That's a lot of stuff there, awrieger, thanks! Part of the whole reason for posting this here is so others can catch things I've missed, so this is great! I do fully expect to be changing things and moving things around as I figure out what works and what just won't cut it.
Layout and planters:
What I'm planning to do is have the filter exhaust on the right directed at the lower center of the back wall. This should flush out any detritus that falls behind the planters immediately. Meanwhile, the left exhaust will be pointing toward the left wall/forward left corner, which should create sufficient currents to blow waste around the front of the tank back toward either of the intakes. I expect that I'll be doing a bit of tweaking to get everything flowing just right.
Bits that manage to get wedged beneath the planter edges will be cleaned easily by sliding the planters forward during weekly maintenence.
I could very easily end up moving the planters forward, regardless of anything else, but for now I'm going to try them in their current positions. My original idea was to have the plants as a background to the fish, so I'd like to see how it will pan out.
I've had my other goldfish tank set up with potted plants since the end of last year, and I've never had any problems with it; no disease or illness. Here's a photo of that tank shortly after I added the potted plants:
As you can see, all of the containers are clear glass. Because of this, I had been concerned from the start about food and such getting inside where they would rot and make everything look mucky from the get-go. So I purchased a length of acrylic tube and began placing it in the tank at meals and pouring the food into it. Food goes straight to the bottom and out of reach of the vase mouths. Now the only things that get into the vases are stray crumbs (which are minimal) and the occasional piece of poop. These things, if they are not nipped up or tossed out by the fish, are very easily sucked up during weekly vacuumings. Any tiny bits that remain work down to the substrate where they act as fertilizer.
With such small amounts of waste remaining in the tank once all is said and done--and those eventually being put to good use--I haven't yet encountered a situation that has become hazardous to the fish.
Actually something I hadn't considered. The reason that I removed the original gravel from the tank was only because the one goldie got it stuck, and I stayed with it because it's so much easier to clean; again, I never had any health issues with substrate.
Whatever wastes don't get used by either the standard bacteria in the filter and substrate, or the aquatic plants, should get black-holed into the pothos. Unless I was to skip on water changes for at least a few weeks, there shouldn't be enough nutrients leftover for excess bacteria to populate on.
I've gotten a fair number of plants (including most of those that I'm including in this tank) to grow quite well without CO2
, and while it's definitely something that I would want for a really lush, fully planted tank, because I'm planning for this to be fairly low maintenance and I'm not in a hurry for things to fill out, I've opted to leave it out, at least for the time being.
Any fertilizers in this tank will be root tabs. I'd prefer to keep as many nutrients as I can out of the water column.
I, too, have never had a problem with my goldfish eating most plants. Unfortunately for the plants in the photo above, they were grown emersed, and so not long after the pic was taken they died back. Most of them have regrown nicely (especially considering how low-light that tank is), except for a couple of Amazon Swords that haven't gotten passed being babies because the Ryukin keeps muching them while they're still small and soft.
This time around I ordered all the plants online from a company that only grows their plants submersed, so I should be able to avoid that problem.
I had Italian Val and Gigantic Val in this tank when it was still full of Balloon Molly fry. They were both well on their way to taking over the entire tank surface before I removed them, lol.
You might try some brackish-tolerant plants for your salted tanks. Vals certainly work well. As do, from what I hear, java fern, micro and chain swords, and a number of other plants.
I've been looking into getting some olive nerites to act as cleanup crew. If I decide not to go for them, I do have plenty of baby ramshorns that I can raise up and try in this tank. I know that my guys will eat small snails, but adults might be large enough to not get munched. Maybe.
It's always great to see goldfish pictures, imo, especially when they're as gorgeous as yours!
Ryukins have always been my favorite, too!
dufus, I feel your pond pain. If I ever want to have fish of any sort in my yard, I'd have to make sure the pond was proof against cats, dogs, raccoons, foxes, hawks, herons, snakes, and who knows what else.
Personally, I've never had a problem with excess bacteria in goldfish substrate. The reason I switched to bare-bottom to begin with was to prevent gravel getting lodged in a fish's mouth (again.) It is possible for waste levels--especially in a tank with big waste producers, like goldfish--to build to a point where the normally harmless bacteria will have a population explosion, which can get to a point where it's fatal to fish.
On that note, awrieger, you are the only other person who I've heard of having such a bad bloom. I did have one such occurance last autumn in one of my topical tanks, which killed most of the fish (including a bichir); the only survivors were a good-sized common pleco and 2 apple snails. I'm still not sure what triggered it, but I've never even had a minor bloom in my goldfish tanks.
baowow, bare-bottom is definitely my choice for any goldie tank, without question. The difference between the amount of work and worry with gravel and with bare is immense! These days I almost never even see a poop unless it's just coming out.