Are you setting up an aquarium but don’t know how to start with the substrate?
Besides quality water and the fish you will put in the aquarium, you should also scout for the best white sand that you can use in your freshwater aquarium. Not all sands are created equal, and you need to weigh your options.
White sands are important substrates that can have a significant impact on the overlook look of your tank. Aside from the aesthetics, these substrates can also affect the health of your fish and aquatic plants.
Generally, there are four aspects that you need to consider when looking for the best sand for your aquarium setup. These are color, particle size, reactivity to the aquarium water, and its potential effect on your fish. Read on and learn more about the options you have in finding the best white sand for your freshwater aquarium.
White Sand Options for Freshwater Aquarium
The list below features some of the best options available in the market. You can use this as a guide to check which one suits your needs and budget.
1) Stoney River White Aquatic Sand
Do you want to achieve an exotic white sand beach theme for your aquarium? The Stoney River White Aquatic Sand could be an option for you. This aquatic sand is safe for fish and can make darker fish stand out.
The sand is proven to be non-toxic and can undoubtedly improve the aesthetic of your freshwater aquarium.
If you are worried about the pH level of your aquarium, this brand does not affect it at all.
Since this type of white sand is lightweight, you might notice that an amount of sand may end up floating on the surface of the aquarium.
- Pleasing natural color.
- Perfect for freshwater aquariums.
- The coating is non-toxic.
- It does not affect the water’s pH level.
- Vacuum friendly.
- It helps reduce detritus.
- It does not create air pockets in the aquarium.
- It is made of very light material.
- Grain size is coarse.
- Silica sand.
- The coating turns into a gel-like material.
2) Imagitarium White Aquarium Sand
If you want to highlight the lush greens inside your freshwater aquarium, Imagitarium White Aquarium Sand is another option you may want to consider. This sand can help you highlight the beauty of your plants and the freshwater you have in the aquarium.
This aquarium sand is known for its vibrant and bright color that can help make your fish and plants look even more lively and colorful.
Aside from its aesthetic appeal, this sand can also help break down the waste present in the water through its natural bacterial content.
Imagitarium White Aquarium Sand is perfect for big tanks that need heavy-duty substrate. This type of sand may cause cloudiness at the start but should be clear after a day or two. Since this sand is relatively heavy, the particles will not float on the surface and will not end up clogging your filter system.
- The sand is pre-washed, helping you save time and effort.
- Particles are heavy, so they will not clog your filter system.
- Perfect for larger aquariums.
- The initial cloudiness clears up quickly.
- It helps in reducing harmful debris inside the aquarium.
- Works for both freshwater and saltwater tanks.
- It helps break down the waste inside the tank through its natural bacteria.
- Stimulates a natural environment, which is helpful for the plants and fish inside the aquarium.
- It is not suitable for freshwater aquariums with invertebrates.
- Looks aesthetic but artificial.
- The grain is relatively coarse, which may not be ideal for some delicate types of the fish burrow in the sand.
3) Royal Ram Natural White Sand
Are you looking for natural sand for your freshwater aquarium? Royal Ram Natural White Sand is perfect for looking for 100% natural sand for their freshwater aquariums. It is natural white marble sand.
This brand is naturally crushed and does not have any colored coating. The grain is medium in size. This sand also allows aquatic plants to grow their roots at the bottom of the aquarium properly.
The natural color stands out and improves the overall look of your aquarium. It does not require much maintenance as long as you clean the sand thoroughly before putting it in the tank. Aside from serving as a perfect decoration for your aquarium, you may also use Royal Ram Natural White Sand for other projects such as arts and crafts. This sand also works well for snake and lizard tanks.
- Looks attractive.
- Has other functions such as for arts and crafts.
- It does not affect the water’s pH level.
- Some users claim that it is better to use for arts and crafts and not aquariums.
- It should combine with other substrates.
- We need to wash the sand thoroughly before use in a freshwater aquarium.
4) CaribSea Natural Moonlight Sand
CaribSea Natural Moonlight Sand is another option for freshwater aquarium owners. It works for saltwater aquariums as well. Makers of this brand claim that the sand is from different beaches in great places like Sri Lanka and Rio Negros and mix other natural minerals.
This sand is ideal for most freshwater fish such as angelfish, tetras, and discus. The grains are naturally white, delicate, and smooth.
This sand has no sharp edges, which means you do not have to worry if you have delicate fish inside the tank. Your fish will not end up hurting themselves when you use this sand in your aquarium.
The grains are relatively small and are ideal if you want to prevent fish wastes and food particles from being stuck on the tank’s bed. It also allows you to clean your fish tank easier.
The sand also does not affect the pH level of water in the tank. It also does not increase or act in any way to carbonate the hardness of your water column.
This freshwater sand also helps in detoxifying metals, neutralizing chlorine, and eliminating ammonia.
Ensure that your filter is appropriate for fine sand before deciding to use CaribSea Natural Moonlight Sand for your freshwater aquarium.
- The particles are fine and soft.
- Settles down the tank quickly.
- Provides excellent color contrast in the aquarium.
- It does not contain paint or dye.
- Sand is pre-washed.
- The pH level is neutral.
- Enables natural and beneficial bacteria to build colonies.
- It does not aggravate fish as it prevents reflections from the base.
- May damage water filters.
- It tends to leave the water in the tank murky.
5) FairmountSantrol AquaQuartz-50 Pool Filter 20-Grade Silica Sand
You are looking for white sand for your aquarium that will not break the bank? The FairmountSantrol Silica Sand could be the perfect option for you.
It is said to be a good alternative if you do not have enough money to spend on expensive white sand for your freshwater aquarium. It is a bright white color but contains specks of brown and black. It also does not affect the pH level inside the aquarium.
The particle size is between 0.45 and 0.55 mm, which means it can settle down quickly into the aquarium base. This size and density are an excellent choice if you take care of fish that like to sift through the sand. Goldfish is a perfect example of this kind of fish.
- It can use for both saltwater and freshwater aquarium.
- It does not affect the pH level of water inside the aquarium.
- There might be a need to mix it with “live sand” when you set up your aquarium.
Buyer’s Guide: Learning the Basics
Some newbies think that any white sand would work for their freshwater aquarium. It is important to note that some sands may not work for both saltwater and freshwater tanks. You may end up harming your aquatic plants and fish if you do not consider important factors such as water condition.
Gravel and sand are two of the most popular forms of substrate used in aquariums. And they have unique properties that you need to look into when you are still setting up your aquarium.
For this article, we will focus on the sand as a substrate for your freshwater aquarium. Sand may come in different colors such as pink, black, and white.
White is often the most commonly used. They make the entire aquarium look cooler and brighter. Make sure to avoid dyed sand, as this could pose a threat to the health of aquatic plants and fish inside the aquarium.
Benefits of Putting Sand Inside a Freshwater Aquarium
You might wonder: is there a need to put a substrate like sand inside an aquarium? There are several reasons why putting substrates like white sand inside an aquarium is beneficial. We have listed some of the benefits below:
- For your plants and fish to thrive inside a freshwater aquarium, you need to give them a “home” close to their natural environment. Putting white sand helps you mimic their natural home. Certain fish species also tend to dig or hide, so they need sand to make them feel at home inside the freshwater aquarium.
- Putting sand inside an aquarium helps you as well in optimizing the growth rate of your aquarium plants.
- Some species of fish consume sand. Believe it or not, sand is helpful in their digestion. Sand is also the best substrate choice for certain species such as catfish as pebbles and rocks can injure them.
- It is relatively easier to clean an aquarium with sand than one that has gravel in it. Also, sand does not easily collect wastes, so debris and dirt do not build up easily.
- One of the greatest benefits, perhaps, is the ability of sands to help beneficial bacteria grow. Yes, bacteria can be beneficial, too! These are important in maintaining the health and overall wellbeing of your aquarium plants and fish.
Factors to Consider in Buying Sand for Your Freshwater Aquarium
One of the most common mistakes that newbie aquarium owners make is using the wrong kind of sand. Remember that not all sands can use for freshwater aquariums. There are certain factors you need to look into before spending your hard-earned money.
- Type of Aquarium – The first thing you need to consider is the type of aquarium you have. Generally, finer sand is ideal for an aquarium with fish. If you have a planted aquarium, you need to go for nutrient-rich sand and add a layer of gravel to enable the plants to grow their roots.
- Material – Most sands sold in the market are silica-based. You need to understand that silica can result in the growth of brown algae. Check if the grains of the sand you are considering have the necessary coating to prevent the excessive growth of brown algae.
- Grain size – Even the sizes of sand grains differ. The actual grain size you need still depends on the types of fish or aquatic plants you have inside the aquarium. Aquariums with plants, for instance, may need sands with bigger grain sizes.
- pH level – Check the pH level of your tank before buying white sand. Some types of sand tend to increase the pH level of the water. It is best to purchase those that will not alter the pH level of the water content.
- Product quality – Of course, quality is one crucial factor you should not forget. The product should be safe and non-toxic. Best to check the reviews of other consumers to see if certain brands have adverse effects on their plants or fish.
Before deciding on which brand to use, it is best to look into your own needs first. More than the aesthetic value, white sand provides other benefits to your aquarium. Choosing the wrong one could result in significant losses—and you will end up wasting not just your money but your time and effort in setting up and maintaining the freshwater aquarium as well. So, make sure to compare your options carefully before making a purchase!