When it comes to setting up their aquarium, aquarists often use various types of accessories to make sure that their aquariums are the best environment for the fish and other marine life.
As part of making the aquarium habitable, many are now using the best aquarium sand.
This type of sand is essential to keep the fish comfortable in their new environment, as some come from sandy habitats.
We will now discuss various sand types and some of the top brands you can choose, to help you make that important decision about which one is best for you.
Table of Contents
Benefits of Using Sand in the Aquarium
If you are new to using sand in your aquarium, it is possible that you might have some reservations. Many people are somewhat uncomfortable about using it for the first time.
To ease your mind, here are some of the benefits of using sand in an aquarium.1
Some types of fish come from environments with sand. Because of this, a sand substrate in the aquarium will help them feel at home. For some species, the sand might not be mandatory, but for others, it might help them to feel calm and easily adjust to the environment.2
Depending on the species you are keeping, some of them might only breed in sandy environments. In such a case, you have no option but to make sure that the aquarium is filled with the right amount of sand.3
Some species need sand to help with digestion. There is no harm in providing conditions within the aquarium that will help your fish digest its food better.4
The use of sand can also be an ideal choice for various types of aquatic plants. You can get some sand types that come embedded with nutrients important for the aquatic plants’ growth.5
The small size of the grains of the sand as compared to gravel is important because it provides more surface area on which the beneficial bacteria can colonize. Having more of these bacteria is important to keep the aquarium healthy and clean.
The 10 Best Sand for Your Aquariums & Plants
In order to be sure that you make the right decision, making comparisons between various brands and sand types is important. You will learn more about what you can expect from each different product.
|Pictures||Aquarium Sand||For Aquariums||Links|
|Caribsea Super Naturals Aquarium Sand||Freshwater & Saltwater Aquariums|
|Nature's Ocean No.0 Bio-Activ Live Aragonite Live Sand||Saltwater Aquariums|
|CaribSea Arag-Alive Fiji Pink Sand||Marine Aquariums|
|Carib Sea ACS00821 Tahitian Moon Sand for Aquarium||Freshwater & Saltwater Aquariums|
|Flourite Black Sand||Planted Aquariums|
|Carib Sea Ocean Direct Substrates||Saltwater Aquariums|
|Stoney River White Aquatic Sand Freshwater and Marine Aquariums||Freshwater & Marine Aquariums|
|Imagitarium Black Aquarium Sand||Freshwater & Saltwater Aquariums|
|Up Aqua Aquarium Shrimp Sand||Shrimp Tanks|
|FairmountSantrol AquaQuartz Silica Sand||Freshwater & Saltwater Aquariums|
Aquarium Sand Reviews
1. Caribsea Super Naturals Aquarium Sand
The first thing that you want from aquarium sand is to be confident it delivers more value than destruction. That is what you get when you select this product, as it comes with a neutral pH important for your aquarium.
The product is also designed not to increase carbonate hardness while in the water, so this is one thing that users of this sand won’t have to worry about.
The manufacturer made the sand using unique sand-sized grains that will resist the collection of detritus, food in the substrate bed, and fish waste. Overall, you should find that this type of sand makes the maintenance of your tank easier than ever.
In addition, this sand will help keep the water crystal clear. With clear water, you will be able to enjoy checking out your different fish types in the tank. It is also designed to resist packing and anaerobic dead spots beneath the coral and rocks, which will create a good healthy environment in which your fish can thrive.
Many people have adopted this product and found that it creates an exceptional experience that emulates the natural world in your home.
2. Nature’s Ocean No.0 Bio-Activ Live Aragonite Live Sand
This product is going to be very beneficial for your tank. The formula of the sand is important as it works to remove most of the nitrogenous waste that is commonly found in aquariums. Such type of waste includes ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates.
With these compounds removed, you will easily end up with a cleaner aquarium and better environment for the fish. Ultimately you will end up having to do less maintenance when using this product.
One benefit of this type of sand is that instant cycling is guaranteed. This means that there is no need to wait—once the sand is added to the aquarium, you can add fish right away.
That is not all, as the sand also helps to maintain a proper pH level in the water. With the right pH level achieved, the fish will be more comfortable in their environment.
The sand will also provide an enhanced buffering capacity, which is a big plus for those looking these features in their aquarium sand. The best part is that the sand is still affordable. You do not have to spend a lot to make your aquarium look its best.
3. CaribSea Arag-Alive Fiji Pink Sand
This type of sand is unique and appeals to many aquarium owners. The product comes packed with millions of autotrophic, heterotrophic, and chemolithotrophic bacteria which are important for the health of the aquarium.
These bacteria will aid in the process of waste reduction and also improve the cycling time for new setups. In the end, you will have to perform less maintenance to keep the water clean.
This product is effective in suppressing the new tank syndrome, as it will help in simulating the natural home for the fish. It will also work as an ammonia reducer, nitrate filter, and much more, keeping down the level of contaminants in the aquarium. It also works as a high capacity biological filter for the aquarium, keeping it clean.
This particular sand product is vital to help clear your water fast, leaving you with better clarity of the aquarium water than ever before. In addition, it also naturally maintains the proper PH of the aquarium water without the need to add more chemicals to moderate the pH level.
The sand will also provide more surface area for bacterial adhesion. This is important in order for the bacteria to do its job of waste removal.
4. Carib Sea ACS00821 Tahitian Moon Sand for Aquarium
It always feels good to know you have one of the best products on the market for your aquarium. That is what happens when you get this sand for the aquarium in your house. The manufacturer created this sand to cost less so you have no excuse not to have premium sand for your aquarium.
To start off with, the sand is formulated to have a neutral pH. This is important for any type of aquarium, as you do not want something that will raise or lower the pH level. A neutral pH level makes the product safe for all aquariums, freshwater, and saltwater.
When it comes to color, the black color is very popular, as it provides great color contrast. You can easily see it from a distance when used in your aquarium. Since no dyes or paints are used in making the product, it is preferred by many users who do not like unnatural ingredients in their tank.
They know that this product is safe for the fish in the aquarium. It is made in the USA, which for most people means it is a high-quality product.
5. Flourite Black Sand
This is one of the most important accessories you could get for your aquarium. This type of sand is made of a premium substrate that will keep your aquarium looking good.
It is designed to work great in planted aquariums, as it will provide all the essential nutrients that the plants need for growth. It is also made to last and supply the plants with food for a long time, so as to improve the success rate of your planted aquarium.
The design of the grains should make it easier on the plants and fish in the aquarium. It is also porous enough for aeration to be effective. The aeration process is always important to the plants’ roots, making sure that they get the amount of air they need for growth.
The appearance of the sand itself is excellent for a planted aquaria. However, you can always use it differently from the other types of aquarium environment, and will do its part.
You will not need to remove the sand even after years, as it is designed to remain effective for the life of your aquarium. This means you save money, with no need to replace the sand after only a few years.
6. Carib Sea Ocean Direct Substrates
This is another Carib Sea sand on this list. This just goes to show that the Carib Sea is a top brand that will always deliver to meet the needs of its users. This product comes in a breathable bag, which aids in the preservation of the living bacteria in it.
The bag is also lined with real ocean water; that is why the sand will feel damp when it first comes out of the bag. With the bacteria preserved so carefully, you can be sure that they will work effectively when in the aquarium.
No chemicals or special processing have been done to this sand type, thus making it as natural as possible. This will ensure faster and safer initial cycling, which is important in helping the fish adjust to the new environment as quickly and easily as possible.
The product comes with more living bacteria per pound than most types of other sand. The bacteria help with reducing the nitrates so that you can have a cleaner environment for the fish. It will also help deal with the nuisance algae that might want to grow in the aquarium.
With its many benefits, you can find this product even being used in large public aquariums.
7. Stoney River White Aquatic Sand Freshwater and Marine Aquariums
Most people don’t put much effort into the sand they use in their aquariums and tanks. However, this might be a bad idea. You need to ensure that it is safe and suitable for your purposes.
The Stoney River White Aquatic Sand is ideal for marine and freshwater aquariums. Some sand products are designed for one or the other. This one works well in both types.
It is specifically designed not to affect the pH of your tank. This is essential because some products can change the balance of the water. As such, your fish might not thrive or could die.
Sometimes, people worry about their water pets. You might fear that the fish will lay on the sand and injure itself. As such, you may stress that they will eat bits of sand with their meal.
This product is designed with a non-toxic coating. Therefore, it won’t hurt if your fish eat a bit of it or brush against it while swimming.
Amazingly, this is ‘live’ sand, so it is designed to work well with your plants and animals. You may notice that the water is clearer and you clean less. This is because the sand doesn’t change the water chemistry.
8. Imagitarium Black Aquarium Sand
When looking for something for your freshwater tank, sand doesn’t always come to mind. However, Imagitarium Black Aquarium Sand is an excellent product. It offers fine grains that are ideal for planted aquariums that require ‘soil’ in which to grow.
You can use this for almost any wildlife, but it works well for shrimp tanks. The sand is quite smooth, so it can be shifted by the shrimp.
This product will not alter the hardness of the water, pH, or alkalinity. Therefore, it is inert and doesn’t change the aquarium’s parameters. As such, it helps to promote a more positive environment for your livestock.
The aquarium sand is designed to promote healthy bacteria growth. This can help to break down waste more easily. As such, it can also reduce the amount of debris that is in the water.
If you have never used sand in your aquariums before, it is best to read the package instructions first. Otherwise, you may have some issues.
It’s important to rinse the sand thoroughly before doing anything else. You can’t put it directly into the tank out of the package.
Then, you must put it in the tank and allow it to get fully wet. You are likely to see sandy air bubbles along the bottom. This will continue to happen until the sand is wetted thoroughly.
9. Up Aqua Aquarium Shrimp Sand
Many people have found that sand and other substrates break down with time or make a tank toxic. If you have had such issues, it might be time to consider something different. Up Aqua Aquarium Shrimp Sand might be the best choice for you.
It offers increased longevity. Therefore, it will last much longer than aqua-soils before it breaks down. Primarily, this is because of small and uniform grain sizes.
However, it should be noted that there is some variance between the grains. It isn’t much, but it is noticeable if you hold it in your hand. As such, it adds some variety to the tank.
You’ll also find that this product can lower the pH of the water to between 6.5 and 7.0. This is important, as shrimp need a different balance of minerals than other marine wildlife.
Setup is also important. You will find that this sand will not cloud the water. Plus, it is designed not to leach any ammonia into the water at startup.
When adding it to the tank, you should pour it in slowly. Add just enough water to cover the sand. One helpful benefit is that you can start planting immediately.
It’s quite easy to do because the sand is light. You’ll find it effortless to bury your stem plants so that they stay in place.
10. FairmountSantrol AquaQuartz Silica Sand
The FairmountSantrol AquaQuartz Silica Sand is an excellent choice. It can help to keep your swimming pool or aquarium crystal clear and clean. While it is called pool filter sand, it is suitable for freshwater tanks, as well.
This sand doesn’t stain anything that sits on it. Along with such, it is easy to maintain. It will filter out algae, dust, oil, leaves, insects, and even suntan lotion.
You’ll find that this sand is ecologically safe and will not solidify. Therefore, it won’t clump up and become a problem for your fish. As such, this product can prevent channeling and clogging.
It’s important to find items that are odorless and inert. These products do not change the pH balance of the water or add anything unnecessary to it. Primarily, this silica sand is 100 percent natural and contains no chemicals.
Of course, the sand particles are uniform in size. This helps to ensure that the tank looks beautiful. As such, it is quite fine, but the sand is also sturdy enough to stay in place.
When it first arrives, it will look brown instead of white. However, a thorough rinse will remove the color. You can expect it to brighten up the tank, especially if it has a lighting system.
Types of Sand for Aquarium
In most cases, play sand would end up being the default option. Play sand is non-toxic, which is important for your aquarium to make sure it stays clean. Do not make the mistake of selecting one that has a high level of clay content.
This will make cleaning the aquarium quite a nightmare. That being said, you can find many reputable companies offering top quality play sand you can safely and effectively use in your aquarium.
This is the other type you could use, especially if you do not mind the white color of pool sand. For most people, pool sand often appears superior to play sand. The reason is that the particles in this type of sand are more uniform, creating a better surface area.
The other reason is that pool sand is free of contaminants so you don’t have to worry about your fish. The downside of this type of sand is that the glaring white color can be blinding when you have a highly lit tank.
With the growth of the aquarium industry, you can be sure new and innovative accessories will turn up on the market. This is how we end up with the specialty sands. They are made to be good for the aquarium in every way, thus you might find them to be expensive.
One of the best features of this type of sand is the neutral PH. This is important for making sure that the sand does not affect the pH level of the aquarium water.
How to Choose the Right Sand for Your Aquarium?
Not all types of sand are ideal for freshwater aquariums or saltwater aquariums. There is a need to make sure that you get the best sand type for your aquarium. This kind of information can be found in the product description to ensure that you make the correct selection.
Sometimes you have several options that will all work for several types of aquariums. This type is better to get if you have multiple aquariums.
Keeping in mind that sometimes the price becomes the ultimate decider for some people, it is important to consider which option is within your budget.
Before you settle on one product, compare it to several other sand types and their prices. Sometimes you can get a product that is less expensive, but still has the same features as some of the expensive types.
There is no doubt that you will develop a favorite brand. It is crucial that you understand the pros and cons of some of the top brands you can get on the market, in order to make a good choice.
All the types reviewed above come from top brands so you can use them as a reference point to compare to the others. You can be sure that the top brands will always give you value for money.
There is no reason not to do some research before you settle on one product. People who have used the product before you will always share their experiences.
Reading what they have to say will prevent you from making similar mistakes, because you can avoid sand that has many negative reviews. However, do make sure that you are reading reviews from a reputable source.
pH Level and Beneficial Bacteria
These two factors are important to any aquarist. We all know how a sudden change in the pH level of an aquarium can be disastrous. You want to get a sand type with a neutral pH level.
This is important so that you can just add it to the aquarium without worrying about causing any problems. The same goes for the beneficial bacteria. Having the beneficial bacteria can offer various benefits such as removing the waste and nitrates from the aquarium. Make sure to consider sand types with such features.
Which is Better – Aquarium Sand or Gravel?
These two are both important substrates that you can find in any aquarium, but users often have a hard time choosing between the two. Starting with gravel, you will find it to be better for freshwater aquariums. The benefit is that it allows water to flow through it easily as compared to sand. This helps prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria and amoeba on the substrate. If the build-up is allowed to happen then you might end up with sick fish and an accumulation of other contaminants.
Gravel is heavy and hence does not get pulled into the aquarium filters. If this were not the case, the filters would easily get clogged and work less efficiently. Gravel also comes in different colors so that you can customize the tank and make it complement the fish just the way you want.
The sand substrate, on the other hand, might not allow water to easily flow as gravel, but it can be great for the fish species that like to scavenge and burrow in the sand. This type of fish can be great for filtering the substrate. Sand also has many other benefits over gravel such as making the tanks look natural and mimicking the riverbeds.
Since sand is closely packed, there is no need to keep changing it frequently. The old food and plants easily stay on top of the sand and rot rather than going into the sand.
Between the two, sand can have more applications as compared to gravel. This is the reason you will find more and more people interested in switching to using sand in their aquariums.
What is the Best Aquarium Sand?
From the different models mentioned above, you could pick Caribsea Super Naturals Aquarium Sand as the best. It is seen to deliver many benefits and still come at a fair price. You should end up with better clarity of your aquarium water when you get this type of sand today.
Aquarium Sand – Q&A
1. What is aquarium sand made of?
Depending on the type of sand, the materials can vary. You could have some made from hard rock while others a combination of hard rock and other materials to create aquarium sand.
2. How much aquarium sand per gallon?
There are various methods you could use for approximation, but in general you need about 1 pound of sand per gallon. This means that if you have a 10-gallon tank, you need to get 10 pounds of dry sand. This is often seen as enough to give you impressive results.
3. How to add sand to an established aquarium?
If you are setting the aquarium for the first time, start by scooping the sand with a plastic cup and add to the bottom of the tank. Keep in mind not to dump large quantities in a single area as it can cause stress that leads to the breaking of the glass.
For an already-setup tank, you need to scoop the sand in a plastic cup and then dip the cup into the water and dump it at the bottom. Dumping the sand at the top of the water, it will make it cloudier and look dirty.
4. How long does aquarium sand take to settle?
The setting can take from a few hours to a few days. This will depend on the size of the aquarium and how you put sand in the water. If you just dumped it, it can take up to 3 days to fully settle.
5. How to clean sand for the aquarium?
Start by pouring the sand into a bucket and fill it with water. What follows is to mix the sand and water in a circular motion in the bucket. This is important to remove any piles of sand at the bottom and make water effectively reach it. Give it about 30 seconds to settle. This is where the good sand will quickly sink leaving you with bits of dirt from the sand floating.
Slowly pour the water out so that you remain with clean sand at the bottom. Repeat the process about 5 times or until you are happy with the resulting sand after washing. By now you should have clean sand ready to go back into the aquarium.
Maintaining A Sand Substrate In Your Aquarium! KGTropicals!! Youtube Video
There you have it. With some of the top products reviewed, you do not have to get confused about the type of product to choose today. You can have the best aquarium sand for plants or any type by checking out the reviews above.
With the many benefits that sand has to offer, you can always find a way of adding sand to the aquarium to serve its purpose. With many benefits to be gained rather than risks, you should find it easy to see why sand is better for your aquarium.