42 gallon goldfish hex tank of controversy! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2005, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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Talking 42 gallon goldfish hex tank of controversy!

Here's my 42 gallon goldfish hex tank of controversy, pics taken this morning.

Here's some of the key "controversial" points of my tank, with commentary:
  • 2 Airstones run 24/7 on a Tetratec DW 96-2 deep water air pump (one of the strongest available to end customers)
    • Commentary: I do have to increase CO2 injection due to the airstones, but not by that much. It's a small price to pay for the benefits of the airstones, which is mainly higher and more stable DO at all times. Because the tank is overstocked and covered (and has a high BOD), airstones are a necessity.

  • Plants and goldfish together
    • Commentary: Fancy "egg shaped" goldfish tend to be more docile in temperament than the common varieties, and they tend to leave plants alone. I would only avoid very fine leaved or grasslike plants.

  • "Helper" bacteria products added
    • Commentary: While many people believe these to be "snake oil" or "useless," I don't share that belief for 100% of the available products. While some of these products may indeed not add much (if any) benefit, there are those made by companies who spend big bucks researching various strains of beneficial bacteria that keep organic waste low, especially in high or overstocked tanks. Despite what their marketing may or may not claim, good bacterial supplement products are not intended as "instant tank cyclers" (Bio Spira is an exception), and they should not replace weekly water changes.

  • Overstocked tank. Includes 5 goldfish (Crown Pearlscale, Black Moor, Red Cap Oranda, Ryukin, and Calico Telescope), 1 male betta, + large "cleanup" crew - SAEs, ancistrus, dojos, snails, otos, balitorids, and ADF frogs.
    • Commentary: While I will probably need to eventually get a bigger tank or reduce some of the fauna, the regular addition of plenty of helper bacteria, added to strong filtration, plus the addition of the anaerobic nitrate filter all help keep ammonia and nitrite at 0 and nitrates below 20 ppm at all times.

  • Salt (NaCl) is added to the water column at a level of .10%
    • Commentary: I have found when I was starting out that salt does indeed act as a general tonic and stress reducer for fish. .10% is a very low level and does not appear to have any adverse affects on any plants or fish in the tank, even the scaleless ADF frogs and dojo loaches.

  • No tap water is used. 5 stage RO water reconstituted with Reagent ACS compounds and Seachem Alkaline Buffer is used - NaCl, K2SO4, CaCl2*2H2O, MgSO4*7H2O
    • Commentary: Despite overwhelming majority opinion that this is unnecessary, it's my personal choice. My own personal conclusion is that I believe there is a degree of validity to the assertation (despite the context in which it was posted) that there is no analysis of impurity content in AG grade chemicals (a point that seems to cause very heated debates) and my tap water. It also gives me more precise control.

  • Actinic power compacts supplement metal halide
    • Commentary: Actinics are believed to stimulate chlorophyll fluorescence. It also helps create a "cooler" look to the 6500K MH lamp by simulating a blue sky.

  • Weekly testing
    • Commentary: I have found with weekly testing that at least every other week I will be a bit off in some of my levels. I like knowing that my levels test the same from week to week (even if there is a more or less degree of "inaccuracy" to the test kits themselves). I test after each water change: GH, KH, Potassium, NaCl, Nitrate, and Phosphate.

Since the tank is overstocked no nitrate and phosphate dosing is necessary. Nitrate levels stay between 10-20 ppm and phosphate levels stay between 1 - 1.5 ppm.

I "accidentally" ended up with a male and female ancistrus. They will not stop making babies.

I use quite a variety of commercial products.

Fertilizer: Seachem Flourish, Flourish Excel, Flourish Potassium, Flourish Iron, Flourish Trace, and Fresh Trace (all dosed per label)

"Preventative" treatments: Seachem Prime, Seachem Stressguard, Kordon Ich Attack (herbal product kills fungus and parasites only) (once per week)

"Helper" bacteria once per week: Microbe-Lift Special Blend, Microbe-Life Thera-P, & Seachem Stability (once every other week); TS Biolabs Immune-Plus, TS Biolabs Liquid Gravel Vac, & TS Biolabs Nitromax (once every other week); Acquamarine Nitrate Reducer, Phosphate Eliminator, Aquarium Clean, & Ammonia & Nitrate Eliminator (once per week) (UV unit is turned off for approx. 56 hours after bacteria is added)

Vitamin supplement: Boyd Enterprises Vitachem (2 mL once per week + 10 drops on food at each feeding), TS Biolabs Aqua Flourish (once per week)

Feeding: Every other day - Bio-Blend Goldfish, Bio-Blend Bottom Feeder, Bio-Blend Betta, Tetra Color Flakes, Hikari Mega Tropical (frozen cubes)

Equipment: Aqua Clear 300, Eheim Pro II 2128 thermofilter (each w/ Eheim Ehfimech, Ehfisubstrat Pro, & Seachem Purigen), Aqua-Medic Nitratreductor 400, Aqua-Medic Reactor 1000, Coralife 18 Watt Turbo-Twist UV

Lighting: MH/PC Prism Pendant: 250 Watt metal halide (Iwasaki 6.5K with PFO Iwasaki optimized ballast) + 2x32W Actinic Power Compacts

CO2: 20lb tank with digital mass flow controller. CO2 levels kept at 20-25 ppm.

Substrate: Eco Complete

Aeration: Tetratec DW-962 pump driving two Rena Micro-Bubblers

RO: Custom - Spectra Pure 5 stage unit with the RO membrane replaced with a Kent Hi-S membrane. Spectrapure Chloramine cartridge replaced with Spectrapure Semi-Conductor Grade Mixed-Bed Resin Cartridge.

Water changes - 40-50% weekly

Water parameters - GH: 6 dGH (4:1 ca:mg ratio), KH: 8 dKH, pH: 7 - 7.10, Potassium: 20 ppm, Nitrate: 10-20 ppm, Phosphate: 1-1.5 ppm, Iron: .1 ppm (dosed daily), NaCl: .10%

Plants: cryptocoryne wendtii, echinodorus osiris, aponogeton madagascariensis, vallisneria spiralis, anubias barteri v. nana, cabomba pulcherrima, egeria densa, alternanthera reineckii, lysimachia nummularia
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2005, 01:13 AM
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Hypancistrus - that is one breath taking tank! This is a clear example that many "conventional wisdom" precepts you find here are really just guidelines, and that the truly knowledgeable aquarist has a lot more options for creating an incredible tank.

You should be proud.

Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2005, 08:37 AM
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Nice! An inspiration to all goldfish owners!

Imagine, a madagascar lace plant with goldies! Nice rubin too. Nice healthy plants and nice healthy fish too. With your filtration, I don't think you're overstocked at all, but you may well be once the ryukin and two telescopes start reaching the size of your oranda!

And I totally agree, it's more the common variety of goldfish that damage plants. The fancies seem to be fine wih all but the most softest plants.

Is your nitrate filter an Aquaripure? I actually have one myself but stopped using it. And not just because it was tricky constantly adjusting it to keep it at 1 drop/second. I decided instead just to use the nitrate levels as a pseudo-measurement for the growth inhibiting pheromone the fish release, and do water changes to get rid of it.

PS. How on earth do you work out the volume of a hex tank? I fell asleep during that class I think.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2005, 04:17 PM
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Volume of a hex aquarium: (3/2*squarert(3)*n^2)*h where n is the length of one side and h is the height.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2005, 04:37 PM
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I love your tank! I love goldfish, but just couldn't keep them with plants, the ones available in Hong Kong tend to destroy anything that looks like food. Now I am starting a goldfish tank for my dad, maybe I should consider your choice of plants.

P.S. How do you test Potassium? I always does K blindly, and assume there is no consumer usable kit available.

Eheim pimp club #48
800L 100% Flourite
80L plant/shrimps nursery tank inconnected with the main tank
Total 600W HQI, 2 X 5200K 2 X 6500K
Eheim 2028 X 2 2080 X 1
Dupla Substrate Heater
Dupla S external reactor
Aquamedic 2hp & Teco R15 400W chillers
Sega pH Controller

Light period: 6 hours on each bulb across 12 hours
Water Parameters: pH 6.4, KH 2, GH 1, NO3 40, PO4 1 TDS 250
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2005, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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I test potassium with the Lamotte test kit. You dilute a sample with RO water (you could use distilled), add reagents which causes K to form a white precipitate (turbidity), then slide a tube with a black dot on the bottom into the sample, and stop when you can't see the black dot through the sample.


You may be able to order directly from Lamotte, or if you have no luck with that, I got mine from Clarkson Lab. You have to e-mail them via the "Contact" link to request an order.

The Nitrate filter is an Aqua Medic Nitratreductor 400. Instead of setting it to 1 drop per second, I have automated it with the redox electrode and ORP computer. The ORP set point is -200. When it drops to -210, a vario LP180 dosing pump switches on and pumps water through the nitrate filter at full speed until the orp drops back to -199.

I didn't compute actual water volume when I filled it (which I should have), so I estimate it to probably be around 38-40 gallons. However, for water changes, I used a 5 gallon bucket and marked levels on the side of the tank for 10, 15, and 20 gallons. I usually use the 15 gallon mark for water changes (around 40%). I actually have a pump on the side of the tank and I just insert a hose (with a fluval sponge rubber banded over it so it doesn't suck anything in) and pump tank water directly over to my drain using a garden hose.

One other technique I use... the Eheim intake is connected to the Eheim prefilter module. The module is at tank bottom. I have also wrapped a fluval 104 sponge with two rubber bands over the Aquaclear intake, creating another prefilter. I clean this sponge every day. I clean the Eheim prefilter module sponge every other day (the day after a feeding). This keeps all the food in the tank so everyone has a chance to eat without having to fight for it, and allows me to remove the majority of uneaten food and poop without having to clean the filters.

I used to clean the filters once per month, but I now do it every three months.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2005, 05:36 PM
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Nice tank, I like the look of actinics too.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2005, 01:07 AM
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Um. Like. WOW!

I'm getting a 35 gal hex this week and am wondering how to light it. Plus--I LOVE fancy goldies!

Any way to do something like this on a lower level budget? Maybe lighter stocking as well?

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2005, 07:10 AM
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Nice! Personally I hate the look of airstone bubbles but the rest is very nice!

Just a question: why are you adding the Ich Attack stuff on a weekly basis? Your tank looks healthy. I haven't had ich in more than 15 years and have never used medication: just healthy tanks.

Is it because of your high bioload?
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2005, 07:28 AM
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I don't have any problems with any of the things some have found controvercial. I think the volume is alright...but the FOOTPRINT of the tank is terrible. You could have a hex tank twice that size and the fish will probably spend more time swimming up and down than forward.

"I go right into the aquascaping without any design."
-Takashi Amano
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2005, 01:36 PM
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One more myth destroyed...

Add to your list, the "myth" that a planted tank is easier than a saltwater tank! I think you've managed to make this one just as complicated as saltwater.
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