How to Remove Sand From Aquarium

When you have a fish tank at home, whether a saltwater or freshwater aquarium, there is always the chance that sand gets into your water, this occurs when fish spit it out of their mouths or when you clean your tank. Either way, this can cause an issue as sand can become lodged infiltration systems and block them from working properly.

How to Remove Sand From Aquarium

In addition to clogging up filters, having sand in any aquarium can also lead to health issues with your fish as they cannot see where they are going and might end up swimming into objects because they cannot tell what is around them.

No matter how to remove sand from aquarium, no one wants to deal with these problems. How to get sand out of your aquarium can be done in several ways. First, the easiest way is to remove the sand from the gravel by vacuuming it, but this needs to occur before any sand makes its way into other parts and blocks them up.

Secondly, you can use a siphon and suck all the sand out of the aquarium. Thirdly, you can use a wet-dry vacuum with a gravel tube attached to suck up all the sand without any problems for your filtration system. None of these suggestions are long-term solutions, though.

Why Should Remove Sand From Aquarium

Sand can become very annoying in fish tanks and cause all sorts of health problems for your fish. Cures like blindness, tank crashes, lack of appetite and even death can occur if you do not make sure that sand does not get into your aquarium’s filters or anything else.

Some people might recommend using more sand to solve this problem, but this will only cause even more problems down the line as now you have sand clogging up other things in your aquarium. In addition, some of this sand might be too fine and end up getting sucked into filter intakes which can wreak havoc on your entire system.

Steps on How to Remove Sand From Aquarium

Step 1:

Turn off your aquarium’s filters and powerheads for about thirty minutes after you have removed all the sand from the tank so that they can rest and get ready to be turned back on.

Turning Off the Aquarium's Filters

Step 2:

Next, place a bucket full of water right next to your fish tank so that you can transfer the water over easily. This water will be used to fill your tank back up.

Step 3:

Use a siphon and put the end that goes into the gravel right on top of all the sand. This way, once you suck up all the sand with this hooked up to your filter intake, it will not go anywhere but into your bucket. Depending on how much sand you have in your aquarium, this might take a little while as you want to ensure that all the sand is removed from your tank. Some people recommend doing it overnight so that no other fish are at risk.

Step 4:

Once all of the water has been taken out of your tank and into the bucket, use a wet-dry vacuum with a gravel tube attached to suck out all of the sand. This is good for getting all of the remaining sand that you might have missed with your siphon.

Step 5:

Turning on Aquarium Filters

Once everything has been removed from your aquarium, fill it back up again with clean tap water and turn on your filters and powerheads, checking for any leaks where sand might have gotten stuck.

You Can Check It Out to Clean Aquarium Glass With Vinegar

Step 6:

After your aquarium is filled with water again, place your fish back in.

Aquarium Is Filled With Water

Once you have finished this process, the only thing left to do is figure out how to remove sand from an aquarium permanently. This will keep it from coming back into your tank ever again.

One way that you can do this is by keeping live plants in your tank. Some plants, like java ferns and any, are great for trapping sand between their leaves as they grow. In addition to this, make sure that any new aquarium gravel you purchase has been washed already, as the sand in it will not be as fine as what can come from a fresh bag of gravel. Also, try vacuuming your gravel regularly to keep any new sand from getting in.

Last but not least, if you have a shrimp tank, these are great for eating up leftover food and helping to remove any extra nutrients or waste that might be left behind after everything has been cleaned. These benefits will help increase the health of your aquarium without causing any issues with your filtration systems.

Tips And Warnings


  • Sometimes, if you do not have live plants or shrimp in your tank, you can try boiling the sand for about half an hour. This will soften the sand and make it easier to suck up through your gravel tube, but keep in mind that this might affect your water temperature.
  • Do not vacuum rocks or decorations with sharp edges, as these can scratch your glass.
  • Be careful when siphoning the sand out of your tank as not to injure anything or suck up any fish that might be hiding around the bottom of your aquarium.
  • Be aware that some of the sand might get stuck in your gravel tube, so check this before any new maintenance is done.


  • Do not run under gravel filters while vacuuming, as this creates suction that could cause damage to both you and your fish.
  • Ensure that you turn off your aquarium filter and powerheads before removing any sand from the tank, as this can cause a major backup if done incorrectly.
  • Do not pour any saltwater back into your freshwater fish tank, as this will damage your filtration system over time.
  • Do not try to vacuum the sand if your aquarium is still dirty. This can damage your gravel and make more of a mess than what you started with.
  • Do not suck up any leftover food or waste with your gravel tube while it is hooked up to your filter intake, as this can cause spikes in your ammonia levels which can be dangerous for your fish.
  • Do not use a powerhead’s intake tube to vacuum your aquarium as this can damage the impeller inside the powerhead, which will cause it not to work.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Siphon Sand in Aquarium?

There are some other ways that you can use to transfer sand from one place to another, but it will not be as effective as siphoning.

One way would be to use a net or piece of cloth and gently scooping the sand into a bucket with water. Another way would be using a turkey baster and gently sucking the sand out of the tank while being careful not to suck up any of the fish or plants with it.

Is Sand Bad for Fish Tanks?

Sand is not bad for fish tanks, but it can get in the way of algae and fish food. To prevent sand from getting into your tank, use a gravel vacuum to remove any excess that might be floating around. If you do have too much sand on the bottom of your tank, try adding some more gravel or sand to keep it clear.

Use a Gravel Vacuum

Can You Use a Gravel Cleaner on Sand?

No, you cannot use a gravel cleaner on the sand. The reason is that the abrasive particles in the gravel cleaner would not be able to clean sand effectively.

Is Sand Good for Aquarium Plants?

Sand is a good substrate for aquatic plants, but it needs to be mixed with other materials like peat or coconut fiber.

Aquarium sand is made from washed, dried, and sifted beach sand, which can contain small particles of gravel. The water flow through the substrate is important as well because too much water will lead to plant death and algae growth.

The Benefits of Using Aquarium Sand Are :

  • It helps provide stability in the aquarium environment by ensuring that oxygen levels stay high in the tank and at a level where plants can thrive.
  • It provides nutrients for plants like nitrates and phosphates that are essential for plant growth.
  • It keeps your fish’s waste away from your plant roots by providing a layer between them, so they don’t get damaged.

How Long Does It Take for Sand to Clear in Aquarium?

Aquariums are fascinating and a great way to learn about aquatic life. However, the upkeep of an aquarium can be quite costly. This is where our answer comes in.

To clear sand from an aquarium, we recommend using a net-type filter that allows water to pass through while trapping any debris or particles that may have been missed during the initial cleaning process.

Clear Sand From an Aquarium


If you have found yourself with an aquarium that is full of sand, don’t fret. There are a few easy steps to take to remove all the pesky grains from your tank and bring them back to their former glory. First, make sure the power supply for the filter is turned off or unplugged so that there will be no water rushing through while you clean up the mess.

Next, use a siphon hose (or any other long-necked implement) and suck out as much water as possible without letting any sand fall into your bucket below; this may require two people if one person cannot reach far enough down inside their tank. Finally, dump all of the dirty water outside before refilling your tank with fresh, clean water.

If you have any live plants within your tank, they will help trap the individual grains of sand that have managed to escape their former home. You can also keep shrimp or snails in your tank as they are great at breaking down leftover food and other unsightly particles without leaving behind a mess for you to clean up. I hope you enjoyed this article on how to remove sand from aquarium! Be sure to SHARE this useful information with everyone you know! Thanks for reading!

You may check it out also – How to Clean Aquarium Gravel Without Removing Water .

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