So, Iv'e been a long time visitor to this forum but haven't ever quite worked up the nerve to post anything. I absolutely love looking through the tank journals on here and with some drastic changes happening to two of my tanks I just couldn't resist finally putting up something.
I hope no one is turned off because this is for goldfish. I really think they are amazing fish and a goldfish planted tank is something I strive to get right one day. So no better time than now to give it a real go!
My story starts like many. Got my first goldfish at age 7. Kept 2 fancies in a bowl and watched them grow... and grow... and grow. Realized somewhere along the line that I would need a tank and as fate would have it, my neighbor moved out one day leaving her 30g tank behind. I kept my 2 fish in there until my luck finally ran out and I lost my 2 goldfish that were about 8 years old, to fin-rot, which I had no idea about at the time.
I had a brief stint at keeping a tropical tank but was totally overwhelmed at the time and it failed miserably. You know, the usual beginner stuff: 5 of each fish, pea gravel, no research and of course... a freaking common pleco, all handed to me by the smiling LFS person.
I continued to keep goldfish that lived for the next 4 years until I moved country. A few months after the move, in a state of deep depression and cultural shock, I bought myself a beautiful 54 gal corner tank that has been running for about 5 years now. I originally purchased 4 fancies from Petsmart and 2 survived long term. And to my utter horror looking back, I was talked into getting another freaking common pleco (why are these sold???)
So, being the pushover that I am, what started as a trip to Petco to buy a bristlenose pleco ended up with me bringing home Moochie, my now 3 1/2 yr old, 13" pooping machine. So, picture if you will, a 13" pleco and two 5" five yr old goldfish in a 54g... Oh I knew better, and am ashamed that I couldn't get my act together faster to rehome everyone. Life got messy, money got messy, water changes got messy. One day, in a feirce moment of guilt I did the worst thing I could have done. I overcleaned the tank, caused an ammonia and nitrite spike and lost my 5 year old Ryukin who was absolutely stunning. He must have been almost 9" including tail.
It was the last straw.
I guess this is where this really begins. And I apologize to anyone not interested in my backstory
I looked around on craigslist and finally found a pretty decent deal for a 120g tank. Its the 48L x 24W type. Would have loved the 6' one but MAN is that a long tank to fit. For $550 I got:
Reef-ready Tank with built in overflow
Stand and Hood
Sump (little dodgy - I'll show pic later)
48" coralife light with 2 x 23W T5 bulbs.
A broken moonlight
Some weird UG filters
A good number of bioballs and filter floss
Sump return pump
Some random sized peices of glass to cover aquarium under the hood
and a surprising 3 buckets of black pea-sized gravel.
There was probably more but I can't really remember.
So I am actually already 4-5 weeks into this setup but have only found time to sit down now to start the journal.
Here is the tank in its very desperate state right before I re-homed my pleco :'( I really loved watching him. What an awesome fish. Just wish they didn't get so big!
And here is my pleco Moochie trying to pretend he is a log
Oh wow, the water looks really bad in this photo
I should have grabbed a pic before. Those were taken after I had hauled out like 30 Anubias plants. Those things grew like some infestation. Who knew my crazy high light with no co2 would grow such nice BBA and
So here is the tank and its equipment. Sorry for the bad photos and the reflections of my entire existence in the tank glass
Funny, doesn't this sump look JUST like a ... CAT LITTER BOX?!?!?!
So I go over to the guy's house to look at this tank that conveniently
didnt supply a photo of the much talked about sump... Anyway, my face was priceless. But what do I know? (first time learning about sumps) It's fine, the thing actually works pretty darn well and I'm all for some DIY ingenuity
Of course there was the hitch in the deal like you would expect. The only thing is that the sump cannot be easily removed from under the tank. You have to take off one of the entire doors and its hinge peice to fit the sump tank under... oh well. With the new and improved cat-litter design
I have a handy lid and reaching in to grab filter media isn't too bad. I might have to give the sump a make-over in the foreseeable future though.
Here is the overflow section. I was very nervous in getting into this sump business. But I knew that my HOB days needed to come to an end before it led to an early retirement to this hobby....
On that note, I purchased my first external cannister filter, a fluval 306? 406? Oh well, it's amazing and I am pretty sure my remaining goldfish, Frederick, appreciates the filtration upgrade untill he can be moved to the 125g.
The pump return outlet with hole for breaking the siphon on pump turn off. Speaking of which, SO glad I tested that out as our circuit tripped like 3 days after I had this up and running. It works like a charm.
This was me trying to silicon the pipes back in as the seller had removed them when I picked up the tank. Did a panic sump-research-101 at work that day to try get my brain cells educated enough to get this thing put back together!!! Thank goodness for my recent work cube move to the quiet corner by the IT guy...muhahahaha...my supervisors can't see what I have up on my other screen anymore. Don't worry, I do my work...kinda lol.
Aaaah yes, the beautiful sound of running water, the gurgle down the in-line, the power of the pump, the torrent of overflowing water ONTO MY FLOOR!!!!
Never will I forget the first day I tried to start this sump. Yes, I knew it was going to be tricky but wow. After about 3 hours of frustration, I just could not get the system to run without overflowing the display tank. And the guy had obviously been running it before with the same equipment. The problem was that the return pump was emptying the sump faster than water was falling down from the display tank. After much dispair and more research, I made a trip to home depot and purchased a ball valve. Popped it into my return line and adjusted the water flow until the sump equalized. I honestly never believed it would ever work. But work it did
Previous owner had a pretty neat electrical setup inside the cabinet. I really appreciated it and he even has a nice light inside there too. Helps so much when working under there.
I placed in the gravel. I was thinking of trying black for a very long time and so took it as some sign from the heavens when the seller happily handed me 4 Home Depot buckets worth of black gravel. It made a nice layer and I quite enjoyed the look.
Now on to the scape
I usually sketch these things out, being the artist that I am, but with some time on my hands I decided to just try it out in the tank and see what I could come up with. I took a gamble and purchased some sand blasted wood off of a site that deals with decoration. I wrote to the lady there and asked about chemical treatments on the wood etc, seems like it is all safe. Although I have my doubts about their grapevine wood. I didn't take a photo but because it was all clean and sandblasted I figured I would just chuck in the water and see what happened. and Oh..my..goodness. Out came the wood, and it is now soaking in a 40g tub in my yard until the freak white fungus and tannin leaching are under control. But here is a picture of what I think I am going to do with the wood.
I debated for ages about whether or not I wanted to do the center design or if I should do a more sloped composition from the right. Sometimes I wish I wasn't an artist because like usual I cant see my 'work' objectively and it will annoy me to no end if the composition is off. It was a little tricky with the two different wood types, but I like how this design gives quite a bit of swimming room for the goldfish. I will probably end up flipping the twisted grape-vine wood around to be more tree-like and less stump-like. Although I am a bit worried that the wood could be a bit sharp for my fish, Ill have to see. I plan on keeping Veiltails...
So after the wood slime/ tannin incident, I went ahead and filled up the tank to start my fishless cycle
Now, this is by far the biggest tank I have ever owned and am not sure what to expect with a lot of things. But I did the best I could and used what has worked for me in the past. That bag is gravel from my established tank. Pretty small amount though, not sure how much good its doing...I also grabbed one of my 55g canister filter sponges and stuffed it into the compartment with my filter floss in the sump. Ill need to take a pic but I hope I have set up the sump filter media correctly. I first tried just the bio balls in the ca litter box (lol) loose, but then remembered someone saying that putting it into a bag is a good idea for removal if I ever need to rinse or whatever. There is a 3" deep tray above that which holds as much filter floss as I could fit, and a bag of purigen sitting directly below where water enters the sump.
Meijer delicates laundry bag ftw!
Yes I did need this for actual laundry and no I don't regret using it for my awesome fishtank instead
So while waiting for my tank to cycle (omg the agony) I hauled THIS out of my 55g:
How many freaking rhizomes can one anubias make anyway?! Pity about the algae, I have quite the forest coming along here. I plan on using some filter floss to clean the leaves later on. Man that stuff works wonders. Someone's smart idea.
So just to try figure out exactly what I had to work with I cut some of the rhizomes off at their branches and ended up with this:
Stuck my foot in there for size lol.
Please excuse the sock, winter is on its way!!!!
So I just chucked them in the tank for now. Figured they'd be fine until I find some wood to tie them to while I wait for my Fungus wood....
The white things are panty-hose with fishfood in them. Works pretty well.
Sorry about the reflected screens. Its my brother no doubt watching something useless on youtube haha.
Most of the plants have floated to the far right corner. Nice to get a visual on where and how much current I have. I am concerned that I need a bit more circulation in this size of a tank but am not too sure of the best way to go about it and I also can't have too much current for the waddling fancies.
After a week or so in the tank the plants seemed to appreciate something as I saw some nice new root shoots developing.
Also a new leaf or two. aaaaaannnnndddd NO BBA!!!... so far.
Sorry again for the bad pics
I did change out the silly coral bulb in the light fixture for two 10K t5 bulbs. I'm still a little iffy on the whole lighting thing but am aiming to have a low light no co2 tank heavily planted with java fern, anubias and java moss. Gotta love them bolstering, bumbling goldfish!!
So that was rather long-winded, but that's where the tank is up to today.
The tank's cycle does have me a bit confused right now though. I have been testing every other day and as of this morning my readings were:
Ammonia came down from 5 to 2.5 over a 3 week period. I add fish food to keep levels up. Not sure if I need more though?
With my Nitrite, I had 0 for ages then just barely got some color to read as 0.1 finally, but no nitrite spike has followed since. It's been 1 week. And Nitrates is something I have never tested for before. I expected to see 0 because my nitrites hadn't spiked but I may be misunderstanding how they work in the cycle.
The last development as of tonight is that I decided that although I am really liking the black gravel look I really
would rather have sand in the tank. I have never tried goldfish with sand and I hope it will work out. I just find it looks better and is nicer to clean. I went with pool filter sand after much research, still nervous about the decision. The sand is a light tan color. I hope it looks nice. Seems the wood has darkened a great deal when wet so it should contrast enough off the sand hopefully.
Plans for tomorrow are to wash the sand and hopefully get it in the tank. Figured there is no better time then now. Hope it doesn't mess up the cycle
Sorry for the length of this first post, I really should have started it ages ago :P