How Much Gravel For 10 Gallon Tank

How Much Gravel For 10 Gallon Tank

If you are setting up an aquarium for the first time, you are probably already aware that gravel is a commonly used substrate that many individuals depend on. It has many advantages, including looking great – but how much of it should you put in a 10 gallon tank?

You will probably need about 10 lbs of gravel for a 10 gallon tank. Some people estimate more, suggesting that around 15 lbs of gravel will be sufficient. The shape of the aquarium does make some difference to the amount of gravel, but a good rule of thumb suggests 1 pound of gravel per gallon of water.

In this article, we’ll check out how much substrate you need for a 10 gallon tank, and how to figure out the quantity you need. We’ll also look at how deep your substrate should be, so you know when your tank is set up and ready to go.

How Much Substrate Do I Need For A 10 Gallon Planted Tank?

As a general rule, you should be adding a pound of substrate per gallon of water. That means that you’d be adding 10 pounds of gravel for a 10 gallon tank. It’s important to have enough substrate, because the gravel is serving several key functions in the tank.

It minimizes the amount of time you need to spend cleaning, and it helps to filter nitrates and ammonia out of the tank. It also provides your plants with plenty of support, ensuring they don’t get washed away in the water’s currents, or float to the surface of the tank.

This further helps to reduce the number of nitrates and ammonia in the tank, because the plants will add to the filtration and increase the cleanliness. The gravel also harbors good bacteria, which will keep the fish healthy and the tank balanced.

Not all fish like gravel, however, so make sure you use sand if this is considered more suitable for the species you are keeping.

Is 5 Lbs Of Gravel Enough For A 10 Gallon Tank?

5 lbs of gravel will not be sufficient for a 10 gallon tank, no. If you use the rule of 1 lbs of gravel per 1 gallon of water, you’ll see that you need a minimum of 10 lbs. If your aquarium is not rectangular or square, you’ll need to calculate for the additional space, and add more gravel accordingly.

It is usually better to have more substrate than you need, rather than less. This ensures that you have some extra to hand if you need to change your substrate at any point, or if you wish to deepen it or start a new project. Having too little substrate can cause problems with your tank not filtering properly, and may also make the tank look improperly set up.

If you find you don’t have enough gravel to fill your tank, you should purchase more gravel before you start, so you have everything you need when you begin. 5 lbs would be sufficient for a 5 gallon tank, but it will not be enough for a 10 gallon tank.

How To Calculate Gravel For A Fish Tank

There are a few different ways to calculate how much gravel you need for a fish tank. One of them involves multiplying the length of the tank by the tank’s width, and then dividing the answer by 10 and converting it into kilograms.

As an example of this, you could take a 20 inch by 20 inch tank. Multiply the two numbers to get 400 inches. Next, divide by 10 to get 40. To convert this into kilograms, you’ll need to divide again by 2.2, which will give you 37.8.

From there, you can round up to 38 kg of gravel, and that’s how much you’ll need for a 20 by 20 fish tank.

If you would rather calculate your gravel in pounds, that’s fairly simple too. You can simply multiply the length of the tank by the width and divide it by 15. That will tell you how many pounds of gravel you need per inch of substrate.

For example, if you have a 20 inch by 20 inch tank, you would do (20 x 20) / 15. From there, multiply by the number of inches that you would like your gravel to be.

Sometimes, gravel will list its volume on the bag. If you buy it from an aquatics store, they may give you information about what area the gravel will cover. This can be quite vague, however, and it may also depend on the tank you want to set up.

If you have a freshwater tank with lots of plants, you’ll probably need more substrate than for a saltwater tank with few plants.

How Deep Should Gravel Be In A Fish Tank?

This depends on your setup, your tank’s depth, the fish you are keeping, your other filtration, and the number of plants you are going to add to the tank. A lot of people aim for 2 inches of gravel, and this is considered the “classic” depth that will work for many setups.

However, you may decide that you want more or less gravel than this. Most people do not go below 1 inch of gravel, as this can cause problems in the tank, and few people go above 3 inches in small tanks.

A very deep layer of gravel in a small tank doesn’t offer any significant advantages over a 3 inch layer, and it eats into the space that your fish would otherwise use to swim.

If you have a tank over 55 gallons, you might want more substrate, and around 4 inches is more common. You can use a ruler to measure the depth of your gravel and calculate whether it’s appropriate.


Getting the right amount of gravel for your tank may be challenging, but you can use the guides above to give you an idea of how much gravel to buy. Remember, too much tends to be better than too little, so always buy a bit more than you think you need.