Product Type: Pets At Home fish accessories
Newest Review: ... really, but other than that there isn't any long soaking or scrubbing necessary. Price.......... The prices of aquarium sand at pets ... more
It's sand, what more can I say?
Pets at Home Sand Mix Aquarium Gravel
Member Name: abbiej1711
Pets at Home Sand Mix Aquarium Gravel
Advantages: Decent price. It's sand.
Disadvantages: Shows up mess in the aquarium a lot. Gathers into my filter.
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
Summary: Not for me, but no problems with the sand itself.
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