The Best Aquarium Sand
What are you decorating the bottom of your tank with? We’ve got some ideas – here’s the best aquarium sand on the market.
Half the fun of having a home aquarium is getting to decorate it. The options are endless when it comes to substrates, decorations, and tank inhabitants – the only limits those of your own creativity. Though you could easily create a bright and whimsical tank theme, there’s something to be said for a natural décor scheme. A thriving underwater environment lush with plant life that looks like something you’d find in the wild brings the beauty of nature into your home and it all starts with the right substrate.
In this article, we’ll talk about the importance of substrate in an aquarium and why sand can be a good choice. You’ll also see our top picks for the best aquarium sand to consider for your tank.
The Best Sand for Aquariums
When using sand as the substrate in your tank, it’s best to measure how much you’ll need by weight rather than volume. You’ll need about one pound per gallon of water or you can simply fill the tank to the desired depth. Rinse your sand well before adding it to your tank and give your tank a few days to settle after filling it before you add your fish. A power filter will help with this.
Here are our top picks for the best aquarium sand:
This natural aquarium sand is the ideal solution for freshwater tanks. It is pH neutral, guaranteed not to alter your water chemistry, and it has a unique particle size that resists the collection of detritus and waste.
Give your aquarium a clean, bright look with this premium aquarium sand in white. This fine-grained sand is safe for use in freshwater aquariums because it has a non-toxic coating and it won’t affect your tank’s pH.
Designed specifically for marine aquariums, this aragonite sand contains millions of beneficial bacteria to enhance the biological filtration in your tank. This sand will help you recreate a natural marine environment and is safe to use right from the bag.
If you want a unique look for your aquarium, this river sand might be a good option. It is completely natural and ideal for freshwater tanks. This sand has a larger grain size designed to reduce the buildup of detritus and a variegated color.
Your colorful aquarium fish will stand out against a dark background with this black aquarium sand. This sand is mineralogical and biologically complete, designed specifically to maintain the high pH required by African cichlids.
Do something different in your tank with this fine-grained black aquarium sand. It has a unique look and a fine texture that helps reduce the accumulation of detritus, supporting the growth of healthy bacteria.
This live sand is different from other options on the market because it utilizes patented sea breathe technology to preserve real, live sand with its original bacteria. Each bag contains up to 1,000 more beneficial bacteria than other methods.
If you’re cultivating a planted tank, you’ll need to provide your plants with nutrients. This fluorite sand comes in a rich black color that will enhance the color of your plants and fish, plus it provides the nutrients your plants need to thrive and grow.
Made from 100% natural materials, this aragonite sand is perfect for the marine tank at home. This sand is collected from its natural environment and packaged in its natural state, transferring the benefits of real marine bacteria right into your tank. It immediately removes nitrogenous waste with instant cycling guaranteed.
If you don’t need anything flashy, this natural coated sand is a great option and highly affordable. It comes in a neutral tan color and medium grain, plus it won’t alter the water chemistry in your tank.
The Benefits of Sand in an Aquarium
When you stroll down the aquarium aisle at your local pet store, you’ll see a wide variety of options for aquarium substrate. You may be drawn to the colorful epoxy-coated rocks or glass marbles, but don’t fall for the misconception that simpler options like gravel and sand are outdated. These classic substrates are not only affordable, but they look great and come with some surprising benefits.
Here are some of the benefits of using sand as substrate:
- Light-colored sand gives your tank a cleaner, brighter appearance – colored rocks can detract from the natural beauty of your fish.
- Many species of fish prefer sandy substrate and may even require it for healthy digestion – catfish, for example, burrow in it and other bottom feeders filter food from it.
- Sand is easy to clean and maintain – debris tends to accumulate on the packed surface, making it easier to siphon than gravel.
- Aquarium sand is more affordable than some types of gravel and it will last the life of your aquarium – it can even be used with other substrates for planted tanks.
- Certain types of sand can be used to help maintain ideal conditions in your tank – live sand, for example, contains natural bacteria that support gas exchange in saltwater and reef tanks.
When it comes to choosing the substrate for your tank, there are many different options. Sand offers a neutral foundation for a natural décor scheme or you can make it colorful with something more vibrant. If you’re not sure what sand to choose for your aquarium, try one of our recommendations. Be sure to choose an aquarium sand appropriate for your type of tank – saltwater tanks may require different substrate than freshwater tanks.