Skip to Content

How To Use Slate In A Aquarium Safley!

With slate becoming increasingly popular in aquariums of all sizes, we have noticed more and more people reaching out and asking various questions about how they can go about using slate in their aquarium.

Due to so many people reaching out about using slate as a part of their aquascape as well as how they are able to make sure that the slate they use will not cause problems with their water conditions, we have decided to publish our own dedicated article going over the topic.

We are hoping that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible successfully and safley integrate the use of slate into their aquarium.

It is usually considerably easier than most people initially think due to slate being so easy to work with so using slate in an aquarium is usually more beginner friendly than most people think.

Please note, you will have to factor in the type of fish and live plants that you may want to be keeping in your aquarium too.

Depending on what you want to use your slate for, you may also have to integrate substrate for some types of plants. Slate is not suitable for some types of fish or amphibians too but for the most part, it will be fine and work well in a huge range of different aquarium setups.

Is Slate Safe For Aquariums?

Slate is generally considered safe for use in aquariums provided you use aquarium safe slate or thoroughly clean the slate prior to adding it to your aquarium.

If you are keeping amphibians in your aquarium, it is also highly recommended that you sand down any sharp edges on your slate to protect their sensitive skin too.

Although aquarium slate is cheap, some people do choose to use reptile slate or cullnary slate instead with it usually being very easy to clean.

Adding the slate to a container with bleach in for a day and then putting it into a container with fresh water than is changed daily for a week is usually the easiest method to clean the slate.

We would also recommend that you put you put your slate into a quarantine container after cleaning too. You can usually leave it in fresh water for a day or so before using a water testing kit to test the water.

This helps to ensure that the slate is clean and that all of the bleach has been washed off prior to you adding it to your main aquarium helping to keep your fish, amphibians, and live plants safe.

Where To Buy Slate For Your Aquarium!

General slate is usually very easy to find and can often be picked up at most hardware or gardening stores but it will need to be cleaned before you add it to your aquarium.

Aquarium slate is commonly found in pet stores but a surprisingly large number won’t carry it as standard and will have to order it in for you.

This is why so many people will just order their aquarium slate online as it usually works out to be cheaper while also getting the slate to you quicker too.

Although aquarium slate will not have to be cleaned as thoroughly as general slate, we would still recommend you at least give it some mild cleaning prior to adding it to your tank if possible.

You are also able to find reptile slate online as well as cullnary slate that both tend to be much cleaner than general slate.

Although this have usually been cleaned to the level of aquarium slate prior to shipping it too you, we would still recommend that you give it the once over with some warm water as a minimum before you put it in your aquarium.

What Do You Use Slate For In An Aquarium?

Slate has a number of uses in an aquarium with the options only really being limited by your imagination.

The three main uses for slate in an aquarium are for aquascaping, making your own hides or waterflow breaks, and for slating the bottom of your aquarium instead od using a substrate.

There are a number of less common uses for slate in an aquarium too with ground slate sometimes being used as a form of substrate but we really don’t recommend it.

Ground slate is usually far too sharp for amphibians or bottom dwellers like a pleco and may result in damaging the fish so slate tiles are usually the safer option.

It is also becoming increasingly popular to use aquarium slate decorations too but this is still just a minor use case for using slate in your aquarium.

Although we initially thought that this was just a fad, it does seem to have stood the test of time with a large number of people using slate accessories in their aquarium now.

Aquascaping With Slate!

Aquascaping with slate is seeing a boom in popularity right now due to some of the slate aquascapes going viral on social media recently.

Slate is usually one of the easier materials to work with for your aquascaping too so we would highly recommend that you do give it a try if aquascaping is your think.

One thing that we would stress is that slate tiles can be easy to move with your water pumps so using some aquarium safe glue for rocks is a quick and easy way to prevent your slate sliding in your aquarium and ruining or your aquascape or harming your fish.

The majority of our readers who are involved in aquascaping will probably already have their aquarium safe glue though due to it being used so frequently in aquascaping.

Another benefit of using slate in aquascaping is that it is very easy for java moss and java fern to grow on the slate.

Both java moss and java fern are very popular options in aquascapes with slate with you being able to use the two in various combinations to achieve a number of different looks and effects in your aquarium with your slate.

Hides And Waterflow Breaks!

Due to slate being so easy to work with and arrange in your own unique shapes, it is a common option for making your own hides and waterflow breaks in your aquarium.

There are countless designs that you are able to use for a wide range of different needs with slate definitely being one of the better materials for them.

We have our article going over how to make DIY axolotl hides where we go into how slate can be used to make your own hides in more detail.

We also have an article on high flow water for clownfish where we touch on how you can make a waterflow break using slate too.

If you do want to keep a range of fish species in your aquarium that prefer different water flow levels to each other then a DIY slate waterflow break can be the quickest, easiest, and cheapest option by far.

It allows you to create a physical barrier in your aquarium with the slate to reduce the waterflow in different parts of the tank for different fish species to relax and about the higher flow areas.

Slate Bottom Aquariums!

Although it is still nowhere near as using substrate, more and more people are starting to use slate bottom aquariums as a quick and easy option for the base of their tank.

A slate bottom aquarium also tends to be much easier to clean with your gravel vacuum during tank maintenance too as the discarded food and waste is easier to see.

A slate bottom aquarium tends not to be as useful for tanks with bottom dwellers such as plecos though as they are not able to burrow into it.

Some people do try to work around this by using chipped slate as their substrate but it is far too sharp for bottom dwellers and a regular substrate would be a much better option in this situation.

If you are looking for a quick and easy to clean base plate for your aquarium of mid to surface dwelling fish the slate is definitely one of the better options on the market though.

It is slowly increasing in popularity but using a slate bottom plate is usually a part of a wider aquascape project rather than being used simply being so quick and easy to clean.

Does Slate Change Water Parameters?

Aquarium slate or properly cleaned general slate will have no effect on your water parameters with your pH levels and nitrate levels remaining consistent with what they usually are.

If you use general slate for your aquarium and fail to clean it correctly then the contaminants on the slate can change your water paramaters but this is due to the contaminants on the slate rather than the slate itself.

A common mistake that we see people make when it comes to aquarium slate is that they think it is a special type of slate.

It is simply regular slate that has been pre-cleaned in a way to remove all potential contaminants from it so it will not chance the pH levels or nitrate levels in your tank when you add it.

Due to this, you are able to use a number of cleaning methods on general slate to achieve the same results and maintain your normal water parameters.

For the most part though, people usually choose to just buy aquarium slate as it is only usually a dollar or two more while saving you a bunch of time when it comes to cleaning the slate.


That brings our article going over using slate in your aquarium to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand the various use cases for using slate in your aquarium as well as why so many people are starting to use slate more frequently in their tanks. Although we did think the use of slate in aquariums was just a fad, more and more people have started to use it to a level where it is growing in popularity at a rapid pace now and we feel that it is definitely here to stay.