Can you boil aquarium gravel without damaging it?

Last Updated on June 10, 2021 by cmoarz

Sometimes the simple questions are the ones I like the most as they tend to have the most simple answers. The particular question “Can you boil aquarium gravel” comes up quite often and luckily for us, is a simple question. The answer, Of course, Is a resounding yes! You can boil aquarium gravel. It won’t damage the gravel. It is also the ideal way to sterilize the gravel.

In addition, there are a plethora of other reasons you would want to boil it, and if you’ve got a couple of minutes to spare let’s get into them!

It’s not just aquarium gravel that can be safely boiled. You can, and should boil wood, stones, and aquarium decorations as part of your sterilization process.

It’s important for all aspects of your tank’s environment to be well sterilized and boiling water is a great way to accomplish this.

Especially given the fact that you cannot use soap on anything that will be placed inside the fish tank as this will harm and may even kill the fish inside.

Keep in mind that boiling gravel regularly during normal routine tank maintenance is a drastic step and could actually do damage to the tank’s ecosystem that relies heavily on the beneficial bacteria that live in the rocks. Those will also be ‘sterilized’ in any process of boiling.

So when deciding whether or not to boil your aquarium gravel and other aquarium do-dads consider the following:

Have there been any recent outbreaks of disease or ongoing outbreaks of disease in your fish tank?

Do you have any recurring problems with fungal growth?

Is the fish tank outright filthy and has not been deep cleaned in a long time?

Or, Have you had an abnormal amount of fish fatalities in recent memory?

If yes to any of these then perhaps it’s time to consider a deep clean, as well as a more thorough investigation of the matter. Otherwise, If your fish are happy and healthy it’s probably OK to push off the complete sterilization of the gravel and decorations which could cause more harm than otherwise would fix.

When purchasing new gravel, It should always be washed thoroughly until the water runs clear, And boiled after that before use in your fish tank. This is good tank etiquette with anything new, including fixtures, decorations, driftwoods, rocks, and shells. Anything really you intend to put into your fish tank.. except the fish… Please don’t boil your fish.

Don't boil your fish

In conclusion, Boil aquarium gravel, it’s safe, it’s fine and it is recommended.


Owner of and also owner of actual Aquarium Gravel believe it or not! ;). Setting up beautiful aquarium sceneries and habitats since I was very young. Enjoy!

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