How to Add Sand to an Aquarium

Adding sand to your aquarium is a great way to make fish feel more natural and comfortable. You can even add plants or other decorations for added aesthetics. However, it’s essential to take the time and do research before adding Sand because you need to know how much, what type of Sand, and wherein the tank it needs to go.

How to Add Sand to an Aquarium

There are many different types of sands that will work in an aquarium, but one thing you should consider when selecting which type of Sand is whether or not your tank’s inhabitants have any allergies or sensitivities. So, this article is for you. You will learn how to add Sand to an aquarium with just one simple trick!

8 Steps to Follow on How to Add Sand to an Aquarium

Step One: Determine

First, determine how deep your aquarium is. Remember you will be adding the Sand on top of the bottom glass panel, which means your depth up to the lip of the tank becomes essential; you will need to know if you plan on adding fish or corals.

Determining How Deep the Aquarium Is

If you are adding fish, your aquarium should be no less than 4 inches deep to allow enough water for the goldfish or tropical fish you choose. However, if you add corals, it needs to be at least 6 inches deep because corals can have a more significant depth requirement, especially for anemones.

Then, determine the size of gravel that will best suit your tank. Take a handful or two and pour it into the water. If it falls to the bottom without creating a cloud, you have smaller-sized gravel, which works fine for goldfish but may not be big enough for tropical fish because larger fish tend to stir up more Sand.

Step Two: Preparing the Sand Area

Prepare a sand area on one side of your aquarium. You can choose which side to place it on as long as you plan the majority of corals to be placed within the tank. This can be done by placing a piece of plywood under your hood and moving around a few pieces of vinyl tiles.

Then, wash the Sand, then dry it. You can choose to use an old washing machine or purchase a small tumbler and roll your own. Just be sure that you continue to rotate and shake so all sides of the Sand can be cleaned and lighten in weight over time.

Sunlight is important for the growth of phytoplankton, which can help your corals grow and promote better coloration. Place a lamp over the sand area to ensure enough light for the phytoplankton, algae, and other microorganisms to grow throughout your aquarium.

Preparing a Sand Area in Aquarium

Step Three: The Actual Sand

Finally, pour in your desired amount of Sand on top of the glass. Remember to pour it in slowly, be patient, and make sure you are not stirring up too much sediment or sediment that will cloud your tank, which means you must begin again. If the water becomes cloudy, then your tank must be treated before you can safely begin to clean the water.

If the Sand is still settling after your aquarium has been filled with water, then you can try to make it settle faster by agitating the Sand with an old toothbrush. It might not clean all of the Sand, but it should help enough to make sure there are no glass particles or other pieces of small gravel that could damage your fish or corals.

Then, fill your aquarium with water. As it fills, you can begin to add decorations and décor around the tank because the rocks or other items will cover up some of the Sand. If you want to find out more about how to add Sand to an aquarium, keep reading.

Step Four: Cleaning the Sand

Every few weeks to a month, you will need to use your gravel vacuum and suck up any large pieces of debris. This may include the tiny shells that the hermit crabs have left behind or larger pieces of coral skeletons, or other items that could be considered hazardous for fish and corals alike.

You can also add a clean-up crew, such as other hermit crabs and snails, to help, but be sure you know what type of snail and crab you are adding. The wrong kind could potentially wipe out other life in your tank or not eat the debris. It would help if you also tried to occasionally siphon out any large pieces of Sand that sink to the bottom and collect near the decorations.

That way, you don’t have large amounts of Sand that can smother and kill some corals or be ingested by fish and damage their digestive systems. Finally, always keep an eye on your tank to ensure there isn’t too much sediment building up, especially if it is happening gradually over time.

Using the Gravel Vacuum in Aquarium

Step Five: Sand as a Decor Material

There are several ways that Sand can be used in an aquarium. First, you can place the Sand on the bottom of the tank, leaving enough room for fish to swim through it without stirring up sediment. It is best not to use this method if you have invertebrates in the tank because they will burrow into the Sand.

An example of an invertebrate that would not do well is a starfish, which needs an open substrate to crawl upon to function correctly. Another way you can use Sand is as a décor material. For example, you can buy some corals with built-in sand magnets on them or tube anemones that can pull small debris to themselves and ingest it.

It is essential to know the difference between what corals and anemones you should purchase. Some varieties of anemones will sting and kill corals or eat only certain types of debris and leave other pieces on the sand bed. These steps should help you in learning how to add Sand to an aquarium.

Step Six: Sand as a Food Source

Finally, certain types of fish will enjoy eating the Sand itself. These include Hawkfish, the Blue Bird Wrasse, and many other varieties of wrasses. They can help create habitats for small invertebrates or feed off their larvae by picking out bits of food that have sunk into any cracks or crevices hidden in the Sand.

These wrasses are especially helpful if you have algae growing on the bottom of your aquarium or any glass that is easy to clean without using a magnet cleaner or scrub pads. Another type of fish that will enjoy eating Sand is the puffer, but make sure you purchase saltwater-safe varieties to avoid poisoning your tank.

If you find that it is too messy to live with a sand bed in your aquarium, then there are other options if you want an artificial substrate. One popular option is to purchase crushed coral, which will not negatively affect your tank as actual Sand.

You can check It Out to Make Sand Settle Faster in an Aquarium

Step Seven: Maintain the Sand

Once you have set up an aquarium, cleaning and maintaining it is a necessity. You will need to clean the sand bed every few months or if you notice that there are too many bits of debris left in the water column after changing the water.

This may be because your tank isn’t being maintained correctly or because some corals are tearing the sand bed apart. So the first thing you need to do is siphon out all of the water from your tank and remove any decorations or corals that will be considered an obstruction.

After this, you should place a bowl in the bottom of the aquarium to catch any debris that falls through as you are trying to clean it. You may need to use a siphon hose with an attachment to get rid of these pieces. This will help in how to add Sand to an aquarium.

Step Eight: Enjoy Your Sand

Once you have finished the process, place the aquarium back to normal and enjoy your new sand bed. That’s all there is to it! Remember that this may take a lot of time and patience, so be prepared to put forth the effort if you want a beautiful landscape in your aquarium.

If you have any problems, don’t hesitate to consult somebody who has experience helping people set up their aquariums. It is possible to find somebody who can help at your local pet store or even a local aquarium club.

You can check it to Prepare Spider Wood for Aquarium .

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Add Sand to a Cycled Tank?

Adding sand to a cycled tank is not recommended because it can build bacteria and sludge.

There are many types of filters that you can add to your aquarium to avoid this issue. The best option would be a protein skimmer or an activated carbon filter, removing dissolved organic material, including bacteria and viruses.

Can You Put Sand in After Water?

Yes, you can put sand in after water because it will not affect the properties of the water. However, you should be careful with sand when it comes to your personal health and safety. Sand is a fine powder that can cause respiratory problems if inhaled or ingested.

What Kind of Sand Do You Use in a Freshwater Aquarium?

There are two types of sand that you can use in a freshwater aquarium. They are coarse and fine sand. Coarse sand is good for providing more oxygen to the water, while fine sand helps with filtration and adds more surface area to the tank.

Which Sand Is Best for Aquarium?

One of the most common types of sand is aragonite. It is not so difficult to find, and it can be bought online.

If you want to make your own, then you will need silica sand, calcium carbonate, and a clay-based material like kaolin or bentonite clay.

You should mix these ingredients and place them in an oven at around 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes until they become completely dry. After this process, they will be hard enough to hold their shape when placed in water.

Does Sand Raise Ph in Aquarium?

Sand is an excellent addition to any aquarium because it provides many benefits, such as hiding places for fish, hiding places for invertebrates, and helps with filtration.

The most important thing that sand can do is raise the pH of your aquarium. This will help prevent some diseases in your tank like ich and velvet.

Sand also increases the hardness of water by adding calcium carbonate, leading to greater resistance against disease organisms, parasites, and bacteria.


Adding Sand to an aquarium can be done in many different ways. We recommend adding the Sand slowly and carefully, as it may cloud up the water for a few hours until all particles settle. The first step is making sure that you have some gravel on the bottom of your tank so there are no sharp edges or spaces where bacteria could grow.

You also want to make sure you don’t put too much Sand into one area at once because this will create pressure against other areas, which may cause cracks in your glass tanks. We hope you enjoyed this article on how to add Sand to an aquarium.

You may read it also – How to Reactivate Carbon Aquarium .

Smart Home Pick