Some people who keep aquariums do think that making a sand bed for the aquarium is a bit of a nuisance and in fact also harmful for the fish. These sands would not do well for your live plants in the aquarium too, and would be difficult to maintain. Because sand contains fine particles, people do prefer using gravel instead as it is easier to clean and take care of. But the truth of the matter is that a sand bed in an aquarium can be very beneficial. First and foremost, sand provides fish with a more natural habitat, since that is what is actually present in the beds of their seas and oceans. You will find your fish happier in the sand and even spawning in them, which could be a delight to watch. Sand is not very difficult to clean too, if one does it in the right way. In fact, using sand in an aquarium makes it look more real and the fish enjoy is more than a gravel bed.
Live sand is especially beneficial to the organisms in your tank. Live sand is biological sand. It is pre-seeded with certain microscopic organisms such as bacteria and algae. These organisms help to clean the water in the tank and also produce the chemicals that are present in natural habitat. Live sand can be very expensive, such as live aragonite sand, but it is a very good option to have at the bottom of your tank, since it will not require maintenance. Not only does live sand clean itself due to the organisms present in it, but it will also contribute a major share in the internal cleaning of your tank.
There are many different types of sands available that can make good choices to your aquarium. The following is a list of some of the sand types that are used:-
- Aragonite sand – Aragonite sand is the most expensive variety of sand available, and so it will not be a good choice for larger aquariums. However it helps in the buffering of the water and is fantastic for keeping the tank at an optimal chemical condition.
- Silica sand – Silica sand is common beach sand, and it is very cheaply available. It is mainly composed of silicon dioxide, SiO2, which is a natural ingredient in sand. The plus points of this sand are that it is smooth and sifts easily. It is very easy to clean during setup and maintenance, and it is available very cheaply.
- Coral sand – As the name suggests, coral sand is suitable for tanks that have corals as their inhabitants. Since corals can change internal levels of the tank, such as the nitrate levels and the pH values, drastically, it is wise to use this sand. Coral sand has a natural buffering action that can maintain the chemical composition of tank water at optimal values.
- Black beauty – Though this is not actually sand, it is sold as such. Black beauty is actually solidified and powdered iron slag. It adds a contrast to the tank and is good for esthetic reasons. But the sand particles are sharp, so do not use this sand if you have fish that sift too much on the bed.
Cleaning of sand is a very important process, and must be done in the right way. These are the steps you must follow while cleaning sand:-
- Take about two gallons of the sand in a capacious bucket.
- With the help of a pipe, run water on the sand till half the bucket is full.
- Then drain out the supernatant water. This will contain many floating dust particles.
- Put water again, and this time, sift through the sand.
- Again pour out the water.
- Continue this process till the water you pour out is quite clear.
Thus, it is very easy to clean the sand in the tank, and that should not be a problem in deciding to use it as a bed product for your aquarium. Sand does add quite a bit of grace and naturalness to the tank, and fishes find it closer to their own natural surroundings.