Important Information About White Marble Chips

Written by kimberly hawthorne
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Important Information About White Marble Chips
Marble chips should not be used in freshwater aquariums. (fish fight image by cherie from

White marble chips are commonly found in landscaping supply houses as well as in pet stores in the aquarium supply isle. All aquarium rock found in pet stores or speciality fish stores are guaranteed to be aquarium safe. Landscaping stores carry many types of rock that may look similar to aquarium rock and priced much cheaper. White marble chips sold for landscaping purposes is not aquarium safe.

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Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of re-crystallised carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite. Ground calcium carbonate can be made from limestone, chalk, and marble; about three-quarters of the ground calcium carbonate worldwide is made from marble.

Aquarium Use

Marble chips are commonly used as fish tank substrate. The calcium carbonate in marble can raise the pH of your aquarium water over time and is therefore not suitable for freshwater aquariums. The chips of marble are the same size as the pea gravel and come in several different colours, the most common being white. Quite often, people starting a new aquarium will choose a substrate based on cosmetics, not realising their choice could be a fatal one.


Aquarium substrate plays a vital role in biological filtration by providing surface area in which nutrifying bacteria can grow. Generally, root feeders benefit from marble chips as nutrients are more freely available. Marble chips are not as good as coral sand for sand sifters nor is beach sand (silica). You don't want to keep any soft water or acidic water species in a tank with marble chips.


If your tank requires a higher pH level, marble chip is less expensive than coral sand and will keep your tank around a pH level of eight. If you do not want to use a calcium carbonate based substrate, another option is feasible. Get marble chips, limestone or plaster of Paris blocks and put them in your filter.


A lot of substrates are calcium carbonate based. If you are not sure if your aquarium substrate contains calcium carbonate you can perform this simple test. Pour vinegar over it. If it bubbles, it is calcium carbonate based and it will raise your PH and water hardness.

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