Deep sand beds, those 4-5 inches or more deep, can be great tools for naturally removing nitrate from our aquariums. However, they have several drawbacks that prevent their widespread use. For starters, the sand displaces water volume and shrinks the usable size of the aquarium. Aesthetically, the sand accumulates algae and other visible substance between itself and the glass, forcing aquarium keepers to look at the unsightly “stuff” growing in the sand. The last drawback that I will discuss, and the most important in my opinion, is the fact that deep sand beds can crash. As the sand bed gets older, it begins to decline in its ability to remove nitrate, and can crash causing massive losses in any aquarium.