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Fish and Aquarium Sand 

Using sand in an aquariumcan provide many benefits to your tank. There are many different types of sand as well as colours to ensure your aquarium looks its best as well as giving optimal performance.

The benefits of sand

Sand is a more natural environment for your aquarium compared to gravel, particularly if you keep fish. Many of the fish kept in aquariums come from waters that flow lower than gravel.

Fish enjoy digging pits and sifting through material to find food, this is much easier to do with sand than it is with gravel. It can often provide entertainment for you to watch fish work with the sand.

Sand can be cleaner than gravel. Debris can build up between pieces of gravel which, over time will break down and release nitrates and phosphates which can reduce the water quality. As there is minimal room between sand particles, the debris remains on top of the sand and is likely to be removed by moving naturally until it reaches the filters.

Sand can often provide a better grounding for plants to root in. Although the sand does not provide any nutrients to the plants, it can help to secure plants in the tank and allow them to prosper.

Types of Sand

There are many different types of sand and these can be down to personal preference.

Some of the types of sand include;

  • Silica sand – often a more economical option for sand, it provides a very uniform appearance both in colour and size of the particle. This is a very cheap option that can be very easy to clean
  • Coral sand – has a slightly bigger particle size compared to silica sand and is rough to the touch. It is often very pale and is a good choice if you need to stabilise the pH levels in the water.
  • Aragonite – this has a variety of colours and grain size so you can choose what would suit your tank best, it is more expensive than the silica sand but can help with buffering in your aquarium.
  • Black Beauty – this is a black sand which is actually powdered iron waste. It can be sharp to the touch so is not recommended for fish that bury or dig into the sand. However, there is also Black Tahitian Moon Sand, which gives the same effect as Black Beauty but is safer and more uniform in grain size although costs slightly more than the Iron version.

Sand for your tank

It is best to check that the sand you purchase will be suitable for the pH levels in your tank, or make sure that what you purchase does not alter the pH balance you have created. 

It is also wise to make sure the sand will be suitable for your fish, as buying sharp or coarse sand can be harmful to some animals.

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