Gravel Color - can it affect fish?

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Fazzafaris

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Aug 12, 2003
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Guys,

I was considering getting some nice looking white gravel for an aquarium I am going to set-up soon. However, last night I was browsing in one of my books and it suggested that gravel colors have been known to affect the colors of the fish themselves e.g. lightly colored gravel can make the fish colors fade. Anyone care to comment on this? I thought white gravel would really show my fish off to the full, not make them fade.

TIA
 

pugwash

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Mar 16, 2005
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Have to agree that gravel colour does affect the colour of fish.

I have a tank with Firemouth's in (and dithers) which has light river gravel and flourite underneath this for my plants. Whilst the FM's effectively re-arranged the tank a little, they did mix the light coloured river gravel with the dark flourite, and now the bottom is a lot darker. Since their re-arrangement, they have coloured up darker now too.

Same can be said of most fish ime.

Personally, I'd prefer darker substrates as it enhances the inhabitants colours, and also makes them less stressed too.
 

melissa3

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Mar 28, 2007
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Western MA
I'm not quite sure about this, but I've heard that some fish prefer "darker" gravel, as opposed to light (and vice versa) so perhaps the fish's faded color was due to the fact that they weren't comfortable with the brightness of the gravel.

In one of my tanks I have white sand, and the colors of the fish in that tank are VERY vibrant, however my Gouramis prefer to stay on the darker colored flourite. But in my 29gal I just have dark standard gravel, and the colors of those fish are kind of drab in comparison....
 

NeonJulie

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Nov 13, 2006
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You wouldn't recognize the neons as neons in my white plastic bin. They look positively white. As does my Oto. Over the black substrate of the main tank, he was absolutely dark.

I had white gravel and made the mistake of keeping a handful of it. Every water change, more white rocks would pop up and lay across the black ones. Even a ratio of 1 white on 5 black rocks, and the fish washed out, and you could see through their bodies. Really annoyed me. Eventually I took it all down and picked out every white rocked I could find, more than 200.

I actually have a mix of some brown in with my black to make it look more natural. Plus, it darkens the tank and some species like neons and Otos don't like bright.

The white rocks with my Eclipse hood light was like a beacon. *lol* Even now... I want my tank darker than it is. :(
 

rsanz

The Peacock Gudgeon Guy
Aug 22, 2006
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If I ever upgrade to a larger tank, which I would like to in the next month or two, then I am definitely going to go with a darker gravel. I have white gravel now, and while my Cardinals are bright, my Ram is still drab to the point where he hardly looks like a Ram. I've had him for over 3 months now, so I would say that he's acclimated. It's got to be the gravel that is washing him out.

The whole tank is bright, and I'm sure teh fish don't appreciate it. I might go with black, but it looks pretty unnatural. Maybe just a more natural brownish color. I think even just that would make a difference.
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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I have white pool filter sand in 1 tank & the only time the fish look good is with the lights off, just room light. Still looking for a nice tan sand, not too fine.
 

davexstumpe

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Mar 8, 2007
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i've got white gravel and 3 GBRs, and i've noticed that the overhead light has a lot to do with it.

I just recently got a new hood from a friend and left the light bulb he gave me in there and the GBRs look amazing now. Lots of neon blue, red, orange, yellow, pink belly females.
 
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