatory, but for others, it can help them feel calm and adapt easily to the environment.

2. Depending on the species you grow, some of them can only breed in sandy environments. In such a case, there is no other option than to ensure that the aquarium is filled with the correct amount of sand.

3. Some species require sand to aid in digestion. There is nothing wrong with creating conditions in the aquarium that help fish digest their food better.

4. The use of sand can also be an ideal option for different types of aquatic plants. You can get some types of sand that are embedded with nutrients important for aquatic plant growth.

5. The small size of the sand grains compared to gravel is important because it provides more surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize. Having more of these bacteria is important to keep the aquarium healthy and clean.


How To Use Sand In Your Freshwater Aquarium

The recommended minimum depth of sand you would like to have in your aquarium is one inch. If you want to keep plants alive, your substrate should be two to three inches deep to allow the plants to take root. A handy online calculator can be found here.

You must clean the sand before using it in your tank. Fill a bucket halfway with sand, then add water until almost full.

Use your hand to sift the sand and then drain the water from the sand. Repeat this process until the water is clear.

After adding the sand to your tank, place a sign on the sand. Pour water into the bowl. This prevents the water from disturbing the sand, pushing debris into the water column as you fill the tank.

Cleaning sand can be done the same way as gravel, with just a few differences.

Here’s a video showing how to use a vacuum in sand.


Types of Sand for Aquarium

play sand

In most cases, playing in the sand would eventually be the default option. Play sand is non-toxic, which is important for keeping your aquarium clean. Don’t make the mistake of choosing one with a high clay content.

This makes cleaning the aquarium a nightmare. That said, you can find many reputable companies that offer high-quality play sand that you can safely and effectively use in your aquarium.

Swimming pool sand

This is the other type you could use, especially if you don’t mind the white color of the pool sand. For most people, the sand in the pool often seems superior to the sand for playing. The reason is that the particles of this type of sand are more uniform, creating a better surface.

The other reason is that the sand in the pool is free of contaminants, so you don’t have to worry about your fish. The downside to this type of sand is that the bright white color can be dazzling if you have a highly lit tank.

Special sand

With the growth of the aquarium industry, you can be sure that new and innovative accessories will appear in the market. That’s how we ended up at the special arenas. They are made to be good for the aquarium in every way, so you may find them expensive.

One of the best properties of this type of sand is its neutral PH. This is important to ensure that the sand does not affect the pH level of the aquarium water.


Which is Better – Aquarium Sand or Gravel?

These two are important substrates that you can find in any aquarium, but users often have a hard time choosing between the two. Starting with gravel, you will find that it is best for freshwater aquariums. The advantage is that the water can easily flow through it compared to sand. This helps prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria and amoebae in the substrate. If it builds up, you can get sick fish and a buildup of other contaminants.

Gravel is heavy and therefore does not enter the aquarium filters. If this were not the case, the filters would easily become clogged and function less efficiently. The gravel also comes in a variety of colors so you can customize the tank and replenish the fish any way you want.

Sand substrate, on the other hand, may not allow water to flow easily like gravel, but it can be great for fish species that like to dig in sand. This type of fish can be ideal for filtering the substrate. Sand also has many other advantages over gravel, such as making tanks look natural and mimicking riverbeds.

Because the sand is very compact, it does not need to be changed often. Old food and plants easily stay in the sand and rot instead of getting into the sand.

Between the two, sand can have more uses compared to gravel. This is why you will find more and more people interested in switching to using sand in their aquariums.


Aquarium Sand – Q&A

1. What is the sand in the aquarium made of?

Depending on the type of sand, the materials may vary. You can have some made of hard rock, while others are a combination of hard rock and other materials to make aquarium sand.

2. How much aquarium sand per gallon?

There are several methods you can use for the approximation, but generally you will need about 1 pound of sand per gallon. This means that if you have a 10-gallon tank, you’ll need 10 pounds of dry sand. This is often considered sufficient to achieve impressive results.

3. How do you add sand to an established aquarium?

When setting up the aquarium for the first time, start by collecting the sand with a plastic cup and add it to the bottom of the aquarium. Be careful not to pour large amounts into one area as this can create stresses that can cause the glass to break.

For a tank already set up, you’ll need to scoop the sand into a plastic cup and then dip the cup into the water and pour it to the bottom. Throwing the sand on the water will make it cloudier and make it look dirtier.

4. How long does it take for the sand to settle in the aquarium?

Setup can take a few hours to a few days. This depends on the size of the aquarium and how you put sand in the water. If you just threw it away, it can take up to 3 days to fully cure.

5. How to clean the sand in the aquarium?

Start by pouring the sand into a bucket and fill it with water. What follows is to mix the sand and water in the bucket in a circular motion. This is important to remove the sand heaps from the bottom and allow the water to reach well. Wait about 30 seconds for it to settle. This is where good sand will sink quickly and leave you with floating bits of dirt.

Slowly add the water so that you have clean sand at the bottom. Repeat the process about 5 times or until you are happy with the resulting sand after washing. You should now have clean sand ready to go back to the aquarium.



There you go. With some of the best products reviewed, you don’t have to get confused about the type of product to choose today. You can have the best aquarium sand for plants or any kind by looking at the reviews above.

With the many benefits that sand has to offer, you can always find a way to add sand to your aquarium to serve your purpose. With many benefits to be gained rather than risks, you will easily understand why sand is best for your aquarium.

Top 10 Best Substrate for Planted Tank – [Latest 2023 Review]

Top 10 Best Substrate for Planted Tank – [Latest 2023 Review]

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Top 10 Best Substrate for Planted Tank: All plants, whether terrestrial or aquatic, have some form of root system. Some of these systems are simple, while others are very complicated.

Regardless of the complexity, all the roots are used for nutrient intake. Thanks to these nutrients, plants can stay alive and healthy.

Comparison Table

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Top PerformanceADA Aquasoil Amazonia4.7/5.0Check Price
cheapestSeachem Flourite Black Clay Gravel4.6/5.0Check Price

As you know, land plants have soil. What about aquatic plants in your aquarium?

Have you ever wondered how to keep them “standing” in your aquarium and provide them with the nutrients they need?

That’s why you need substrate for your tank.

Not only for plants, the substrate is also necessary and important for your fish.

Since it is an essential element of your aquarium, it is essential to choose the best substrate for the planted tank.

The substrate is the basis for a healthy and successful planted aquarium.

Without a good substrate, you will have difficulty growing beautiful lush plants.

But it’s not just about picking a good substrate for your planted tank.

You need to understand the type of plants you want to keep as they dictate the type of substrate you need.

And that’s what you’re going to learn. In this article, I will describe how to choose the best substrate for the plants you want to keep.

In the end, I will look at my best options for the best substrate for planted aquariums.


How to choose the Best Substrate for Planted Tank

Before going further and examining the individual types of substrate for your planted tank, you will need to understand some basic facts.

Learning this will allow you to make the right decision for your tank.


What is the substrate?

It is the martial at the bottom of your aquarium to root plants. However, substrates can also influence water chemistry, filtration and the aesthetic appeal of the planted aquarium.


Choose your substrate

This is important if you want to have a successful aquarium: you need to know how your plants get their nutrients.

You have plants that get most of their nutrients from water and these are called water column feeders.

And then you have root feeders, these are plants that get their nutrients from the substrate.

This can affect the type of media you decide to purchase. Because it makes no sense to invest in an expensive substrate that is full of nutrients if you want to maintain column water feeders.

I’m not saying that a nutrient-rich substrate does nothing for your aquarium. But if you have a limited budget, your money could be better spent elsewhere.


Understand different substrates

Let’s analyze the popular options:



Whenever you choose field sand, it can be an Best Substrate for Planted Tank.

However, sand grades below n. ° 3 may increase the risk of hydrogen sulphide formation during the nitrogen cycle.

If you wish, you can add iron supplements to your aquarium to help control hydrogen sulfide that your plants can’t handle.



If your plants are column feeders, gravel can work as long as it doesn’t produce a lot of waste.

You can also use gravel as the top layer of a multilayer tank.

If you are thinking of adding gravel, you should consider which fish you are going to store.

Some fish can eat small pebbles (gold fish) and some can be injured by sharp gravel (betta fish).

So be sure to keep that in mind and choose accordingly.


Complete supports

Substrates such as ADA Aquatic Soil or CaribSea Eco-Complete contain ideal nutrients for maintaining root feeders.

Complete substrates are great for starting the nitrogen cycle because they tend to cause an ammonia spike.

This means you just have to add this substrate to the new fish-free aquarium. After pedaling the tank and testing the pH levels, fish can be added.



Adding a subsequent sand base, an intermediate layer of aquarium soil and a top layer of gravel, will mimic a natural aquatic environment.

This type of layering can create a good base for the roots of your plants and offers them an excellent environment for growing.

And by overlapping the substrates, the gravel will help prevent smaller particles from misting up the water in the tank.


Top 10 Best Substrates for Planted Tanks Review


1. Carib Sea Eco Complete Planted Black Aquarium Substrate

Top 10 Best Substrate for Planted Tank - [Latest 2020 Review]

This product is supplied in a twenty pound bag. It is a complete substrate for use in freshwater tanks. This substrate meets all the needs of your plants without having to add other substrates or additional chemicals.

This substrate uses a new formula to improve root development. It’s all in one package. Your advertisement compares this substrate with the fertile soil of Hawaii or Costa Rica.

The complete Eco substrate contains only magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, sulfur and over 25 other elements. This product is perfect for feeding your aquatic plants.

Not only is it beneficial for plants, this product is also good for fish. The substrate has highly porous spherical granules for greater diffusion performance, so debris is less likely to remain on the surface, but will be diffused and absorbed in the substrate layer.

This substrate also contains live heterotrophic bacteria, which help to quickly convert fish waste into natural and nutritious foods for your aquatic plants. With the Eco-Complete substrate, there will be a natural biological balance in your tank, ensuring that all nutrients and waste are recycled and reproduced as naturally and quickly as possible.

However, there is a problem with this almost perfect product. It is the pH level. Being a combination of many nutrients at the same time, it is very difficult to have a neutral pH level. This product has a slightly alkaline characteristic.

Before placing the fish in the tank, you need to check the overall pH level of the entire tank to make sure it is in the correct range for the fish and plants.

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2. ADA Aquasoil Amazonia

Top 10 Best Substrate for Planted Tank - [Latest 2020 Review]

ADA Aquasoil is an excellent choice if you want to keep many different plants.

In general, nutrients will be good in the tank for a year. Therefore, it will be necessary to provide a liquid dose.

This substrate will lower the pH and soften the water in the tank. Now this is good for many aquatic plants, but it may not be for the fish it preserves. So keep that in mind.

If you need to lower your pH, ADA Amazonia Aquasoil will help you.

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3. Seachem Flourite Black Clay Gravel

Top 10 Best Substrate for Planted Tank - [Latest 2020 Review]

This product is available in 15.4-pound packs. It is black in color (hence the name), which makes it more suitable for planted aquariums, but it can also be used in any other aquarium environment you desire.

It is not coated or treated with any chemical product, therefore it will not contain any harmful substance for the tank. It also has the ability to maintain the pH level of the tank without altering the overall quality of the water.

The basic product alone is sufficient to provide a level of essential nutrients for aquatic plants. The substrate encourages root development for a healthier plant and can be mixed with any other type of nutrient substrate it deems appropriate.

However, it is not necessary to mix with something additional. It is fully functional without gravel modifiers such as laterite.

This substrate is a stable and particularly fractured porous gravel. Facilitates the dissolution of fish food residues in the substrate layer, keeping the water clean and healthy for fish.

This substrate has a particularly long lifespan. When using Fluorite Black, you never have to worry about replacing it with a new batch, as the substrate remains effective for the life of your aquarium.

There are very few complaints about this product from customers. If there is a problem, it is clay powder. Thanks to its formulation, the substrate can release a lot of clay dust when used for the first time in the aquarium.

This clay powder can cloud the water for a few minutes. However, it will sink and dissolve quickly and the water will be cleaned again.

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4. ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia Powder Type

This substrate consists of a rare Japanese soil derived from decomposed leaves. It is rich in organic materials, which helps create a perfect environment for many different types of plants, fish and even shrimp.

Another great thing that this substrate does is lower the pH to a good level. It also helps to reduce the hardness of the water. Both of these things help create an ideal environment for plants and fish.

Since this substrate has a fine grain size, it is a good choice for nano aquariums, although it can also be used with the normal substrate. Just layering the dust and the normal substrate. This allows you to keep costs low, but still get surprising results.

When you are looking for a substrate to create a delicious carpet in the herb and plant tank, this is also a great option. The small size of the grain allows the plants to anchor easily to the substrate, improving the health and growth of the roots.

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5. Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum

If you have an aquarium that does not only have plants and fish, but also shrimp, this substrate is definitely the one for you. This is definitely one of the best substrates out there.

This product is composed of natural and mineral-rich organic volcanic soil. Yes, it is not normal soil but volcanic soil. Volcanic soil contains many special components that are different from standard soil.

All these special volcanic nutrients are very useful for stimulating healthy plant growth. The substrate also contains nutrients that are good for promoting the development of the root system.

The texture of this substrate is also excellent. It is light, not compact and porous. These characteristics facilitate the growth and development of nitrifying bacteria in the tank. These bacteria will help maintain the health and cleanliness of the water at its best levels.

The substrate is designed to promote a neutral to only slightly acidic pH level.

A particularity of this substrate advertised to make this product particularly suitable for shrimp is the size of the particles. The particle size allows the crayfish to hide inside the substrate until they are large enough to leave the “ground” to defend themselves against other crayfish and fish.

However, there is a small problem with this shrimp announcement. Although the substrate is similar to gravel, the particle size is rather small.

Although it can act as a refuge for shrimp, it won’t be long before the shrimp exceeds the size of the substrate and can no longer hide. However, overall it is still a great product.

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6. CaribSea Eco-Complete

Made in volcanic soil, it is rich in nutrients.

This substrate provides an excellent base for growing plant roots and creates a biological balance, facilitating the water cycle.

It does not contain artificial chemicals, dyes or additives and does not discolour the water.

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7. Mr. Aqua N-MAR-066 1 L Fine Pet Habitat Water Plant Soil

This substrate contains an impressive amount of nutrients which are very good for aquatic plants. They provide an excellent source of nutrients to help plants grow and stay healthy.

The substrate also encourages the development of strong roots, helping plants to grow strong in the corrugated environment of the reservoir.

The substrate is light and highly porous. This feature creates an environment that promotes the growth of healthy bacteria that are essential for the overall tank environment.

A further advantage of this substrate is its ability to maintain and control the pH level of the tank. Unlike other types, this substrate lowers the pH in the aquarium. This medium rejects the water pH level from 6.6 to 6.8 depending on the water parameters.

Thanks to this, it is not necessary to treat your water so often. In addition, many freshwater crayfish and dwarf fish prefer the acidic and freshwater environment created by this substrate.

A difference between this and other substrate brands is the size of the package it arrives at. It only weighs 1.85 pounds, so you’ll need a pack and a half to put a fairly thick layer of substrate on the bottom of a 5.5 gallon tank. This isn’t a big deal, it just takes a little more planning when buying the packages and it will be fine.

This substrate can release a lot of dust when it comes out of the bag. When the substrate is first placed in water, the water will become slightly turbid for a few hours, then sink and be perfectly clean and clear again.

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8. Hermit Habitat Terrarium Substrate

If you want to add some bright colors, this could be the one for you.

Hermit Habitat terrarium substrate is a completely natural gravel that provides a basis for plant roots.

However, it does not offer any nutritional value, making it suitable for plants that mainly obtain their nutrients from water.

It’s less work, but you’ll have to replace it every 6 months.

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9. UP AQUA Sand for Aquatic Plants

UP Aqua Sand is one of the best substrates for aquarium plants on the market.

Almost no dust is released when the substrate is placed in the tank, so the water does not mist up when the tank is filled. It is impressive how clear the water is when installed with this substrate.

The substrate supplies many nutrients to the plants and is independent: it does not need any additional component or other substrate to support the mini ecosystem inside the tank. This substrate alone provides enough nutrients for healthy plants to grow and develop.

The texture of this substrate is round, light and porous. Thanks to the porous shape, it is easy for this substrate to support the roots of plants. This product also encourages strong root development, making plants more stable.

The substrate does an excellent job of maintaining and controlling the pH level of the water. The substrate reduces the pH level to a range from 6.5 to 7.0 which is perfectly neutral or slightly acidic. This pH range is a perfect environment for many fish and aquatic plants.

The substrate has an incredible longevity. It will last as long as your aquarium.

This is a great product. There are almost no complaints from customers. The only small problem is a very slight complaint that the bag sometimes rips before reaching the door. But this has happened rarely, so it’s not something to worry about too much.

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10. ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia Light

With natural color and high customer feedback, ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia Light is an excellent choice when looking for a substrate to place in your tank. It is a beautiful color, although it still adds incredible beauty to any aquarium.

This substrate contains rare black soil from Japan which promotes the growth of most aquatic plants. It also contains numerous organic materials and the perfect nitrogen level to create an ideal environment.

If there is a caveat on this fantastic substrate, it is that some report that their tanks mist up a little for a couple of days after using it. This is generally due to the high level of organic compounds. It is normal and will disappear in a couple of days.

In addition, this substrate helps keep the tank slightly acidic, perfect for most fish and tropical plants. This substrate is also ideal for beginners who want to make their tanks more beautiful and hospitable for their fish.

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Benefits of the substrate in an aquarium

The substrate can perform many functions inside the tank.

If you have an aquarium with plants, you should definitely use the substrate to grow plants inside the tank. The roots of aquatic plants cannot be supported on the glass surface, so a substrate layer on the bottom is an absolute requirement.

The substrates also help keep fish feces and food waste on the bottom of the tank instead of floating freely around the fish tank and contaminating the water. The bottom substrate layer holds debris inside after the debris sinks to the bottom of the tank.

The substrate provides an aesthetic and natural environment for fish. In nature, the depths of the oceans, lakes and rivers are not bare. They are covered in sand, mud, pebbles or some type of natural material. Having these materials on the bottom of the tank helps fish and other creatures to feel more familiar and comfortable in their living environment.

In addition to aesthetic purposes, some animals actually require the existence of a substrate in the lower part to live their normal lives. Some fish and snails have to bury themselves in the substrate to hide or find food inside.

This substrate provides a source of multiple nutrients. Many of these are necessary for plant growth and the general environment of the water in the tank. Different media have different qualities and characteristics.

Adding a specific type of substrate can add a particular type of nutrient or substance to the water, which can influence and control the pH level in the tank based on the needs of fish and plants.


How much substrate for the planted aquarium?

The answer to this question depends a lot on your preferences. You can use as much substrate as you want, depending on how you want your tank to look. You should be careful if you are using a substrate that can change the characteristics of the water, such as altering the pH levels. In this case, after adding the substrate, you will need to monitor the water quality and adjust it according to your preferences.

Although there is no maximum level for the amount of substrate that can be placed in the tank, there is a minimum level. The level of the substrate in the tank must not be less than 1 “.

The rule of thumb is to get a 1 “bed, you will need to use 1 kg of substrate per gallon the size of your tank. For example, to create a 1 inch bed in a 10 gallon tank, you will need 10-20 pounds of substrate. If you want a 2 “bed, use 2 pounds per gallon and so on.

How to configure the substrate for the planted aquarium?

Here’s how to apply a complete aquarium substrate. All of the products listed above are substrates for complete aquariums, which means that you will not need anything more than that product to install your aquarium.

First of all, just pour the substrate into the tank and position it according to your tastes and preferences. Then fill the tank with water.

Secondly, if you are using a fertilized substrate or any substrate that is believed to contain many nutrients and chemicals, you need to wait about a week before adding the fish to the tank. During that time, ammonia and nitrite levels will increase, creating a very suitable environment for growing useful bacteria in the planted aquarium, but making the environment uninhabitable for fish. To be sure, check the ammonia and nitrite levels before putting fish in the tank later.

Finally, plant your plants in the substrate. Wear decorations and devices. And then put all your beautiful fish in the tank.


Right now there are many types of substrates on the market, with different characteristics and qualities. Choosing the best substrate is not that simple: one that makes your aquarium beautiful, healthy, and safe for fish, while encouraging plant growth. That’s why we present you with a list of the best Substrate for Planted Tank, so it would be easier to choose the best one for your aquarium.

Now, when you already know which one is the best, what are you waiting for? Go find an excellent substrate for your beloved aquarium with plants.

[Latest 2023] Top 10 Best Sand For Reef Tank

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Finding substrate can be complicated: the hobbyist lives off his substrate and everyone claims to be the best.

Using the right Best Sand For Reef Tank is essential for your coral to thrive.

Comparison Table

CustomSiteStripe ImageTitleReviewBuy
Top PerformanceCaribSea Ocean Direct Substrates4.6/5.0Check Price
cheapestCarib Sea Aragonite Aquarium Sand4.5/5.0Check Price

In fact, the best sand for reef aquariums creates an environment that mimics a natural ocean habitat by using sand from the ocean floor, colonized with the right mix of beneficial bacteria.

The best sand does not need to be changed often or at all. Plus, it quickly flushes and balances the water so you don’t have to wait too long to start the installation.

Top 6 Best Sand for Your Reef Tank

Best Sand for Reef Tank Reviews

1. CaribSea Arag-Alive Fiji Pink Sand

Best Sand For Reef Tank

One of the best things about this Fiji Pink sand from CaribSea is that it is packed with millions of good bacteria before you even put it in an aquarium.

There are heterotrophic, autotrophic and chemilithotrophic bacteria that help reduce waste and shorten the cycle time generally required when installing a new tank.

In fact, it is specially designed to avoid all the problems that arise with a new tank and acts as a nitrate filter, ammonia reducer and biological filter in one.

It is beautiful enough to use alone, but you can also use it with another substrate to quickly add beneficial bacteria to the aquarium. A water purifier is included to quickly clean the water when it first enters the tank. It is also specially made to maintain the growth of bacterial colonies.

Ideal for large colonies to attach to, the surface contains a source of calcium, carbonate and trace elements to balance pH without adding additional chemicals.

One more thing, this substrate never needs to be replaced. It works with the natural bacteria in the aquarium to keep your reef happy and healthy.

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2. CaribSea Ocean Direct Substrates

Best Sand For Reef Tank

CaribSea uses a cold preservation process with this Ocean Direct substrate. Each grain of sand is covered in bacteria that came straight from the ocean when it was collected.

It is encased with a thin film of ocean water that remains open to the air so that gas exchange can continue. This allows beneficial bacteria to continue to grow without harmful buildup.

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3. Carib Sea Aragonite Aquarium Sand

Best Sand For Reef Tank

This aragonite sand from the Caribbean Sea is a perfect natural substrate for reef aquariums. Provides a natural balance of bacteria and minerals needed to maintain water balance.

Because it is reef sand, it is specially formulated to create a reef-friendly environment. It comes from real ocean water, not shallow reefs or beaches.

Believe it or not, this sand keeps the pH at 8.2 without constantly adding chemicals to the water.

That’s not all.

For every pound of this sand, there is 10,000 square inches of surface for beneficial bacteria to grow. This provides a natural way to control nitrate, ammonia and other harmful waste.

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4. Nature’s Ocean No.0 Bio-Activ Live Aragonite Live Sand for Aquarium

Best Sand For Reef Tank

Nature’s Ocean produces high-quality sand that is completely natural. It actually comes from the ocean and contains live marine bacteria that have stabilized your tank very quickly. The process they use preserves all bacteria in their natural state so they quickly adapt to your aquarium.

In fact, you can set everything up and put your coral and all the fish in the tank on the same day. The instant cycle quickly restores the natural balance of the tank water, removing ammonia and nitrate quickly and effectively.

This sand contains live aragonite that helps control nitrate levels and maintain a good pH. There are also many natural living beneficial bacteria on this substrate including heterotrophs, autotrophs and chemolithotrophs to give a perfect balance to the water.

The sand also provides a large surface area for colonies of beneficial bacteria to continue to grow and thrive, creating a welcoming environment for your reef.

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5. Carib Sea Arag-Alive Substrate

Best Sand For Reef Tank

Another Caribbean Sea winner, this live black aragonite sand does a great job of highlighting the colorful coral in your tank. Like other branded products, it contains millions of beneficial bacteria to aid in biological filtration, resulting in an ideal environment for tetras, angelfish, cichlids, and even turtles, but it works just as well in a reef tank. The company’s trademarked Arag-Alive substrate also promotes coral growth, which is high in calcium, strontium and carbonate, and helps remove nitrates from the environment. Available in a 20lb bag, the sand contains a biomagnetic clarifier to reduce turbidity when placed in your tank.

Customers write that this sand is about 80% black, with some white and red sand mixed in. In other words, it’s dark enough for your tank’s colors to come out. The consistency is heavier than several other variants, but not like gravel; buyers liken it to the texture of sugar candy, which prevents it from flying off the bottom of the tank. If you’re looking for live sand that makes a strong visual statement, this is a solid option.

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6. TWO LITTLE FISHIES Sand Live Coarse Reef 15lb

Why use coarse sand? For example, the larger grain size reduces the build-up of debris in your tank, and some critters (such as certain crustaceans) will appreciate the ability to dig and build. We recommend the coarse reef sand of Two Little Fishies, which consists of white aragonite, calcified algae flakes and even small coral skeletons. It’s also packed with the company’s BioPronto live microbes, giving you the same kind of biological filtration found in most other live sand products.

Two Little Fishies Live Coarse Reef Sand does not require rinsing and any cloudiness in your tank should clear after a few hours. The granules have an average size of three millimeters, large enough not to be thrown around your tank. It comes with natural seawater and is sold in 15lb bags.

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What is the Best Live Sand for a Reef Tank?

The Best Sand For Reef Tank is Carib Sea Arag-Alive Fiji Pink Sand. It’s packed with good bacteria that will help balance your tank quickly, even if you’re starting from scratch with a new setup.

The bacterial mix includes heterotrophs, autotrophs and chemolithotrophs that work together to reduce waste and shorten tank cycle time.

Also, the pH is balanced without adding chemicals. This substrate looks great and as a bonus it never needs to be replaced.


How Much Sand Do You Need for a Reef Tank?

The depth of your sand bed is an important consideration when setting up a reef tank and you don’t want to get more or less sand than you need. So how do you find out what the right amount is?

How to calculate the amount of sand per gallon?

To know exactly how much sand you need in your tank, you need to know the depth of the sand bed you want to create and the dimensions of the tank bottom.

But there is an easier way to get an approximation by just using the tank volume. The volume of your tank in gallons is approximately equal to the amount of sand in pounds it takes to make a 1 inch bed. So if you have a 10-gallon tank, 10 pounds of dry sand is enough for an inch bed.

shallow vs. Deep sand beds

There is much debate in the aquarist community as to whether a shallow bed, between ¼” and 2″, or a deep bed, between 3 ½” and 6″ or more, is better.

Shallow sand beds remain oxygenated at all times, so to avoid nitrogen buildup that could alter the chemistry of the water in your tank, you should siphon the bed about once a month.

On the other hand, deep beds do not have oxygen at the bottom of the bed, which allows bacteria to facilitate denitrification so that the nitrogen balance in the tank is self-correcting.

Therefore, deep beds require little or no maintenance and can even be damaged by intensive cleaning.

In general, avoid sand beds between 2†and 3 ½â€; Beds at this depth will allow toxic chemicals like hydrogen sulfide to build up and back up into the tank water, which can be quite harmful to your aquarium.


How to Keep Your Sand Clean in a Reef Tank?

Reef sand is very different from most other substrates. You really don’t have to change it often. Instead, it’s ideal to add a few animals to your reef tank to turn over the live sand. These creatures are affectionately called janitors, keepers, or cleaners. Some good options are hermit crabs, shrimp, gobies, or jaw fish.

Be sure to research these creatures before putting them in your tank, as they can’t all live together in peace. If you get the right mix of janitors, you won’t have to clean the sand thoroughly.

That said, it’s still important to maintain a clean surface. Use an aquarium vacuum cleaner or siphon to clean up any food or debris. Make sure you also get everything that is hidden between stones or plants.



A reef tank requires a perfectly balanced tank that can be difficult to get to. That’s why it’s important to use the right sand as a substrate when building your tank environment. We looked at several great options, all natural sand collected from the ocean floor with its colonies of beneficial bacteria intact.

Using the best reef sand will not only make your aquarium look beautiful, it will also be less work for you. By supplying the beneficial bacteria that water needs, sand helps keep the water clean and pH balanced without the use of chemicals. Add some janitors to the tank and they will do the job of removing the sand for you. All you need to do is use an aquarium vacuum or siphon to remove debris from the sand surface if necessary. That is! Without changing or washing the substrate, without rotating water.

Our pick for the best sand for reef tanks is Carib Sea Arag-Alive Pink Fiji Sand. It looks great and it also has all the elements you need to keep your tank water clean, pH balanced and free of contaminants. This substrate never needs to be replaced and no additional chemicals need to be added to the water. It will continue to help your aquarium to thrive throughout life.

[2023] Top 10 Best Aquarium Gravel For Healthy Plants With Vibrant Colors

[2023] Top 10 Best Aquarium Gravel For Healthy Plants With Vibrant Colors

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An aquarium is incomplete without gravel.

Whether you are looking for the best color of aquarium gravel to make your fish stand out or …

Comparison Table

CustomSiteStripe ImageTitleReviewBuy
Top PerformanceSpectrastone Shallow Creek Regular4.6/5.0Check Price
cheapestImagitarium Blue Jean Aquarium Gravel4.6/5.0Check Price

If you want to find something perfect for planting, there is gravel to suit your needs.

Aquarium gravel is available in all shapes, sizes and colors and adapts to the atmosphere of your aquarium. Here’s everything you need to know about aquarium gravel and the best options out there.

When you are ready to prepare your new aquarium, one of the most talked about things is the substrate.

Aquarium gravel is a great way to not only add aesthetics, but it is also a much-needed medium for planted aquariums to thrive, certain fish species to stay healthy, and more.

Setting up an aquarium is attractive and fun. Choosing your fish and aquarium are just two of the decisions you need to make. One of the most important considerations is the substrate used.

Gravel is a popular option that is also very functional. What follows is an overview of aquarium gravel and some popular gravel types so you know what to look for in the best freshwater aquarium gravel.

That’s why finding the best aquarium gravel is vital to the health and appearance of your aquarium.


Why You Should Use Best Gravel in Your Aquarium?

There are many reasons why you should use gravel in an aquarium. The first is that you only look better.

Whether you choose natural stone for an authentic look or a bright color that makes everything pop, your aquarium looks best with gravel on the bottom.

First, it is the perfect way to anchor any aquarium plants you add to your tank. Under the right conditions, your plants will root and thrive when placed in gravel. The gravel also acts as a home for the bacteria colonies your aquarium needs to stay healthy.

Getting gravel that is small and compact enough will leave less room for debris to hide, keeping your tank clean and water balanced.


The Best Aquarium Gravel For Your Plants Growth with Colors


Best Aquarium Gravel Reviews


1. GloFish Accent Gravel for Aquariums

Best Aquarium Gravel

A really great aquarium gravel option comes from GloFish. It is a great home for any aquatic plant and will also add a splash of color to your tank.

You can use this is a GloFish aquarium to get the full blue light and glowing effect, but it will look great in any aquarium. It is available in a range of colors, from simple colors such as solid black and white to bright neon pink, green and blue.

There are also some multi-color options available, but keep in mind that one-color bags contain smaller pebbles and are more uniform in shape and size.

This gravel is made so that it does not change the pH of the water, keeping your fish happy and healthy.

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2. Spectrastone Shallow Creek Regular

Best Aquarium Gravel

If you’re looking for something more natural, check out this pebble gravel from Spectrastone. This gravel is made from natural rocks and is called “pebble gravel†because it’s so small.

The size of the pebbles isn’t uniform, which makes sense since rocks in nature aren’t all the same size. Each pebble in this mix ranges from ¼ to ½ inch in diameter.

It’s great for anchoring plants, holding down decorations, and just making your tank look authentic. The non-toxic coating prevents the pebbles from affecting the chemistry of the water and gives beneficial bacteria a place to colonize.

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3. Imagitarium Blue Jean Aquarium Gravel

Best Aquarium Gravel

Blue is a popular color for aquarium gravel, but Imagitarium takes it to the next level with this Blue Jean Gravel. It’s not just blue. It is a mix of different shades and shades of blue that really give your tank top a unique and fun look.

But more than attractive, it helps preserve the environment in your tank by providing a healthy place for beneficial bacteria to grow.

It also helps reduce the amount of waste in the water. This gravel is completely non-toxic and safe for fresh and salt water tanks.

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4. Carib Sea Eco Complete Planted Black Aquarium Substrate

Best Aquarium Gravel

If you are looking for aquarium gravel that is good for plants, check out this Eco-Complete substrate from the Caribbean Sea. It is formulated with major and minor trace elements to encourage strong root growth and happy plants.

This bag contains 20 pounds of black gravel that would look great in a planted tank. It uses volcanic soil that is naturally rich in nutrients to nourish your plant and its dark color will make your plant, decor and fish stand out.

There are no chemical coatings, paints or stains, so it shouldn’t affect the pH of the water. Live beneficial bacteria colonies live on the porous surface. Not only does this bacteria help eliminate waste quickly, but it also turns it into natural foods that your plants will love.

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5. WAYBER Irregular Decorative Pebbles Crystal Stones Rock Sand

Best Aquarium Gravel

Check out these decorative pebbles from WAYBER to add a pop of color to your tank. They are available in five colors, including clear and multi-colored, and are made from natural crystals that are non-toxic and will not fade.

This one-pound bag can hold about a cup of pebbles, so you may need a few bags to get the right amount of substrate into your tank. They’re great for many other projects too, including flower pots, terrariums, turtle tanks, and even Reiki healing.

That said, its size and color are ideal for aquariums. They are non-toxic and do not affect the pH and chemistry of the water and the irregular shapes are perfect for the growth of colonies of beneficial bacteria.

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6. Carib Sea ACS00877 Gemstone Creek Gravel for Aquarium

Best Aquarium Gravel

A great choice in Carib Sea is this Gemstone Creek gravel. The sizes and colors of the stones have been specifically chosen to look as natural as possible and the size of the larger stone will help prevent sediment and cloudiness.

That said, there are some small rocks and it is recommended that you climb the gravel before adding it to your tank. This gravel is pH safe and will not affect the chemical balance in your tank and a standard mechanical filter should quickly remove any cloudiness.

One of the best things about this product is that it comes in a large 50 pound bag making it an ideal choice for larger tanks. A 5 pound bag can be used in a tank of up to 70 liters.

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7. CNZ Aquarium Natural River Gravel

Best Aquarium Gravel

This CKN gravel is made up of smaller pebbles than some other gravel substrates. Each measures between three and five millimeters. One of the nice things about the size is that it has a lot of tiny cracks and spots for good bacteria to grow.

As this substrate is made from unpolished natural river rock, it is non-toxic and contains no matrices or chemicals. It does not affect the pH balance of the water. You can use it in freshwater or saltwater environments to add depth and natural beauty to your aquarium.

Choose from 5, 10, 30, and 40-pound bags to ensure you get enough for your tank. The manufacturer recommends using two pounds of gravel for every gallon of water. It is a good idea to rinse this gravel well before use to reduce haze.

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Best Aquarium Gravel

CFKJ Large River Rocks are a great addition to any aquarium where you need larger decorative stones. Rocks are usually 1 to 2 inches long.

The stones are natural aquarium gravel river rocks that have been properly polished and sterilized for a smooth, beautiful appearance and a high quality, pH-free substrate for your aquarium.

These beautiful stones come in a variety of light to dark stones that add incredible aesthetics to your freshwater tanks, while providing a top layer of gravel for fish and plants well suited to large stones.

These are especially good for goldfish tanks – they really can’t eat these stones! – and koi ponds.

The stones are all natural, smoothly polished and colorfast at a reasonable price.

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Best Aquarium Gravel

If you’re looking for that level of fine gravel aquarium substrate to keep your planted aquarium thriving, you’ve found it in Seachem’s Flourite Black Clay Gravel.

I have been familiar with this substrate for years and have actually only seen good things in it.

Although designed for planted aquariums, you can use this useful substrate in any freshwater fish tank. Gravel adds a nutrient-rich layer that helps plants root well.

And while this type of substrate is normally used with other gravel, it can only be used if it is in the correct aquarium.

Seachem Flourite is not chemically coated or treated, so it never affects the pH of the water, and as long as you clean it properly, you will never have to replace it.

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10. OUPENG Aquarium Gravel River Rock

Best Aquarium Gravel


If you’re looking for something with a natural look, you can’t go wrong with this river stone gravel from OUPENG. Their irregular size and shape not only look great in your tank, they also make the perfect home for beneficial bacteria that balance the water.

This product is made from natural river rocks, so colors and shapes may vary. Expect to see a mix of brown, white and black, each lightly polished to a smooth shine. There are no sharp edges, so you don’t have to worry about your fish getting hurt.

These stones are available in two and five pound bags, so you can choose the size you need for your tank. The manufacturer recommends washing the stones and allowing them to dry before adding them to your tank.

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What is the Best Gravel for Aquarium Plants?

Spectrastone Shallow Creek Regular is our pick for the best gravel for aquarium plants. It’s made of natural rocks so it just looks great in general, but what really makes the biggest difference is the shape.

These pebbles vary in size, just like in nature, and fit together in such a way that they are the perfect place for plants to take root. In addition, the non-toxic coating prevents them from altering the water chemistry, while giving the good bacteria a place to grow.


What Are The Benefits Of Using Aquarium Gravel?

For you and those who will be viewing your aquarium, one of the obvious benefits is improving the appearance of the aquarium. Gravel can help accent other decorations, hide gear, anchor objects or plants, and display your fish. The gravel also helps hide the dirt that accumulates in your tank every day much better than it would if the bottom were bare.

Aquarium gravel can also help create a more natural environment for your fish. This substrate can be a safe haven for laying eggs that adult fish might otherwise eat.

Foods like infusoria that little fry can eat can use the gravel like at home. Natural looking gravel can also help create a habitat that is more comfortable for your fish, lowering stress levels and improving their health.

Perhaps the greatest benefit is that the aquarium gravel becomes home to good bacteria in your freshwater tank. As bacteria colonize the litter, they break down fish waste as well as food and plant debris.

This can be critical to maintaining a healthy aquarium for your fish. While this bacteria will colonize other decorations and filters as well, the gravel will allow them to exist in large enough quantities to help with the ammonia and nitrate levels.


What Type Of Gravel Should You Use?

When considering this type of substrate, you will want to use a gravel designed specifically for aquarium use. Unlike normal gravel found on the street, aquarium gravel is chemically inert.

This prevents the bedding from changing the water chemistry. This is achieved by using a lime-free material or polymer seal. Another difference is that gravel designed specifically for use in your aquarium has a smoother texture than other gravel.

This soft texture not only simulates the litter you would expect in a body of water, it is also safer for the fish that handle it (e.g. corydoras, which have soft undersides and chins). Some of the gravel is specifically designed for freshwater tanks and has properties designed to provide for certain types of fish or to better simulate the natural habitats in which they occur.


How Much Aquarium Gravel Do You Need?

A general rule of thumb that most aquarium keepers follow is that you want an average depth of two inches of gravel at the bottom of your freshwater tank. Many owners will increase the depth to the back of the tank to four inches or more.

The created slope offers more possibilities in the use of water landscapes and offers even more surface for the use of beneficial bacteria. This calculator can help you determine how much to buy.


How Do You Use Aquarium Gravel?

After you buy your substrate, you will want to rinse it before placing it in your tank. The packaging contains dust, sand and other types of dirt or debris that can be toxic to fish.

Pre-cleaning of the gravel prevents these materials from entering the water column. The process involves the use of a strainer that is placed over a bucket. Place the gravel in the strainer, simply run water over it while shaking the strainer until the water running into the bucket is clear.

You repeat this process until you have removed all of the gravel that will be used for the tank bottom. Don’t flush gravel over your sink as some of the gravel will fall off the strainer or wash away.

General cleaning should be done regularly by vacuuming up the gravel. The process involves the use of a gravel vacuum that removes debris from the substrate by siphoning water through a hose into a bucket. This video shows you very well how to clean aquarium gravel.



There are many reasons why gravel is such an important addition to any aquarium. Not only does it look good, but it also helps keep the tank healthy. By providing plants with a place to root and bacteria a place to colonize, gravel serves an important purpose.

Another big advantage is the variety available. You can find everything from neon gravel that glows under a blacklight to tiny pebbles that come from natural river rock to help you create the perfect home for your fish.

Our top pick for the best aquarium gravel is Spectrastone Shallow Creek Regular Gravel. It is one of the most natural looking gravel we find and will give your aquarium the surface it needs to thrive.