Best Aquarium Gravel For Betta Fish

When choosing a substrate for your betta tank it can be hard to find what suits you and your fish. Normally, it all comes down to sand vs gravel. If you’re on this page then it means you’ve chosen gravel. And this handy guide is going to point you towards the best aquarium gravel for betta fish.

Remember, some gravel is going to be better than others. And for the health and safety of your betta, it’s important to make sure you’re buying the best one. Or you may end up doing a lot of damage.

A Guide To The Best Aquarium Gravel For Betta Fish

If you want the short answer to this question, then the gravel  recoImmend has to be Royal Imports 5lb Small Decorative Ornamental River Pebbles. I found the gravel to be the ideal size for my betta and I loved the natural look of it. However, keep reading for more in-depth information of the 4 best gravel makes for betta owners.

Royal Imports 5lb Small Decorative Ornamental River Pebbles (Top Pick)

The royal import river pebbles are one of the more popular aquarium gravels. With a lot of raving reviews on Amazon, I couldn’t help but try them myself. And I was more than thrilled with the outcome. They were a perfect size and looked natural. And the best part is the stones are smooth so I didn’t have to worry about my betta cutting himself on them.

The only downside was the fact that they aren’t sold exclusively for aquariums. So before using them, you’re going to have to make sure you let them soak in boiling water first. As well as this for a betta tank over 5 gallons (5 gallons being the smallest size for a betta), you may need two bags. However, don’t let this deter you!

These pebbles are the best choice for your fish tank and well worth the price.

Pros

  • The gravel is the ideal size. Large but not large enough to be eaten.
  • It looks natural and will make your tank look great
  • They’re smooth and round so your betta won’t cut himself

Cons

  • You may need a couple of bags
  • You will need to soak the gravel in boiling water beforehand.

More Info

GloFish Aquarium Gravel (Runner Up)


If you’re not sure about the royal import gravel because it’s not made for an aquarium then this is your best bet. Glofish are a reputable brand and you can trust that their gravel isn’t going to have any negative consequences. In fact, Glofish gravel is made especially for aquariums. It also comes in a variety of different colors as well.

The gravel is also a good size which means you won’t have to worry about your betta trying to eat it. And if you go for the white or black gravel your betta’s colors are really going to pop.

One of the biggest downsides of this gravel and the reason I chose not to use it is the fact that it doesn’t look natural. It only comes in a variety of unnatural colors. If you don’t have a problem with this then you should definitely choose Glofish Aquarium Gravel!

Pros

  • Made for aquariums
  • A reputable brand
  • Good size
  • Brings out the color of your betta

Cons

  • To fill an aquarium you’ll need a couple of bags
  • Not as natural looking

More Info

Carib Sea ACS00832 Peace River Gravel 

The Carib Sea Peace River Gravel gets great reviews on Amazon, and for good reason! It looks completely natural and it’s going to help mimic your bettas habitat. What I like most about this gravel is that it’s the perfect size for planted tanks. This gravel will be compact enough to anchor your plants but give enough space for the roots to grow effectively.

On a more technical note, this gravel is also pH neutral. You won’t have to worry about throwing the parameters of your water off and affecting your fishes health when you use it.

However, because this gravel is quite small if you plan on using a gravel vacuum for too long it may begin to be sucked up. You can get around this by hovering the vacuum above the gravel or stopping it every so often to give the gravel time to settle.

Pros

  • Looks natural
  • If you’re using plants it’s ideal
  • pH neutral

Cons

  • Might be a bit too small
  • If using a gravel vacuum for too long it starts getting sucked up

More Info

Spectrastone Shallow Creek Regular for Freshwater Aquariums


Last on the list, but definitely, not least is Spectrastone Shallow Creek Gravel. This gravel is the perfect size for your betta and the neutrality of it is really going to make your bettas color pop. Another great thing about the Spectrastone gravel is that it’s pH neutral, so you don’t have to worry about the water parameters of your tank changing.

However, you should be aware that the gravel is actually lighter than in the picture. This isn’t going to be a problem if you have a dark betta, but if you have a lighter betta it may stand out less.

All in all, though, this is a solid gravel choice for your tank and it’s going to work especially well when you have a darker betta.

Pros

  • Perfect size for bettas
  • pH neutral
  • Natural look will make your bettas color pop

Cons

  • Color lighter than pictured

More Info

What Colour Gravel Is Best For Betta Fish?

There’s a lot of debate around whether you should use natural color or artificial color gravel. At the end of the day, it comes down to your personal preference. Personally, I prefer more natural gravel. It more closely imitates your bettas natural habitat. And on top of that, it’s also going to make your betta look more colorful. But if you prefer artificially colored gravel then you should use that instead.

How Deep Should Aquarium Gravel Be?

If you plan on adding gravel you don’t want to make it too shallow or too deep. The ideal depth is 1.5 inches, however between 1-2 inches is going to be suitable for any tank. If you plan on having a tank with a lot of plants I’d stick closer to the higher end of that range. This gives your plants lots of room to grow roots.

The only exception to that rule is if you have a very large aquarium. In this case, 1-2 inches may look bare and you may consider increasing the amount.

How Do You Measure Aquarium Gravel Needed?

It can be hard to figure out how much gravel you’re going to need to buy, but there are calculators you can use such as this one to help. However, as a rule of thumb if you buy 1.5lbs of gravel for every gallon of water in your tank you won’t be too far off. This only works on rectangular tanks, but if you have a different shaped tank you won’t have to buy that much more or less.

How Often Should You Replace Aquarium Gravel?

If you have aquarium gravel you don’t need to change it that often. In fact, as long as you’re cleaning it regularly you won’t need to change your gravel for years. However, the only time you may need to change your gravel is when you feel like any plants in your tank are outgrowing it. And of course, you can change it when you feel like you fancy a change in your tank.

How Do You Change The Gravel In Your Tank?

Luckily, you’re not going to have to worry about changing the gravel in your tank too often. As long as you’re cleaning it regularly with a gravel vacuum then it should be fine to use for years. However, sometimes you do just need a change and if that’s the case then here’s a step by step guide on changing your gravel.

  1. Before changing the gravel, you should move your betta and any other fish to another tank. Otherwise, your fish will become extremely stressed. If you don’t have a tank the next best thing you can do is stick them in a large plastic container (at least 5 gallons). Just ensure that you’ve never used the container for anything else and it doesn’t have any contaminants in it. As a last resort, if you have nowhere else to put your fish then make sure you take things nice and slow. And try to keep your fish as calm as possible.
  2. Try to avoid a gravel change after you’ve replaced a filter. The new filter won’t house as much beneficial bacteria. Luckily, your gravel will. If you remove the filter and the gravel around the same time, the bioload from the fish will quickly begin poisoning your tank.
  3. When you plan on changing your gravel, don’t feed your fish. The lack of food means there will be no excrement and the ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels won’t go up as fast.
  4. Rinse your new gravel with water before adding it to boiling water. If you need to, repeat this step until the water is clear.
  5. Turn off your filter and try to complete the next steps as quickly as possible.
  6. Begin siphoning water from your main tank into your holding tank. You should aim to siphon 50% of the water into the holding tank.
  7. Once you’ve done this quickly add your fish to the holding tank, along with all decorations and plant life. Moving everything over is going to help keep any bacteria alive.
  8. Make sure you cover the holding tank, bettas are able to jump and may try to jump out.
  9. Now fill your main tank back to the top with conditioned water and turn your aquarium back on.
  10. Remove all of the old gravel from your aquarium and vacuum anything that’s left behind. Doing this is going to remove any old debris that could become a hazard to your fish later on.
  11. Finally add the new gravel into your tank, replace the decor and plants and add your betta.
  12. It helps to add stress coat to your tank to reduce the amount of stress your betta and any other fish feel. And you should check the ammonia levels over the next few days to make sure everything is okay.
  13. If you notice ammonia spikes then you should keep performing water changes as you normally would until the levels go back to normal.

Recap

Now that you know what the best aquarium gravel for betta fish is, you can go out and get some! Any gravel you’ve read about today will be a fantastic choice in your tank, you just have to go with which one you think is best. And just a quick reminder of some important things to take away.

  • As long as you clean your gravel regularly, you don’t need to change it frequently. However, if you want to change it every once in a while then that’s completely fine.
  • Normally your gravel should be 1-2 inches deep. However, this will change depending on the size and height of your tank.

If you found this article useful remember to share it with your friends and anyone else that would find it helpful. If you’re still interested in learning more then check out these articles:

  • Best Aquarium Substrate – Gravel isn’t the only substrate you can use. If you’re interested in what substrates are good for bettas and what ones you should definitely AVOID then you need to read this article.

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