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

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

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.


Best Substrate for Betta Fish | Guide, FAQs and Reviews 2023

Best Substrate for Betta Fish | Guide, FAQs and Reviews 2023

The best way to ensure you give your Betta a happy home is to think about its natural habitat. Bettas live in warm and somewhat shallow waters.

In this environment, the substrate would be sludge with the roots of the plants crossed. There would also be bits of plants starting to decompose. Bettas love this kind of environment. It gives them access to the surface and gives them plenty of places to hide and find some shade.

Comparison Table

CustomSiteStripe ImageTitleReviewBuy
Top Performance Marina Decorative Gravel4.5/5.0Check Price
cheapestLiquaGen 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis/Deionization (RO/DI)4.7/5.0Check Price

Is it possible to recreate this environment in a domestic tank? Not quite. You can’t let plants rot in the bottom of a small tank without causing a lot of problems with the water. But keeping plants, whether real or artificial, in your tank is one way to make your Betta feel more like home. Before you can add plants, make sure you are using the best substrate for betta fish Betta tank that can support them.

In this article, I’m going to give you everything you need to make the best possible decision when choosing the best substrate for betta fish.

Your substrate also contributes to the health of your aquarium and betta fish and may impose other restrictions on your aquarium setup. Do you plan to have live plants or roommates for your betta? Read on for tips on choosing the best substrate for betta fish tanks!

Top 6 Best Substrate for Your Betta and Plants

Best Betta Tank Substrate Reviews

1. GloFish Aquarium Gravel

best substrate for betta fish

If you are looking for a substrate that is not only a good home for plants, but also adds something extra to your aquarium, you should check out GloFish. Using it in a GloFish aquarium will give you the special blue light glow effect, but it will look great in any aquarium.

It is also available in a number of bold color options, including green, white, black and pink. It also comes in some great color combinations. Solid colored bags contain granules that are more uniform in size and slightly smaller than mixed bags.

This is a gravel style substrate that is great for holding plants in place. It also won’t change the pH of the water, which is great for keeping your fish healthy.

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2. Marina Decorative Gravel

best substrate for betta fish

This gravel substrate from Marina is decorative and functional. It is the perfect size and weight to keep plants and decorations in place in your tank.

In addition, it has an epoxy coating, so that it has no effect on the water chemistry. This type of coating also serves as a perfect place for beneficial bacteria to colonize.

Marina gravel is available in 6 different colours: black, blue, burgundy, neon yellow, orange and purple.

If you have a fish as beautiful as a Betta, why not have a substrate that provides a beautiful backdrop to show off?

Multiple color options allow you to do just that.

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3. Carib Sea ACS00832 Peace River Gravel for Aquarium

best substrate for betta fish

If you like the natural look that the Caribbean Sea creates, but prefer gravel to sand, Peace River Gravel is for you. Made in the USA, it contains no paints or dyes and is the perfect way to make your aquarium feel like a natural river environment. This substrate has a neutral pH, so it has no influence on the water balance.

This gravel has very small grains. It’s even smaller than gravel and is actually the smallest size gravel in the product we’re reviewing.

Due to its size, it helps prevent the accumulation of dirt. It is also the perfect texture to accommodate your plants and create a natural looking and natural home for your Betta.

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4. Spectrastone Shallow Creek Regular

best substrate for betta fish

A gravel substrate that gives a natural look to betta fish.

This product can be used to provide your betta fish with a substrate small enough to prevent the ingress of debris while providing excellent circulation.

Shout-Out!: The granules are not uniform in size and provide one of the best possible textures for the floor of your betta tanks.

Each granule is coated with a layer that prevents it from decomposing and washing out minerals in the water column that would alter PH levels.

Call!: This substrate is covered in dust and needs to be cleaned several times before being placed in the beta fish tank.

There is enough product to cover the bottom of a 5 gallon betta tank, but a larger tank will require more.

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5. Carib Sea Eco Complete Planted Substrate

best substrate for betta fish

A nutrient-rich soil best substrate for betta fish tanks with live plants.

This dark soil is full of live microorganisms that will help your betta tank to establish itself more quickly. Floraspore has also been added to promote root growth.

Shout-Out!: This may be one of the best all-in-one products for live plants in your betta tank.

The texture of this product is firm enough for plants to take root without compacting, a property that prevents roots from stunting. This dark earth contains no artificial dyes, as it is obtained naturally.

Bel!: Contains enough nutrients to give your betta tank an alkaline consistency, not the best trait for PH levels.

The manufacturer claims that rinsing is not necessary, which allows you to avoid a step during tank setup.

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6. Panacea Products Pan Marbles

best substrate for betta fish

A pack of 110 marbles to decorate betta aquariums.

These skillet marbles can be one of the best options for betta fish keepers who don’t want to use gravel or sandbox bottom liners.

Shout-Out!: Panacea Products offers one of the best color selections for these substrates.

Made of polished glass, this product is safe for use in freshwater aquariums and will not affect the chemistry of the water column. Although the surface does not have a porous texture that promotes the growth of good bacteria, it will not scratch fish if they come into contact with it.

Bel!: Smaller bags are not the best choice for covering the bottom of a tank.

They can be easily combined with other substrates to give a varied look and texture to the bottom of your betta tank.

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Does a Betta Tank Need Substrate?

Substrate is the best way to anchor plants so you can give your Betta several places to explore and hide.

It also plays a very important role in water chemistry by providing a natural place for beneficial bacteria to colonize. This helps balance the water and in turn keep your pet healthy.

If you want your pet to do well, it is essential to create the best environment and a good substrate is the foundation. Let’s take a look at some substrates your pet will love.

What is the Best Substrate for a Betta Fish?

All of our selections will make your pet very happy, but the best substrate for Betta fish is Spectrastone.

What we love about it is that it looks so natural. This pebble is the perfect size and weight to hold any plant or decoration that will make the environment that much more inviting for a Betta.

The small pebbles range from ¼ to ½ inch wide and are available in light brown, brown and gold for a truly stunning effect. Each pebble is coated with a special non-toxic coating to prevent it from disturbing the chemical balance of the water.

It helps keep the pH where it should be and provides a home for beneficial bacteria to thrive.

What Kind of Substrate for Betta?

There are many things that determine the best substrate for betta fish. One of the most important is the size of your tank.

If you have a small tank and you are using a container without a filter, you will have to change the water quite often. For 1 to 2 gallon bowls and aquariums, the water will need to be changed completely fairly regularly. So what does this have to do with the substrate?

Think about it, if you are regularly draining your fish’s aquarium water, a gravel-style substrate is better than a sand-based one. With sand, a little more disappears every time you empty it. You also have to wait a while for everything to settle before you can put your fish back in its house.

The gravel substrate is excellent with larger tanks that do not require 100% water changes. It allows everything to remain anchored without disturbing the fish habitat too much. Be careful with the use of large river rocks. Anything around ½ inch is fine, but something larger could cause problems because it can more easily trap waste and uneaten food.

Another thing to consider is whether you are going to use live plants or not. Live plants grow best in gravel substrate for several reasons. In fact, there are good and bad things about gravel and sand substrates.

How Much Substrate for Betta Tank?

The actual amount you need will depend on the size of your tank. In general, however, you are looking for the substrate to have a certain height along the bottom of the tank.

If you plan to have live plants, you should have about 2 inches of substrate. For artificial plants, 1 inch is sufficient. But remember, that means 1 to 2 inches on the bottom of the entire aquarium, corner to corner and front to back. You can also build a varied terrain if you want it to be a bit more interesting for your fish. Add a pile here, a mound there to make it feel more natural.

It is tempting to want to avoid the underground. After all, it makes cleaning the tank so much easier and less work for you. That said, it’s important to think about your pet’s well-being. For starters, a bare-bottomed tank gives you nowhere for beneficial bacteria to grow. This type of bacteria is very important for the balance of the water, especially if you are using a container that does not have a filter.

Bettas naturally thrive in areas where plant life is abundant and they love to swim and explore in the shade. Without substrate you have nowhere to add your own plants. Bettas can become stressed by their own reflection and without a substrate they can see each other wherever they swim. It also seems unnatural.


The only way to keep your Betta fish happy and healthy is to give them a good home. Choosing the right surface is literally and figuratively the best basis for your tank. It encourages bacterial growth, supports both real and artificial plant life, and gives your Betta a real habitat to explore. The ideal home for your Betta really starts at the bottom. From your aquarium, that is.

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

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

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

CustomSiteStripe ImageTitleReviewBuy
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.

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

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

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.