How to Prepare Sand for Aquarium

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You may have been using those colorful rocks in your aquarium, all this time! Although they are great, nothing beats aquarium sand in case of making them fishes feel at home. Sand can bring a natural look to the aquarium by illuminating natural brightness. Of course, it comes with both pros and cons, but its advantages outnumber its cons. The only drawback you may face is difficulty preparing the sand for the aquarium, but don’t sweat it! As the title goes, “How to prepare sand for an aquarium?” we will be guiding you on how to do that effectively. Keep reading.

Why Use Sand For Aquarium?

Before we get the point, we think, this section will help you understand why using sand instead of rocks is worth the shot! If you have pet catfish, getting sand is the best way to keep them happy. They love burying in it. Here some more reasons why you need to get sand for your aquarium-

1. Works Great as Substrate for Many Pet Fishes

Did you know that some of the pet fish you have may consume the sand of the aquarium? This helps them with digestion. If you don’t want your fishes to get injured, we would like to suggest that you not get pebbles and rocks for your aquarium, better; you get sand.

2. Brightens the Overall Appearance of the Aquarium

Bring a natural appeal to your tank just by adding sand. It is like maintaining a small ecosystem in your house. Amazing, isn’t it? Get that natural brightness and make the fishes feel good with this little addition to your tank.

3. Super Easy to Maintain and Clean

Yes, you will need to clean sand in a different way than pebbles and rocks, but they are much easier to clean and maintain than gravel. So, if you have been using gravel till now, it is time for you to get sand!

7 Steps to Prepare Sand For Aquarium

As you read this, we assume that you are convinced to get sand for the fishes by now. Now, we must let you into the main point: Preparation of the sand for your aquarium. Here is a step by step guide-

Step 1: Measure the Size of Your Aquarium

Before you determine how much sand you will purchase, you should know the exact size of your aquarium. You need not put much sand in a small aquarium.

Step 2: Measure and weigh the sand

After you measure the aquarium, it is time for you to measure and weigh the sand. Our suggestion is to get one pound of sand for one gallon of water. Just remember to add a consistent sand depth.

Step 3: Gather All the Needed Supplies

It is better to gather all the supplies before you start working. You will be able to finish the work much quickly!

Step 4: Rinse the Sand

This step is crucial for you to keep the aquarium free from excess dust. If you don’t, it will create cloudiness in the tank. How to do that, you ask? It’s pretty easy! All you need to do is put it in a bucket first and then fill it with water.

Now, stir around the mix, pour off the dirty water, and keep repeating the process until you think that it has become spotless. It is time-consuming, but a straightforward process!

Step 5: Clean and Dry the Aquarium

If you have gotten a new aquarium, it is probably dry. If it’s not new, you should clean it first. After cleaning, wait for it to become scorched. You can even use the hair dryer you have at your house to dry it quickly.

Step 6: Add the Sand

Now, add the rinsed sand to the tank. After adding sand, fill it up with water. Here’s a little tip for you- place a plate on top of the sand while filling the tank with water. What it will do is, it will stop the water from stirring too much dust and making the whole aquarium cloudy.

Step 7: Be patient

If you are the first time doing this, you might mess up a bit even after being extra careful. Don’t be impatient! It is not uncommon for people to end up with cloudiness.

We say it is normal. Wait for some time; you will see it settling down within just a couple of days. For keeping the water clean, you can even use power filters! They are great for keeping the water dust-free!

Different Types of Sand for Aquariums

There are multiple kinds of aquarium sand you can use. Here are some-

Blasting Sand

If you are not up for spending much money on the sand, blasting sand might be the right option for you to choose. Even though the sand comes at an affordable price, it is as good as the other ones at making your aquarium look natural. Its grain size and color are very consistent.

Play Sand

If you are still not satisfied with the price, here’s the one for you! Play sand is the cheapest one you can get for your tank. It works as an excellent substrate with its grain size and varying colors. It is as good as blasting sand at maintaining the natural look.

Silica Sand

Silica sand is mainly used in swimming pools. It is excellent for aquariums as well. It comes in a variety of sizes and colors. So, you can customize your fish tank however you would like. Silica sand is pricier than the other ones but worth the price as well.


If you are still confused over anything regarding sand for aquariums, this section will help you clear them up. Have a look.

1. Which is the best sand for turtles?

While there are many you can choose from, we think that the Zoo Med ReptiSand is the best one to get for the turtles. It is excellent for the soft-shell turtles for its smooth texture, great for them to burrow.

2. Which sand is excellent for growing aquarium plants?

Again, you have multiple options to choose from! The Caribsea Super Naturals Aquarium Sand is a pretty good one to grow aquatic plants. Its neutral pH is excellent for growing plants.

3. How to determine the required aquarium sand depth?

If your aquarium is rectangular shaped, it must have six sides. Measure the length (l) and width (w) of its lower rectangle (base). You can now use online sand depth calculators to find out the required sand depth (h).


Sand is a great option to keep fishes feel excellent and happy. It comes at a very reasonable price. So, you don’t even have to spend much money on this. Preparing, cleaning, and maintaining sand is super easy and convenient. We hope that our step by step guide on how to make the sand has helped you. Be patient while following your guide; we are sure that you will be happy with the result. For keeping the water safe, use a water conditioner. It will remove chlorine from the sea. Best of luck!

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