10 Best Aquarium Sands To Adorn your aquarium tank

What if I tell you that choosing the best 10 aquarium sand does not require too much money or time? When you intend to establish a freshwater aquarium or decorate your aquarium tank then using the aquarium sand is the best option.

The existing environment of your aquarium can be improved by the inclusion of carefully chosen aquarium sand. The unique texture and the color of the sand play a significant role in uplifting the appearance of your aquarium tank. For the aquatic creatures inside, the choice of suitable aquarium sand is vital to ensure the pleasant environment.

The present article focuses on the choice of best aquarium sand. I’m sure that you will find perfect aquarium sand in this post. You only need to go through the below section to get further details on the same and remove any sort of confusion:

Top 10 Best Aquarium Sand

ACTIVA Décor Sand, 28-Ounce

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Do you know that you can add the unique decorative touch to your aquarium in an easy well? Well, with the ACTIVA Décor sand pack of 28-ounce you can add the appropriate decorative touch that will look exquisite. It is being prepared with the preferred choice of sand designers as well as home décor specialists. This aquarium sand is colorfast, waterproof and fade-proof which makes it long-lasting.

These features let it employ dramatic presentation. The aquarium lovers can now prepare impressive works of art with this sand product.

This brightly colored sand accent aptly complements any table or candle arrangement. You may wonder how? Well, it comes in the unique colors and textures to arouse exquisite appearance.

Another good feature is it comes with the extensive color palette allowing you to match and decorate any color scheme or theme. The capability of this sand to hold moisture allows it to be used in moist container gardens. Corresponding moisture also assures that the aquatic animals inside do not feel dryness in the bottom. The fine grain texture of the sand is one of the best features of this product. Throughout the use, you will not feel foul odor.


  • Possesses extremely fine texture
  • Comes in a lightweight structure
  • The included sand is super fine for enhancing the comfort for creatures inside


  • The sand product came with holes in the bag
  • Comes in extremely dusty texture

Fluker’s All Natural Premium Sand Substrate Mixture for Hermit Crabs

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What if I tell you that the aquarium creatures get comfortable environment residing inside? You may be surprised but with this sand substrate mixture, you can facilitate a perfect consistency for the burrowing crabs. This sand substrate mixture is being developed by Hermit Crab Specialists.

It represents the ideal blend of sand, coconut fiber, calcium carbonate, and salt. This perfect blend guarantees superb consistency and pleasant environment for the creatures inside. The unique feature of this substrate mixture is it is sufficiently moist to keep the crabs alive inside for a long time. Another important feature is that the probiotic is also included to facilitate breakdown organic waste within your pet’s enclosure.

The process to add this premium sand substrate mixture to your tank will be quite easy. To avail the hassle-free experience of including this tank, make sure you first remove all the superfluous items from your tank. This will facilitate more space to include the adequate amount of this substrate mixture.

Another good feature of this Fluker’s premium sand substrate is when you finish adding it to your tank, it will look like sand right off of the beach. The overall appearance of your aquarium tank will resemble a tiny beach with lots of exquisiteness. The overall appearance looks like natural sand. One of the best features of this product is the capability to hold moisture well to eliminate the issues of dryness inside.


  • Capable to hold the moisture well
  • Highly suitable for crafts
  • The sand quality used is decent and it appears natural


  • This calcium sand may penetrate inside the shells and destroys the hermit crabs
  • The single bag of sand is insufficient for normal applications
  • It turns moldy pretty fast

Caribsea Super Naturals Aquarium Sand

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Now you can create a supernatural experience by upgrading the natural world inside your home. Presented in the grain size, this aquarium sand decreases the built-up detritus. The great feature about this Caribsea aquarium sand is there are no paints or dyes used in its manufacturing. Being pH neutral, it is completely safe for all aquarium systems.

CaribSea Aquatics has specially selected and crafted this sand in order to match the exotic aquatic environments. The overall light color seems pretty and makes it is quite easy to spot different critters.  Another great feature of this grain size aquarium sand is it would not create any harm to the aquatic creatures inside the aquarium.

The 20 pounds of the capacity of this sandbag is sufficient for a 10-gallon freshwater aquarium. This suggests that you can set up a medium-sized aquarium tank effortlessly with this aquarium sand product. This Super Naturals aquarium sand has pretty and nice quality pebbles, which is a great feature. The decent quality pebbles seem convenient for the aquatic creatures inside.

The color shown in the picture is accurate i.e. golden brown, presenting an elegant look. Since the color is light, it becomes simpler to sport different critters. The problem with the dark-colored sand is that it becomes quite difficult to distinguish the critters because they too possess dark color.

Another great feature of this Super Naturals aquarium sand is it proves to be highly comfortable for sensitive bottom dwellers like Cory Cats. Such aquatic creatures will be able to joyfully play inside, surprising you with their little trails all over the tank.


  • The softness of the sand makes it quite easy to put plants without harming them
  • In the sand, the pebbles are really pretty and of nice quality
  • The golden-brown colored sand appears beautiful in any aquarium


  • A bit difficult to clean

Carib Sea Ocean Direct Substrates

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The unique trait of these Carib Sea Ocean direct substrates is it preserves the real live sand through its own original bacteria. The great features of this substrates sand for aquarium is it uses the patent-pending sea breathe technology.

Every bag of Ocean direct in this pack is alive and inhaling with up to 1000 times more beneficial bacteria compared to other preservation tactics. Each grain in the pack is layered with bacteria and covered by capillary action inside a thin film of natural Ocean water.

The corresponding thin film is open to the environment for the excellent gas exchange. Consequently, there will be high amounts of natural and beneficial bacteria with no harmful buildup of the metabolic by-products.

One of the best features of this aquarium sand is  it allows you to easily set up a natural aquarium in a matter of a few minutes. The 2 packs of 20lb each are capable to last longer. So, you can now present a fresh environment for the aquatic creatures in an easy way.

Another great feature of this Carib Sea Ocean Direct Substrates is it comprises of a decent mix of fine sand and huge stuff. Within 1 hour of time, this substrate will easily settle in your new tank and makes the inside creature feel comfortable.


  • The color of the sand is bright and possesses decent texture
  • Adds an interesting texture to the tank
  • Presents a suitable environment for the small aquatic creatures to thrive


  • The tank may turn cloudy if disturbed
  • Content of water in the bag is slightly less
  • Comes with a lot of course rocks mixed in
  • Not so moist so creates some problems for the creatures inside

Nature’s Ocean No.0 Bio-Activ Live Aragonite Live Sand for Aquarium, Natural White

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In the ocean, every grain of sand is enclosed with a biofilm. The Nature’s Ocean® Bio-Activ Live™ Aragonite sand for aquarium is naturally derived from the ocean. In its structure, the bacteria on the sand are present in a biofilm.

Hence, the bacteria are present in their natural state, instantly discarding toxic waste. Its chemical formula consists of the live marine autotrophic bacteria to maintain proper inorganic chemical balance. The reason for choosing this naturally derived sand from the ocean is that artificially adding bacteria does not make the same biofilm. Also, it is not as efficient as the biofilm present on the sand in the ocean that has been naturally selected throughout millions of years of evolution.

This natural white-colored sand has a great feature that is to immediately discard nitrogenous waste. It successfully eliminates nitrite, ammonia, and nitrate. The capability to reduce the harmful nitrate makes sure the aquatic creatures inside live safely.

This product guarantees instant cycling and you need not wait –begin adding fish immediately. Another great feature is that it maintains proper pH, so there will be no difficulties for the creatures inside. The enhanced buffering capacity is another plus point of this product.

Some people may wonder whether this sand product can work the best for sweet water fishes and live planted aquariums or not. The answer to this question is yes. One of the noticing features of this product is its 10 pounds bag size is perfect to add sand into an existing established tank.

The user simply needs to cut out a tiny section in the bag’s tone corner. Next, they need to lower the bag into the water and then pour it in. Within a few minutes of setup, you will observe that the cloudiness would get dissipated throughout the aquarium tank.


  • The sand can be stirred quite easily
  • It comes with tiny shells as a bonus
  • This substrate is fine, when added to the tank, it will settle instantly
  • Good consistency


  • For a large-sized aquarium tank, the 10 pounds capacity may seem insufficient

Flourite Black Sand

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The Floruite black sand product in the present discussion comes packed in a 16 pounds bag and it proves highly beneficial.  Not only it assists the plants but it also helps from detritus from sinking to the base. When illuminated in dark, it does not appear fully black. It appears more like a charcoal black.

This Floruite black sand comes with the feature of the excellent grain size of the sand and unique black color. Since the grain size is small, there is no need to concern about algae growth inside the substrate. With gravel, there are sufficient pockets of minimal water movement allowing algae growth freely.

Another great feature is that due to the light color of sand, algae can easily grow under the top. With the use of black color, it is deprived of the light.

One more enticing features of this 16 pounds sand product is that the fish and plants inside the tank appear more vibrant. So, an appealing aesthetic will be aroused. Inside the aquarium tank, you will find that the food would stay on top of the sand instead of tucking in between the crevices.

So, the fish would not get sucked into the tank and henceforth, the tank would stay much cleaner. For the benefit of aquatic creatures inside, this product comes with one more appealing feature. This suggests that this sand is safe for the soft belly scavengers like Cory Cats and Khuli Locaches. Overall, this Floruite black sand product is easy to use and it will add great value to your aquarium tank.


  • Safe for the algae growth
  • Fish and plants inside will appear vibrant
  • The aquarium tank will be easy to clean


  • This substrate is filthy
  • Its texture is dusty and dirty which makes it unusable

Carib Sea ACS00222 African Sahara Sand for Aquarium

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This Carib Sea African Saharan sand for aquarium prepares natural African cichlid environments into your tank. It is this sand product that naturally buffers the water inside your aquarium. The great feature of this Carib Sea sand product is that the large grain size decreases the accumulation of detritus. This indirectly indicates that your aquarium tank will stay clean from the debris waste.

The original African Cichlid Mix works great in any application. This is because this substrate is capable to recreate a wide range of environments.

The bold colors of this substrate facilitate the vivacious natural coloration of your fish. Its working will naturally buffer for the life of the aquarium, thus streamlining the process of harmonizing water quality parameters to the Great Rift Lakes of Africa.

Another great feature of this Carib Sea sand for aquarium is it resists the descending drift of pH in any long-established or crowded systems. Those who are seasoned hobbyists, for them, the simplicity of maintaining the water quality proves to be an enticing benefit. This is because this substrate would maintain water quality just like its beauty.

One of the most useful features of this sand product is it is completely safe for any type of aquatic creatures inside. They can conveniently play, eat and float inside your aquarium tank without any hassles. Moreover, the pH level is sufficient to keep them safe inside.

The chemical formula of this African Sahara sand signifies the extreme very lightweight mixture of crushed lava rock and pumice stone. This kind of unique mixture seems suitable for long-lasting use.


  • The sand is large grain, so it stays at the base well
  • Safe for the aquatic creatures inside the tank


  • Demands lots of rinsing
  • Difficult to plant in and decorate

Reptile Sciences Terrarium Sand for Aquarium, Natural White

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The Terrarium sand for aquarium is packed in the 10 pounds bag that proves sufficient for average-sized aquarium tank. This natural white-colored sand incorporates 100% digestible calcium carbonate in this formula. It is this constituent that avoids internal and external abrasions.

This sand from Reptile Science has a great feature of being free from phosphate and silica. Since its chemical formula comprises of all-natural orbicular grains, it is completely safe for the aquatic creatures inside. There will be a significant decrement in the risk of impaction in reptiles. Furthermore, its chemical formula contains potassium, magnesium and essential Strontium.

Another great feature is that this and works as a natural odor neutralizer, so it creates an all-natural environment. The size of the grain is 0.1 -0.5mm which feels comfortable for many different creatures inside. The aquatic creatures like terrariums, snakes, turtles, boas, bearded dragons, rat, iguanas, blue iguanas, green iguanas, tortoises, and lizards will be compatible with this sand.

One of the significant features is these little sand particles will not create digestive problems if the creatures engulf them. In spite of being dusty, it will create a pleasant environment inside.

Unlike the aquarium sands from other brands, with this sand, there is no need to worry about impaction. The softshell turtle and hermit crabs will feel highly comfortable inside. In order to make the most of this sand, first, remove the clumped waste material from your tank. This removal process must be accomplished on a daily basis for perceiving optimum maintenance. Furthermore, you have to replace sand every 4 to 6 months to avoid toxicity.


  • Suitable for turtles and fishes
  • Not much toxic
  • Free from silica and phosphate


  • Not suitable for reptiles
  • Takes more time for cleaning the aquarium tank

Imagitarium Black Aquarium Sand

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Packed in the 20 pounds bag, the Black Sand Aquatic Substrate from Imagitarium is loaded with tons of features.  The great feature of this black aquarium sand is it stimulates a positive natural environment inside the aquarium tank. It naturally fosters the growth of healthy bacteria that ultimately breaks down waste.

Another great feature to note is it significantly reduces the amount of unhealthy debris inside the water. This product creates a perfect environment for a bold and modest aquatic environment.

The sand product will stand still as you set the fantastic scene with sparkling fish and vivacious coral reefs. In its structure, the gravel encourages the growth of the beneficial bacteria while simultaneously offering a fresh environment for fishes.

The three great qualities of this black sand are the magnificent look, decent grain size, and non-dusty texture. Unlike the gravel, this sand is found more suitable for the frog, fish, and shrimp inside. It is quite simpler to keep food bits out of the cracks.

When you start using it, gradually you will find that the 20 pounds pack is much more for the 2” layer. Therefore, there will be plenty of leftover for filling in more tanks in the future. Initially, while adding, you just need to agitate it a little to make sure the sand gets settled perfectly.


  • The sandbag capacity is sufficiently large
  • Leaves plenty left over for more tanks in the future
  • The grain size is appropriate and not dusty


  • Feels annoying while dealing with bubbles initially
  • Demands lot of rinsing

10. Stoney River White Aquatic Sand

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Presented in a small-sized bag, the Stoney River White aquatic sand is extremely white sand. Since the grain size is sufficiently large, it is not fine sand and it works well in most of the aquatic tanks. The appealing feature to consider is that the inside plants look great due to the brightness of the sad. This white sand comprises of large enough grains to make sure no toxic air would be trapped inside. On the other hand, these grains are sufficiently small to appear much more natural than gravel.

Another great feature this white sand has is it is quite easy to clean up. Even after the long-term use, there will be no much hassles regarding clean up. Before putting the sand in your aquarium, make sure you have thoroughly washed the tank to prevent cloudiness issues.

The safety of the aquatic creatures inside is the prime requirement. For that, this product has a great feature i.e. it will not affect PH. It is extremely safe for use in freshwater aquariums; furthermore, it comes with a non-toxic coating to enhance safety. Since it is biologically active live sand, it works effectively with live plants.

The reason why the sand is not made too fine is that a vacuum could suck it out during water changes. Therefore, the cleaning hassles will be zero.  Its texture is made coarse enough to make sure it does not seem like air pockets form.

The overall natural white color appears pleasant and appealing in any aquarium tank. For anyone intending to fill their small to medium-sized tank, this white sand is a perfect option to consider. To ensure long-term use, you only need to follow the instructions and wash the sand regularly.


  • Appears pretty
  • Easy to clean up
  • No cloudiness concerns


  • Take a bit more time while settling initially

Buying Guide for Best aquarium sand

Before purchasing the aquarium sand, you need to get acquainted with the factors to consider. In the absence of knowing these factors, you may end up with wrong buying choices. Therefore, look at the buying guide for the best aquarium sand

Grain size

When deciding to shop for aquarium sand for filling your fresh water tank, the first thing to consider is grain size. The size of the sand particles should be sufficiently small. This is because their small size will avoid waste of fish and food, and accumulation of debris amid the grains.

On the other hand, the sand particle’s size should be sufficiently large to facilitate oxygen circulation through the substrate. This will directly prevent dead zones.
Generally, the grains of approximate size 2mm will work well. Also, the sizes in a range of 1-3 mm are generally usable.

It is always best to avoid planted aquarium sands that are superfine because they compress more easily. Furthermore, the extremely fine sand is easily stirred away by livestock. The pea gravel sand is found to be tad coarse.

Therefore, the smaller plants having fine root systems will not root perfectly in it.

Amount of sand for aquarium

How much sand shall I use in my aquarium tank? Most of the people are equipped with this question while deciding to fill their aquarium tank with sand. The answer to this question relies excessively on your own preferences. It is possible to use as much substrate as you want, based on how you intend your tank to look.

During this, you have to be cautious if the sand you use changes the water’s characteristics. There must be no negative influences on the pH levels.

If there are such cases, you have to monitor the water quality once you have added the sand. Subsequently, you need to adjust accordingly to your preferences.
It is significant to note that there is not a maximum level for the sand amount you can fill in your tank.

However, there is a minimum level. The substrate level inside your tank must not be less than 1”. In order to attain a 1” bed, you have to use 1 lb of substrate for each gallon of your tank size. To understand this, for example, to prepare a 1” bed within a 10 gallons tank, you would require 10 to 20 lbs of the substrate.

Effects on the creature inside

It is vital to consider how the substrate you pick will influence the fish and other creatures inside. Not only can it make reaction with the water but it can harm the inside creatures as well. Choosing the light-colored substrate can occasionally spook your fish. This happens especially when it is blended with bright lighting. The same may lead to diminishing the brightness of their color.

It is best to consider the substrate that is designed to be gentler on fish that move sand with their mouth. Besides, the sand material used could be heavier to enable the particles to settle swiftly. Thus, the particular sand will be prevented from floating in the water column and inflowing the filtering system.

Reactivity with water

The next important thing to consider is how the particular sand will influence the PH levels of your tank. Some sand materials will buffer the water, boosting the PH levels higher. On the other hand, sand designed for aquarium use is inert. Hence, it will not alter water chemistry. Generally, the manufacturers will provide aquarium sand with features specially engineered around fish behaviors and tank environments.

There are few species of fish need certain water parameters. For example, several African cichlids are more comfortable with a higher pH. In order to elevate the pH level in your aquarium, use the sand that buffers the water. For such cases, you can consider crushed coral.

Therefore, we observe lots of African cichlid tanks using the crushed coral as their substrate. On the other hand, peat moss comes with the opposite effect i.e. it reduces the pH. So, it works well for certain fish species like angelfish that need a lower pH level inside the tank.


The extremely light planted tank substrates are difficult to plant in. This particularly happens while dealing with plants that are delicate or equipped with short roots. Though weight does not influence much, it is essential to consider.


While deciding the choice of color of sand, there are myriad of options available to choose from. Typically, these options range from neon-colored sand to the natural colors. It is a matter of personal preference when it comes to the color of the sand, so the choices may vary. There are many people that prefer bright pink colored sand while others may choose unnatural looking sand.

The typical purpose of the sand color is to enhance the color of the fish. The choice of darker colors will make a light-colored fish appear brilliant. But light-colored sand will let dark-colored fishes stand out. In this way, based on your choice, you can uniquely adorn your aquarium tank.

The excessively dark sand can reduce how big the tank appears. This is why some people insist to use the lighter colored sand to let their aquarium feel brighter. It is also essential to consider how the sand will look once it turns dirty. Generally, the brownish-colored sand tends to conceal fish waste more than white-colored sand.

Aesthetic value

The sole intention of any person purchasing the aquarium sand is to beautify their surroundings and boost the aesthetic appearance. Choose sands that aptly fulfill your aquascaping goals. If you own a layered aquarium, it needs proper planning regarding the aesthetic.

A black water tank appears better with a blend of earth-toned naturalistic mixed grain sands. It is observed that a dutch style scape may opt for the black sand to boost contrast against colored plants. In addition to that, the chosen sand must also complement the hardscape.

For example, there is a dark-colored rock in your aquarium tank then white/grey sands match better than the brown-colored sands. Ultimately, it’s up to your preference how you add the aesthetic value to your aquarium tank.

Types of Sand for Aquarium

The below list highlight different types of sand for aquarium:

  • River Sand (Builder sand)
  • Black Quartz Sand
  • Sea Sand (Beach/Marine Sand)
  • Pool Filter Sand
  • Estes Marine Sand (also known as Ultra Reef)
  • Coral Sand for Aquarium


1. How to clean sand before adding it to my tank?

The process of washing dusty gravel or sand is tedious and may need more time. One of the best ways to clean the sand is to include a tiny quantity in a clean bucket and then spray water on it through a hosepipe. You need to keep the sand swirling with your hand and then pouring filthy water until it runs clear.

2. How can I choose the sand size?

The tad coarser sand with a medium grain size such as river sand works excellently. This is because there are minimum chances of turning anaerobic and making ammonia spikes when disturbed. It is best to avoid sand sizes with very small grain sizes unless there is only a thin layer used.

3. Why it is essential to use aquarium sand?

The aquarium sand is capable to arouse a pleasant habitat for your fish. If the habitat for the fish is more comfortable then they are less prone to stress and would lead a healthy life. They provide a home for beneficial bacteria that eliminate the waste generated by fish, plant debris and leftover food.


It is now easy to adorn your aquarium tank in the way you want. There are many different types of aquarium sand with diverse characteristics and qualities. The choice of the same relies on how aesthetic value they add to your tank, the safety of the creatures inside and simplicity of maintenance. Choosing any of the above aquarium sand will facilitate the aquatic creatures in your aquatic tank with a pleasant environment.