Can Bass Smell?

When it comes to the most predator fish, there is, the bass is one of them that heavily relies on their eyesight and their lateral line of survival.

You might find it surprising, but the bass has a sense of taste and smell. But many people argue whether they are capable of hunting down their prey using their sense of taste and smell.

Can Bass smell? Yes, the bass can smell and the scent really plays a role in their feeding routine. Like with sound, they are able to detect smells underwater and it is actually far greater than the average human can in an air type of environment.

In this short read, you will understand more about the anatomy of a bass fish and what exactly is the usage for their nose.

How Do Bass Smell?

Bass usually smell through their four nostrils, also known as nares, and it is located in pairs of each side of their head. One pair is actually responsible for taking in water, and the other serves as the exit.

Between these pairs, you can find a chamber filled with folds, which is the olfactory rosette. They are responsible for sampling the water and sending the brain a message without passing it through their mouth.

It is fair to say that bass does not breathe with their noses, so the message is sent directly to their brains without diminution.

This is why many fishermen argue that the bass sense of smell is so keen.

The only purpose for their noses is for smelling, and that’s about it. Bass can actually smell far more substances than they can actually taste.

They can smell any substances that are considered water-soluble and dispersed in a single molecule form and bind to the receptor cells.

Though many substances meet these requirements as bass swims around the world of dissolved chemicals.

But the most important being is amino acids. Amino acids are known to be the building blocks of any living cell organism, and as a result, you can find them in all the prey bass normally eats.

Bass Sense Of Smell

When it comes to the bass sense of smell, it can linger for quite some time. This is in contrast to humans, where smell may dissipate quickly in the surrounding atmosphere.

This is because smell actually lingers much longer in water and many fish can detect odors even if it is far and in smaller quantities.

Bass is considered to be not as perceptive as salmon. Bass nostrils can detect different odors and chemicals and then transmit them to their brains to better understand.

When their sense of sight is compromised, their ability to smell prey becomes much more important for their survival.


Bass may smell and taste water-soluble chemicals the same way, but they influence completely many different behaviors.

When it comes to their sense of smell, it is primarily long distant and considered a function that serves as an alert. This could also help them find their food, and it can trigger that it is somewhere close.

Are Bass Attracted To Garlic?

Adding scents to lures has become an argument with fishermen and anglers. Many questioned the reality of bass being attracted to scents like the garlic scent, and a lot of people kept it under wraps as it works for some, and some just weren’t successful.

There are many reasons why this can be quite an argument in the fishing world, so it’s better to stick to the main core, understanding bass anatomy.

Are Bass attracted to garlic? Yes, garlic and other scents work quite well when you try to capture bass. You need to know how to work on these particular scents as bass are very sensitive to their sense of smell.

In this article, you will understand the science behind scents and attractants. You might find your curiosity going in too deep if this works.

Do Scents And Attractants Work?

There is plenty of scientific research showing some fish being drawn into chemical sources even if they are yards away. Some studies indicate fish can recognize different aquatic plants and other fish in the same school by their individual smell.

Believe it or not, a fish’s ability to smell is a thousand times better than fog, and many biologists have proven fish species can smell double or even triply as the fish age.

How Does A Bass Smell?

Bass does have two nostrils on each side of its snout. The first one is the anterior nostril, and the second one is the posterior nostril.

Water flows into the anterior nostril and then over the olfactory nerves, then back out through their posterior nostril. There is no link when it comes to the sets of nostrils and their throat.

As the water holding the scent molecules flows down to their olfactory nerves, a message is being sent to the brain, and the scent will be classified if it’s a good or bad scent.

Eventually, the bass will act on the sense by very conditioned response.

Bass Behavior

To fully understand how they work their way out with their sense of smell, you need to understand the bass’s normal behavior.

Usually, bass finds their targets either by sound or sight first, and they will only activate their sense of smell as a last resort.

When a bass feels or hears the presence of bait, he will then activate the final stimulus, which is the smell coming from the bait. Once they strike and crush the bait, they will confirm the prey’s flavor by his sense of smell.

Things To Avoid When Fishing Bass

There are plenty of scents that will eventually repel bass, and these are scents like gasoline or some oil. Make sure to keep your hands free of these things like gasoline, oil, nicotine, and some sun-tan lotion.

There are some hand cleaners specially made for fishermen to clean their hands. Try to avoid eating foods in the boat while fishing, as certain foods or sauces can negatively smell.

Positive And Negative Smell

Much research demonstrates when the bass is caught and released. It emits a chemical into the water that is usually interpreted by other basses as a negative smell.

This is why some fisherman won’t catch another fish in the area, and you get no more strikes. You know there are still fish in there, but they are not attracted to your bait at all.

There is also a response to a positive smell, and bass normally holds into a worm emanating a positive scent for a period of time. This will give you the advantage to get a good hook set and capture the fish.

Three scents appear to be positive scents for bass. This includes salt, anise, and some garlic as they are a good masking scent rather than an attractive scent.

Water-based And Oil Scents

You have to understand that smells and scents are transmitted to many fishes by the water surrounding them. This is where the adage about oil and water will come to play as many scents are oil-based.

Although some oil molecules do disperse on their own normally, they do not last long. As a result, you have to add these scents quite frequently.

On the other hand, water-based scents are just as bad or even worst because they can be thrown off the bait by just casting. If you plan to get these scents, you should expect to pay more money for them as they are expensive.

Fish Oil And Other Bait Built-in Scents

You can consider getting a scent that utilizes a fish oil as a base that stays on the bait as they are quite well and disperse readily. It also leaves the water a scent trail, and some baits even have a built-in Yum or Gulp bait.

If you look in many worm packaging, you will notice that most of them have a built-in scent like some of them contain garlic or salt.

After years of experience and experimentation, many fishermen came up with different scent products while trying to fish bass.

It turned out that using scented worms will bring more catch, although not a huge number but more than enough to notice.

This is because bass tends to hit the worm harder and hold on to the worm longer, giving you more opportunities to get a good hook set.


Overall, it is important to know the anatomy of bass and how scent works on them. The scents can either make or break your fishing routine.

So, it would help if you remembered the things mentioned above, and it will give you a higher success rate of capturing one.

Many scents can be messy, and you must be careful with them as they will strain your boat’s carpet. It is best to put your scent in a round plastic container and just dipping your bait into the scented formula.

At What Temperature Do Bass Start Biting?

March reminds fishers that winter is still around but growing weak. Spring then will come, and plenty of anglers out there will start fishing.

If you want to catch a bass or any fish, the water temperature is the most important factor you should consider.

At what temperature do bass start biting? Bass will start to bite when the water temperatures reach the level of 40 degrees and up until 80 degrees fahrenheit. So, as a rule of thumb, the colder the water gets, the slower the presentation needs to catch any bass.

Find out the best temperature to fish for bass below. I will also discuss other criteria to focus on aside from the temperature level when fishing for this fish species.

Water Temperature For Fishing

Most fish are cold-blooded. It means that they do not have control over their internal body warmth. As a result, their metabolism is mostly influenced by the water temperature in their surroundings.

Many experts believed that the best water for different species of fish is influenced based on their areas.

The chart at right is still a good guideline if you want to know what water temperature fish becomes more active.

Knowing all the water temperature and the location on where you can find your fish are the key puzzle to make a successful fishing trip.

It is also important to know which baits work for certain locations and how you work your way with the baits available.

Truths About Water Temperature For Bass Fishing

If you love reading about bass fishing, you should probably know by now that bass would spawn at a specific temperature.

It means that if you look around the lake and find a water temperature that is 68 degrees, you will most likely be getting a spawning spot for bass. But that is not always the case.

Bass spawn in water that ranges anywhere from 55 to 80 degrees. It is a 25-degree range of possible temperatures.

If you want to have them bite your bait, you should consider looking for a water temperature that is between the level of 40 degrees up to 52 degrees.

But many fishermen feel like water temperature is a bit overrated in terms of the emphasis anglers put on it in catching bass.

It is because it will always depend on your location and where you are fishing. Here are some other variables you should be checking out aside from the water temperature:

Length Of Day

It would be best if you kept in mind that certain water temperatures in the US, like Michigan, barely reached 40 degrees.

This is cold water if you think about it, yet bass still moved to the bank in the 3 to a 5-foot zone.

Many fishermen believe that the lengthening of the daylight hours during springtime has far more to do with moving fish to the bank aside from the water temperatures.

It is fair to say that water temperature naturally increases during the day time. But when a front slams the water back to 37 degrees and the fish are still up in 2 or 3 feet of water, it is the photoperiod telling them it is time to get ready to spawn.

Moon Phase

Many reports show fishermen fishing through the full moon in April when the water temperature is 40 degrees. They found out that fish are already up and cruising like they were spawning.

This kind of behavior was identical to spawning behavior. It is somehow sort of a false spawn that is triggered by the full moon. It’s like a practice of courtship, even though the water is still 40 degrees.

When it comes to lunar influences, it plays a vital role in the fish’s positioning compared to the water temperature.

Lunar cycles affect not only many basses but also governs the activities of much aquatic life.

You can bet that whenever there is a prey being summoned by a full moon, you can expect to see bass as they will take advantage of it.

Current Conditions

Current conditions also play an essential role because if you bring a warm wind over 40-degree water, bass will be active. The actual water temperature might not budge on a south wind, but some bass will do.

Another natural occurrence is that if the sunbeams down into 40-degree water, any dark object on the water’s bottom will become a fish magnet.

Reaction Baits Will Work

For a very long time, many stories and fables dictated that bass in cold water wouldn’t eat a wide variety of fish lures. The reasoning was that bass metabolism is quite lower on end during cold weather, but this is not true.

Many fishermen catch plenty of fish and jerk bait in 40-degree water. There are still rare occurrence that you can even catch some squarebill in a 38-degree

Water Temperature Is Just A Number

Don’t get this article wrong. Water temperature plays an essential role in the fishing procedure.

But you need to be aware of the change in the water temperature depending on the locations. You should check the water in the very back of the creek and see if it is colder compared to the mouth of the creek.

Other than that, the water temperature will only remain a number, and there is no magic number in catching a trophy bass.


In conclusion, the most important thing to remember when looking at water temperature is the weather and temperature trends, especially if compared with the weather of that particular day.

If the water temperature that day is 62 degrees, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the fish will behave as if a cold trend is occurring. These trends make it confusing to read water temperature.

Also, it might not be applicable if the overall trend of the water is increasing its temperature.

Are Bass Bottom Feeders?

The term bottom feeder is frequently used to classify underwater creatures that consume on the ground of water. The source of water could be an ocean, stream, lake, river, or aquarium.

Bass is among the several fish species that is a bottom feeder. Halibut, snapper, eel, cod, flounder, catfish, and other shark species are bottom feeders.

Are bass bottom feeders? Yes, bass are deemed to be bottom feeders. These fish are gobbling eaters. Full-grown bass can be a fish-eating catcher. As they grow, food type evolves into insects, crayfish, plankton, and frogs.

Discover the different kinds of bottom feeder fish in this article. Other than that, you’ll get to know the distinctions of a bottom feeder.

The Different Kinds Of Bottom Feeder Fish

Bottom feeders are pretty interesting and active fish species. However, a lot of misinterpretations and fake information are associated with them. Because of this, some fishermen stay away from them for no reason.

In addition to that, a lot of individuals don’t know which kind is a certified bottom feeder. The list of bottom feeder fish will help in identifying them.


Carp is perhaps the commonest fish species with fishers. It could originate in several places all over continents. Various carp species include bighead, black carp, silver, common, grass, and crucian.

They all get their food from the bottom, and they can usually be found in ponds.

An average carp will feed on a large quantity of food like fish, eggs, larvae, insects, and crustaceans.

These foods are usually found at the bottom. Carps use their anterior mouth to get the food since their teeth are found in their throat.


Crayfish are so-called crawfish and are closely linked to the lobster. There are about five hundred types of crayfish.

They come in shining colors like blue, red, and white. They can reach 2 to 3 years when restrained in an aquarium and can lengthen for about 2-3 inches.


Sturgeons are ancient life forms that flock to the waters of Earth earlier than the dinosaurs. They could be located in the ocean or rivers in North America. They appear five-sided because of the five series all over their body.

Additionally, they don’t have teeth in the anterior mouth. Hence whiskers assist them when looking for food.


Several catfish species are captivating to fishers, including wels, blue, channel, and flathead. Each of them is an omnivore and cunning eater.

They can eat almost anything from water plants and animals and tiny animals. Catfish oftentimes feed on the bottom, where they look for every bit that can fit in their mouth.

Catfish like to use their time during the day eating on the surface or in the middle surface of the water.


Flounder belongs to a group of flatfish species, and they live on the bottom of the water.

The well-known breed of flounder includes olive, southern, gulf, and European. Flounder is formed with one eye per side on the head. When it turns bigger, one eye will move on the upside of the body.

Flounder changes its color. However, their upside is dimmer than the stomach.

They can cover in the coarse or muddy bottom. The adult flounder can feed on tiny fish and shrimp, and the young can eat fish eggs and crustaceans.

Common Pleco

The common pleco is also called the hypostomus plecostomus, and it is commonly mistaken for sailfin pleco.

The common pleco is about 2 to 3 inches in size though others can evolve up to 18 inches.

Because of their size, they cannot habituate in a standard aquarium. They cannot live long so that an increased diet can extend their life.


Basically, eels may change in size, but their way of life is similar. They live in seas that are not deep and usually hang out in the mud, sand, or underneath the rocks. Their body is long and shiny.


Cod is popular for its ability to change its color. The color can change between red-brown and gray-green that depends on the deepness of the water.

They generally weigh about 8-10 kilograms and are very appetizing. They feed on smaller fish, mammals, and variant mammals.


A snapper is a variety of fish located in tropical places all over the world. There are several varieties of snappers, and the most famous is the northern red snapper.

They have an identical body shape that includes sharp-edged and lean teeth and a tough body.


Groupers have tough bodies and big mouths. They can grow bigger and can weigh about 400 kilograms. They usually feed on fish, small sea creatures, octopus, and crustaceans.

Distinctions Of A Bottom Feeder

Bottom feeders are fish that mainly eat and live at the bottom of water or an aquarium. They usually get their food underlayer rather than mid-water or surface.

They are basic distinctions to describe a bottom feeder fish.

  • Posterior Mouth – Bottom feeders have a unique distinction to support their survivability. They have what is called a posterior mouth, where it is found in the body. They use this to search for food while keeping their eyes on other prey.

  • Whiskers – A lot of bottom feeders have well-covered whiskers that extend on their mouth. Whiskers help out fish to look for food. Whiskers are sensitive that they can find and taste anything edible.

  • Exotic Mouth – Some bottom-feeder fish have exotic mouths, just like plecos and cats. They can close down surfaces and drag algae. Their mouths look like a vacuum cup and help them remain in one place even in traversing waters.

  • Typical Body Shape – Plenty of bottom feeders have a typical body shape. They have a flat abdominal region or a flat stomach. They can easily rest and move in the bottom.


Basically, bass are a unique variety of bottom feeder fish. They are found in the ocean, lake, stream, river, sea, and aquarium.

They are useful in the sense that they are natural cleaners to maintain sustenance.

Any kind of bottom feeder, just like bass, can assure that they can help maintain the underwater. They can free water from waste, algae, and other dirty aquatic growth.

What Is The Best Bait For Bass?

You can only enjoy fishing bass if you can get a great catch. Getting the right bait for fishing bass is an essential factor that can improve your fishing experience and the number of your catch.

Of course, you also need to incorporate effective tricks and tips to increase your catch.

What is the best bait for bass? The best bait for bass are Silanon bass jigs, Plusinno Spinnerbaits, SundayPro Topwater lures, wLure Minnow Crankbait, ProBite stick bait, and Zoom Bait Finesse Worm.

As promised, I will be mentioning some of the best baits for bass below. These are picked according to how effective they are and their ease of use.

Best Bait For Bass

To determine the best bait for bass, you must determine what food it loves to eat the most. Of course, the bait should capture the interest of the bass to make it bite.

Adult largemouth bass loves to feed on small fish such as sunfish, perch, and minnows. But, these fish also eat insects, crayfish, frogs, as well as aquatic birds.

On the other hand, bass that are under two inches are called fry that feeds on insect larvae and zooplankton.

But aside from live baits, there are also artificial baits that are best for catching bass. Here are among the best:

1.   Bass Jigs

The versatility of jigs allows it to be a top bait for bass. It can be utilized in areas that are difficult for other baits to get in.

Try asking any fisherman if what would be that one lure they could use all their lives. It could be a jig.

You can find different types of jigs that are designed for various techniques.

Among the most popular is the Googan Squad Lil Juicee Jig, which could cover most jig fishing methods. You can flip and pitch the bait with Lil Juicee Jig, work deep structure with it, skip, or swim with it.

2.   Spinnerbaits

This kind of bait attracts bass while covering a wide surface of the water. Among the reasons why it ranks at the top of other baits is because it is fairly weedless and very simple to use.

It is used by reeling the bait in a straight retrieve.

Beginners who use spinnerbaits are surprised by how effective it is in capturing a bass. It is especially that it has an unnatural looking action and odd appearance.

As its name suggests, a spinnerbait comes with one or several spinning blades that dangle from one end of a bent wire. The blade is designed to attract attention by sound and sight.

Aside from that, the blade’s vibration and flash are produced while it spins, drawing attention even from many yards away. The blades also provide bait resistance in the water.

You can choose from different styles of blades, depending on how much resistance you require.

3.   Topwater Lures

If you want to make the most out of your bass fishing, you should use topwater lures. What can compare to the enjoyment of seeing leaping bass out of the water in an effort to engulf their bait?

Topwater lures are effective and incredibly fun to use.

This kind of lure is intended to ripple the water’s surface, allowing them to cause splashing and popping sounds when the lure is retrieved.

No bass can resist the sound of topwater lures.

When fishing in low-light conditions such as in the late afternoon, late night, early in the morning, or on an overcast day, this bait is ideal.

You should also consider the wind when using topwater lures. It will be difficult for bass to see a topwater lure if there is some cop on the water, which happens when it is windy.

Also, consider choosing the right size and color to ensure a higher chance of getting a bite.

4.   Crankbaits

Crankbaits are also ideal for covering a wide surface of the water in a short period. It targets fish in open water as well as around deep cover. It is available in various weights, sizes, shapes, and running depths.

Before buying one, make sure to select one depending on the depth of water you are fishing.

Techniques of crankbait fishing only include casting and reeling in a straight retrieve. It is the reason why the diving depth of the crankbait plays an important role in triggering bits.

Aside from that, its color contributes to the attractiveness of the lure.

I am recommending the Googan Squad Recon crankbait because it never rusts and has amazing action. Its hook is also 125% sharper than a regular hook, making it easier to catch bass that naturally has strong jaws.

The Googan Squad Recon gets down to the intended diving depth quickly and starts banging against anything in its path.

5.   Stick Bait

The most popular bait for bass is none other than the classic stick bait. Among the most productive colors that you can find includes Cinnamon, Green Pumpkin, and Chartreuse.

You can place stick baits in any soft plastic rig.

I strongly recommend the Googan Lunker Log Stick Bait for you because of its high productivity. It rapidly draws the attention of fish even from afar, creating a strong feeding urge on them.

Aside from that, it has a ribbed design that lets you load up with your preferred scent, and it helps the bait to bob along in the water current to displace more water.

6.   Finesse Worm

If you don’t want to use live worm bait, Finesse Worm bait is your kind of lure. It has good water displacement, and it is designed for great action. It utilizes a salt mixture to make fish hold on for a longer time.

Aside from its taste, its appearance can also effectively attract bass.

You can use this bait when fishing with a drop shot, wacky style, texas rigged, or with a finesse head. It is also presented in different colors such as the Green Pumpkin, which is the most effective.

Tips For Fishing Bass

To ensure a great catch, make sure to take note of the following tips:

  • Red Fools The Fish – If you are fishing in water surfaces surrounded by a shallow cover, stumps, wood, or clumps of grass, use red or pink head spinnerbait to attract bass.

    You can also use crankbait with red hooks to do the trick. A bass will think that the bait is injured because of its red color, triggering it to bite at the lure.

  • Keep Your Hooks Sharp – Make sure that before fishing, your hooks are sharp. You can utilize a file to sharpen hooks, which may take about 30 seconds. The reason why you should do so is that bass has boney jaws that might resist the hook. If your hook is not sharp enough, you might lose a great catch.

  • Skip Your Bait – Another trick for a greater chance of catch is to skip your bait. When casting your bait, stop halfway, like doing a check swing in baseball. Doing so makes the lure hit the water surface a few feet before your main target.

    This will allow the lure to skitter over the water, which is a good technique to get under docks as well as other structures.

  • Face The Wind – Fish while facing the wind because bass always swims with the current. So, it will be faster and easier for them to find your bait before they find your boat. Aside from that, the noise of water slapping your boat will carry away from the area where you are fishing.

  • Choose Bait Depending On The Season – Since bass eats different prey according to the time of the year, you should also change your bait depending on the season. Bass eat crawfish early in the year, so when fishing, use peach-colored baits.

    When fall and summer, they like eating shad, so use silver or chrome baits.

  • Keep Tapping – Bass are considered as ornery fish, so you have to keep tapping at them to make them bite your hook. These fish often position themselves in cover, and they like it when presented with lures at different angles. Try tossing lures several times in a row in the same location to get a bite.

  • Fish Before The Storm – To get a great catch, try fishing before the storm and not after it. The reason is that before a storm, pressure makes bass active.


To conclude, no one enjoys fishing without actually having a catch. So, make sure to choose the right bait for bass if you are planning to go out and fish with your friends anytime soon.

Aside from the type of bait you are getting to capture bass, you should also choose the bait color that works best for the current season. The tips that I have mentioned earlier will allow you to have a great catch and enjoy fishing.

Should You Wash Aquarium Gravel?

Fish love it when they have a properly cleaned aquarium. To achieve a cleaner and healthier environment for them, you need to do it correctly, especially when cleaning the aquarium gravel.

Keeping the gravel clean is one of the most basic steps to remember to keep the water quality high because having dirty gravel can cause poisonous residue that could harm or kill the fish in no time.

Should you wash aquarium gravel? To avoid fish contamination, it’s required for you to clean the aquarium gravel. You have to remember not to use dye, not cleaning the gravels into sink drains, using a high-pressure hose, and ensuring that the water doesn’t cloud.

In this article, you will learn about cleaning the gravel. The importance of washing the aquarium gravel will also be discussed in this article.

How To Wash Aquarium Gravel

When cleaning the aquarium gravel, you have to do it outside your house as you prepare a bucket of water. Cleaning gravel is not bad when you do it into the sink, but the debris could permanently clog the sink.

You might need a plumber to fix your sink, which could only give you an additional headache. Here are among the tips on how to clean the gravel:

Do Not Use Dye

One of the most potential dangers of cleaning gravel is by dying. Although dye is bought at a very affordable price, yet it can cause tank discoloration that might lead to fish poisoning.

Having a colored tank is just a decoration purpose, but it can bring a long-term danger to fishes. To keep the aquarium gravel clean, keep it natural, and use water instead.

Use A High-Pressure Hose

A high-pressure hose is recommended to be used, even though a normal water pressure would also work. The main purpose of using a high-pressure hose is to clean the gravel thoroughly.

When the water becomes cloudy with the residue, spray the water onto the gravel again until it’s clean enough to be put back into the tank. Open another bag of gravel and repeat the same process.

Ensure That The Water doesn’t Cloud

One way to know that the aquarium gravel is already clean is when the water doesn’t cloud when you put the gravel into the water. If there’s still cloudiness, then it’s normal, and the dust can only settle at the bottom.

To avoid cloudiness, then use the bucket method in cleaning out the dust and debris. Prepare a large strainer with a hose to thoroughly clean the dust out of the gravel.

Importance Of Cleaning The Gravel

Properly cleaning your aquarium gravel is one of the best ways to keep the water quality high and avoid fish contamination.

Although most of the new gravel was pre-rinsed, there are still small residues that are not healthy when put into an aquatic environment. Here is some importance why you should clean the aquarium gravel:

A Cleaner Environment for the Fishes

Fishes enjoy a natural-like aquatic environment so that they won’t feel homesick to their natural habitat. If they do, they usually get tense all the time and eventually die.

Although colored gravels are pleasing to the eyes, it can be unnatural for the fish. Simultaneously, colored gravels might have dangerous chemical contents that could poison the fish in no time.  

It Helps To Avoid Contamination

As a fish owner, you wouldn’t let your fishes die because of contamination. It will assure your fish safety if the aquarium has no sign of potential contamination.

Once the new aquarium gravel has been set up, it would be nice to rinse the gravel thoroughly so that it won’t cause discoloration to the water.


Cleaning and washing aquatic gravel is a necessity because it can ensure the fishes’ health. You can also create a place where they can freely swim around, play hide and seek, and sleep.

For more information on how to clean the gravel, you can ask your local fish store or join in some online forums because some fish owners tips can be beneficial to you.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Which Is Better Sand Or Gravel For A Fish Tank?

Having a fish tank is not an easy thing to achieve, let alone maintain. There are so many factors that need to be considered, and one of these things is the substrate.

There are several choices for aquarium substrate, and the most common and popular choices are sand and gravel, but which one is better is the question.

Which is better sand or gravel for a fish tank? Gravel is a better choice for most freshwater aquariums. Many people choose gravel because it comes in many varieties of colors so that you can customize your tanks depending on your aesthetic.

Check out some of the topics I have prepared below which includes a guide that will help you to decide whether sand or gravel is better for your fish tank and why it matters in selecting the best substrate.

Gravel Substrate

Gravel is known to be the better choice for most freshwater fish tanks, and one of the major benefits of gravel is that it allows water to flow through it.

As a result, it can prevent the build-up of amoebas and bacteria in the substrate. If the amoebas have built up for too long, it can sicken your fish and lead to mold accumulation.

Gravel substrate is much heavier than sand, and it does not pull into the aquarium filters where it may tend to clog it or cause them to work less efficiently.

In addition to that, gravel comes in many colors, so you can customize your fish tank’s look and make it complement the fish you have.

Types Of Gravel

When it comes to aquarium gravel, there is no particular clear definition of it. Generally speaking, gravel ranges from 2mm to ¼ inch in diameter, which is actually the dried pea-size.

You can always buy gravel in bulk in your construction supply chains, but they are not usually safe for usage in many aquariums.

This type of gravel contains toxins and heavy metals that can easily poison your tank. You must always aim for products that are generally made for aquariums to get the best results.

Here are among the most common aquarium gravel you can choose and their benefits and drawbacks to one another:

1.    Live Gravel

They are pretty much similar to live sand, and these products come in pre-packed in freshwater and contain bacteria and microorganisms along with your substrate.

This type of gravel helps prevent the new tank syndrome ad it contains nutrients to help the plants grow and thrive. You do not need to rinse it before adding to your tank, and it is most compatible with freshwater species.

The only drawback for this type is that they are more expensive than the rest, and it only has a limited range of sizes and colors.

2.    Natural/River Gravel

As their name suggests, this type of grave is collected from the riversides and dug out of the gravel pits. They are processed and cleaned to a roughly uniform shape, and sizes and the tiny pebbles will appear smooth but usually not coated with a sealant.

Natural gravel comes with a variety of natural colors and texture, and it allows water flow through the substrate that can help to prevent dead zones.

It is also suitable for most freshwater animals, and they are chemically inert and will not alter the overall water quality. Natural gravel also permits all healthy bacteria build-up to become established throughout your substrate.

3.    Clay Gravel

Another great option for planted freshwater fish tanks is to use iron and some mineral-rich substrate made from clay.

This way, it can provide aquatic plants with a wide accumulation of nutrients in order for them to survive. It also allowed water to circulate through, and the healthy bacteria will be able to flourish.

Clay gravel is known to be chemically stable, and it will not alter or change the chemistry of the water. However, it is expensive compared to other options of gravel.

It is also worth mentioning that they are very dusty, and it requires a lot of rinsing before you add it to your tank.

Sand Substrate

Sand does not allow water flow through it compared to gravel. However, if you have a tank that includes fish that like to burrow and scavenge, this is perfect for you.

This is because your fish will be the one to filter the substrate. Many aquarium owners think that it is more natural-looking to have sand as their substrate.

It will look more natural, and it can mimic the lakes or riverbeds that makeup fish’s natural habitat.

In addition to that, a closely packed sand substrate needs less change compared to gravel.

This is because there are smaller gaps between the sand particles than the particles of the gravel. Most of the old food and plant matter will remain on top rather than sinking to the bottom, where they usually rot and decay.

Types Of Sand

When it comes to categorizing sand, you will only get it by the size of the particles. If a substrate is between 1/16 to 2 millimeters in diameter, it can be called sand regardless of what it is actually composed of.

This cannot be very clear to many people when you are searching for the appropriate substrate.

Sand can be utilized in so many ways and different industries, from construction to manufacturing.

Many sand products are actually not safe to use in a fish tank and are particularly unsuitable for freshwater tanks.

Here are some of the aquarium sand types you can choose and some notes on their benefits and drawbacks:

1.    Live Sand

Live sand can be described as living because they actually have natural aquatic bacteria in them and have other microorganisms. These bags come filled with either freshwater or saltwater, as well as the substrate.

This is a perfect choice because it can prevent the new tank syndrome. After all, bacteria can break down waste products and can maintain the chemical of the water.

Live sand does not need to be rinsed before adding to your fish tank, and they are typically more expensive than others.

It is also worth mentioning that they are not suitable for freshwater community tanks, but some products work well for some African cichlids and other aquatic species who like to have high water pH balance.

2.    Coral/Reef Sand

Coral reef sands are known to be made from crushed coral. These calcium carbonate-based minerals such as aragonite are the perfect substrate for you for many reasons.

When it comes to saltwater aquariums, reef sand is the most popular choice among others. On the other hand, these products are not suitable for freshwater fish tanks.

3.    Desert/River Sand

Desert River sand is most popular and marketed for terrariums, and these natural products are cleaned and processed uniformly in size and shapes.

It comes in a wide variety of natural shades to match your aesthetic decor. Most products are safe to use n most freshwater fish tanks as it will not change the water chemistry.

This type of sand is not actually designed for aquariums, and it can cloud the water or clog your filters even though you rinse it multiple times.

4.    Plant Sand

Plant sand is not actually sand, but it is a product that is usually made from iron-containing clay ground into small sand-sized particles. This gives plants with the nutrients they need to be able to survive.

It has porous clay particles that allow water to flow through, and it allows healthy bacterias to flourish. They do not change the water chemistry and are available in different numbers of colors.

5.    Pool Sand

Pool sand is actually used for filtration systems, and it is a pale-colored natural product that has been cleaned and sifted to a uniform size. Pool sand is economical.

You can purchase it in bigger quantities, and it is less likely to get clouded in aquarium water. It is chemically inert and will not change the water chemistry.

Which Substrate Should You Choose

This is the million-dollar question right here, but it is actually not hard to choose which one is better. It will always be according to your needs and what you actually need at the moment to be able to build your very own fish tank.

This is more than just an aesthetic choice, as it also impacts your aquarium’s set-up and longevity.

If you choose, gravel is a popular option for freshwater aquariums, but sand substrate may be a better choice for specific situations.


Figuring out which substrate to use can be challenging for people, both beginner, and experienced ones. This is because there is plenty of usage and benefits you can get from using gravel and sand.

To avoid any issues, you should pick the substrate that works best for your fish and plants you plan to keep in the fish tank of your dreams. Many fish will survive if you mimic their natural habitat, and everyone will be happy in the end.

Can New Gravel Kill Fish?

The purpose of having new gravel in your fish tank can be either to replace the old ones or just for aesthetic purposes. But the gravel replacement is very tricky because some beneficial bacteria live there.

This is why many people keep on asking in many forum sites how they will get new gravel without killing the fish and other microorganisms in there.

Can new gravel kill fish? No, it won’t affect the fish as long as it’s done correctly. Cleaning new aquarium gravel is an important step in keeping your water quality to a higher level. If you didn’t do it correctly, gravel dust and residue could harm or even kill your fish.

In this article, you will find some useful tips that will help you clean and get a new set of gravel for your fish tank. It is important to do this correctly to avoid the worst-case scenario – killing your fish.

Temporary Setup

When it comes to replacing your old gravel with the new ones, there is one way to fo a complete gravel removal without harming your fish. This is by setting up another tank for the new substrate.

It just means that you are running a fishless cycle on a separate tank full of gravel. Additionally, you need a filter and ammonia to start up the cycle and dose it occasionally.

Seeding Gravel

Another way to be able to get a new set of gravel is by seeding gravel. You only need some pantyhose or filter media bags and fill them to the brim with the new gravel.

You can place these sacks in the aquarium, thoroughly rinsing them properly. You see, after a month, you can remove the old gravel and pour in the new rinsed gravel along with the cultured ones in your fish tank.

This process is actually pretty cheap compared to the ones where you have to build a separate tank.

The downside is that you are only colonizing a small part of your new gravel.

Colonizing at least half of the gravel is the required amount, but this would mean overcrowding your tanks with different bags of gravel.

Replacing Sections

This is probably one of the most popular choices in changing your old gravel to new ones.

There are many videos online using dividers for tanks, such as betta dividers, to separate the gravel.

This way, you can separate one portion at a time, and you have most of the gravel’s beneficial bacteria throughout the process.

Different chain pet stores and local fish stores have these dividers, but it is cheaper to make your very own.

You only need to have some plastic mesh found in any crafts stores, suction cups, and some plastic needles. Just ensure that the top of the divider is smooth, so it does not catch any fins.


No matter which method you actually use, be sure not to take out any filter media during this process, even the chemical ones.

It is recommended to wait at least 2 weeks after partially changing the media to begin this procedure.

Replacing new gravel won’t kill your fish as long as you follow the above procedure. These procedures will assure you of replacing gravels properly.

Aquarium Gravel

Aquarium gravel, or most commonly known as the substrate, is usually found in many pet shops. This aquarium accessory helps make the tank more attractive, especially in various colors and sizes, from tiny pebbles to large river rocks.

On the flip side, it serves a great purpose beyond just decoration though there are some situations in which a substrate might not be for every aquarium.

Do aquariums need gravel? Yes, gravel is important to many aquariums because it promotes a healthy environment for fish to survive. Keeping this in mind, while it might not be necessary, it should always be your priority.

In this article, you will find out more information regarding gravel and the answer if it is really necessary to be in your fish tanks or not.

To help you decide, I have listed some of its benefits that you and your fish will be happy about.

What Is A Substrate?

You might not realize it, but it is possible that you already encountered a substrate on one of your visits to a local pet shop.

When you visit your local pet shop and go to some aquariums available, the substrate is actually any loose materials that make up the bottom of any tank. If you see some pebbles at the bottom of the aquarium, those are actually substrate.

Although it doesn’t have to be pebbles, it can be anything.

Gravel is another example of a substrate, and it is not actually a necessity. Your new fish tank will still survive and work properly without it. But compared to everything in this life, not every essential thing is a necessity.

This principle can be said for substrates like the gravel. To fully understand its concept, you need to pay attention to what goes on inside your fish tank.

The fish you keep in your tank eat food, digest it, and eventually produce waste. This process goes on and on until the quality of waste in your fish tank reaches its limit. As a result, this can be pretty harmful to your fish.

The Benefits Of Having Gravel

Gravel will be responsible for taking care of the ecosystem in your fish tank. There are many benefits it can give to your aquarium. Here are some of the few benefits you can get from having gravel:

Biological Filtration

The most obvious reason why you need gravel is that it provides a home for beneficial bacteria.

These bacteria colonies will be the one responsible for eliminating waste of fish, leftover food, and some debris of the plant.

The bacteria can live without a comfy gravel bed, but they might not be able to grow in many quantities to keep your aquarium safe for your fish.

If you opt not to have gravel in the bottom of your fish tank, it will be necessary to change your water more often to keep harmful waste from building up.

If you have a heavily stocked tank, even frequent water changes won’t be enough to keep ammonia and nitrites at bay. This is why it is critical to have a substrate to maintain a healthy environment for your fish.

Fish Habitat

Having gravel is part of creating a pleasant environment for your fish. It gives the fish, especially the ones who like to burrow, a place to hide.

It also provides them enrichment for bottom-dwellers that prefer to forage through the gravel for bits of food. This also helps to reduce reflections within your aquarium tank that can eventually stress your fish.

Gravel can also be used to improve the overall chemistry of the water.

For example, if your fish require hard water, a coral substrate can help you achieve the water’s proper balance.

It helps mostly in the overall fish habitat as it can provide a safe home for fish to lay their eggs. Having larger substrates allow eggs to drop out of reach of hungry fish.

Home For Live Plants

Not only a substrate is good for your fish, but it can also be helpful to your live plants as it is critical and second only to lighting in keeping your plants alive.

With enough substrate, it can ensure that your plants root well and have their nutritional needs met.

Aside from gravel, laterite and vermiculite are common substrates for planted tanks as they can store and release nutrients for the plants.

They are a perfect combination with gravel so make sure to get a combination of both. Some aquarium plants with more substantial roots require extra depth to the substrate, so you need to consider when assembling your tank.

Why Choose Gravel?

In terms of choosing the right substrate, gravel makes sense in a lot of scenarios. If you opt for gravel as a substrate, it can increase water flow in your tank.

This increased water flow reduces the build-up of harmful microorganisms that can diminish the fish tank’s overall health.

In addition to that, the weight of gravel makes it less likely to get sucked in your aquarium filter if you have one installed.

Gravel also has its visual appeal. There are darker shades that work perfectly as a background against which your fish can actually stand out.

This is probably why gravel is one of the most common and popular choices when it comes to substrate types.


In conclusion, if you look into animals’ science and behavior, they live best when you see them in a proper environment that resembles their natural habitat.

This can also be applied to fishes, and when choosing a substrate, you need to make sure to choose the one that mimics their natural habitat back in the ocean.

Try to at least copy its function and form, from the substrate’s nature to its form. Always remember that the substrate should also complement the rest of your aquarium and not work against it.

It will allow you to save money and time in the long run because you made the right choice in choosing the gravel as your substrate option.

What Can I Do With Old Fish Tank Gravel?

Aquarium gravel functions as well as a decorative feature in landscapes. Some aquarium gravel is pea gravel, which is the same type of stone that is sometimes used in landscaping.

What can I do with old fish tank gravel? Aquarium gravel will work in the same manner as landscaping gravel in borders, mulching, paths, and paving. If you’ve got a little or a lot to deal with, use aquarium gravel to brighten up your outdoor room.

The old fish tank gravels are not the only things you can reuse, but the fish tank itself, too! Read this article and know how to be more environmentally-friendly by reusing old fish tank gravels and fish tanks.


If you have a lot of aquarium gravel, you can use it to build a road. If you like this idea but don’t have enough aquarium gravel for the whole route, you can mix it with sand or gravel.

To make a path, dig the soil a few inches deep. Depending on the soil type in your field, you will need to put down a layer of the stone pack in front of the landscaping fabric below the pathway’s gravel.

Make sure you line the route with rocks, larger stones, or other edging to hold the gravel in place.

Assessing How Much Gravel For A Concrete Walkway

Concrete walkway, a long-lasting project to separate two areas into a lawn or act as an avenue from one area to another.

After digging the walkway, dump gravel onto the trench’s bottom and pack it closely to the earth to form an immovable foundation for the asphalt to stick to.

Measurements and accurate measurements will help you calculate the gravel volume required for your project in either cubic yards or tons.

  1. Mark the outline of your walkway on your lawn with the paint coloring of the lawn.

  2. Dig right down on the line of paint with a spade to hack the lawn.

  3. Remove grass from the field and dig the soil at a depth of 6 inches from the ground surface. This leaves a depth of 2-inch for gravel and a depth of 4-inch for concrete.

  4. To calculate the square footage, weigh the length and width of the walkway. Multiply the length by the distance. For example, a walkway 3 feet wide and 40 feet long is 120 square feet.

  5. Convert the square footage to cubic shoulders, then cubic shoulders. Divide the 2-inch depth by 12 to 0.17. 0.17 x square feet. For eg, 120 x 0.17 = 20.4 cubic feet. Divide the cubic legs by 27 to receive the cubic legs. For example, 20.4 divided by 27 = .76 cubic meters of gravel for a 3-by-40-foot walkway.

  6. Convert cubic yards to tons if you buy gravel from a firm that sells it in tons. A cubic yard of gravel weighs 2,700 pounds. One ton is worth 2,000 pounds. Then, divide 2,750 by 2,000 to get 1 3/8 per ton of weight. Multiply the cubic yards by 1 3/8 or 1,375 in decimal form to achieve the gravel volume required in tons. For eg, 1.76 X 1.375 = 1.045 tons required for this project.


  • Attach about 10% extra to the final number of tons or cubic yards to allocate extra material for imprecision in the calculation and leveling of the land.
  • Tamp the gravel in the road to a depth of 2-inch before applying the asphalt.

Potted Plants

Aquarium gravel, particularly colorful varieties, will brighten container plants when sprinkled on the soil’s top layer. In more practical uses, aquarium gravel may be used for irrigation at the plant containers’ bottom.

Usually, 1 inch of gravel is what you need to drain properly. Adding gravel to the bottom of the pots often adds weight, keeping light plastic containers from falling over.


Aquarium gravel may be combined with mortar or used on its own as a cauldron when paving patios or paths.

The gravel may be tapped between the pavers when used without mortar or pushed into the pavers’ gaps when the mortar is already damp.

Garden Borders

Aquarium gravel may be used to describe garden sections as well as mulched or paved fields.

Gravel serves as a visual boundary that can keep grass, flowers, and other plants from outside the fence. Dig a 2-to 3-inch trench with a gravel boundary and line it with a drainage cloth.

Stop using gravel around a lawn because it makes mowing tough since the stones can be thrown, or the blades of the mower can be destroyed.

Soil Aeration And Mulching

Mix aquarium gravel with topsoil to aerate to provide a rockier layer for plants such as rosemary or lavender bushes.

You may also use aquarium gravel as a mulch as a top cover for planting. Aquarium gravel mulch fits well around shrubs and in rock gardens in colder temperatures to stay warm throughout the day.


Pea stone gravel is looked after for its bright color and its rounded edges.

Small stones make a visually interesting variation when used as a mulch in your landscaping and do not need an annual substitute like organic mulches.

The downside is that the pea stone represents and holds heat, burning sensitive plants such as annual and seasonal flowers and drying out the soil’s top layer.

  1. Measure the place where the pea stone is to be added. Measure the length and the width, and then decide how deep you want to spill the pea stone gravel. When used as a mulch or a pathway, it should be between 2 and 4 inches thick.

  2. Buy enough of the gravel to suit your room. Check the coverage map given by the retailer when you order the bag. When ordering bulk, share dimensions and depth specifications with your sales associate to better estimate how many you need in cubic feet.

  3. Rake the soil in the field where you plan to use a steel garden rake to mount the pea tile. This splits the clumps and exposes the sharp rocks. Remove the rocks that can pierce the fabric of the landscape.

  4. Cut the landscape fabric to match the area you trimmed using a kitchen knife or scissors. Break the “Y” in the cloth to slide it over narrow trees. Break off the cloth’s end and tie it around bigger plants, such as shrubs or trees.

  5. Place the pea stone on top of the landscape fabric until you achieve the desired width.

  6. Leave about 2 inches of gravel free space around the stems of the vine. This would continue to reduce the heat that the stone represents on the lower leaves of the plants.


  • Pea stones appear to slide over the sides of your flower beds, spilling onto your lawn. To avoid this from happening, mount edging by digging a shallow trench — about half the edging depth — along the outside edge of your flower bed before applying the gravel. Place the edging in the trench and fill the dirt around the edging.

  • When building paths out of pea stone grit, dig the soil to the appropriate level, then mount the steel edging flush with the field. This helps prevent the dirt from pressing onto the walls of the trench as you move through it. Place the landscape cloth in the trench before pouring 2 to 4 inches of pea gravel to the surface.

Reusing Your Old Fish Tank

There are a lot of interesting as well as innovative ways to use your old tank — from making a mosaic lightbox for your children’s bedroom to using it as a table centerpiece during your favorite holidays throughout the year. Here are five fun ways to compost your fish tank.

Food Grow

If you are searching for a more realistic way to repurpose your fish tank, look no further than this recommendation.

Did you know that you can cultivate your plants or herbs in your own home with only a little lighting and the waste that fish naturally produce?

Why don’t you abandon the tank like a fish tank and transform it into an aquaponics tank?

Aquaponics is a combination of holding fish and growing plants together. You’d have a little tray on top of your tank, where the plant grows in pebbles of clay.

The water from the river will have nitrates in it from the fish waste that the plants will use to expand. In exchange, the plants will disinfect the water before returning it to the fish, so you need minimum care.

Great if you liked holding the fish but didn’t like washing it out! This project will make you spend about two hours to set up, but you’ll be producing food for years to come.


This simple and fast upcycle is ideal for people looking to bring a new look to the dining table.

The project would take a time of 10 minutes, and everyone can do it. You’ll need some pebbles, candles, and lights for this craft to complement the time of year.

Using a range of larger and smaller candles to create some depth for the centerpiece. Place the taller candles on the back of the tank and some smaller candles on the front.

Then carefully sprinkle the pebbles around the candles to keep them in place. You should add any bigger pebbles along the edges as well.

Depending on the season, you can spice it up by adding some Christmas candles or mini Halloween pumpkins.


This is a simple activity that you can do with your kids in their bedrooms. You’ll need a lot of brightly colored glass paint, a black glass paint pen, and some paint brushes.

Decide on the style you’d like for your lightbox. You may want to model it around your favorite movie or stick to a fish tank theme.

Draw the template onto paper that has been cut to the same scale as either side of the tank.

When you’re pleased with the plan, stick the paper to the inside of the tank as a guide.

Using the black paint pen to draw all the main lines, each segment may be painted in a different color once the line has dried. When the paint is dry, you can use strip lights or fairy lights on the inside to illuminate the tank.

Depending on how many helpers you have, this project will take a few hours.

Coffee Table

This last one is a bit more daring and DIYers among us! Why don’t you turn your tank into a coffee table?

Cover the bottom of the tank with sand, pebbles, and driftwood. You would also be able to pick them up from your beloved beaches and build a very unique meaningful table.

If you’ve filled the reservoir, you can stick a large piece of wood to the top with glue, and you’ve got your very own handmade coffee table.


Let’s say that you’re not in the mood to raise any more animals – how about plants?

A terrarium makes a low-maintenance garden that you can keep in your home, like a small greenhouse. They’re fun to make, too!

Next, select some thin, moisture-tolerant plants that you’d like to use. After washing your aquarium, pour some gravel and activated carbon for drainage.

Attach the moss coat, then the dirt. Now that you have set your foundation, you can install your plants and whatever decorations you want. Finally, apply a tiny volume of water.

It is up to you if you want to cover your aquarium; if you’re exposed, make sure to take some water once a week. If yours is locked, make sure to leave some fresh air inside now and then. And don’t forget to trim any sick or dying plants down.

Children’s Fairy Garden

Why don’t you do a fun project to turn your old aquarium into a magical fairy garden for your children?

Use the dirt and the stones to create a path that leads through the garden, and then make your fairies or use their games to bring the garden to life. You can even incorporate twinkling lights to make it much more fun for your kids.


Reusing your old fish tank gravel and fish tanks will help conserve the environment. Plus, reusing them is not that difficult if you think about it. This will save the environment and save you from spending too much on home decorations.