Do Ember Tetras Prefer Sand Or Gravel?

If you are looking for a new addition to your home aquarium, one option is Ember Tetras. These fish are beautiful and fairly easy to care for, but some people have trouble deciding if they should put sand or gravel in their tank. Do Ember Tetras prefer sand or gravel?

Ember tetras will prefer either Gravel or Sand because they don’t dwell at the bottom of the tank. And they will be happy with any substrate as long as it is black in color.

It doesn’t really matter what they like, because you are the one who needs to make a decision. First, you need to decide which type of substrate is best for your tank and your fish.

This article will help you decide by talking about the pros and cons of each type of substrate and when it may be best to use. This will also talk about sand vs. gravel and help you decide which is better for your tank.

What Type Of Substrate Do Ember Tetras Prefer?

Ember tetra loves black, so a dark substrate is best for them. Use a substrate based on your plant selection.

The best substrate for your tetras is black sand or gravel. Gravel can be used, but make sure you don’t use too much because it will pollute the water and bring down the pH level of your tank.

There should be some plants in your tank as well. Non-parasitic plants are best for the fish.

Do Ember Tetras Prefer Sand Or Gravel?

Ember tetras are freshwater fish with many requirements in their tank set up, including what substrate they use. The most popular options include sand or gravel. The thing with ember tetras is that they enjoy living in water, and sand or gravel will better simulate this type of environment for them.

It’s possible to keep your ember tetras happy using both types of substrates, but they tend to show a preference for one or the other. For example, ember tetras living in tanks with sand will prefer that substrate, while those living in gravel-filled tanks may enjoy it more than others of their type.

Sand is softer than gravel, which makes it more comfortable to swim in for your Ember Tetras.

Sand also has a larger surface area that allows beneficial bacteria to grow and helps water flow easier through the tank without getting trapped by large substrate particles as gravel does.

Gravel may be best for your Ember Tetras if you are looking for an aesthetically pleasing setup because the bottom of your tank will look nicer with gravel than sand.

If you decide to use gravel in your aquarium, try to find one that is less dense and has large pieces with a live surface area to provide a more comfortable living space for your tetras.

They do prefer to swim around and graze on algae from a gravel substrate, though. The type of gravel you have in your tank will depend mostly on what look you like for your Ember Tetra aquarium.

Live Gravel is great because it provides a natural look, while you can use Artificial Gravel to create more of a modern design in your tank.

Should I Use Sand Or Gravel In Ember Tetras Tank?

If you are using live plants in your tank, then a type of gravel that is more neutral such as Aquasoil or Natural Gravel, would be best. However, if you want to create a modern design with artificial items, choose Artificial Gravel.

Sand is also best for Ember Tetras. This is because the natural habitat of ember tetras in their natural environment consists mainly of this type of substrate.

It is also a more neutral option for Ember Tetras. Similarly, they can’t get an infection from the sand. It’s not too hard on their delicate scales. It doesn’t provide any attractive hiding spots that could lead to disease or parasitism.

You should use approximately one inch of sand in your tank with about two to three inches of water on top.

Gravel is also a good option for Ember Tetras. It offers them more hiding spots than sand does, and they can get parasites from rocks if you use those in your tank.

Gravel should only be used as the base substrate layer with about two or three inches on top of that, so there’s a lot of depth in the substrate for Ember Tetras to swim around and explore.

It would help if you also used rocks or driftwood pieces as decoration when using gravel because it looks nicer, provides hiding spots, and can make your tank look more natural.

Why Is Sand Best For Your Ember Tetras?

Sand is superior to gravel when accommodating ember tetras. It is more natural for them when they live in the water. This means that their fins and scales are less likely to be damaged or irritated by the substrate than gravel would be.

Aquasoil is the best type of substrate for your Ember Tetras. It is a type of gravel that has some very unique properties.

Aqua soil is perfect for your tank. It provides you with the surface area necessary to ensure enough beneficial bacteria in your tank.

Aquarium beneficial bacteria help keep ammonia levels low and nitrites down, providing cleaner water for Ember Tetras.

It also has a large surface area, which will help ensure that your water is well oxygenated and filtered and has the perfect amount of gravel for aesthetic purposes.

How Much Gravel Should You Keep In Your Tank?

The strength of your preference between sand and gravel will determine how much you should keep in your tank. If you choose sand, it’s recommended to keep at least 25% of the bottom surface covered with this type of substrate.

What Plants To Keep In Your Ember Tetras Tank?

Your ember tetras will love a tank setup that includes plants. But the type of plant you keep in their environment is crucial for them to be happy with it.

For example, they need floating plants specifically if they are kept in tanks with sand as substrate, while they need plants that can grow in moist areas if kept in tanks with gravel.

Things You Should Consider While Keeping Gravel Or Sand For Ember Tetras

There are various things you should look at while preparing a tank for your ember tetras. First, let’s discuss some of the parameters you should consider to ensure a favorable environment for your ember tetras.


The beauty of your tank should be a top priority for you. The ember tetras are a great addition to any community fish tank and will make it more lively. In addition, they have lovely colors that stand out against the sand or gravel background.

The black-colored gravel or sand might also be a good choice to keep the tank looking lively.

It is easy to see that from a purely aesthetic perspective and maybe the best choice. However, if you prefer ensuring your pet fish are happy and healthy, then gravel would be easier for them to swim in as they grow larger with more room to explore. For this reason alone, it’s difficult to say what Ember Tetra prefers without asking them.

Water Conditions:

Another thing that you should be concerned about is the water conditions for your aquarium tanks. Ember Tetras love living in clear and clean freshwater environments, and therefore you should keep your water clean at all times.


The tank needs to be aesthetically pleasing, so you will want to use a little forethought before the design and layout of the tanks! You can add plants and ornaments to show off this beauty that is Ember Tetras. It’s an easy way to create a tranquil environment for your pet fish.

Ease of Maintenance:

Another thing you should be concerned about is the amount of time it takes to maintain both gravel and sand tanks and how often they need replacing. If you are looking for something that will require less work, then sand may be best for this reason.

Ember Tetras are great for beginners, and therefore if you are looking to learn how to keep a tank, then sand may be easier. It is also more economical in the long run as it doesn’t require replacing new gravel every few months or so, which can become expensive over time!


Can New Gravel Kill Ember Tetras?

New sand or new gravel can potentially kill your ember tetras. In addition, it may hurt their delicate scales and fins when you introduce the material to them for the first time. Therefore, it is best to let your tanks “cycle” for a month with whatever type of substrate you are using before adding new sand or gravel into the mix.

Is Changing Water Daily Bad?

It is not bad if you want to change their water daily, but it makes cleaning harder. If you’re going to do this, you should make sure to use a filter that has a high flow rate and is big enough for your tank and one with fine mesh.


In conclusion, you should consider all of the factors you need to consider when deciding what type of substrate is best for your Ember Tetras, whether sand or gravel.

No matter what decisions you make about which substrate would work best with your pet fish, there are always benefits and disadvantages on both sides! Keep these things in mind while making a final decision.

Good Luck!!!

Happy Fishkeeping!!

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