Giving fish the best possible environment come live in is a priority for all pet fish owners. That’s why it’s important to know exactly how much sand will be enough to make them happy.

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You have to have in between 25 and also 145 pounds (11.3 and also 65.8 kilograms) that sand in a 55 gallon tank, relying on its shape and the form of fish you desire to keep. Your wanted depth will likewise influence the amount of sand; a shallow layer will need much less sand.

This article will help you calculate just how much sand you’ll need for a 55 gallon tank. We’ll additionally talk about different varieties of sand and also all the devices you need for this kind of tank.


2 The functions of Sand in a Tank4 What Sand Is finest for your Tank?5 The Depth the the Sand6 Calculating exactly how Much Sand you Need8 55 Gallon Fish Tank Essentials9 ideal Fish species for her 55 Gallon Fish Tank

Why Sand renders a great Substrate

Although many fish lover feel the gravel is much better for fish tanks, sand is frequently a favorite choice.This is because sand feels much more natural and also is much better at mimicking the riverbeds and lake atmospheres that fish flourish in. It additionally doesn’t allow water to circulation through it as easily as gravel does.

Closely pack sand substrate won’t require replacement as often as gravel, which can be a great bonus for liven fish owners.

Old tree matter and also food likewise tend to remain on the peak rather 보다 sink and decay.

Certain fish and also plants additionally just choose sand over gravel. Some varieties of cichlids, for example, consume sand particles as it helps them to digest their food.

On the other hand, goldfish can suffer intestinal blockages if they accidentally ingest sand. So, the choice really depends on the fish you have and also what fish you plan to add to her tank in the future.

The attributes of Sand in a Tank

There are several functions that sand fulfills when supplied in a fish tank. Let’s take it a closer look at them therefore you deserve to be certain you want and need sand in her tank.

Biological Filtration

If you have a saltwater fish tank, girlfriend need organic filtration, i beg your pardon bacteria that grow on the rock and sand in her tank does. Sand offers the bacteria many of an are to grow and also thrive.

Your tank must have biological filtration to malfunction the toxicity ammonia fish develop as rubbish products. Although there are other choices such together chemical filtration, biological is the most natural and cheapest systems for your fish tank.

Aesthetic Appeal

One that the key reasons people an initial think about using sand is that it looks nice and also natural. If you desire to fill your tank with vibrant fish and also do part aquascaping, you will do it love sand.

You can develop a beautiful tank the is healthy and also attractive if you use sand intelligently.

Burrowing or Sand-Sifting Creatures

Many s creatures such together snails, worms, jawfish, and also shrimp should live in locations with a sand substrate. They every play a function in maintaining your tank healthy and also clean. These creatures eat algae and also debris in her tank there is no negatively affecting your fish.

Potential Denitrification

Denitrification is a necessary process that removes nitrogen from the tank. The is essential that you have a sand bed deeper 보다 6 inch (15.24 cm). At that depth, oxygen can’t reach the bottom sand layer.

A fish tank v a deep sand bed is an excellent at turning ammonia right into nitrites and denitrification.

Live Sand or Inert Sand in your Fish Tank?

You deserve to use either inert sand (also recognized as dry sand) or live sand in your fish tank. Live sand it s okay its name because it has actually been cultured through bacteria.

This is the exact same bacteria we questioned a bit earlier that helps store your fish tank clean and also healthy. Live sand can be much more expensive than continuous sand, therefore if she on a budget, you don’t have to bother through it.

Although the is beneficial, girlfriend don’t must start her fish tank out through live sand. That’s since bacteria space bound to start growing in your tank anyway, therefore you don’t really should worry around buying live sand. It will certainly take a little bit longer, but you’ll acquire there eventually.

Note that if you in a hurry to collection up her fish tank, it could be best to purchase live sand. You only really require the bacteria come grow rapid if you’re passionate to fill her tank with new fish. If not, you have the right to let the natural procedure take the time.

What Sand Is best for her Tank?

When it come to types of sand to pick from for her tank, over there are numerous options.

Before you decide, let’s check them out, for this reason you know which will certainly be finest for your tank.

You need to take into consideration the dimension of your sand grains (medium, fine, an extremely fine), your fish, and the color you want.

If you desire colored or non-standard sand, you don’t have actually that many options for serial size, however your fish tank will certainly look unique.

Finer sand is more likely to get blown around by enlarge fish and also pumps, i m sorry could cause bare spots on the surface. That can also make her water cloudy. If friend opt because that coarser sand, you won’t acquire that ‘beach’ look, however the grains will continue to be in location better.

The form of sand you choose determines what girlfriend can and also can’t add to her tank habitat. For example, if you desire sand-sifting creatures prefer obies, you need a finer grain size to fit them.

Now, stop look in ~ the species of sand you have the right to choose and also how they’ll benefit your tank.


Aragonite sand is the many popular selection among fish lovers. The is many recommended for saltwater fish tanks and looks like constant sand. The fine-grained and also consists that calcium carbonate.

This sand is great for maintaining your tank’s pH and contributes to stability alkalinity and calcium levels.


Oolite, also known as Oolitic aquarium sand, is a spherical and also fine form of aragonite sand. That is formed by ooids and is much less than 2mm (0.08 in) in diameter. This sand helps to keep stable pH level in her tank.

Crushed Coral

As the name suggests, crushed coral no technically sand, but it’s little enough come play the same role as sand go in a tank. It help to boost the tank water’s pH and also alkalinity levels. Crushed coral is frequently a an excellent choice in saltwater tanks.

Traditional Sand

This is the many obvious and common selection for sand, and it’s perfectly suitable for most situations. Traditional sand serves its purpose: that is a an excellent substrate and also looks an excellent in any kind of tank.

Black Sand

Tahitian moon sand, far better known as black color sand, is formed through volcanic activity. Tree grow quickly in this sand, and also if you require gravel however want sand, this is a great alternative. Black color sand likewise promotes the growth of healthy bacteria.

White Sand

If she looking to have actually a fish tank with a bright look, white sand might be just what friend want. However, this sort of sand can gain covered in bacteria and clogged v dirt. That isn’t most likely to remain white for really long.

Despite shedding its shining color, the sand is still great for your tank’s health because it promotes bacterial growth.

Pink Sand

This is a mixture the aragonite sand and also the shells of a sea creature and also has the same benefits together aragonite. However, part brands that pink sand can assist prevent birds growth and also don’t need to be replaced.

For the many part, your selection of sand for her fish tank will rely on the watch you desire to achieve. Over there isn’t yes, really a ‘best’ form of sand because none of lock stand out for any details reason.

The Depth that the Sand

Your sand bed deserve to be shallow or deep. Shallow beds are between 1 and 2 inches (2.54 and also 5.08 cm) deep, while deep beds deserve to go up to 6 inches (15.24 cm).

It is important to remember that you will need to clean and maintain the sand v a siphon. So, shallow beds can be far better for owners who don’t have actually a lot of time to maintain their fish tanks.

Shallow Sand Beds

With a shallow sand bed, you get a more natural appearance, and there is much more space because that water, fish, and also plants. That is less complicated to clean and also looks much better in general.

However, if girlfriend want facility decorations and lots that plants, you require an plan with sufficient depth come anchor them.

Deep Sand Beds

If you have a depths sand bed, you can add more decorations and plants to your tank, together the sand will carry out adequate anchorage. However, depth substrates deserve to suffer native the buildup the carbon dioxide and methane.

However, you kind out this difficulty by stirring the sand. Because that this purpose, sand burrowers such as gobies, crabs, and snails will certainly do just fine.

Having depth sand beds also provides an ext room for microorganisms come grow. For a healthy and balanced tank environment, this growth is essential.

Calculating how Much Sand friend Need

Now that you recognize the importance of sand in a fish tank, we can discuss how you’ll calculate how much girlfriend need.

Fresh Water Tank

We will usage the adhering to dimensions because that this calculation:

12.25 in x 48.25 in (31.12 centimeter x 122.56 cm)

For a freshwater tank, friend will have to provide sand based on the inhabitants. If friend have small burrowing fish and few plants, 1 customs (2.54 cm) of sand must be enough. If your burrowing fish room large, you require at the very least 2 customs (5.08 cm) that sand.

You should have actually at the very least 1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) of substrate every gallon for her tank. For a 55 gallon (208.20 liter) tank, that would typical 82.5 lbs. (37.42 kg) that sand.

However, tanks through unusual shapes may need less or an ext sand. In part cases, you will certainly only find out just how much sand girlfriend truly require through trial and error.

Saltwater Tank

Most saltwater tanks will perform well through shallow sand beds that room only in between one and two inches deep.

You may end up with a buildup that harmful detritus and greater nitrate and also phosphate levels, though. It is why you must clean the tank as frequently as possible.

As for exactly how much sand you’ll need, at one or two inches deep, anything between 24 and 48 lbs (10.89 and also 21.77 kg) need to suffice for a 55 gallon tank. Again, this number can adjust depending top top the shape of her tank.

If you desire a deep sand bed, it should never be an ext than 6 inches (15.24 cm). This depth is an ext natural and has the many benefits, as questioned earlier. In this case, 143.66 lbs. (65.16 kg) of sand should be enough to obtain your tank filled through the wanted depth the sand.

Note that if the sand you’re making use of is more refined, you may need more. Because that example, a 55 gallon tank through fine sand will certainly need about 62 lbs. (28.12 kg) the sand because that a two-inch substrate. For a 6 customs (15.24 cm) bed, you’ll need around 185 lbs. (83.91 kg) that sand.

How To add Sand to her Fish Tank?

Adding sand to her fish tank isn’t really complicated, but there is a right method to execute it and also a not correct way. We’ll discuss the ideal way, so girlfriend don’t also have to think of any other way.

First, clean the sand the you’ve purchased. No many people realize it, however the dried sand friend buy deserve to be complete of dust. If you put the sand through all that dust in your tank, her water will certainly look ugly and also cloudy. Plus, the dust might contain harmful bacteria that make your pets sick.

To clean the sand:

Pour several of it into a bucket.Fill the bucket partly with water and also stir the sand with your hand.Keep rinsing the water and also stirring it until the water is no much longer cloudy.

Then, follow these steps:

If this is your an initial time setup up the fish tank, scoop the sand with a plastic cup and add it to the bottom. Friend mustn’t scoop and dump large amounts the sand in one area, together this might put stress on the glass and also it have the right to crack or break. Instead, include the sand in even amounts until that the depth girlfriend want.With an already setup tank, you must scoop the sand in a bowl and lower it every the method to the bottom.Gently revolve the bowl over as close to the bottom that the tank as possible. Job-related gently, and don’t simply dump the sand. If girlfriend do, you’ll do the water cloudier than it has to be.

Take a look at this video clip if you desire to see what that looks choose to add water come a fish tank:

55 Gallon Fish Tank Essentials

If you want to have a 55 gallon tank, you should know exactly how to take care of the properly. There are a couple of essentials come have, or her tank i will not ~ be a nice house for her fish.


You must have actually a filter set up on her fish tank to thoroughly clean the water. There is no a filter, her tank will end up being toxic, and your fish can acquire sick and die. While organic filtration is great, it might not be enough for your tank water’s health.

A mechanical filtration system will go a long way towards removing debris from the tank. You have the right to use a sponge filter, under-gravel filter, HOB filter, or canister filter. Her tank likely comes with one currently attached. If not, you require to get one before adding your fish come their new home.

The Penn-Plax Cascade Canister filter is a an excellent choice for big and tiny fish tanks.


Heaters are vital for freshwater and also saltwater tanks. If you planning on having a cold water tank, you won’t need a heater.

You have to ensure the the water’s temperature is perfect because that the fish you want to include to your tank. If you want a ar tank with different fish species, you’ll have actually to arrangement it well so that every one of them room comfortable.


People frequently overlook the importance of lamp in a fish tank. Different fish varieties prefer different intensities of light. As such, you require to develop the best possible lighting that will suit your pets.

Like temperature, girlfriend should adjust the light to fit the fish. If you have various species, you’ll need to strike a balance or save your fish in different tanks.

If you plan to have actually live plants, the irradiate in her tank will become even more important. Plants require light for photosynthesis, and yours may even need details intensities and or wavelength of light.

Fortunately, typical fish tank light is great enough for most setups. However, if you’re uncertain, perform your research around the type of light your fish and also plants need.

Additional Equipment

Fish tanks need other devices as well, such together fish feeders, pumps, and also UV sterilizers. Castle not rather as crucial as lights and also filters yet can quiet make your fish tank a far better place for her fish.

Cleaning devices such as particular vacuums will also make your maintain of the fish tank easier.

Best Fish types for your 55 Gallon Fish Tank

Chances space that you’ve currently decided i beg your pardon fish varieties to include to her tank. But 55 gallons gives you a many space, and also your tank could look a small bare when you’ve stocked it through your fish that choice.

Here space a few ideas to acquire you motivated if you need to include a few more fish to give your tank more life:


These fish come in countless lovely patterns and colors. They space also available in plenty of varieties and also aren’t together territorial or aggressive as some various other fish species. Simply make sure that you don’t placed too many males in her tank.

One male need to be sufficient as the males don’t acquire along as well well. The females are usually lot calmer and tolerate each other better.


These freshwater fish room exotic and colorful. The Cockatoo and Peacock Cichlids are especially popular for adding a little bit of color to fish tanks. However, they can be rather territorial and aggressive, so keep that in mind.

You can additionally consider other, smaller fish types such as Guppies, Zebra Danios, and Neon Tetras. They’ll include some color and life to her tank because that sure.

Clown Fish, Mandarinfish, and Blue Tangs are pretty popular for saltwater tanks, as space Butterflyfish and Damselfish.

Blennies and also Diamond Watchman Gobies are great for making certain the bottom of her tank is constantly busy. They also clean food indigenous the sand, so her tank continues to be neat.

Other Options

You don’t have to limit your tank come fish. You deserve to add tiny snails and also shrimp come the ecosystem together well.

Plants room always great additions, too, i m sorry also add oxygen and shelter come the tank. Dwarf Hairgrass and Hornwort are good plant choices to acquire your tank started with.

How To set Up your 55 Gallon Fish Tank?

When you set up your 55 gallon tank, the is a good idea to start from the bottom and also then occupational your means up.

Here are the steps:

Add her substrate, which in this case, will be your selection of sand. Make sure your sand is clean before adding it to her tank.Add a class of sand to your tank, and make certain to save it even. Include as lot needed sand together you’ve calculated and also keep topping up till it’s as deep as you wish. This shouldn’t take as well long.Once she happy v the sand, girlfriend can include your decorations after you’ve rinsed them off thoroughly. Make certain that you’re happy through the location of all her decorations.It’s time to add the water. If you using regular tap water, treat it with a dechlorinator solution very first to remove all the harmful chlorine.If you want a saltwater tank, girlfriend will have to add artificial saltwater by combining purified water and also sea salt. Because the salt deserve to take a while come dissolve, it can be best to leave it because that a day before filling up your tank.Add all your equipment last. Every piece need to come through installment instructions. If not, you deserve to use the internet to find out specifically what you need to do. Make certain that girlfriend clean everything prior to you add them come the tank.

This educational video clip will present you how to to fill up your fish tank the first time:

Cycling your Tank

Fish waste causes toxic ammonia to be released into the water, which the bacteria in your tank can break down into something less harmful. So, you should make sure your fish tank has the ideal bacteria prior to you include your fish.

This process is known as ‘cycling the tank.’.

You will follow the nitrogen cycle, which method one team of bacteria converts ammonia into nitrite and another group converts that nitrite into nitrate. When ammonia and also nitrite room toxic even at short concentrations, nitrate is not.

Unfortunately, cycling your 55 gallon tank can take between two to eight weeks. Most of the process is automated, though, so you don’t have to do much.

This procedure is also known as ‘fishless cycling.’ that is unethical to execute this cycle v fish in the tank since you proactively expose them to harmful conditions.

Here are the steps:

Start by including an initial 2 to 4 parts every million that ammonia. After that, include one part per million every few days.Use a water trial and error kit to check your water levels and monitor the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.You should notice after two weeks that the nitrite levels walk up. ~ ammonia and nitrate with zero components per million, you have finished the cycle, and you can include your fish.

Adding her Fish

Once you have prepared her tank, you have the right to start including your fish. Friend shouldn’t add too numerous of them in ~ once, or there will certainly be too much waste for her tank’s bacteria to handle.

Here room the steps:

Make certain your fish tank irradiate is switched off. Let the plastic bag containing her fish rise on the tank’s water surface ar for around ten minutes. This will certainly let your brand-new fish gain used come the temperature.Add fifty percent a cup that the tank water to the bag every 15 minutes. Execute this for an hour, and also the fish will have actually a safe and comfortable transition.Use a net to eliminate your fish indigenous its bag and release it right into its brand-new home. To stop pollutants the can cause diseases, carry out not let any type of of the bag’s water go into the fish tank.Leave her tank’s light off for the first couple of hours, as the procedure can be stressful because that the fish. Gift in the dark will certainly let lock relax until they acquire used come their brand-new home.

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Final Thoughts

Now friend know how much sand you require for her 55 gallon tank. All you need now is discover the perfect fish for your tank and start prepare for their arrival.