125G Dirt Goldfish Tank - My First Freshwater
For 23 years I maintained a saltwater aquarium filled with "Rambo fish" like triggers, lionfish, puffers, damsels and clownfish. I finally decided to pack up my salties to the local Petco and convert to freshwater. After doing a lot of research I decided to turn my 125 gallon tank into the type of habitat that 4 Oranda goldfish would pick if they had a vote.
After years of using buckets to do saltwater water changes I finally got a siphon for the sink. Bye bye saltwater.
The background that I'd been using for 20 years had a freshwater scene on the other side. How convenient. Printed in Japan. Penn- Plax. 1987!
After a thorough vinegar tank cleaning I added 1 inch of organic potting soil and covered that with 1 to 1 1/2 inches of medium to large smooth gravel. The local Lowes didn't have the popular Miracle Grow in organic so I got another brand that had the same stats.
Next I added a wide variety of plants in the back as the tank cycled to see what type would grow best in my setup. I was well aware of the potential problems of goldfish uprooting and eating/killing your plants and making a muddy mess. But that won't be considered a problem, since the driving theme of this tank is to make an ideal habitat for the goldfish.
The test plants were Anubias, Java Fern, Green Crypt, Crypt Balanse, Bacopa, Amazon Sword, Umbrella, Ludwigia, Wisteria and Peacock Fern. I basically got every type from my local Petsmart and Petco that someone said did well with Goldfish, plus a few others that I liked the look of.
I added a double light strip to increase plant growth and got rid of the aquarium's glass lid. Aqueon 36 inch: 6700k daylight and Colormax bulbs. I'm not going for crazy levels of light, but I figured the plants would need more than the Lowes GE daylights I used for viewing my saltwater fish. 30 watts * 2 + 21 watts * 4 = 144 watts for a 120 gallon tank. The plan is to run them 6 or 7 hours a day and see how fast the plants and algae grows.
I kept the same 3 box filters on the back, rated for around 180 gallons of water. It's probably more aeration than the plants would like, but I'm hoping to grow four healthy Orandas to their full size so I figured even with the plants I'd eventually need it. I didn't put any carbon in the new filters.
The plan is to let the tank cycle for a month or so with just the plants and see how it goes. Then maybe add a few plant friendly fish for maybe another month while doing weekly water changes of about 20 percent.
As to why I decided to keep Orandas: I went through the list of breeds of fancy goldfish and watched YouTube videos to see what types I found interesting to watch over time. Orandas seemed the most intriguing to me.
So the long term plan is to have four Orandas in a heavily planted tank with some small driftwood and maybe a few other small structures. The stretch goal being to actually breed the fish.
So that is where I stand one week later. I got three Mopani pieces of driftwood that I boiled and will be soaking for a few weeks. Right now I don't think I want any big structures other than the plants so the fish have maximum swim area.
But this is ALL completely new to me, and everything I've done so far is based on researching some forums, websites and YouTube channels the last two weeks. Any and all advice welcome. Oh and I also just got Walstad's book.