Sand help and advice

A great choice for tropical and marine tanks

Sand is a very popular substrate because it can help recreate the natural environment of many fish, improving their happiness while also being inexpensive and quite attractive. We stock a wide variety of sand at Swell including top brands like CaribSea, Aquarium Systems and our own range of high-quality products.

What is sand?

Sand is a substrate made up of crushed stones and biological matter, it ranges from fine to coarse and can either be naturally sourced or synthetic. Sand can contain minerals and biological contaminants that may be harmful or beneficial to a tank so it's possible to either buy pre-washed inert sand or live sand.

Why should I buy sand?

Not only does sand give a great finish to a fish tank it's beneficial to the fish and the tank's ecosystem as a whole. With the right sand substrate you can go as far as to plant aquatic plants or grow bacterial colonies that can naturally filter the water within your tank.

What are the main types of sand?

The biggest division in sand types is between inert sand and live sand. Inert sand has been treated to remove any bacteria and stop minerals from dissolving into the water of your tank. Live sand comes in real seawater and is preloaded with millions of sea bacteria and organisms that act as a filter in your tank, keeping the water even cleaner in conjunction with your existing filter system. Live sand is generally used for marine tanks while inert sand is suited to cold water or tropical tanks.

What should I look for?

There's a surprising amount to think about when it comes to choosing a sand substrate, including how coarse it is, whether it's inert and what finish it offers. We've already covered that inert sand is a good choice for cold water and tropical tanks while live sand is good for marine tanks. When it comes to the coarseness of the sand and the finish it offers, the key is really to choose the sand that will make your fish feel the most at home, look at their natural habitats in the wild and try to match them with a substrate similar to their home turf.