Why You Should Use Aquarium Gravel

last updated October 2018

best aquarium gravel
It doesn’t cloud the water and helps keep water clean allowing fish to breathe easily


The choice of whether to use aquarium gravel or sand is usually based on aesthetics, types of fish that live in the environment as well as plants kept in the aquarium.


Aquarium gravel is probably the most easily available and commonly used. It’s inexpensive and comes in a wide range of colors and particle sizes.


There’s also a whole host of other advantages for using gravel and we’ve listed the pros and cons of gravel and sand here.

Gravel advantages


  • Gravel offers great aesthetics and allows your plants to grow uniformly. It's ideal for aquarium plants as it provides a safe and secure environment for their roots.
  • It's easy to handle when cleaning tank water
  • Gravel provides essential nutrients for your plants
  • It's cheap
  • The variety of shapes, sizes and colors gives you choices in the look of your aquarium. A natural look or a more colorful aquarium
  • Aquarium gravel provides an important function by giving a home to beneficial bacteria that live in your aquarium. Bacteria is necessary to process the fish waste, uneaten fish food & plant debris. If bacteria doesn't have a gravel bed to live in, it will find other places to grow. However it may not grow in sufficient quantities to keep the aquarium safe for your fish.
  • It doesn't cloud the water. Rather it keeps the water clean and allows the fish to breathe easily and swim
  • It's the best option to anchor faux plant life


  • Algae can develop quickly and easily on gravel. The dirt under the gravel can't be cleaned properly without cleaning the whole aquarium. However you can get fast cleaning kits to clean your aquarium gravel. Using these kits you can clean every part of your aquarium, including the corners using a triangularly shaped device which runs on an automated system.
  • Gravel can also cause barriers to the reflections of light into the tank.
  • Aquarium gravel is the preferred choice for my fish tank. It keeps the visibility in the aquarium nice and clear. I know that I wouldn't want to live in cloudy, murky water, and that is not the environment I choose for my fish.

best aquarium gravel

Gravel Cleaner

best aquarium vacuum
Aquarium gravel cleaner

The USA made Python gravel cleaner is an aquarium maintenance system recommended and used worldwide.


With over 3,100 reviews on amazon and earning 4 1/2 stars I’m not alone in recommending this product to deal with routine maintenance and cleaning gravel in the tank. It makes the whole process so easy.

best aquarium vacuum cleaner

Why would you choose sand?



  • Sand can provide a more natural environment for the fish in your aquarium and for plants to grow
  • Some fish find it hard to live with sand in their water. Sand clogs their gills. You might find that your fish become sick when sand gets into their eyes and mouth.
  • The fish tank and other aquarium machinery can get cloudy from the presence of sand.