When setting up a Betta aquarium, one of the things you need to think about is what is the best substrate for betta. In this guide I will be covering all of your available options and showing you what you should be looking for when selecting substrate for betta fish.
Substrate can be sand, gravel or soil. It’s used on the bottom of your aquarium. It serves multiple purposes including:
- Water buffering
- Nutrients for plants
Each type of substrate will have it’s quirks, so you need to know what you want to achieve with your aquarium before making your choice.
If you are looking for aesthetics, you can almost pick anything. Any gravel or sand will be fine for a simple betta aquarium.
If you are looking for water buffering your choices are a calcium based substrate to help raise your hardness (for soft water) and a soil that lowers your hardness (for hard water). Most people won’t have to worry about this, it depends on your water parameters out of the tap. If you’re in doubt ask your local fish shop on what they do, they will have similar water to you and follow their advice.
Calcium based substrates include crushed coral and aragonite. These buffer the water by slowly dissolving over time and raising the pH/hardness of your water. You never need much, in my aquariums I run a soil base and have a 1″ pile of crushed coral in the corner. Planted tank substrates and aquasoil lower your pH and hardness through tannins they release in the water, if you have hard water out of the tap this can be beneficial if keeping soft water species like Betta fish or rams/discus.
If you want a heavily planted aquarium like in the upper right, you want to pick a good quality aquasoil or planted tank substrate for your betta. These products are designed to help provide nutrients to the roots of plants and promote strong healthy growth. If you are looking for simple plants to keep you don’t need this soil, you can use a product like root tabs instead. These are slow release fertilizers, similar to those used in hanging baskets. They work but not as well.
Once you have decided what direction you want to go in and what you’re looking for, let’s look at some options.
Best Substrate for Betta
OUPENG Aquarium Gravel River Rock - Natural Polished Decorative Gravel, Small Decorative Pebbles, Mixed Color Stones,for Aquariums, Landscaping, Vase Fillers 2 Pounds (32-Oz)
- Pebbles Decorative Stones Aquarium Gravel ：Natural Stones，aquarium gravel ，river rocks，fish tank gravel，succulent soil ，paperwhite bulbs, potting soil,succulent soil mix,cactus soil,potting soil for indoor plants,vase filler,terrarium supplies.(rocks are natural and as a result some may be broken or out of shape, oval or round, thick or thin)
- Natural Polished Gravel:This river rocks are natural lightly polished for smooth effect, comes in a variety of natural colors，long-lasting beauty. The color of this river rock is natural so it may include a variety of different shades of browns, whites and black rocks.you can add beauty to all your needs
- An alternative to mulch： Use indoors or outdoors，Pebble mulch in interior or exterior garden beds, helps soil retain moisture, provides good drainage, round and soft easy on the feet as there are no sharp edges.
- Add an extra beautiful: in flower arrangements, walkways, water features, exposed aggregate flooring or walls, around swimming pools it could also be used to as an accent to an aquariums, water gardens, ponds, and terrariums.
- Add an extra beauty in your garden or just outside your house. This is a perfect home decor and a creative interior and exterior design ,helps you keep clean and nice all of your decoration places.
1/4" Granite Mini Pea Gravel, 5lb Bag - Decorative Natural granitic Gneiss Gravel for Aquariums, Landscaping, Vase Fillers, Plants, Fairy Gardens, Bonsai.
- 100% granitic gneiss (no limestone!)
- Screened and spray-washed with water only (natural fine dust from parent stone is present in bag - rinse before use)
- 1/4 inch diameter rounded gravel
- Suitable for aquariums, planters, terrariums, and more
- Product of Canada
Seachem Flourite Black Clay Gravel - Stable Porous Natural Planted Aquarium Substrate 15.4 lbs
1 used from $22.06
- GRAVEL: Seachem Flourite Black is a specially fracted stable porous clay gravel for the natural planted aquarium. Its appearance is best suited to planted aquaria, but may be used in any freshwater aquarium environment.
- AQUARIUM BED: Gravel modifiers such as laterite are not necessary when using Seachem Flourite Black as this product is most effective when used alone as an integral substrate bed, but it may be mixed with other gravels.
- SET-UP: When adding water to the aquarium, fill slowly to avoid disturbing Flourite Black substrate bed. Place a bowl in the aquarium and add water directly to the bowl, allowing water to overflow softly on to the gravel bed. Initial cloudiness is normal, but to remove this simply use mechanical filtration
- COMPATIBLE: Flourite Black substrates will work fine with an under gravel filter and will not soften or decompose to an unsuitable state within your tank.Flourite substrates will work fine with an UGF
- SAFETY: Seachem Flourite Black is not chemically coated or treated, thus does not alter the pH of the water. Flourite Black is beneficial for the life of the aquarium and need not be replaced.
Marina Decorative Gravel, 1-Pound, Blue
- Blue colored gravel, great for adding color to your aquarium
- Gravel helps hold plants and ornaments in place
- Epoxy coated; No effect on water chemistry
- Great for adding character and color to your aquarium
- Decorative gravel is great alone or mixed with marbles
Pure Water Pebbles Aquarium Gravel, 5-Pound, Turquoise
$15.75 in stock
- Pure Water Pebbles Premium Freshwater Substrates
- Natural Decorative Gravel
- 100% Acrylic Coating, Colorfast
- Non-Toxic, Will Not Alter The Chemistry Of Your Aquarium Water
- Recommended Uses: Fresh & Saltwater Aquariums, Ponds, Terrariums, Gardens, Potted Plants, Vases, Ash Trays, Crafts & Hobbies
Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum, 4.4-Pound
- Fluval Stratum is made of mineral rich volcanic soil
- Stimulates strong aquarium plant growth
- Promotes neutral to mildly acidic pH
- Suitable for live plants or shrimp
- 4.4 lb. bag
ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia 9 Liter Normal Type
- Completely new substrate made from rare and sparse source of Japanese plant-based black soil derived from decomposed leaf mulch
- Rich in organic elements and nutrients that creates conditions ideal for healthy growth of aquatic plants and has a good influence on the physiological functions of fish and shrimp
- Helps to bring the pH level and hardness of the water down to an ideal level for most of the aquatic plants
- Composed of granules of size and density ideal for the fast development of healthy plant root systems. Granules have a natural irregular shape that produces a natural look
- Contains high levels of natural humic acid that may or may not cause some initial water cloudiness depending on your local water chemistry. Water cloudiness will go away with proper maintenance and water changes. Therefore, this product is recommended for advanced hobbyist seeking to make a fully planted aquarium
Flourite Dark, 7 kg / 15.4 lbs
1 used from $17.73
- No laterite needed
- Perfect for planted aquariums
- May be mixed with other gravels
- The Premium Substrate For the Planted Aquarium
Hewnda 2 pounds to Complete Freshwater Planted Aquarium Substrate
- The high-level substrate for planting aquariums provides basic nutrition for the plant root structure for long-term successful planting of freshwater aquariums
- Compared with sand and other sand, more suitable for the growth of most grass roots. Formulated for freshwater planted aquariums, tropical fish, and freshwater dwarf shrimp.
- Helps clarify and detoxify water. PH value: 7.5. You can adjust the water quality is more suitable for the growth of aquatic plants ideal range.
- There is no need to wash, please use the original state, if washed with water will lead to muddy mud.
- Note: This product is aquatic breeding purposes, absolutely not edible; Please store this product properly children can not reach the place, to avoid children eating.
Carib Sea ACS05840 Super Naturals Crystal River Sand for Aquarium, 5-Pound
- Create a supernatural experience by re-creating the natural world in your home
- grain size reduces built up detritus
- ph neutral ; safe for all aquariums
- no paints or dyes used
- made in the USA
Onyx Sand, 7 kg / 15.4 lbs
- Fracted Porous substrate for the aquarium
- Specially fracted Porous substrate for the aquarium; Suitable for most marine and freshwater environments including reef and planted aquariums
- Most effective when used alone as an integral substrate bed but may be mixed with other gravels or Sands
- Not chemically coated or treated but does have a slight buffering capacity
U.P. Aqua Shrimp Sand
- Small uniform grain sizes
- Contains trace minerals vital for shrimps
- Easy to maintain, great for breeding
- The Package Weight Of The Product Is 4.4 Pounds
Nature's Ocean Aqua Terra Natural Tan Sand 5 lb Bag, Natural Aquarium Sand
- Natural Coated Sands
- 100% Acrylic Coating
- Will not alter the chemistry of your aquarium water
Worldwide Imports AWW80055 Aqua Terra Sand, 5-Pound, Red
- Worldwide Imports Aqua Terra Sand
- Natural Coated Sand
- Will not alter the chemistry of your aquarium water
There are no massive mistakes you can choose when picking the best substrate for betta fish. Betta fish are quite hardy and will quickly adapt to most environments.
The criteria for picking a substrate really comes down to what else you wish to do with the aquarium, regarding aquascaping and plants. Many betta breeders will run their aquarium with a bare bottom and won’t even have a substrate.
How much substrate will I need?
It depends, if you’re going to be using aquasoil you want to have it at least 2″ deep for plant roots. If you want to just use sand or gravel 1″ deep is fine so you will need half as much…
For an average 5-10 gallon betta tank, I would get 15lbs of aquasoil and 10lbs of gravel. This should be enough to cover the bottom of your aquarium fairly easily.