Advantages & Disadvantages of using Gravel in Fish Tank

Most people assume that the gravel used in fish tank is just to make their fish aquarium attractive. It is not entirely true. While gravel is not an absolute requirement, but there are several reasons why it’s recommended. There are a few situations as well in which this gravel or substrate isn’t desirable.

polished gravel for fish tank


Advantages of a fish aquarium gravel:

1. Biological Filtration

The most important function a good gravel can serve is to provide a conducive home for beneficial bacteria to support bacterial colonies. Gravel acts as a trap for waste produced by the fish, leftover food and plant debris in the fish tank. If the tank is left with a bare bottom, it will be necessary to change water more often in the aquarium to keep harmful wastes from building and floating up.

2. Habitat for Fish

Gravel provides a kind of natural habitat for your fish. The more comfortable your fish feels in the habitat – less stressed and healthier they would be. Stress is considered a major contributor to a compromised immune system in fish, leaving them more susceptible to diseases.

Gravel substrates provides a safe home for eggs laid by fish and keep your water fresh for a longer period of time.

3. Aesthetic Appeal

Last and the obvious one – substrate provide aesthetic appeal to the tank. Gravel hides the debris that inevitably is produced every day within the tank and provides a contrast to the background, which helps fish stand out.

Disadvantages of a fish tank gravel:

In some scenarios, gravel substrate isn’t helpful. Some of the disadvantages are:

  1. Extra work needed to clean the aquarium.
  2. Many a times, using gravel substrate gives an impression that water is clean and there isn’t a need to change the water, but may not be true.



Overall speaking, advantages of using gravels far outweighs the disadvantages of using gravel.

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