By Bob Goemans
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Bob Goemans corresponds with Aarhus (Denmark)

Aarhus (Denmark) writes...

Hi Bob,

I’m writing in regards to re-seeding and/or replacing the sand in my aquarium, as I do not have a local fish store that has any live sand of any value. I do however live very close to the ocean (in Scandinavia). I was therefore thinking: Could it be an idea to take sand from the local ocean/beach here in Scandinavia and use it as live sand in my aquarium? The ocean here is (as you probably know) MUCH colder than that surrounding a coral reef, so one might suspect the critters in the sand would not do well in a reef tank.

I would also like to re-stock the sand bed with copepods and worms on a yearly basis. So I am looking for a supply of the small animals that are so important for the function of the sand bed. Is it possible to get these by mail order?

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

Kind regards


Aarhus, Denmark

Bob replies...

Dear Peer,

Thanks for your letter and wonder if there are other marine aquarium hobbyists nearby, and if so and willing, they might give you a small amount of their live aquarium sand. It could then be mixed with dead sand, and would help hasten the cycling processes.

If there are no local sources for ‘live’ aquarium sand, there are products that will foster/hasten cycling on the market and they are available from web-based aquarium products companies such as; or and they may ship internationally, so check them out. However it goes, slowly increase bioload over the coming weeks to allow the colonization of bacteria to complete over the coming couple of months.

As for local beach sand, the classes of bacterium would be the same, yet species would be different because of the low local temperatures, therefore no benefits in hastening the cycle would be gained by using local sand. Furthermore, I’m also hesitant to use local beach sand, as it can be a collection device for human wastes/organic matter.

And yes, these so-called ‘Clean-up Crews’ are available through some aquarium Web companies. I would search “aquarium, clean-up crews” and see where it takes you. Yet, I would believe international shipments of live ‘bugs/worms/bacteria’ is no doubt frowned upon by many governmental entities.

Hope this helps,



Live Sand

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