The decision whether to use sand or gravel for your aquarium can be difficult.
The choice 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 is also inexpensive and comes in a wide range of colors and particle sizes.
Below we give the advantages and disadvantages of gravel and sand so you have the information to make the best choice for your fish.
The advantages of using gravel and pebbles in your aquarium
- Gravel offers great aesthetics and allows your plants to grow uniformly. Gravel is ideal for aquarium plants as it provides a safe and secure environment for their roots.
- Aquarium gravel is easy to handle when cleaning your water
- Gravel provides essential nutrients for your plants
- Cost effective – it is one of the least expensive options
- 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 the bacteria don’t have a gravel bed to live in, it will find other places to grow, but may not grow in sufficient quantities to keep the aquarium safe for your fish.
- It is the best option for faux plant life.
- Aquarium gravel does not cloud the water. Rather it keeps the water clean and allows the fish to breathe easily and swim.
Disadvantages of aquarium gravel
- Algae can develop quickly and easily on gravel. The dirt under the gravel cannot 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.
Check Out The Video Below On The Nitrogen Cycle and Cloudy Aquarium Water Explained
Advantages of using sand
- Sand can provide a more natural environment for the fish in your aquarium and for plants to grow
Disadvantages of using sand
- 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.
Aquarium gravel is the preferred choice for my fish tank. It keeps the visibility in the aquarium nice and clear. I know that I would not want to live in cloudy, murky water, and that is not the environment I choose for my fish.