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5 Best Colorful Aquarium Gravels in 2024: Reviews & Top Picks

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton

aquarium with plants and gravel  Many people choose to go with very simple aquarium gravel, which is totally fine, but if you want to spice things up a bit, you might want to consider getting some colored gravel for your aquarium, whether just normally colored or maybe even glow-in-the-dark.

A lot of people ask us what is the best color gravel for aquariums? Well, the short answer is it really comes down to your preference and what you are trying to achieve. To help you decide, we will be covering our current 5 favorite aquarium gravel colors that should give you some suggestions and color ideas.


A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
GloFish Aquarium Gravel GloFish Aquarium Gravel
  • Helps other colors stand out
  • Glows under blue light
  • Creates strong contrasts
  • Second place
    Pure Water Pebbles Aquarium Gravel Pure Water Pebbles Aquarium Gravel
  • Brightly colored
  • Won't leach color
  • Can be used as accent or main substrate
  • Third place
    Alan Stone Glow in The Dark Gravel Alan Stone Glow in The Dark Gravel
  • Glows with any light
  • Comes in various colors
  • Won't alter tank pH
  • Marina Decorative Gravel Marina Decorative Gravel
  • Comes in several colors
  • Non-toxic
  • Great for plant growth
  • Spectrastone Permaglo Rainbow Aquarium Gravel Spectrastone Permaglo Rainbow Aquarium Gravel
  • Glows in the dark
  • No chemical changes to water
  • Can support plant life
  • The 5 Best Colorful Aquarium Gravels

    We have narrowed it down to these particular 5 as our personal favorite options, here is a rundown of each.

    1. GloFish Aquarium Gravel

    glofish aquarium gravel black

    Here we have a special kind of aquarium gravel, GloFish Aquarium Gravel, which is designed to really make your aquarium come to life. Now, this stuff is black, so it is made to really make all other colors in the aquarium stand out.

    It creates a really strong contrast between the gravel and the rest of the colors in the tank. Now, there is more to it than that, because not only does this stuff have a deep black color, but it also comes with various color accents such as orange, pink, blue, and others.

    The cool part about this gravel is the fact that it is designed to glow in the dark with blue light. Yes, if you have a blue light in your fish tank, this stuff will glow in the dark, at least the colored accents will, thus bringing your aquarium to a whole different level.

    It’s a good option to go with, especially if you have GloFish plants that will also glow in the dark. Although that said, it might not be the best to support normal aquarium plant growth.

    • Black color brings out all other colors in the tank
    • Includes accent colors
    • Glows under blue light
    • Works well in conjunction with other GloFish products

    • Won’t support plant growth

    2. Pure Water Pebbles Aquarium Gravel

    pure water pebbles gravel

    If you would like some brightly colored aquarium gravel, this gravel is a nice option to keep in mind. This stuff features a bright turquoise color, which really goes well with all kinds of aquariums.

    You can use it to accent your current aquarium gravel or use it as your main substrate. It will definitely add some pop to your aquarium, and it works well with dark-colored fish.

    Now, this particular gravel is specially treated with an acrylic coating, so it is 100% color fast, or in other words, it won’t leach color into the water. It’s also 100% non-toxic and will in no way alter the water chemistry in your aquarium.

    Yes, this decorative gravel more than anything else, although it will work perfectly fine to support the growth of most aquarium plants and their root systems. If you like the color turquoise, then this might just be the best option for you.

    • Bright turquoise color is eye catching
    • Acrylic coating makes it 100% colorfast
    • Non-toxic
    • Won’t alter water parameters

    • Color isn’t for every tank
    • Not the best option for live plants 

    3. Alan Stone Glow in The Dark Gravel

    alan stone glow in the dark gravel

    Alright, if you need some really cool aquarium gravel that glows in the dark, then this one is a nice option. This stuff is made to glow in the dark, and no, you do not need blue or black light to make it glow.

    This particular aquarium gravel is designed to absorb sunlight during the day, which can also come from your aquarium lights, and then release that light during the night through a warm glow.

    What you do need to know here is that Alan Stone Glow in The Dark Gravel needs a whole lot of light during the day if you expect it to glow all throughout the night. All of that being said, this gravel will also glow in the dark if you install an LED black light in your aquarium.

    This gravel comes in various glow-in-the-dark colors such as shades of green, blue, yellow, and even pink. It’s a really cool choice if you want some glow-in-the-dark features. What’s nice here is that you can select from different pebble sizes to suit both your aquarium fish and the plants in your fish tank.

    This gravel is non-toxic, it won’t alter the pH level in the water, and it should not leach color into the water either.

    • Glows in the dark without special lighting
    • Comes in multiple colors and sizes
    • Non-toxic
    • Won’t alter water parameters

    • Requires a lot of light to glow throughout the night
    • Won’t support plant growth

    4. Marina Decorative Gravel

    marina decorative gravel

    Marina Decorative Gravel is a nice option to go with if you just need some color decorative gravel. No, this gravel is not designed to glow in the dark, but it does come in a variety of really nice colors that will add some great accents and a whole lot of life to any aquarium.

    This aquarium gravel comes in several color options including blue, brown, green, black, yellow, pink, and orange, so there is definitely a whole lot of choice to go with.

    You can choose whichever color you think works best for your fish tank. It definitely adds some character to any aquarium. Do keep in mind that Marina Decorative Gravel is coated with epoxy, so it should not crumble in the water, it won’t leach chemicals or colors into the water, and it is non-toxic too, perfectly safe for fish to swim around at all times.

    Now, this is not the number one option to go with for the best plant growth, but it will hold the roots of aquatic plants in place, and it will hold aquarium decorations in place too.

    • Colorful options available
    • Epoxy coating prevents breakdown
    • Non-toxic
    • Won’t alter water parameters

    • Doesn’t glow in the dark or under black or blue light
    • Not the best option for live plants

    5. Spectrastone Permaglo Rainbow Aquarium Gravel

     Spectrastone Permaglo Rainbow Aquarium Gravel

    Here we are back to some really nice glow-in-the-dark aquarium gravel that will definitely light things up during the night. Now, this is not the kind of aquarium gravel that absorbs light during the day and then releases it during the night, but it does glow when you shine a light on it.

    You can choose to use any kind of light really, and this rainbow gravel will really shine under it.

    In terms of color choices, there is no choice here, as each bag of this gravel comes complete with many different colors such as yellow, green, blue, pink, purple, orange, and more. It will absolutely help bring any fish tank to life.

    Keep in mind that this gravel is non-toxic, safe for fish, and it will not leach color or cause chemical changes in the water. Yes, this stuff can also be used to support aquarium plant life as well.

    • Reflects small amounts of light to give a glowing effect
    • Multiple colors per bag
    • Non-toxic
    • Won’t alter water parameters

    • Doesn’t truly glow in the dark
    • Requires light to reflect off of it to glow
    • Colors can’t be chosen

    aquarium plant divider

    Buyers Guide – Choosing the Best Colorful Aquarium Gravels

    Let’s quickly go over some of the most commonly asked questions in terms of aquarium gravel, especially colored aquarium gravel.

    Is Gravel Good For Fish Tanks?

    Yes, for the most part, gravel is great for fish tanks, especially for freshwater tanks. Sure, sand works alright too, but sand is usually better for saltwater tanks (we have covered sand separately here).

    The bottom line is that gravel does usually make for the best substrate option, as it tends to not alter the pH level in the water, it usually doesn’t have chemicals that leach into the water, and it tends to have the right shape and size consistency to support rooted aquarium plants. Many fish also prefer fine gravel as they can really root around in it.

    What Color Gravel Is Best For Betta Fish?

    Ok, so this is really a matter of personal preference than anything else. You can get some dull and plain gravel if you want the colorful betta fish to be the center of attention.

    If you really want to make the betta fish stand out above all else, you might actually want to go for some black aquarium gravel, as the black of the gravel will create a nice contrast against the bright and colorful betta fish.

    To be quite honest, it’s not recommended that you get any brightly colored aquarium gravel for a betta fish tank, as any colors will simply take the attention away from the betta fish.

    goldfish gravel substrate
    Image credit: Pixy

    Can I Use Normal Gravel For My Fish Tank?

    Yes, normal gravel is just fine for most fish tanks. It’s not like colored gravel adds any real or inherent benefits to a fish tank besides a neat look and overall aesthetics.

    If you are not too worried about adding more color to the fish tank, then yes, normal aquarium gravel will work just fine.

    However, on a side note, if you are talking about normal gravel, as in the stuff people put on roads and walkways, then no, you cannot use this type of gravel for fish tanks. This kind of road gravel will contain various minerals and maybe even chemicals, which you absolutely do not want to be putting anywhere near your fish.

    Most road gravel is also just way too large and has rough edges that won’t mix well with delicate fish.

    Is Sand Or Gravel Better For Aquariums?

    If it is a saltwater tank we are talking about, then yes, you might want to go with sand. However, for most freshwater applications, you want to use gravel.

    Gravel is just a lot easier to work with and to clean, it does not mess with the pH level of the water, and it does not cloud up the water as bad either.

    Therefore, when it comes to freshwater fish tanks, you probably want to stick with gravel as opposed to sand.

    divider: bubbles


    The bottom line is that some black (like our top pick of GloFish Aquarium Gravel), colored (like Pure Water Pebbles Aquarium Gravel, our runner-up), or even glow-in-the-dark aquarium gravel can really make any fish tank come to life. Just be sure to pick the right colors that will contrast and mix nicely with the fish and plants you plan on having in your aquarium. We will leave it down to you to figure out which one is best for you.

    Featured Image Credit: Laila, Pixabay

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