Can You Use Artificial Grass in an Aquarium? (Is It Safe?)

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Can You Use Artificial Grass in an Aquarium?

Aquariums are one of the most popular ways to keep fish. However, the specific care involved keeps many from taking the leap and starting their aquarium. Those looking to start keeping an aquarium often wonder if it’s okay to use artificial grass in an aquarium.

You can use artificial grass in an aquarium. Artificial grass is perfectly safe for almost any aquarium, but like any other substrate, you’ll need to ensure that it’s clean and doesn’t contaminate the enclosure when you introduce it. When installed properly, the grass should hold up.

Artificial grass has a wide range of uses, and aquariums are just one. If you’d like to find out more about using artificial grass in an aquarium as well as the best substrates to use, then the rest of this article will tell you just that.

Is Artificial Grass Safe for Aquariums?

You have to be very careful with what you let into your aquarium. Some species are very sensitive to minute changes in water quality, ph, and many other things. As a result, finding out if the artificial grass is safe for your aquarium is essential.

Artificial grass is generally safe for aquariums. Like many other substrates, it’ll be fine as long as the artificial plant is installed properly. However, artificial grass requires more micromanaging than other substrates and might not be safe for all aquarium setups.

Generally, artificial grass shouldn’t be a problem, provided it’s properly cleaned before being introduced into the aquarium. However, since different brands produce different types of grass, it would be best to find out if your brand of choice is safe for use.


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Nevertheless, it’s essential to ensure the grass has no complications for the specific species of fish you have in your aquarium. For example, soft-bellied fish might be injured if the grass you add to your tank has sharp enough blades.

Can You Use Artificial Grass in an Axolotl Tank?

Artificial grass isn’t a one size fits all solution. Although it’s generally safe, it’s not always safe. Consequently, you’ll need to find out if the species of aquatic life you keep is compatible with artificial grass. The compatibility of axolotls and artificial grass remains a popular question.

You can use artificial grass in an axolotl tank, but it’s best if you don’t. Axolotls are soft-bellied creatures, and they may hurt themselves against the sharp blades of the turf. You can find far better options for substrates in the market today.

Artificial grass looks nice in a tank, but there are quite a few issues with using it. One major problem is that it could potentially be dangerous to your aquatic life.

The first cause of this danger is that most artificial grass isn’t made specifically with vivariums in mind. As a result, many of the chemicals or coatings on it might be toxic to your pets.

Another problem you could encounter would be from the grass itself. Some types of astroturf have blades of grass with relatively sharp edges.

Although they might pose a threat to you, they could prove to be annoying at best and fatal at worst for some species of fish.

Finally, turf comes with the added danger of trapping debris in the aquarium. Although some substrates trap debris to make the aquarium easier to clean, artificial grass doesn’t. Rather, it makes the process far more tedious and could make the tank a death trap for fish due to rising ammonia levels.

Best Substrates for an Aquarium

Realistically speaking, you could use artificial grass for an aquarium. However, the extra time and maintenance involved in using it compared to traditional substrates would make it incredibly impractical.

Conversely, you could go with one of the many other substrate options for a far easier time, such as gravel, sand, and complete substrate.

Gravel Is Inexpensive, and Easy To Install

Gravel is one of the most popular substrates in vivariums of all types. From aquariums to aquariums and everything in between, gravel comes out on top of most of its peers. This dominance isn’t arbitrary. Rather it’s because gravel is both inexpensive to use and easy to install.

One major benefit of using gravel in an aquarium is its weight and shape. Due to gravel being heavier than most other substrates of choice, it’s far less likely to get sucked into the filter.

Also, because a gravel substrate has a lot of space between itself, it does a far better job of permitting water flow which is a great way to boost overall water quality.

One of the main downsides of gravel is that it’s not suitable for many bottom dwellers. This problem is especially true if your gravel is loosely packed, as it can sometimes make it difficult for your pet’s feet to gain purchase on the rocks.

Sand Is Excellent for Bottom Dwellers Like Axolotls

The sand vs. gravel debate is popular and will likely be an ongoing topic for decades to come. Regardless of what side you choose, it would probably be better than using grass. Sand especially is a significantly better choice than grass for most aquariums.

Sand is a better substrate for bottom dwellers. Unlike artificial grass, you generally don’t have to worry about sand harming your bottom-dwelling pets like axolotls.

Furthermore, sand substrates need to be changed far less frequently than most other substrate choices because it has smaller space for waste and dead matter to pass.

Complete Substrate Is Great for Vivariums

Complete substrates are a category of substrates made specifically for vivariums. Unlike other natural substrates found in nature, complete substrates are engineered to promote aquarium conditions and stimulate plant growth.

A good example of this is the CaribSea Eco-Complete (available on, which nourishes aquarium plants and encourages healthy plant root growth. The product comes in a bag partially filled with water, so there’s no need for rinsing. You can put it into the aquarium right away.

Final Thoughts

Artificial grass is suitable for many purposes, and aquariums are no different. However, there’s quite a lot to consider if you plan to use it as it’s not suitable for every type of aquarium setup. For example, axolotls and artificial grass don’t mix very well together.

Although artificial grass is usable, you’d be far better served by one of the more popular types of substrates such as sand or gravel.

If you’re willing to spring for it, complete substrates are a well-rounded choice and actively promote plant health.


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