You can buy many different fun colors of aquarium gravel for your fish tank. All colors of the rainbow including primary colors and mixes of fluorescent colors are available, as well as neutral colors. You can choose whichever color you like to go with the decorations in your fish tank. There are a few things to consider when buying aquarium gravel, besides the decorative appeal.
The size of your aquarium gravel is important because sometimes fish accidentally suck pieces of gravel into their mouth. Gravel can get stuck in a fish’s mouth and even swallowed, preventing eating and potentially harming them internally. Standard aquarium gravel is fine for most fish, especially smaller varieties of fish. However, if you have larger fish, you may need to buy a larger size of gravel. Bags of natural looking, smooth rocks can be purchased, and these are typically larger in size. This doesn’t happen frequently, but I have heard of cases with larger fish.
Cleaning Gravel, Rocks, and Shells
When you buy gravel at the store it may contain dust, which is made up of pulverized pieces of the gravel. This can happen due to shipping and handling at the store. If the gravel seems to have a lot of dust on it you should thoroughly rinse it before putting it into your fish tank (I recommend rinsing all gravel and decorations before they go into the tank!)
If you choose to use natural elements, such as rocks and shells found outside, you need to thoroughly sanitize them. Natural elements can contain organisms or bacteria that can be harmful to your fish tank community. The easiest way to sanitize rocks and shells is to boil them for a few minutes (no more than 5 minutes.) Also make sure that natural rocks or shells don’t have sharp edges that could hurt your fish.
Aquarium gravel can be purchased in different sized packages from 2 pounds to 25 pounds. What I like to do is choose a few smaller bags in different colors and mix them together! I have found that some of the available colored gravel loses the color after a while, such as the purple, so be aware that this may happen.
Jennifer Kean is a writer and pet-lover who owns two rescue kittens (lifetime cat owner too!) and has a 40 gallon fish tank!