Best Gravel for Betta Fish – Expert Guide

Substrates are an integral part of relatively small tanks which lack powerful filters. Gravel, like any other substrate, helps build beneficial bacteria colonies and works as a primary filter to trap organic debris. 

Beginner aquarists often disregard the importance of gravel for Betta aquariums. Smaller gravels, apart from cycling the tank, act as anchors for live plants and allow your Betta to forage in the substrate. 

Gravel for Betta Fish

In this article, we’ll review the 8 best gravels for Betta Fish tanks and go through a few pointers to help you choose better. 

8 Best Gravel for Betta Fish

1. OUPENG Pebbles Polished Gravel

OUPENG Pebbles Polished Gravel  

Package Weight10 lb / 160 Oz Bag
Gravel Size2 – 3 inches
Gravel TypePolished river rock gravel
Color Natural multi-color
Units needed for 10-gallon tanks2

With relatively larger and naturally sourced stones, the OUPENG Polished Gravel is a well-suited option for Betta tanks. The larger, polished stones make it easier to clean and maintain your tank. The heavier gravels also help anchor the plants in the Betta tank.  

Key Features

  • Natural Stones

 No artificial manufacturing process is involved in producing the stones. They’re sourced from nature and are polished to be more ornamental. 

  • Polished Surface Gravel

Only pure wax polish is used to shine the OUPENG gravels. The shine is expected to go away after a few cycles of rinsing and cleaning. 

  • No Sharp Edges

The stones are gently tumbled to remove any sharp edges that may harm your sensitive betta Fish.

  • No Chemicals Used

Artificial dyes and oils aren’t used to shine the gravels and make them more appealing. You may also use them with other substrate options for variety. 


  • Can be used for multiple purposes. 
  • Easy to clean and maintain.
  • Varieties of colors and shapes.


2. Seachem Flourite Black Clay Gravel

Seachem Flourite Black Clay Gravel  

Package Weight15.4 lb / 240 Oz
Gravel SizeSmall particles 1-3 mm
Gravel TypeClay gravel
Color Black
Units needed for 10-gallon tanks1

A renowned name in the aquarium trade, Seachem Flourite Black Clay Gravel is one of the most suitable substrates for planted Betta tanks. Being finer than river rocks, they provide adequate surface area to grow nitrifying bacteria and aquatic plants. Your Betta also can forage in the loose substrate. 

Key Features

  • Porous Clay Gravel

Made from porous clay material, the Seachem Flourite promotes bacterial growth and suits planted Betta tanks perfectly.  

  • Not Artificially Painted

Unlike most cheaper gravels, this clay gravel is naturally black and doesn’t release toxins in the water. 

  • Finer Particles than Regular Gravel

Regular round-shaped gravels are much larger in size and lack the grip required to sustain planted aquariums. 

  • Doesn’t Alter the pH Levels

Being not chemically traitor or coated, this best gravel for Betta Fish doesn’t alter the water pH levels. 


  • Very well-suited for planted aquariums. 
  • Works pretty well with undergravel filters. 
  • Doesn’t alter tank chemistry and provides a larger surface for beneficial bacteria. 


  • Pricing is on the higher side.
  • Needs to be washed a few times to run dust-free. 

3. GloFish Aquarium Gravel 5 Pounds

GloFish Aquarium Gravel 5 Pounds  

Package Weight5 lb / 80 Oz
Gravel Size1 – 2 inches
Gravel TypeFluorescent artificial gravel
Color Multiple color choices. 
Units needed for 10-gallon tanks3

GloFish is popular in the industry for their fluorescent fish, beautiful decor, and glowing plants. Their Betta gravel, the GloFish Aquarium Gravel, resonates with their premium name and charming produce range. These shining gravels are best suited for children building their first Betta tank.

Key Features

  • Fluorescent Accents

You either can get a whole fluorescent package or choose from the fluorescent highlights offered by GloFish. We personally prefer the highlights because they are less invasive and look better in planted tanks. 

  • Perfect Size for Planted Betta Tanks

The beads, thanks to them being artificial, are perfect in size and shape. They’re also smooth enough to not hurt your Betta Fish. 

  • Easy to Clean and Maintain

In contrast to porous rocks, GloFish rocks are easier to clean and maintain. Gentle water rinse often takes away the buildup. 

  • Doesn’t Alter the pH Levels

Despite being artificial, GloFish gravels don’t alter the pH levels of your tank. However, it’s advised to clean them thoroughly before using. 


  • Looks very beautiful against blue lighting. 
  • Premium-quality colors are used to manufacture the gravel. 
  • Pricing is pretty reasonable


  • Color particles were floating on the surface during the first few rinses. 
  • Doesn’t look natural.
  • Lacks the necessary surface area for nitrifying bacteria to grow.

4. Royal Imports 5LBS River Rocks

Royal Imports 5LBS River Rocks  

Package Weight5 lb / 80 Oz
Gravel Size2 – 3 inches
Gravel TypeEco-friendly river rocks
Color Natural white, brown, and pale yellow
Units needed for 10-gallon tanks3

If you’re as lenient as us towards natural substrates, the Royal Imports River Rocks are the best gravel for Betta Fish that you can get. The 2 to 3-inch large, round gravels are manually sorted and packaged without making them artificially more appealing or even toxic. The packaging is also durable enough to prevent damage to the rocks. 

Key Features

  • Sourced Directly From Rivers

The stones are directly sourced from the streams and sorted to suit Betta tanks. The packages contain different-sized stones to make aquascaping easier. 

  • Aren’t Polished or Waxed

While it’s not harmful for fish to polish or wax the stones before packaging, the Royal Imports gravels aren’t polished to preserve their natural looks and characteristics.

  • Includes a Variety of Colors and Shapes

Being naturally sourced, the bags include stones of varying colors and shapes. However, they aren’t dyed though.

  • Offers Greater Surface Area for Nitrifying Bacteria

As the stones aren’t waxed, they offer even more surface area for nitrifying bacteria to grow and colonize. 


  • Doesn’t tip the chemical balance in the tank. 
  • Large enough to anchor plants. 
  • Looks and feels very natural. 
  • Perfect size and weight for Betta tanks. 


  • Can be naturally sandy or dusty. Rinse them before using. 

5. Midwest Hearth Polished White Gravel

Midwest Hearth Polished White Gravel  

Package Weight10 lb / 160 Oz
Gravel Size⅜ to 1.5 inches
Gravel TypeNatural polished pebbles
Color Snow White
Units needed for 10-gallon tanks2

For the minimalist in you, the Midwest hearth Polished White Gravel is the perfect choice for your Betta Tank. The small gravel size, paired with its shiny show-white appearance, makes it one of the most premium options available in this segment. It also works pretty well with undergravel filters. 

Key Features

  • Small Gravel Size

The perfectly small ⅜” gravel size perfectly covers the bottom and efficiently traps the organic debris left by the trees and the Betta.

  • Polished Surface for Shine

If you love polished substrates, these shiny white gravels will take your breath away. The white bottom looks great with plant green. 

  • No Additional Chemicals or Dyes

Just natural stones and pure paraffin wax is used to produce the end product. No additional harmful chemicals and dyes are used. A few rinse cycles before usage should be enough. 

  • No Sharp Edges

The polished gravels are absent of any sharp edges that may harm Betta’s delicate fins and scales. 


  • Perfect size for small Betta tanks with plants. 
  • Doesn’t alter water pH. 
  • Plants can be anchored safely. 


  • Pricing could be a bit more appealing. 

6. Voulosimi 12 LBS River Rock Stones

Voulosimi 12 LBS River Rock Stones  

Package Weight12 lb / 192 Oz
Gravel Size0.4 – 0.8 inches
Gravel TypeNatural polished black pebbles
Color Black
Units needed for 10-gallon tanks1

Complementing Betta’s vibrant colors and the plants’ green lush, Voulosimi Black River Rock Stones are appropriate for Betta tanks with a few plants and colorful decorations. While the polished small rocks may not be ideal for bacterial growth, they do a pretty decent job. Moreover, small particles are trapped beneath the substrate to be filtered by the UGF. 

Key Features

  • Perfect Gravel Size

The 0.4 to 0.8” Gravel Size is pretty ideal for Betta Fish. They can forage the stones, but can’t ingest them to cause major issues.

  • Polished Black Pebbles

The gravels are polished and packaged to appeal to the majority of aquarists. However, polishing doesn’t derive any additional benefits. It may rather break the nitrogen cycle by not allowing beneficial bacteria to reproduce. 

  • No Harmful Dyes are Used

The black color is as natural as it gets. No harmful dyes or chemicals were used during sorting or polishing of the product.  


  • Looks great in planted Betta tanks. 
  • Easily filters organic debris. 
  • Pretty easy to clean and maintain.


  • Wax polish doesn’t look natural. 

7. WAYBER Decorative Crystal Pebbles

WAYBER Decorative Crystal Pebbles  

Package Weight1 lb / 16 Oz
Gravel Size0.4 to 0.7 inches
Gravel TypeNatural crystal stones 
Color Multi-color with glass texture
Units needed for 10-gallon tanks2 -3 units to scatter around.
Use with other substrates and gravels. 

Sourced from natural sea glass and beaten into gravel, the WAYBER Decorative Crystal Pebbles are opaque and strikingly beautiful. They also are pretty easy to clean and work efficiently with undergravel filters. These gravels can be a bit expensive. Use them as ornamental items and scatter them around the tank if you’re tight on budget. 

Key Features

  • Natural Crystal Stones

Large natural crystal stones are beaten to produce the pebbles. Despite their appearance, they aren’t artificial products. 

  • No Dye or Chemicals Added

The colors are absolutely natural and don’t fade away with time. Toxic dye and other harmful chemicals aren’t used in making the gravel. 

  • No Sharp Edges

These gravels are gently tumbled to remove the sharp edges of the broken crystal stones. It’s safe for your Betta Fish Tank.

  • Multiple Colors and Shapes

You’ll never get bored looking at the multi-colored crystals in your aquarium. Blue was predominant in my package, but you’re expected to have a different experience. 


  • Can be used with other gravels and substrates as ornaments. 
  • Promotes Bacterial Growth. 
  • Doesn’t require rinsing more than once. 
  • Bright, durable colors that don’t fade.   


  • Pricing is on the higher side.  

8. Anothera Stones Smooth Natural Black River Rocks

Anothera Stones Smooth Natural Black River Rocks  

Package Weight7 lb / 112 Oz
Gravel Size0.2 to 0.3 inches
Gravel TypeNatural small black river rocks
Color Black
Units needed for 10-gallon tanks2

Crushed to deliver more surface area and a premium polish, the Anothera gravels are made from natural black river stones and are pretty effective for Betta Fish tanks and planted aquariums. The smaller beads securely anchor plants in the bottom and allow your Betta Fish to forage the substrate safely. 

Key Features

  • Naturally Black Pebbles

No colors or chemicals are used to dye the gravel black. They’re naturally darker in color and don’t release toxins in the water. 

  • Pure Paraffin Wax Polished

The gravels are mildly polished with pure paraffin wax to deliver a more premium aesthetic. Anothera looks absolutely stunning in planted Betta Tanks. 

  • Smaller Gravel Size for Bacterial Growth

The larger surface area of the gravel allows better bacterial growth and a more efficient nitrogen cycle. 

  • Doesn’t affect aquarium pH or GH

Despite its appearance, it doesn’t negatively affect the aquarium’s pH or GH. Properly rinse the rocks before using them to ensure zero contamination. 


  • Polished to give a shiny look.
  • The gravel size promotes the colonization of nitrifying bacteria. 
  • No additional chemicals, apart from paraffin wax, are used in the product.  


  • Needs a lot of rinsing before usage. 

Buying Guide

Apart from these 8 best gravel for Betta Fish, numerous other options are available in both offline and online markets. In this section, we’ll discuss the parameters that we’ve used to test and review the listed products to help you choose for yourself. 

Gravel Type

Different kinds of river stones, sandstones, and artificial polymers are used to produce Betta Fish tank gravels. While most of them intend to minimize alteration in the water chemistry, some of them often fail to execute the same. Those products may harm the fish and your plants. 

Natural gravel types are generally better for Betta Fish tanks, yet limestones or crushed corals may alter water hardness and pH.  

Gravel Size

Gravels in the 0.5” to 2” range are used as substrates for Betta Fish tanks. Smaller stones than this may get ingested by your Betta Fish or get trapped in their gills. Those smaller gravels also are tougher to maintain and clean. 

Larger gravels, more than 3”, are ill-suited for planted aquaria. The plants can’t grow their roots strongly around them and the rocks prove to be weak anchors.   

Color and Smoothness

Most river stone gravels come in assorted natural colors that you can use to decorate your Betta Fish tank. Depending on your preference, choose colors that appeal to you and resonate with your tank’s theme. 

Betta Fish have long, delicate fins. Rough and sharp gravels can potentially damage their fins to increase the chance of infections and physical deformities.  

Chemical Inertness

Unless intended, aquarium gravel shouldn’t participate in any chemical reactions happening inside the tank. They may help nitrifying bacteria grow their colonies, but they shouldn’t increase or decrease pH, GH, KH, or react with trace metals.

Many aquarium gravels are polished with wax to maximize their inertness and look more shiny.  


Larger gravels are easier to rinse and smaller gravels require less frequent maintenance. Consider how much effort and time you can invest in maintaining your Betta Fish tank gravel before finalizing any product.  


Q: Do Bettas need special gravel?

Yes, Bettas need special gravel that enhances their colors, cycles the water, and keeps them safe from physical harm.

Q: What kind of gravel do betta fish need?

Sand and smaller gravels are the best gravels for Betta Fish. However, you may also choose aquarium soil for planted aquariums.

Q: Is sand or gravel better for a Betta fish tank?

Both are equally good for Betta Fish. In our personal opinion, activated sands perform better than larger gravels. Smaller gravels are considered the sweet spot for Betta Fish.

The Bottom Line

We’ve discussed the best gravel options for Betta Fish. Hopefully, you’ll now be able to choose the product that’ll help you keep your Betta healthy and fulfilled. Nevertheless. don’t forget to refer to our buying guide if you’re considering other sources. 

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.