About Aragonite Sand
When some aquarists say Live Sand, they may actually be referring to Aragonite Sand. Like Live Sand, Aragonite is a calcium based sand that will help buffer the aquarium against swings in pH. The grain size of Aragonite is typically a little bit larger than traditional sugar live sand. Live aquarium sand can be used in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums, but is typically used in reef tanks. The deep sand bed method requires a fine sugar sand so that anaerobic bacteria can form to help break down nitrates. Live sand can also be used in a shallow sand bed, but most hobbyists use aragonite instead.
Saltwater Aquarium Aragonite Sand
Aragonite has slightly larger grains, so it is ideal for shallow sand beds because it is less likely to create a sand storm if you are using high flow powerheads. Yet, aragonite sand is still fine enough that it can be sifted by different critters like snails, gobies and shrimp. The most popular brand of aragonite is CaribSea Seaflor Special Grade Reef Sand. This has been an industry standard for many years. Recently, they launched an Ocean Direct line of aragonite, but the quality does not match the Seaflor Special Grade. You may also see this sand sold wet as Arag-Alive. The added benefits of purchasing wet aragonite sand is that you will not need to rinse it before adding it to your aquarium and it will provide some additional bacteria to jump start your cycle and filtration.