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Background, substrate colours and tank position..your thoughts..your observations

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I recently moved my mbuna from a tank with a black background with river sand substrate, to a tank with a light blue background and a play sand substrate.

The lighting is unchanged - exact same LED light, and tanks are same in water volume - slightly different tank dimensions - one is wider and the other a bit taller. The rocks are also exactly the same - just a different configuration.

I have noticed that my fish seem to be less skittish and are swimming around looking far more relaxed in tank with blue background. (See vid here:

) They have only been in tank for 24 hours and I expected there to be territorial disputes over the new rock configuration, but this has been very minor...far less than the usual spats and fights.

I was planning on a black background for their new tank ...now I'm not so sure...I like the new chilled look my fish have...it is like I have different fish...This is more noticeable as before I changed tanks there were fights going on as several of my females are maturing...these, for the moment at least, seem to have stopped.

I like the black backgrounds because it makes the colours of fish pop...but the blue is bouncing more light around and revealing more detail in rocks and fish than I thought would be the case.

Sometimes with the black background it is like half the tank is in darkness (especially with all the rocks) and so it can make it difficult to always see what is going on in the tank (harder for cleaning too) ....I also wonder if being able to see more is making the fish feel more relaxed....no aggro fish suddenly appearing out of the dark THOUGHTS???.. Looking at footage of Lake Malawi it would seem that the water is pretty clear/good visibility for the most part...this is one reason given as to why the fish are so brightly coloured - so that they can identify themselves and also identify friend or foe from further away.

I like white/cream sand substrate as it looks more natural for the fish...and they like it. However, I am liking play sand more than river sand as it is easier to identify mess when doing cleaning/vac...sometimes it is hard to tell if the small pebbles in the river sand are pebbles or pellets..and so you suck up your sand....the play sand is also lighter in colour and is bouncing more light around the tank.

To add even more mystery to the change in behaviour, the fish are now also in an area where they get far more people traffic going past front of tank and the light from the window means we are casting shadows onto the tank as we walk past...normally this would freak my fish out...but they are barely flinching...I thought it would be the opposite...I thought I would never see them as they would be hiding all the time...but no, they are cruising around seemingly carefree...

What are peoples thoughts on background, substrate colours and Tank position...

And has anyone else noticed changes in the behaviour of their fish due to background, substrate colour or tank position?

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