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How Much Gravel For 10 Gallon Tanks? Facts & FAQs

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton

aquarium with plants and gravel

Creating a nice aquarium habitat involves quite a few different things. You are going to need to get substrate, plants, decorations, pumps, filters, and of course your fish too. When it comes to the substrate, a lot of people are unclear as to how much of it is needed.

When it comes to freshwater tanks, people generally prefer to use some kind of gravel as the base layer in the aquarium. However, many people do not know exactly how much gravel is needed to form an ideal bottom layer. So, how much gravel for 10 gallon tanks is actually needed? to get a good base layer you will need roughly 15 pounds of gravel.

wave dividerWhy You Should Use Gravel

Aiptasia eater Peppermint shrimp on gravel
Image Credit: Vojce, Shutterstock

First of all, we would like to talk about why exactly gravel makes for the better option. A lot of people use sand in an aquarium, which does look nice and is needed in some cases. However, sand does have certain limitations which gravel does not have.

The biggest issue has to do with cleaning and maintenance. You can use a siphon or gravel vacuum in order to suck up debris and fish waste out of the gravel, all without actually sucking up the gravel. However, sand is much harder to clean due to its small size. It is virtually impossible to use a vacuum to clean the substrate without sucking all of the sand up along with the waste you are cleaning.

You do have to pay attention to what kind of fish you have in the tank. There are some fish that are a little more delicate and prone to damage, especially when it comes to the fins of the fish.

If you have a more delicate fish, you will want to go with a smoother and finer type of gravel for the substrate as opposed to a really rough one. You should also choose a type of gravel that is colored to match the natural habitat of the fish you have in your aquarium.

If you haven’t bought your tank yet and need some help, take a look at our buyer’s guide.

How Much Gravel For A 10 Gallon Tank?

Now, when it comes to how much gravel you need for a 10 gallon tank, the calculation is actually quite simple. The rule of thumb to follow is that you need 1.5 pounds of gravel substrate for each gallon of water in the tank.

Therefore, for a 10-gallon tank, you will need 15 pounds of gravel. Keep in mind that the shape of the aquarium in question will alter this amount a little bit, but for the purposes of this article, we are talking about a normal rectangular tank, as most of them tend to be.

Also make sure you have a powerful enough filter, even for 10 gallon tanks; a good filter is important.

A small 10 gallon fish tank on a wooden surface
Image Credit: Ja Crispy, Shutterstock

wave dividerConclusion

Just remember folks, spend a bit of time deciding which substrate is the best for you and your fish (we covered our top six picks here). If you have a 10-gallon tank and want to use gravel as the substrate, to get a good base layer you will need roughly 15 pounds of gravel.

Feature Image Credit: Pixabay

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

Authored by

Lindsey discovered her passion for fish keeping after a junior high school field trip to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Prior to becoming Editor-in-Chief of It's a Fish Thing, Lindsey studied marine biology at the University of California-Santa Cruz. She loves goldfish, tetras, and mystery snails, and recently began experimenting with a saltwater aquarium.

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