The appropriate aquarium substrate improves the aesthetics of your aquarium and offers favorable conditions for your fish to live in, and promotes the growth of bacteria. Sand is one of the finest and most preferred underwater beds for making your tank comfortable.

Because most fish live in sandy environments, aquarium sand promotes your fish’s growth in more natural conditions. Sand, as opposed to marine pebbles, makes maintaining your tank easier because it does not accumulate debris as readily.

When it comes to picking out the best brand of sand for your aquarium, it is critical to select the proper sort and texture of sand, as some would choke your fish and cause them harm. Luckily we have got sand substrate specially meant for aquarium setups.

The downside is that not every brand or company offers the same quality of sand. Some can even prove to be toxic. Also, since there are so many brands in the market, it becomes difficult to determine which one should be trusted and which one should not.

For this very reason and to help you out with your hunt finding the best kind of sand for your pet, we have tried and tested numerous brands and types in our setup to find the one most suitable for any type of fish tank or fish type.

Among all the types that we have tested, we found Caribsea Super Naturals Aquarium Sand to be of the highest quality. But in case you don’t like its color or texture, we have included nine more amazing products that might suit your type.

So without any further ado, let’s get into the list.

10 Best Sand for Aquarium- Reviewed

All the products mentioned here are available online on

Caribsea Super Naturals Aquarium Sand

Product details:

  1. No paints or dyes
  2. ph neutral
  3. made in the USA

The sand is fantastic, lovely natural color, and quite soft, making it easy for my people to dig about in—far superior to the gravel I substituted. But, once again, rinsing the sand will save you a lot of grief in the future.

I bought two 20-pound bags and rinsed them in three buckets until the water was clear, and then some more to be sure. Because this wasn’t a fresh new tank, I added the sand while the fish were still there to avoid any problems.

I didn’t use the provided clarifier because I prefer to keep the chemicals in my aquarium to a minimum. After a few hours of running a water polisher, the tank is sparkling clear. It’s been fantastic.

But I would advise anyone interested in using sand as a substrate first to acquire a canister filter because the sand will harm the HOB filter’s propeller and engine. You will notice that you need to clean the substrate with sand much less regularly.

What we like:

  1. Variety of color options
  2. No artificial dye

What we dislike:

  1. Needs to be rinsed carefully multiple times

SeaChem Flourite Black Sand

Product details:

  1. Manufactured in United States
  2. 15.4 Pound
  3. Black color

I’ve had this for approximately three weeks now, replacing our old gravel. The amount of upkeep and care needed to keep the tank clean and healthy is astounding. After experiencing how much easy sand is, you’ll never go back to gravel.

Food stays on top of the sand instead of getting in between the gaps like gravel, and the fish eventually eat it, or it is sucked into the pump instead of decomposing, so the tank stays much cleaner.

In addition to the filter, I installed a jet pump to blow water around the tank; any leftover feces or other particles on the tank’s floor are easily blown around and sucked into the filter, whereas with gravel, things tend to stick to the bottom and get stuck there, necessitating frequent maintenance with a suction vacuum.

There will be no dust if it is properly cleaned before being placed in the tank, and it can take higher water flows without blowing around.

What we like:

  1. Black color looks fascinating
  2. Easy to clean

What we dislike:

  1. Not a nutritionally rich substarte

Nature’s Ocean No.0 Bio-Activ Live Aragonite Live Sand

Product details:

  1. 10-Pound
  2. Natural White
  3. Saltwater aquariums

This sand looks wonderful, performs well, and my fish seem to like it. My water was first hazy, but that is to be expected when adding sand to a tank. I had just waited an hour. After allowing everything to rest, I simply used my glass cleaner to clean the glass.

Particles of fine sand adhere to the glass. This sand was utilized to build a new tank. The sand was really fine, and there were a few shells. To avoid clouding your water, add slowly. It raised my tank’s constantly low 6.2 pHs to 7.2, which is better for my crabs and fish.

If you have ph issues, don’t put off obtaining this for your tank. If you want to use live sand, You should only use it in saltwater because the bacteria in the sand will die if you use it in freshwater, causing ammonia and nitrates to skyrocket.

If you have a freshwater tank, I recommend not using live sand because it will die if the specific gravity is less than 1.018.

What we like:

  1. pH maintanence
  2. Natural look

What we dislike:

  1. Not for freshwater aquariums

Arag-Alive Fiji Pink Sand

Product details:

  1. 20-Pound
  2. Graded Aragonite sand
  3. Contains Nitrifying Bacteria

I started my reef with the Arag-Alive Special Grade. Still, I wanted something with smaller grains, especially after adding sand-sifting gobies and seeing how difficult it was for them to acquire nice mouthfuls with the special grade.

Fiji Pink turned out to be just what I was looking for. This stuff is wonderful and fine, similar to the grain size of beach sand, but not so fine that it blows around or compacts like dusty/silty materials. I’m very satisfied with the Fiji Pink and will be using it in my reef tanks from now on.

The Fiji Pink has the perfect grain size for me, it doesn’t blow off easily, and it’s ideal for snails, crabs, shrimp, and worms. Although, during the initial placement, this sandbag will undoubtedly cloud your tank.

Expect a talcum-like powder to settle over the top of the sand bed after 12 hours, but it will surely clear within 24 hours. Make sure to sponge the tank walls to get rid of the chalky deposits. Within 48 hours, everything will appear normal, as if you had thoroughly maintained the tank.

What we like:

  1. Looks awesome
  2. Great for coral growth

What we dislike:

  1. For saltwater aquariums

Stoney River White Aquatic Sand

Product details:

  1. 5-Pound
  2. Non-Toxic coating
  3. For use in freshwater aquariums

This sand was used in a tiny freshwater 3-gallon aquarium that housed a Betta. The sand was clean and of fine grain, but not so fine that a vacuum would suck it out during water changes.

I washed the sand before using it. However, there was almost no cloudiness in the water during the washing process. I like how the sand is gritty enough that no air pockets appear to emerge, which can lead to the collection of harmful gases.

I would strongly recommend this to anyone scaping a small to a medium-sized tank. The sand looks more natural and clean. It is easier to clean since most waste rests on top rather than sinking. The sand is also a wonderful natural white, resulting in an appealing aquarium.

It was a little too much for a 3-gallon tank. I only used approximately a fourth of the bag to cover a 1 sqft surface with around an inch of sand.

What we like:

  1. Quite affordable
  2. Environment friendly

What we dislike:

  1. For small and medium sized tanks

Carib Sea Aquatics Eco-Complete Sand

Product details:

  1. 20-Pound
  2. Black
  3. Manufactured in U.S.

This is precisely what you will require to keep your cichlids happy and healthy. Since I put this substrate in the tank, my water has been very stable, and the fish are prospering. Be careful that it is difficult not to suck up a lot of this when vacuuming the tank.

After a few tries, you’ll get the hang of it, and it won’t be such a huge deal. The product appears to be good; unfortunately, it is not pure black sand; it has larger bits of primarily black and reddish-brown sand with small white grains that seem to settle to the bottom over time.

Bacteria have a lot of benefits. The only way fish would die is to place this on top of the existing substrate without being mixed in. It would trap everything bad and turn your tank into a sewer.

The one thing I don’t like about it is how easily it gets sucked up into the vacuum when we clean or into the filters if it floats because it’s so light. But, for the most part, the problem is simply handled with sponges.

What we like:

  1. Contains beeficial bacteria
  2. No additives

What we dislike:

  1. Can get sucked by filters

Carib Sea Tahitian Moon Sand

Product details:

  1. 20-Pound
  2. Black
  3. Made in the USA

Let me begin by saying that this sand is the very best I have ever used!! The black is beyond black, especially when wet. It glistens and sparkles as if it were made of diamonds. It’s incredible. Some sand becomes dull after being exposed to water; however, this is not the case here.

Because I was so pleased with it, I employed it in two different setups. It’s incredibly fine, and it’s ideal for shrimp or other bottom-dwelling organisms. Be aware that you will lose some water when vacuuming the aquarium, although it will be little.

But here’s a hint: this sand should definitely be washed before being added to an aquarium. There is a technique to save time while also saving your arms. Put the sand in a bucket or container.

Next, set it under a bathtub or kitchen sink faucet, as well as a water or garden hose. Allow the water to run and overflow while you hand wash it until it is absolutely clear.

What we like:

  1. Shimmering black color
  2. Great quality

What we dislike:

  1. Can cause cloudiness

U.P. Aqua Shrimp Sand

Product details:

  1. 4.4 Pounds
  2. Small uniform grain sizes
  3. Contains trace minerals

The substrate is of high quality. It’s more akin to tiny beads than sand. This is functioning excellent as a base substrate for my plants; I’ve been able to grow some carpeting plants rather easily so far. Roots don’t have to fight their way through it.

I didn’t have to rinse this at all before the water coming through was completely clear, making it by far the cleanest substrate I’ve used. It is less expensive than most other substrates, lasts longer, and looks beautiful.

My shrimp and micro fish are both doing well with it. It wasn’t at all dusty. I would recommend purchasing two bags for a 10-gallon tank, but one would suffice for the time being. I’m glad I didn’t get any large ammonia surges from this substrate.

My only major concern is the price per pound, which isn’t even half of what you’d need for a planted 10-gallon tank. Because the weight of the substrate is so light, it isn’t easy to keep plants in place. For that, I needed to buy a heavier substrate to mix in.

What we like:

  1. Easy to maintain
  2. perfect size

What we dislike:

  1. Lightweight

Imagitarium White Aquarium Sand

Product details:

  1. 20 Pounds
  2. White Sand
  3. Seafood flavor

Sand isn’t fully white, but the off-white hue gives it a more natural appearance. Some of the sand floated at first, but once sinking, it behaved like regular sand. It’s also heavy enough that you won’t be able to suck it up with a siphon.

If you have a lot of flow, it’s huge enough not to blow around. But not so huge that they resemble coarse rocks. I’ve been using this material in a variety of freshwater and brackish aquariums for quite some time.

Looks excellent and won’t cause any problems as long as you pre-rinse, as you should with all substrates, and don’t use powerheads or pump inlets near or beneath gravel filters. There were no pH concerns or discoloration.

The cloudiness clears in less than 12 hours if you have a decent filter. I thoroughly washed it before adding it to my 65-gallon tank. I withdrew my fish during the process and did not reintroduce them until after I had run my filters at maximum flow for a couple of hours.

What we like:

  1. Heavy and good for plant
  2. Great for large tanks

What we dislike:

  1. Can get a bit cloudy

Royal Ram 2 Pounds Natural California Sand

Product details:

  1. Light Gray
  2. 2 pounds
  3. 100% Natural California Beach Sand

This is just what I needed to re-scape my fish tank. It has a lovely appearance and settles fast in the water. In my 2.8 gallon tank, I used two bags. This sand has been thoroughly sifted. I use it in conjunction with PVA glue to base Warhammer miniatures on sandy terrain, and it works great.

If you’re looking for variation in your sand, such as little boulders or pebbles, this isn’t the place to be. It’s carefully sifted, and the grains are very consistent. This is definitely white, pure white. I’m not sure where you can find white marble sand in nature.

Very slippery, won’t remain in place if you move the container it’s in a lot. This product is ideal for my purposes, and I purchased more of them because I enjoyed the initial delivery so much. It definitely lives up to my expectations.

If you are looking for a sand substrate for your planted aquarium, this is the best option.

What we like:

  1. Appealing texture
  2. Natural sand

What we dislike:

  1. Expensive

What you should consider while buying great quality aquarium sand

The market is filled with several varieties of sands to pick from; not all of them will be appropriate for your aquariums. As a result, these are some of the most important criteria to check while looking for the best aquarium sand.

Sand type

The first thing to think about is the variety of sand you want to use in your tank. There are primarily two types of sand to pick from: living and dry sands.

Live sand

Live sand is a form of sand that is soaked in freshwater and comprises helpful bacteria and microbes. You don’t need to rinse live sands before adding them to your tank. This sort of sand is also bacteria-colonized so that you may add fish right away.

On the other hand, this sand performs best in a freshwater aquarium but can also be beneficial in a planted tank. Carib Sea Aquatics Eco-Complete Sand is top-quality live sand and great for establishing new colonies.

Dry sand

Dry sands do not carry bacteria when conveyed, contrary to live sands. However, you can develop microbes in the dry sand by washing your aquariums. The only disadvantage is that this can take a few weeks or even months.

So dry sands may not be the ideal choice if you are intending to establish your tank and make it run as soon as you add the substrate. Dry sands are typically the safest choice for a saltwater setup. An aragonite substrate is a perfect example.

Arag-Alive Fiji Pink Sand is an excellent product of dry sand and is best suited for saltwater aquariums.

Size of the sand

One significant thing to consider is the size of the sand grain. The average particle sand grain size ranges from 0.5 to 2 mm in size. Sands with big grain sizes often provide improved oxygenation but less safety and an increased risk of debris accumulation.

They also serve as a home for burrowing critters. On the other hand, smaller grains help keep debris at bay, but they can quickly become congested and anaerobic.

Keeping this in mind, the ideal aquarium sand must be moderate in size in order to give a happy and hygienic habitat for your fish to grow in. U.P. Aqua Shrimp Sand has the perfect size of sand grain and is most favorable in terms of size.


The amount of sand required for your aquarium will depend on the size and form of your tank, as well as the size of the sand grains. You may need one pound of sand per gallon to achieve a 1-inch layer of sand in your tank. This means that if you have a 20-gallon tank, you should obtain around 20 pounds of sand.

Carib Sea Tahitian Moon Sand has a 20-pound package which will be sufficient for a small to a medium-sized tank.

Color and texture

The colors of various sands vary. And the color of your sand will have an effect on the overall appearance of your tank. Ultimately the color of the sand depends on your choice. Whether you want a white, grey, or dyed color is upon you.

Carib Sea Tahitian Moon Sand has an excellent shimmering black color which looks highly appealing, especially underwater.


Why is my fish eating sand?

While foraging for feed, your fish can end up eating sand, so it is recommended to use fine-grained sand to prevent choking.

Is aquarium sand easy clean?

Many people believe that because sand is so tiny, it is more difficult to clean than gravel; however, cleaning or maintaining it is similar to cleaning aquarium gravel.

How do you dry out aquarium sand?

Sand can retain moisture for an extended period of time. Spread it out in baking pans in small batches and let it air dry. When the surface is dry, turn it over or stir it around.

Which is easier to clean sand or gravel?

Because debris accumulates on top of the substrate, sandy bottom aquariums frequently appear dirtier than tanks with gravel. Sand is also exceedingly dirty and difficult to clean, and the particles are so little and light that your filtration system or vacuum hose may easily suck them up.

Our Verdict

Like most other aquarium products, there are numerous wonderful sand kinds to choose from on the market. However, each variety of sand has its specific characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages, which you should carefully evaluate before coming to a conclusion.

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