New 55 gallon planted tank: Goldfish? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-07-2012, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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New 55 gallon planted tank: Goldfish?

Hello everyone,

I've haunted this forum quite a lot since I've ventured back into the hobby after a 13 year hiatus. I've found those that frequent these boards, those who offer their advice, to be among the best the web seemingly has to offer, which is why I am finally coming out of the shadows. In advance, I thank any and all of you who have unknowingly helped me back into my great enjoyment of aquaria that I so long have missed.

Before I get to the meat of my first post, let me describe my current preferences, which is to say, the way I like my planted tanks. First, I am definitely a low-tech guy, one of the all-natural (or as close as I can get) variety. I like my tanks running on only mechanical and biological filtration: sponge filters, HOBs with sponge, floss, and ceramic rings. I'm also really getting into mixing up mineralized topsoil with clay, KCl, dolomite, etc, and capping with small gravel. I like my tanks heavily planted. I run 1-1.5 wpg--either T8s or T5s. I do not use any ferts--liquid or otherwise. I don't run CO2. Further, I like big 30-50% water changes weekly. I have naturally alkaline (Ph 8) and semi-hard water. I prefer to overstock on plants and understock on fish. Using this system that I've borrowed from others, I've carved out my own way of doing things and am seeing vibrant, healthy fish and fantastic plant growth in all four of my tanks.

Now, here is where I would really like all the advice and thoughts you can come up with. I have recently acquired a 55 gallon, and from the moment I saw it, I thought of keeping goldfish again. I did some initial research and have come up with mixed messages on goldfish in the planted aquarium. From what I've read, it would seem that it can be done successfully, but special attention needs to be paid as to the types of flora involved.

Can anyone recommend specific plants that goldfish will leave alone? Is it even possible to heavily plant a goldfish tank where the fish will not annihilate all of my work? How many goldfish would your recommend in such a setup? I would be running 2 30-60 filters (1 Aqua-clear and 1 Whisper), and a large (air-driven) sponge. Are there specific types of goldfish that you would recommend? I'm leaning toward Black Moors at the moment, but my opinion could be changed easily enough if there exists evidence enough to rule them out. I do prefer the hardiest species available, which is why, to this point, I've mainly focused on labyrinth fish, rainbow fish, and danios. Will goldfish tear through an inch of gravel and disturb my soil-mix? Also, will goldfish be okay in water temperatures required by my plants, 74-76 degrees?

Thanks in advance to any and all who take the time to read, consider, and respond to my first post in this fine forum!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-07-2012, 03:37 AM
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Welcome to the forum! I love it and the community is very nice and helpful.

It will definitely be hard to have a heavily planted golfish aquarium. I have goldfish and I feed it my extra floaters and I can put enought to fill half of the top of his 10 gallon aquarium and it will be gone in a day. I have heard anubias work, but I have never tried them. They seem as if they would be the only plant safe in the aquarium. My goldfish even eats amazon sword leaves if I give him enough time. I would not recommend goldfish for a planted aquaurium. It may work, but in my experience it will not.
However, there are amazing aquariums that do not have plants, but do have great hardscapes! I remember seeing an amazing one with goldfish, but I can't find the picture. This looks very similar to what I mean.

I do not know how many goldfish you would be able to have for your setup. It is my understanding they need a lot of room. They may tear through your gravel, as they are bottom feeders much of the time and that is what they do. Goldfish are completely fine in those temperatures. A lot of people misunderstand 'cold water' fish. These fish naturally live in temperate areas where the temperature gets cold AND warm. For example, some people think sunfish are cold water fish, but they are not because they thrive here in Texas with our 100 degree summers. Their water can get 85 degrees or warmer. The same would apply to goldfish in home ponds/aquariums in this area and others.

Personally I would go with some of the other fish you mentioned. There are many beautiful fish (like rainbowfish and angelfish) that can even be bred in aquariums.

Good luck with your tank!

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-07-2012, 04:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply Rainbuilder. In a 55 with the filtration and large water changes I intend, I think I could probably get away with a pair or maybe a trio. I know that Moors can max out at 10", but if they were getting that large, I'd be prepared to get something larger (or even install a pond.)

That said, I really would like the Black Moors--even if it means substantially more research and dedication to keeping them healthy. Although, as I stated in my original post, I could be swayed. I guess what I'm looking for in this new 55 is a fairly heavily planted 'scape with a few medium to medium-large fish with 'personality'. I'm not really interested in angelfish--or any variety of cichlid. I really like rainbow fish, particularly the shoal of boesemanis that I currently have, but I want to do something a little different. Are there a variety that I haven't seen that I should check out? I love labyrinth fish, but unfortunately, most members belonging to this family are aggressive toward their own kind; and I really want to do a species tank, more-or-less. It would be a dream to have an all paradise fish tank, but obviously that's out of the question since they'd all kill each other in less than a day. Likewise, a giant gourami would be incredible, but I don't have the 200+ gallon home it would need. :P Can you think of any other species that would do well in a small group of 3-5; grow to be 4-6 inches; and not destroy my plants?
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-07-2012, 04:29 AM
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There are some really amazing and peaceful South American cichlids that you could go for. Angelfish are great and some strains are beautiful. I have a female zebra blue, and she is my favorite fish by far. These can be slightly agressive and more so when breeding. These are very hardy and great fish for your aquarium. Two breeding pairs would be great and would give you the chance to view natural parenting of the fish. You would need to watch for agression with a breeding pair though, as they will chase other fish away from 'their' part of the tank. Other cichlids you could pick are keyhole cichlids and some hardy dwarf cichlids. I really love the way that these look and hope to own some, especially the keyholes someday. If you just research and look around there are lots of different fish to choose from. Larger fish are sometimes not very peaceful so just watch out for that.

There are many labrynth fish you could also choose. Pearl gouramis look nice, some wild type bettas I really like, and paradise fish look good too. Keeping just one or two males with several females would not be a problem. Just research around and see what is best for you. I know my favorite fish are usually south american, but southeast asian plants are what I like most often. It really just depends on what you like best.

If you're really wanting to get some black moors, go for it! It might be pretty hard to grow very many plant species but if it's what you really want, go for it. It's all about your preference.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 02:16 AM
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Goldfish!i love them!
They are totally possible in a planted tank, the only thing is that you may not have the neat and perfectly tidy tank you mostly see on this site....think of them as a toddler, or baby that has to put everything in its mouth =] lots of people here will try to divert you away from goldfish....I'm not sure if they have something against them or what but I no one likes them, lol.

Im really excited that you want to do a planted tank with them and I have lots of insight and info about them to share with you! Now given I'm not a plant guru but I have done tons of hours of study just on goldfish and lots more on plants.

I am typing this on an iPad...I really don't want to do a lot on here as far as typing goes so tomorrow I will get my laptop out and start divulging!

Cheers!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 06:38 PM
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If you like labyrinth fish you could try a betta sorority, but you'd have to be prepared to house any girl that didn't work in her own small tank. But you could put dozens a female bettas in a 55. It would looks awesome!

If I were to keep goldfish I would use plants such as anubias and ferns that I could attach to the decor. That way if they did nibble on the plants at least they wouldn't be tearing them out of the substrate and making a mess.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 11:26 PM
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Ok!
First off the golden rule for goldfish is 15 gallons for the first then ten gallons there after for each goldfish, so going by that rule you could fit 5....but i strongly advise against that...id say a pair for a planted tank, possibly three but good water conditions and good food will cause them to grow big fast....the plants take up swimming room and as they get bigger they you really find that they need it, also i found that i need to keep my pair well fed...or else they start eating the plants, so more food means more waste, which means more water changes.

I like bio and mechanical filtration myself, i have a whisper ex 70 hob and the ex 45 hob on my tank and i dont use carbon, they say for goldfish to have 10x the filtration, so by that rule you need 550 gph running on the tank. The problem in am running into with mine is my filters clog up by the end of the week, reducing flow and making the water have higher nitrates. This is because i keep a stalk of kale in my tank almost 24/7, so they have something to pick at instead of the plants, they dont eat every piece of kale, so the filter sucks it up along with everything else...clogging my filters. I will be switching to a hob filter and canister filter here soon. I do 50% water changes everyweek too.

As far as the gravel goes, i switched to pool filter sand, so i have no opinion on gravel and dirt underneath with the goldies. I made sure to put a thick layer of the pool sand on top of the dirt though. I stopped using gravel because my fish were getting big and there is a chance large goldfish can choke on the gravel because it fits all the way down their throat. But so far my soil has stayed intact.

As far as temp goes, i keep my goldfish at 74 degrees, fancy goldfish prefer warmer temps where ae the single tailed ones like it cooler.

As far as plants i really like the look of jungle vals and they are thick and tough, so i would recommend those, along with anubias as previously stated. And im a big fan of wendyjos idea, i wish i had a bigger tank so i could fit another piece of driftwood in there and attach more anubias to them, i think it really looks nice! Java ferns too might be good, although i only have the wendilov kind on my drift wood and i just attached it the other week but they leave it alone so far. So far i have crypt wenti and its doing ok...but its a bit ragged looking. they say amazon swords are good but i would suggest getting a really big one to start out with though, mine arrnt fairing so well without osmocote plus caps.

The only thing with driftwood and goldfish is however you need to goldfish proof the wood....i spent forever sanding the wood with a dremmel to dull all the sharp edges, they are clumsy and bump into things normally and if you have a male he might push the females around for mating and hurt them against the wood too...also if you get moors this is important too because of their eyes....

Umm well i think i covered most things and all the ones in your post...any more questions you can PM me like i said!


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 04:03 AM
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Yes, it's doable. I have 8 fancy goldfish (oranda and ranchu) in my Osaka 260 (70ish gal) for few years now. They are aquatic puppies

Potted plant is the key to prevent those buggers digging. I used Walstad low-tech bottom layer top soil, gravel, laterite, and covered with smooth bigger rocks.

Choose thicker and broader leaf plants to prevent being ripped apart. And obviously low light type depending on your setup.

You will need good bio filtration because goldfish are big eater and polluter. I use Rena XP4 packed bottom tray foams, eheim balls, matrix, and top basket with purigen.

I keep bare bottom with few smooth river rocks attached with anubias nana and java ferns. Driftwood is okay as long as it's not sharp.

Good luck!
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 11:01 AM
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I have 3 fantails and have had really good luck with valisernia - they munch on it but it grows back so quickly that you don't really notice - I don't even have a very good light and pretty much ignore it and I still haven't killed it
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 05:46 PM
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If you want to do goldfish, go for it. You can successfully do a planted goldfish tank.

I started2 1/2 years ago with fantails in a 40 gallon. Then moved them to a 75 gallon. I have val, Amazon sword, anubia, java fern, cabomba, and hornwort all growing well with no CO2, an old shoplight (T12!!!, Philips 6400k) in a mineralize topsoil substrate covered with gravel. It's not clean looking, very over grown with plants. And that's with 7 goldfish and a rainbow shark. Those 7 goldies are 6 fantails about 4 inches, and one black moor about 7-8 inches. Also have crypt and watersprite, but both are thin and under-performing. The goldfish will eat cabomba, hornwort, and watersprite, but cabomba and hornwort grows so fast it will be fine.

Goldfish are heavy feeders, which is where I think the idea that goldfish will lay waste to a planted tank comes from. If you don't feed them enough they will turn on the plants. When I started, my wife fed those porkers a lot when they were babies and they didn't do any noticable damage to the plants. That give the flora time to get established without trouble. When I was setting up the 75 gallon, the plants and fish were temporarily housed in 10 and 20 gallons for a couple of days. I didn't feed them, to avoid waste build up in the small tanks, and that the first time I notice them feeding on the plants. Once they were all set in the 75, they continued to munch on cabomba and hornwort in-between feedings , but nothing the plants can't handle.

I was expecting problems with the fish rooting in MTS, so my gravel cap is thick, but they don't disturb anymore than the topmost 1/4 inch of the gravel.

The house is kept no colder than 70 degrees F during the winter and I don't use any heaters for the tank.

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 06:49 PM
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If you can hang the light up above it's real easy to keep riparium plants with goldfish. I put together this 29G in a solarium for a single fancy.

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