Best Sand for Saltwater Aquarium In 2019 [Expert’s Review]

Who doesn’t want his saltwater aquarium to look like a piece of beautiful sea? In fact, when it comes to adorning the bottom layer of your fish tank, aquarium sand is the only substrate that has no other alternatives. Glad to say, this guide has been exclusively designed for those saltwater aquarium enthusiasts who are searching for the best sand for saltwater or reef aquarium to use as a substrate.

Now, there are basically three kinds of sand for saltwater aquariums. Each of those has its own uniqueness in nature and performance. Let’s learn about three of them in brief:

  • Aragonite: This special type of sand is made from calcium carbonate and, perhaps, one of the most frequently used saltwater sand in the market. They reasonably help to keep the pH level neutral inside your aquarium and dramatically help to remove a diversified range of water wastes by accommodating beneficial bacteria colony.
  • Crushed Coral: This type of sand has larger particles in comparison to the other categories. The amazing part is this sand has been completely made up from small pieces of coral skeletons by which it got its name.
  • Oolite: This category of sand is generally called as egg stones because of their egg-shaped figure. Their diameter can roughly go up to 2mm after which it calls pisolites. They are generally made from calcium carbonate but also can be of phosphate, iron & hematite.

Now, we are going to explore five of the best sand for saltwater aquarium that you can substantially use as an essential substrate inside your saltwater tank. Not-to-mention, they will subsequently maintain both the aesthetic beauty and pH level balance inside your aquarium. So let’s dive in:

5 Best Sand for Saltwater Aquarium Reviews

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

Nature's Ocean Bio-Activ Live Aragonite Live Sand Check Price & Reviews on Amazon

This particular sand manufactured by Nature’s Ocean is a perfect choice for any saltwater aquarium. This aragonite sand has the superb ability to remove all sorts of harmful nitrates out of your fish tank. Besides, the sand features millions of essential bacteria to ensure an efficient implementation of the filtration task. Let’s learn about all the features offered by this substrate:

Features:

  • Waste removal: This sand has the ability to remove all sorts of harmful nitrates and ammonia out of your aquarium to make it thoroughly healthy for your living fish and plants.
  • Flexibility: The instant cycling feature of this sand enables you to immediately add the fish right away after putting the sand inside your aquarium.
  • Essential Bacteria: This sand contains millions of heterotrophic and live autotrophic bacteria to ensure the highest inorganic balance inside your fish tank.
  • Safety: Not-to-mention, your aquarium will completely stay in a proper pH neutral condition after applying this particle as a substrate.

Pros:

  • Aragonite Sand
  • Instant cycling feature
  • Essential heterotrophic & autotrophic bacteria
  • Stabilized pH level

Cons:

  • A bit expensive

2. Carib Sea Arag-Alive Fiji Pink Sand

Carib Sea Arag-Alive 20-Pound Fiji Pink Sand

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The Carib Sea Arag is another great option for all saltwater aquarium owners. This sand also features helpful bacteria to efficiently carry out the filtration task. Besides, the substrate can turn your aquarium into a piece of natural beauty by thoroughly adorning the bottom layer. Let’s explore all the features offered by this sand:

Features:

  • Waste filtration: This sand comes with millions of essential bacteria to wipe out all sorts of harmful wastes and debris out of your aquarium. Besides, collectively they create a powerful biological filtration inside your fish tank.
  • Beautification: There is no doubt that this sand can ultimately beautify the bottom layer of your aquarium by bringing an amazing aquatic environment which is meant to attract any eyeballs.
  • Helpful bacteria: As described above, this sand comes with millions of essential marine bacteria that dramatically help to compress ammonia and ultimately stop the production of mass algae out of your aquarium.
  • Flexibility: This sand doesn’t require any rinsing and enables you to put all the substrate right away inside your aquarium.

Pros:

  • Powerful biological filtration
  • Beautifies your aquarium
  • Retains millions of essential bacteria
  • Stabilized pH level

Cons:

  • Requires rinsing before use

3. Carib Sea Crushed Coral

Carib Sea Crushed Coral for Aquarium

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As the name suggests, the Carib Sea Crushed Coral has been directly made from a combination of crushed coral and aragonite. It comes with a unique grain size and has the ability to properly maintain the pH level consistent inside your aquarium. This US-made saltwater sand can be a perfect option to beautify your overall fish tank. Let’s explore all the features offered by this particular:

Features:

  • Debris removal: The unique size of its grain helps to remove all sorts of debris and water wastes out of your aquarium.
  • Beautification: You’ll be able to provide your aquarium with an amazing, eye-catching environment by applying this substrate on the bottom layer of your fish tank.
  • Safety: The sand is completely safe as it contains the ability to properly maintain the appropriate pH level inside your aquarium with enough buffering and also works more efficiently than dolomite.
  • Origin: This product has been manufactured inside the United States that ensures its quality and high-performance

Pros:

  • Aragonite Sand
  • Removes all potential debris
  • Beautifies your aquarium
  • Stabilized pH level
  • Manufactured inside the United States

Cons:

  • Requires rinsing before use

4. Carib Sea Super Natural Moonlight Sand

Carib Sea Super Natural Moonlight Sand

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This special moonlight sand manufactured by the Carib Sea can be a perfect choice for any saltwater aquarium. This sand can dramatically beautify the bottom layer of your aquarium with amazing color contrasts. It’s absolutely safe for retaining the pH level neutral and also can be used in both the saltwater and freshwater aquariums. Here are all the features offered by this sand:

Features:

  • Beautification: This sand has the ability to thoroughly beautify your aquarium with amazing color contrasts.
  • Safety: The Carib Sea Moonlight Sand can appropriately retain the pH level stabilized all the time inside your aquarium. Not-to-mention, no paints and dyes have been used in manufacturing the sand.
  • Flexibility: The sand can be used on both saltwater and freshwater aquarium which makes it completely flexible to use.
  • Origin: The Carib Sea Moonlight has been manufactured inside the United States that ensure its overall quality and efficiency.

Pros:

  • Beautifies your aquarium
  • Stabilized pH level
  • Retains no paints and dyes
  • Suitable for both saltwater and freshwater tanks
  • Manufactured inside the United States

Cons:

  • Grain size is a bit fine.

5. Carib Sea Ocean Direct Substrates

Carib Sea Ocean Direct Substrates

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The last category by Carib Sea, the Ocean direct is literally one of the most popular saltwater sand in the market. You’ll get both real and live sand that comes with an incalculable number of essential bacteria to wipe out all potential detritus out of your fish tank. Besides, the sand is completely safe which ensure a balanced pH condition inside your aquarium. Let’s explore all the features offered by this particular:

Features:

  • Essential Bacteria: This special category of Carib Sea contains millions of live bacteria and even ensures their existence on each grain to keep your aquarium completely free from any sort of debris and harmful substance.
  • Beautification: This aesthetic sand has the ability to thoroughly beautify the bottom layer of your fish tank and provide it with an amazing natural environment.
  • Safety: The Carib Sea Ocean sand is completely safe for any saltwater aquarium as it has the ability to preserve the pH level neutral all the time inside of your aquarium.
  • Origin: Alike the other products by Carib Sea, this sand have also been manufactured inside the United States that ensures its utmost quality and efficiency.

Pros:

  • Millions of essential bacteria
  • Adorns your aquarium
  • Stabilized pH level
  • Saltwater and freshwater flexible
  • Manufactured inside the United States

Cons:

  • Requires rinsing before use

How to Get the Best Sand for Saltwater Aquarium?

Now, let’s talk about some crucial aspects that you must consider for choosing the best sand for your saltwater aquarium. Let’s explore them:

Sufficient Bacteria for Biological Filtration

Now we already know the importance of helpful bacteria inside a saltwater aquarium in terms of providing it with a consistent biological filtration in order to continually remove all sorts of harmful nitrites and ammonia. And amazingly, bacteria have this superb capability to efficiently carry out this task.

So we should be aware that our saltwater sand provides shelter for sufficient amount of this essential bacteria for keeping our tank completely clean and healthy for the living fish and corals.

PH Buffering

It’s absolutely crucial to keep the pH  within a balanced level inside any saltwater aquarium because fluctuations stress the fish or aquatic life. It may even cause the inability of your fish to breathe and plants to die in a short time. So it is crucial for you to look at whether the sand offers sufficient buffering of your aquarium water.

Aesthetic Attribute

Everyone wants their aquarium to look absolutely beautiful and natural to satisfy their passion for collecting aquatic creatures. Otherwise, the struggle of maintaining an aquarium becomes meaningless. So you should definitely go for the sand which has the ability to thoroughly turn the atmosphere of your aquarium into a natural beauty that can consequently attract any eyeballs at first sight.

Quality

Now, the overall efficiency and performance of your aquarium sand will considerably depend upon its brand and country of origin. If you’ve gone through our top-rated list of best saltwater sand, you’ll see 4 out of 5 of them are manufactured inside that United States that ensures their performance and overall quality.

Price

The price of your aquarium sand will solely depend upon the size of your fish tank because if you own a large size aquarium, it may require you to buy more packets of saltwater sand to surface over the whole area of your aquarium. To give you an example, a 10-pound packet of saltwater sand can cost you around $10-$15 depending upon the type and brand.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much saltwater sand should I put inside my aquarium?

Actually, it depends! There are people who love to have a deep layer of sand inside their aquarium and you apparently have no restrictions over making any relevant or predetermined layer that makes the whole matter flexible for you. However, if you are a complete beginner, and just want to use it for providing your fish tank with a beautiful layer, a 1-inch depth would be the right option for you.

On the contrary, you can definitely have 5 to 6-inch layers as long as your aquarium has double or enough height to ensure a relevant balance for the betterment of your fish and plants.

Now the last question appears to be the amount of sand you should add for each of gallons of water. Well, the relevant figures should be around 1-pound of sand for each gallon of water. That means, if you have an aquarium with 15 gallons of water, you may need to add a 15-pound packet of sand inside your fish tank.

What’s the best way to add sand inside my saltwater aquarium?

Well, if you’ve ever put dust or powder inside any water, you may have seen they instantly make the water cloudy and non-transparent which makes it unable for your eyes to see. Similarly, aquarium sand also has the same attribute unless you aren’t adding them directly onto the water. In this case, you can take a separate bucket of water and add the required amount of sand to rinse it continually until the water gets completely clean and transparent.

After that process, you should gently add the sand across your overall aquarium in a complete balanced and appropriate manner. This is because over-dumping in one area may cause the glass to break easily. You should prevent yourself from rough dumping as it may cause the water to get cloudy for the pressure.

Final Words

Thanks for reading the whole post. We assume this guide has been helpful for you to get a comprehensive idea about the best sand for saltwater aquarium. Besides, our buyer-guide segment would ultimately help you to choose the perfect sand for your saltwater aquarium. Stay tuned with us. We appreciate your support.

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