Mixing Black and White Sand Aquarium: 101 Guide

Mixing Black and White Sand Aquarium

Our pet fish deserve a great place to live too. Covering the glass bottom with black and white sand is a great option for that. 

After buying your preferred sand, it can be confusing to put it in order. Well, don’t worry as we’re here for you. 

So, how should you be mixing black and white sand?

To mix black and white sand, you have to wash it first. Wash the sand separately with water 6 to 7 times. After that, lay the black sand first on the bottom. Then add a layer of white sand on top of it. Lastly, put down another layer of black sand. However, use one or two inches of sand per gallon. 

Well, it’s a brief answer only. To understand the process and advantages more clearly, read till the end!   

Start reading here.

Mixing Black and White Sand Aquarium

How to Mix Black and White Sand?

There are many types of sand out there. Among them, the black and white sand mix will give your aquarium an attractive salt and pepper look. It is one of the most popular black-and-white sand aquarium ideas out there. 

To do so, you need to follow these easy steps. We have mentioned the steps below. Follow them in sequence!

Step 1: Pick Your Preferred Sand 

There are different sizes of sand available. Usually, white sand particles are much larger than black sand. 

So, while choosing black sand, ensure it is not too small compared to white sand. 

If you get too fine black sand, you will need a huge amount. It is advised to use one or two inches of sand per gallon of water. Also, you need more black sand than white sand. 

Step 2: Wash the Sands Separately

Before putting the sand in your aquarium, you need to wash it properly. First, dispose of the aquarium water that is already there. Secondly, run water through it at a high speed with the help of a nozzle. 

This will ensure the elimination of any kind of dirt very easily. Finally, simply drain the water and repeat the process 6 to 7 times until the water becomes clear. 

If you don’t wash it clearly, your aquarium will look cloudy the minute you pour water. This is also a good way to learn how to keep aquarium sand white.

It is advised to do it outside of your home. So that your waterline is not clogged. A yard or a garden is the perfect spot to do it.

Step 3: Mix the Sand 

For mixing the sand, put a layer of black sand first. Then, add white sand to it. After that, put down another layer of black sand and mix them gently. 

You do not have to put them evenly. You can also make hills and slopes for fun and attractiveness. It really does add some aesthetic points to the tank.

There are a number of advantages to this. I’ve mentioned some of them below. Take a look!

The Advantages of Mixing Black and White Sand

Black and white sand together is not only for the visual features. Here are some special advantages of having a white and black sand aquarium


The mix adds a rich and vibrant look to your aquarium. The colors of the fish stand out more clearly. Especially if there is minimal plant growth in your aquarium. 

Additionally, white sand effectively reflects light, giving your aquarium a cheery appearance.

The biggest advantage of it is that the black sand can easily hide any dirt and algae. 

For Plants and Fish 

The mix is great for fish that need light. Also, those who are used to a dark environment with heavy plants. 

White sand prevents dirt, algae, and other surface-accumulating detritus from affecting the tank’s functionality. In addition, it is created with bacteria. 

This aids in removing waste products like nitrite from the tank and stabilizes the aquarium’s atmosphere.

Nutrients, water, minerals, and other essential elements can be easily absorbed. Also delivered by it with greater efficiency. 

By using these nutrients, you can ensure the freshest environment inside the aquarium.

Easy to Clean 

Some may say that sand is hard to clean. However, sand has a better texture with no cracks. This means that there will not be any waste attached to the cracks of it. 

The black sand hides dirt due to its color. On the other hand, the white sand is easy to wash and clean. 

So these are the advantages of mixing black and white sand in your aquarium. Still, if it is not mixed correctly, it might produce bacterial pockets. 

You need to keep the pockets for the greater good. To find out more, keep reading!

Things to Consider Before Mixing the Sands

Before mixing the sand, you need to look into these aspects. The wrong choice may prove harmful to your aquarium. 

Type of Fish

Adding fish after changing the water may be okay, but you have to make sure that you are using the appropriate sand. The sand should be compatible with the needs of the fish that are kept there. Various species have various requirements. 

For example, African cichlids and goldfish prefer to sift through the sand to eat. This implies that they will eat anything they can sift. It includes sand grains, which could clog easily if they are the wrong size.

pH Levels 

The sand should have a pH that is neutral. The basic pH of the tank’s water shouldn’t be impacted by the sand’s qualities. It also should not change. 

If the initial structure of water is changed, the level of carbon in the water will grow. This can damage the ecosystem of the tank. 

Silicate in Sand 

The white and black sand aquarium setup is gorgeous and effective, but you need to be careful. Sand offered on the market frequently contains the ingredient silicate. 

This element promotes the growth of brown algae in the aquarium. Therefore, when choosing sand, the surface of the sand should be carefully inspected. So that you can help limit its development.

Grain Size 

It is an essential factor for aquariums. Greater air impregnation into the sand is possible with larger grains. 

They also create conditions for a lot of debris to accumulate on the surface. Therefore, they are more suited for species that favor digging burrows in the sand. 

Smaller sands facilitate the waste’s leeching away from the tank. Furthermore, they require less care because they don’t gather dirt as rapidly. Space is frequently limited by these tiny particles. 

This gives the tank a tight and confined feeling. This is why a lot of people go for medium-sized sand. 


How often should you change the gravel in a fish tank?

You should change the gravel in a fish tank once every two to three months. You might be able to skip cleaning the gravel for several months. Only if you have a healthy and balanced tank. However, you should clean it at the given time regardless of the efficiency of the tank.

How often should you replace the substrate?

There is no numeric answer to how often the substrate should be replaced. Actually, you don’t need to replace your substrate all that frequently. It’s all thanks to recent filter technologies. Sometimes many years can pass before you sense the urge to replace the substrate.

How many hours a day should an aquarium light be on?

It takes 10 to 12 hours of light per day to meet the needs of plants and animals. Well, lighting can be made simpler by installing a timer. Or you can also get a device with integrated timing. You can just set the timer and forget about it. It will turn on/off automatically. 

The Final Words

This is everything from us. Hopefully, now you know the procedure of mixing black and white sand aquarium.

Always try to keep the ratio intact. Messing up the ratio may cause difficulties in maintaining and cleaning the tank.

Wishing you all the best!