Black Sand Cichlid Tank: Why Should We Go For It?

One of the greatest substrates for aquariums is black sand for cichlids. It protects the bottom from pH issues and is a fantastic substrate for your fish. Additionally, it offers a more natural appearance than white sand, which looks overly brilliant.

If you want to find more reasons why you should purchase a black sand cichlid tank, keep scrolling down to see.

Black Sand Cichlid Tank: Is It Good For African Cichlid?

100% Yes.

It is essential to provide your fish with the best environment because different types of fish will need different habitats. As for the African cichlids, black sand is a better substrate than other types. 

African cichlids like to move sand and dig into substrates. So if you use substrates with bigger sizes like gravels or rocks, this will restrict their movement and partially limit their normal functioning. 

Worse yet, the big gravel might stuck in their mouth. Although the chances of fish choking on gravel are pretty far-fetched, you should not risk it.

Cichlid Tank

Features Of Black Sand Cichlid Tank

It would help to consider a few qualities when selecting black sand for the tank. The qualities of the ideal black sand are as follows:


Black sand’s hue is the aspect to take into account. This sand is black, as the name implies. It guarantees excellent juxtaposition with the cichlids’ vivid colors, giving a clear vision of the aquarium.

The pH level

It is important to know the sand’s pH level. Quality black sand ought to be neutral and shouldn’t affect the pH of the aquarium’s water. Ensure the black sand you purchase won’t alter the water’s chemical components in the tank.


Another crucial feature of black sand for examination is particle size. The particles should be in small size to minimize the distance between one another. This way, food and waste residues can’t blend into them, keeping the sand clean for the fish to dig. But it also must be big enough for the air to flow easily.

Chemical Composition

The black sand you use should contain no contaminants or chemicals. Sand might include silica since brown algae can grow there. Black sand will encourage the development of bacteria because it will aid in destroying the protein.


What Kind Of Black Sand Cichlid Is Good To Use?

Some of the black sand brands we highly recommend to you include:

CaribSea Aquatics Eco-Complete African Cichlid Black Sand

The ideal option for you is CaribSea Aquatics Eco-Complete African Cichlids Black Sand if you have multicolored fish that appear best against a dark background. 

Even though it resembles fine gravel rather than pure sand, it accomplishes its purpose and is beautiful nonetheless.

It preserves the pH the African cichlid needs and prevents its deterioration by continuously adding minerals. 

It also has an extremely high porous structure, which enhances the biocapacity of your aquarium. To explain, sand facilitates the development of bacteria that are helpful in the removal of toxins and nitrogenous wastes.

Additionally, it has live bacteria that detoxify the water in the aquarium, streamlining the process of cycling a new tank.

Although the directions state that there is no requirement for a second rinse, many customers find that sand cleaning yields far superior and faster outcomes with purer water.

Black Sand

Nature’s Oceans African Cichlid Substrate

A combination of white and black granules 6 to 8 mm in size makes up the African Cichlid Substrate from Nature’s Oceans. 

It is a natural product encircled by a biofilm made of live bacteria that initiates the cycling process and eliminates nitrogenous waste to provide you with a steady tank.

It has the power to prevent bio foaming, or the unwelcome development of algae and undesired microbes in the aquarium, in addition to its neutralizing capabilities.

Furthermore, it has autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria to maintain a proper inorganic/organic ratio. 

The product has mixotrophic organisms that degrade organic waste to produce inorganic ammonia, which is then broken down by photosynthetic organisms to less hazardous nitrite and nitrate.

It also expands the contact area that external aerobic bacteria can colonize, improving tank water filtration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do African Cichlids Prefer Gravel Or Sand?

Sand and gravel make up the majority of substrates found on tank bottoms. These two substrates are almost identical, and most cichlid owners are curious about which is best. African cichlids, on the other hand, enjoy sand as their foundation.

Most aquarium keepers think that it is the best option for their fish. Sand will improve the pleasure of the cichlids in your aquarium because sand pools are their natural habitat.

Furthermore, sand bottom includes tiny particles serving as a food supplement for cichlids seems to be another benefit. Sand can be an ideal place for some creatures to establish a nest. 

It is more likely that food and plants would float in the sand, where cichlids can straightforwardly get them.

However, a disadvantage of sand is that it cannot allow water to pass through them easily as gravel does. As a result, this might promote the expansion of bacteria and amoebas.

African Cichlid

Why Do Cichlids Eat Sand?

You will notice that sometimes cichlids consume the substrate and spit it out – this is typical behavior for cichlids and should not raise any red flags.

Cichlids enjoy making deep holes in the sand where they can establish nests and hunt for food. Some also require modest quantities of sand in their diets to help with digestion.

Why Do African Cichlids Rub Against Sand?

The so-called flickering behavior occurs when the cichlid rubs against the sand or furniture in the tank. This usually occurs when there is a problem with the aquarium water or an infection.

Ich sickness is one ailment that could make cichlids run out independently. This ubiquitous protozoan parasite infects fish and produces cysts that resemble salt grains. The cichlid may therefore attempt to scratch against the sand to remove the parasite.

Velvet infection is the second fish illness. The only difference between this parasite and Ich is that it forms smaller cysts resembling sugar. The parasitic fish will do the same by rubbing up against sand or ornaments in the tank.

It’s important to remember that cichlids, like African species, rub themselves against the sand to breed. Therefore, scratching on sand or gravel also signifies that Cichlids are ready to lay eggs.


In conclusion, there are numerous reasons you should choose the black sand cichlid tank, as it has a lot of advantages we have mentioned above.

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