Advice/Assessment of new 65g setup - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2013, 03:13 AM Thread Starter
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Advice/Assessment of new 65g setup

Hello all,

My wife and I are in the process of setting up a 65 gallon aquarium destined to be the home of a handful of goldfish & a bit of flora. I've done quite a bit of research, but I am very quickly approaching the point of no return and want to throw it past those that know better than I before I get there.

Goals:
  • Fauna:
    • 4-6 fancy goldfish
    • Not sure about clean-up crew, still need to research more
  • Flora:
    • HC carpet; this is a big one as the wife fell in love with the concept as soon as she saw it.
    • Handful of crypts for mid-ground
    • Bacopa Monnierri for background/height
    • Water Wisteria (refug only likely)
Hardware we currently have:
  • 65-gallon "reef ready" aquarium
  • DIY stand
  • 20gal L DIY sump/refugium
  • Mag 9.5 pump
  • Finnex ray2 DD light (36")
  • HD clip-on light for refug w/ 23w 5k CFL bulb
  • 100lb eco-complete substrate
  • Misc: bubble wall, air pump, "moon"light, timers, etc.
I am hoping we don't have to do CO2, but given the HC we understand we may have to. Hoping to assess this one as we go.

Currently it is plumbed and tested, and the HC is growing dry start. We have the refugium filled and the wisteria in place. We had a crypt in as well, but are seeing some BBA so pulled it to let it grow dry on top of one of the rocks in the main tank.

Refug is lit 6hrs/day, main tank is lit 13.5hrs/day.

We chose to go the route of using a refugium as we would like the benefits of a planted tank, but also know that goldfish aren't the most plant-friendly fish around.

Pictures speak a thousand words:




Open to any advice/corrections/suggestions, as again, we want to do this right from the get go. Hoping to flood the tank within 4-6 weeks or so.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2013, 03:19 AM
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my advice is don't get goldfish and add CO2


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Last edited by John Simpson; 12-14-2013 at 03:20 AM. Reason: typo
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2013, 03:34 AM
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I'm going to show you a conversation I had with one of the resident goldfish with plants experts, her name is tithra

Hi there! Not all goldfish are crazy plant eaters like most people would have you believe. Single tails do seem to be a bit more interested in plants than fancies as a whole, but this is a huge generalization. There are many people I know with single tailed fish who successfully keep a planted tank.

Ultimately, it really just depends on the fish. I have had 3 large fancies so far and none of them have messed with the plants. I am able to keep a wide variety of plants successfully including many that are traditionally considered non-compatible with goldfish.

Based on my experience as a moderator at kokos goldfish forum the last couple years (go check it out if you haven't already), I think there are three basic categories when it comes to goldfish and plants: 1) those that attempt to eat every green thing in the tank including the more traditionally goldfish compatible plants like java fern and anubias, 2) those that eat certain plants but not others. This comes down to trial and error, but usually these fish go for more delicate leaved plants and will leave those with thicker, tougher leaves alone, and 3) those that could really care less about the plants.

Numbers 1 and 3 are certainly the minority, with number 2 being the majority of goldfish. But the only way to find out what type you have is through trial and error This is why I always encourage goldfish keepers to not limit themselves simply because they have goldfish. I really hate it when I see people discouraging someone from getting a particular plant simply because they have goldfish. If there is a plant that you like the look of, try it out and see. If your fish eat it, then you know to try something else next time. If they don't, then yay! lol.

There are certainly plants that are more likely to be eaten than others though. Plants that are least likely to be eaten in my experience are java fern and anubias, these tend to hold up to most any goldfish, although I have seen some that will rip them apart. After that in the small chance of being eaten category are swords, crypts, hygros, vals. In the more likely to get eaten category are finer leaved plants like wisteria, water sprite, pennywort, ludwigias, rotalas etc. And in the most likely to be eaten category are the very delicate carpeting plants like HC and DHG.

Even if plants aren't eaten, keeping stem plants rooted initially can be tricky. My fish are pretty good, but they do root around in the plants a bit looking for food, so when I am first setting up a tank I am often doing some replanting at water changes because some plants will get pulled up. So, plants that are quick to root and that have good heavy root systems can be a good choice (swords, crypts, hygros, even ludwigias can have a pretty sturdy root system that develops quickly).

Keeping your fish well fed can be another factor that contributes to plant success. There is always all this worry that we overfeed goldfish, but I actually find in many cases we underfeed. Small/young goldfish need lots of small meals a day for optimal growth, we are often taught to feed 1-2 meals, whereas 3-5 smaller meals is more ideal. With larger goldfish we often do not change the way we are feeding as they grow and we end up underfeeding because we are still giving them the same amount as we gave them when they were little. You can actually use a kitchen scale to weigh your fish to objectively measure how much food they should be getting a day (.5-1% of their body weight in pellets is typically recommended). When I weighed my fish for the first time I was really surprised to find I was grossly underfeeding. I now weigh them every 2-3 months to get an estimate on how much I should be feeding. If they are well fed, interest in plants as food tends to go down for some fish (although not all).

Hope that helps some. Check out kokos if you haven't before. Most of our members keep a planted tank of some sort. Few have elaborately planted tanks like you see here but some do, and almost everyone keeps at least some live plants instead of fake. Even people with bare bottom tanks at least keep anubias tied to rocks
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2013, 03:41 AM
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that's really helpful nestle, i'm guilty of discouraging all goldfish in planted tanks, the HC plant is very delicate and the carpet is easily uprooted and disturbed even the catagory 3 goldfish may disturb the carpet when foraging on the bottom. but Ill admit i definitely have a biased opinion being a purist and I don't want to discourage experimentation


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2013, 04:15 AM
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I do agree with you on that, for your first tank, I would highly. HIGHLY. suggest going away from goldfish, you just never know what you're going to get.
better options... angels and tetras.
they're harmless to plants, and actually love them.
find some young, I mean young angels and neon's. put them in together. neons before, and never after angels. if they grow up together I find that angels don't see the tetra's as a food source, and will avoid them.
in your tank... 4-6 angels and 20+ neons is a good enough stocking. start with 5 neons, the next week add 5 more, and so on. once all 20 or so, are in give it a couple weeks to stabilize then add the angels. you can find plenty of angels from local breeders for cheap and often very healthy when compared to lfs angels.

just my 2 cents here.
once you get use to having a tank, and you have a BACK UP TANK, then try goldfish with plants, but you need to be able to try and save the plants from the fish, unless they're crap cheapo plants of course.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2013, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses!

I should have specified, but the goldfish are actually the highest on the priority list. We already have one (which started this whole endeavor), and understand that goldfish may not be best suited for our plant choices. I figure at worse we are out the $20 worth of H.C. and some time, and this is also why I would rather not invest in CO2 just yet.

I never thought of weighing the fish to make sure we are feeding them enough -- that is very helpful. We are currently feeding it 3-4 times a day and he goes crazy to get to the food, so we may be undernourishing him. Time to break out the scale!

We're up for some trial and error, just don't want to go down the path of killing any fish.

Thanks again!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2013, 01:33 PM
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Honestly, its rare to see successful HC without CO2. Many people fail to grow HC with CO2 as it is. (so many HC melting threads in the plants section) Without CO2, you'd have better success with soil/dirt. Most tanks benefit from some form of carbon source; either through soil decomposition, or excel or injected CO2.

Without CO2 I'd say the easier ground covers are DHG and glosso, MM.

Regards, Dennis
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2013, 02:17 PM
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HC will grow without CO2. There are many people that have done this. It will grow more compact and spread better with high light which does require CO2 to prevent algae. Without CO2 it will grow MUCH slower and in a more vertical direction but it will grow. Will your goldfish uproot them? No idea, I've never raised goldfish.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2013, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
HC will grow without CO2. There are many people that have done this. It will grow more compact and spread better with high light which does require CO2 to prevent algae. Without CO2 it will grow MUCH slower and in a more vertical direction but it will grow. Will your goldfish uproot them? No idea, I've never raised goldfish.
Sure its possible, and it can form a nice flat carpet too. Just like keeping a high light dirt tank without algae is possible. But recommend such things for newer aquarists? you'll just be wasting their time.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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I wanted to check back in and say thanks to those that responded.

Considering the consensus here, and the knowledge we've gained in our other research, we've decided to go with another simpler tank for the goldfish and to set this one up as a community tank and press forward with CO2.

In the upcoming weeks hopefully we'll have some updates as we flood, add different plants (now that we don't have to worry about goldfish-friendly plants) and finally adding some fish.

Thanks again!
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