Substrate For Black Skirt Tetra: Do They Prefer Sand Or Gravel?

Black Skirt Tetra is one of the most popular freshwater fish. They can be found in ponds, streams, and rivers across North America. One thing that is debated about Black Skirt Tetra is which substrate do they prefer to live on more: sand or gravel?

Sand is soft and loose while gravel has a lot of small rocks with varying shapes and sizes. There are some advantages to both, but which do your Black Skrit Tetras like better? Read on to find out! For black skirt tetra, you can use both dark sand and river gravels.

Brief Details About Sand And Gravel:

You must first know about sand and gravel as the substrate to understand which one is actually better for your black skirt tetra. Let us see what it means:


– Sand is soft and can be easy for fish to move around in.

– It has a large surface area that makes it great for beneficial bacteria to grow.

– However, sand can quickly become dirty and needs to be cleaned often.


– Gravel is hard and stays put in one place, so it won’t be moved around by your fish.

– It has a large surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow on.

– Gravel is also easy to clean when needed because you can just siphon the gravel using a tank tube or water pump.

Which Substrate Does Your Black Skirt Tetra Prefer?

Now that you know the basics about sand and gravel, let us see if your black skirt tetras have a preference:

Most fish will prefer sand if they do not have to move around very much.

Black skirt tetras are schooling fish, so you should keep them in groups of at least five for their own safety. If your black skirt tetra is in school it may feel more comfortable living on the sandy substrate because its mates can be near it and protect it from any predators that might come along.

While gravel cannot provide this sense of security, some people still think that having just enough gravel in the tank with these conditions keeps water flowing well through the bottom layers while also making sure there’s always plenty of open space for swimming.

Why Gravel Can Be Best Substrate For Your Black Skirt Tetra?

There are several reasons why gravel may be better for your black skirt tetras than the sand:


If aesthetics are important for your aquarium, then go with sand! Sand is soft and easier for fish to swim through while gravel can look cluttered sometimes since there’s not always an even distribution of rocks throughout the substrate.

Water Can Flow Well:

Because most tanks have filter systems that create flow, sand is the better substrate for Black Skirt Tetra. Most of the filtration systems are designed to filter through sand more than gravel because it has a larger surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow on and water can flow much easier.

Large Surface Area For Beneficial Bacteria:

Sand also has large surface areas that make it even better for beneficial bacterial growth! There will be plenty of places throughout your tank where good bacteria can thrive which helps maintain an ideal habitat for your fish.

Types Of Gravel Substrate

There are four types of gravel that you can use in the aquarium. Learn what they are and which one can be feasible for you. The usage of the gravel will help you decide on which one you should choose and why.

Live Gravel:

Live gravel is great if you like having plants in your aquarium since live gravel makes planting easy (though this doesn’t matter much if you want an all-fish setup).

Artificial Gravel:

Artificial gravel has a lot of the same advantages as live gravel so it’s also great for planting! However, this type is less expensive than live gravel.

Clay Gravel

Clay gravel is a great option if you’re looking for a natural look in your tank. It doesn’t have any sharp edges and is also pH-neutral so it won’t affect the water’s chemistry.

Natural Gravel:

If you want to go all out with a natural substrate, then try using natural gravel! This type of gravel can be found at most pet stores and usually comes in different colors like black, white, or brown.

Natural gravel is just rocks that have been gathered from nature but haven’t been processed in any way to increase their aesthetic appeal or make them easier to plant with.

This kind of substrate will not be good for your plants because there aren’t many crevices where they can root themselves, leaving them vulnerable when you need to clean out your tank!

How Much Gravel Substrate Should You Keep In Your Tank?

Now that you know all about the different types of gravel, how much should you use in your tank? A good rule of thumb is to use one pound of gravel per gallon of water.

So, if you have a 20-gallon tank, you would need about 20 pounds of gravel. This will give your fish plenty of space to swim and hide while also providing enough surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow.

You should add enough sand or artificial/clay/natural colored gravel in order to cover about half of the bottom space in your tank. This will give your fish plenty of room to explore and make your aquarium look great!

Cleaning And Maintenance Of Gravel In Your Black Skirt Tetra Tank:

Since gravel is a harder substrate than sand, it’s important that you clean it regularly if you don’t want it to become clogged with waste.

One way to do this is by siphoning the gravel at the bottom of your tank- this can be easily done using a length of tubing attached to an air pump or filter system. You should also stir up the gravel every few weeks so that any waste on the top layer will be exposed to oxygen and bacteria can break it down.

No matter what type of gravel you choose, it’s important to clean it regularly so that your tank stays healthy and free from any harmful build-up.

You can use a siphon tube to vacuum the gravel at the bottom of your tank or use a brush to scrub off any debris. Be sure not to disturb any of the beneficial bacteria that have taken up residence on the substrate!

Which Plants To Keep In Your Black Skirt Tetra Tank?

Now that you’ve got the perfect substrate for your tank, it’s time to add some plants! Plants are a great way to make your aquarium look beautiful while also providing a place for your fish to hide.

There are many different types of plants that can be used in an aquarium and most pet stores will carry at least a few varieties.

When choosing plants for your tank, it’s important to keep in mind the type of fish you have. Some fish like to nibble on plants while others prefer to leave them alone. If you’re not sure what kind of plants to get, ask the employees at the store for advice.

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Can New Gravel Kill Black Skirt Tetra?

One thing to keep in mind when adding new gravel to your tank is that some types can be harmful to fish. For example, if you add limestone or coral gravel to your tank, it can raise the pH levels and make the water too alkaline for fish like the black skirt tetra.

Is Changing Water Daily Bad?

Some people believe that changing the water in your tank every day is bad for the fish- this isn’t necessarily true. It’s important to change at least 25% of the water in your tank every week in order to remove any waste and debris that has built up. However, if you’re doing a large water change (50% or more), it’s best not to do it more than once a week.


So, do black skirt tetra prefer sand or gravel? Gravel can be beneficial to your fish in many ways when used properly- it provides the perfect substrate for an aquarium and makes cleaning easier on you! Just make sure that you choose the right kind of gravel for your tank and clean regularly so that their environment stays healthy and free from harmful buildup.

Sand is another popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts because it’s inexpensive and easy to find at most pet stores. It also comes in different colors like white, red, blue, etc., which adds variety. Unfortunately, there are some downsides, such as how easily it gets kicked up into the air by water movement (especially when you add water with a gravel vacuum).

Gravel is another popular choice because it can be easily found at most pet stores and comes in many different colors. It’s also easier to clean than sand since there are no fine particles that get into the air or your tank filter. Using a stiff-bristled brush will help you scrub off any leftover debris before adding new substrate to your aquarium.

While this option may seem like an expensive one, its benefits outweigh the cost of having to buy additional equipment such as tubing for siphoning and filters; not only does it provide excellent conditions for fish (especially bottom dwellers), but it makes cleaning easy on owners!

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