Aquaforest Bio Sand Marine Substrate
AF Bio Sand

Live sands have been available for a long time, and share similar formats, packaging, and benefits. Clear bags contain bacteria covered aragonite sand and saltwater, and the sand/water/bacteria mix is simply poured into a new marine aquarium to help start the cycling process. Individual bags differ from being slightly damp to containing actual water, but they all should be treated the same way.

Aquaforest has done live sand differently however, by shipping dry sand in the bag along with two bottles, one containing bacteria and one containing food for the bacteria. 

Different too is how you use it. Instead of opening the bag and pouring straight into your aquarium, you open the bag, wash the sand in RODI, take 1 gallon of salt water, pour both bottles into the water, then the water/bacteria mix into the bag containing the sand. 

AF Bio Sand

The differences don’t stop there however as then you need to leave the opened bag of sand, saltwater, and bacteria for 24 hours at 77-82f for the bacteria to multiply, before adding it to the tank. 

Why the Polish marine specialists chose to take this route is not known to us at this point. Unlike other live sands, the process prevents it from being instantly ready to use. And if you need to add tropical temperature seawater to it why can’t you just pour the sand, bacteria and food into your actual tank and let the bacteria multiply there? There would be more gaseous exchange there and your rockwork could get a useful bacteria coating too? 

Aquaforest has already mastered nitrifying, denitrifying, and probiotic bacteria that can even be transported in their dry salt mixes, so maybe conventional live sands are patent protected or, they’ve tried and tested their way and found it to be beneficial? Either way, it’s intriguing and worth considering if live sand is one of your go-to maturation methods.