“ Manufacturer: Pets at Home / Type: Aquarium Equipment - Sand Gravel „
Over the past few years, I have been changing the gravel in my aquarium quite a lot. This is mostly down to how I want it to look rather than what better suited my aquarium friends, although this isn't how aquarium gravel should be chosen.
Aquarium gravel is important as it holds a large percentage of your tanks bacteria and it is also essential for most plants in the aquarium.
I switched to aquarium sand from black gravel for a change of scenery, but then I also found I was able to house many new tropical fish in my tank which wouldn't have been suitable beforehand. Fish such as the Kuhli loach which need sand preferably was a fish I became fond of with the change.
However I also found many problems with switching to sand. The sand itself is fine, its the whole 'sand in the aquarium' which caused me problems in many areas and because of this, I am now back to my black gravel.
Pets at homes aquarium sand..........
When I purchased my aquarium sand from pets at home, there were two options available for me. There was a darker and a lighter variety of the sand and I went for the lighter version, as I wanted a large change from my black gravel.
The lightness of the sand changed however as soon as it got wet and I ended up regretting getting so stressed over choosing between the two shades of sand, as the sand I chose was now dark anyway!
The best thing about buying the sand from an aquatics or pet store is that it usually ready to use. The packaging does state to wash/rinse before use which is common sense really, but other than that there isn't any long soaking or scrubbing necessary.
The prices of aquarium sand at pets at home usually come in two sizes.
The 8kg bag which I chose is currently sold at £11.99 which isn't bad and will be suitable for most smaller sizes. However if like me you have a medium-large tank you may need more than one bag. I ended up needing two bags but fortunately I guessed this before leaving the store so I didn't have to make two trips.
Other gravels also come in bags in 2kg for £4.29 and there was sand in this size available when I purchased mine.
When getting my sand home, I instantly set about rinsing it. It is best to split the sand up into smaller portions to ensure a thorough rinse.
The rinse is mostly to remove any dust and very fine pieces of sand which would cloud up your water or cause harm to your aquarium.
To be safe, I rinsed my sand portions in hot water, but not too hot to ensure I could still get my hands in to thumble around in the sand.
When rinsing it is clear the washing of the sand is necessary as I found quite a large amount of 'foggy' water I removed after each rinse.
After all the sand is rinsed, it will still be wet. I was a little concerned adding wet sand to my already mature aquarium as the water I rinsed the sand in wasn't dechlorinated.
Against my concerns, and basically as I didn't know what else I could do, I added the sand and thankfully lost none of my fish.
When changing gravel it is best to do a water test to ensure the water condition isn't effected. I tend to avoid large water changes for a little while after to let the bacterial filtration build back up.
In the aquarium.........
When I first added this pets at home aquarium sand to my tank, I loved it.
After the cloudiness of the water settled, I re-added my plants and left the lights off to let the fish settle down.
The sand really did give the tank a brighter look and it looked great among my plants and wood. The fish in my aquarium enjoyed grazing among the sand and my kribensis cichlids even started showing signs of spawning, using the sand to build their nest!
The plants strangely didn't get on with the sand which is one of my reasons for changing back to gravel. The roots started going black which I guessed was due to a drop in nutrients in the new sand.
If you have or are planning on having a planted tank, the sand isn't suitable on its own.
I now have eco complete, a plant substrate underneath some black gravel from pets at home. A plant substrate IS essential for plants which have roots.
Plants such as java fern and anubias shouldn't be buried, therefore won't need a plant substrate. However plants such as the Amazon sword and crypt will need some sort of nutrients in their gravel. I have tried adding plant nutrient tablets but these didn't work for me so I wont recommend them.
Added liquid nutrients may also be necessary and if you have a planted tank, a light is a must have.
When using my sand, after a few days the fish poop began to show.... And here comes my main reason to ditching the sand!
All the dirt, poop, dead plants.. Everything started to gather on the sand and in a few days my tank looked so untidy! I found myself having to siphon the tank just about every day as it always looked untidy.
With black gravel, the mess is practically invisible!
The sand also affected my filter; when it came to cleaning my filter, the casing became very hard to remove as sand had gathered inside. The sponges also became clogged with sand which couldn't have done it any good.
So after all, sand isn't for me and now I am left with two bags of aquarium sand which is sat in my room doing nothing! What a waste.
Overall, I would recommend this sand for fish keepers who NEED sand for their aquarium friends. People keeping a cichlid tank and in need of sand; pets at home sand does the job.
I have heard of people using play sand, or beach sand for their aquarium but for me, I like to stick to specially prepared and treated sand for the aquarium.
If you are thinking of switching to aquarium sand, consider that it could mean more work for you in the long run and it isn't suitable alone for a planted tank.
I will still give this sand a 5 stars, as it does what is intended. It didn't cause any problems for me in terms of water conditions. My reasons for no longer the sand is down to personal preference.
I may try sand again in one of my nano tanks I am planning to buy as I will just be keeping shrimp in those, so the poop shouldn't be a problem.
Thank you for reading, I also post on Ciao
I have tried a variety of gravels in our fish tank at home, but my favourite has to be the Pets at Home Sand Mix Aquarium gravel. I know you can get all sorts of fancy coloured gravel these days but when it comes to the sand/gravel setting at the bottom of the fish tank I do prefer a natural look and that is where this sand mix comes in.
The sand mix aquarium gravel cost me £10.99 per 8kg bag but I've found this has lasted us around a year, so I don't think that's bad value at all, as you get tons in a bag.
The sand mix is appealing to me because it's natural in colour, and although it's suitable for tropical, marine and cold water tanks, I like the fact that it reminds me of hot sandy beaches and suits my tropical fish well. I've found that it's far better than the other gravel I've used in the past as the particles are finer which makes securing any plants or flowing decorations much easier.
According to the packet, other plus points include that the sand mix has a colourfast resin coating to reduce dye leakage into your tanks water - I haven't noticed any transferring from the natural sandy coloured mix to the water at all. It also doesn't affect the pH balance of your tank, which is good as some fish can be very sensitive to changes in the acidity levels in their tanks.
The sand mix not only looks good but my fish enjoy rooting around in it for any bits of leftover fish flake food - it's lightweight so they can move it around more easily than larger gravel stones.
Overall, this is my favourite sand mix to use as a base for our tank - we have enough bright ornaments in there without having to have brightly coloured gravel, and much prefer this product's natural look.
I am not very much of a people person, I love animals and my pets are hugely important to me. I prefer the little cute fluffy pets, but my other half is a keen fish-keeper, and used to breed them as well. Since we moved in together he's introduced me to keeping fish as pets and I now have my very own fish tank! I have a Pets at Home store within only a 10 minute walk of my house, so this is usually my first choice for pet products. I chose to decorate the base of the tank with this natural sand mix, and topped it with a small layer of gravel. This sand mix aquarium gravel can be bought from the brick and mortar stores, or online at www.petsathome.com at the price of £10.99 for an 8kg bag.
Pets at Home say: "Sand Mix Aquarium Gravel 8kg by Pets at Home is the ideal way to enhance the appearance of your aquarium for creative and striking tank displays.
Sand Mix Aquarium Gravel 8kg by Pets at Home is:
Great for creating decorative in-tank displays;
An excellent planting medium, thanks to its finer stone size;
Suitable for all aquarium setups including coldwater, tropical and marine;
The colourfast resin coating will significantly reduce dye leakage into your tanks water;
Will not affect the pH balance of your tank;
Made from selected silicate aggregates."
The aquarium set up I have is a simple hexagonal column tank, which has been set up to create the correct environment for keeping tropical fish. I have limited it to keeping a small number of fish, so they can get the most out of their space within the tank and I currently have a Siamese fighting fish, 2 marble angelfish and four little bandit corydoras.
Before introducing the fish to the tank, I made sure that I had it completely set up and allowed the water to stand for seven days in advance. This allows the tank to settle and regulate the oxygen levels of the water. The sand mix base is the most important bit of the tank decoration, as it will secure everything else in place and provide a floor to the tank.
The sand mix is made up of very light, fine particles, and you get a large amount in the 8kg bag. My tank has a layer several inches thick at the bottom, and this is great as it allows your fish to explore and they can push it around if they want to dig and forage. It also provides a bit of variety, especially if you top or mix with gravel as I have done. This gives the tank a really natural feel and looks lovely. The sand gives a nice simple look to the tank, and this allows you to dress it with other decorations to create a number of different looks. This would look great with pieces of bogwood or stone columns for a natural scene. I have used large pieces of slate as a backdrop, and then brightened it up with exotic looking plants and fabulous coloured lights, which give a really eerie and beautiful setting. I also have a ruined building sculpture at the foreground which looks lovely against the sand to give a sunken Atlantis feeling.
The sand provides a sturdy base for placing decorative ornaments on as it settles down evenly once you've poured it into the tank. You can smooth it down as required, or build it up into a slope or mound once it's wet. My decorations have stayed in place perfectly thanks to the sand providing support. It is also easy to secure plants, as you can bury the bottom of them under the sand and then pack the sand in tightly around it to hold it in place. Even with the air pump flowing and being knocked around by the fish, my plants have held their ground and it keeps them much more steady than just using gravel.
I would definitely recommend Pets at Home sand mix aquarium gravel - it looks gorgeous, gives a steady base and is good value for the amount you are getting. This really allows you to create a unique and exciting environment that your fish will love to use and you will love to look at. A great product all round!
For those who fancy seeing how this looks in real life, you can see a photo of my tank set up here: http://tinypic.com/r/4uz1ia/7