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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 55 gal goldfish tank that has been set up for a couple years. I've had live plants in it the whole time, but I sort of slacked off on the care and the ones that are left are not doing so hot, with the exception of the crypt that grew from 3 little plantlets into a huge leafy mass.

I'd like to try to get this tank looking good again, and I need some help.
I plan to have all of the plants in pots or tied to driftwood because of the goldfish, and because of my tendency to want to move things around every so often. I added some gravel a while ago but I may want to go back to a bare bottom tank at some point.

Currently I have some sort of sword, crypts and anubis. I plant to add a bunch of java fern, maybe try some Val and a few stem plants such as anarchis, hornwort or parrot feather.
Lighting is a shoplight with 2-40 watt 6500k T-12 tubes.

The thing that I'm most puzzled about is fertilizers. What kind of fertilizer would I need to use and how much how often? I think I've got the light and the type of plants figured out but I'm clueless about dosing ferts, and I'm hoping I won't have to do a lot as far as that goes.

here's a pic of the tank as it is now:



suggestions?
 

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Hey it's a fellow Madisonian!

I think this tank is cool like it is. I really like the plants in pots and if it were mine I wouldn't change that. I also enjoy the theme that it has now of sword and crypt rosettes. What about putting a couple of larger plants in pots toward the center?

Java fern might look OK in there, and it would probably grow well, but it might also compete with the crypts with having a similar, but different habit. What do you think about needle-leaf Java on the driftwood.

So long as you keep that moderate-intensity light over it you might not have have to worry so much about ferts, especially with goldfish in there. I have kept low-tech tanks with fish that only required dosing with iron from time to time. Seachem iron works pretty well.

Hey have you heard about the Madison Area Aquatic Hobbyists? We meet again in a couple of weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I like the idea of root tabs... seems easy enough. Are they all pretty much the same or is one brand better than the others?

Neat to see another person from Madison on here! I have not heard of the Madison area aquatic hobbyists-maybe something to check out in the future...perhaps when I have the time and space again to get more than one tank up and running!

I was thinking about putting the java fern on the driftwood. I had some there at one point and it looked good, but somehow I managed to kill it (yes I'm that talented). I hadn't thought about the narrow leaf variety, though.

What kind of larger plants in pots were you thinking for the middle?
I wish I had more of a footprint on that tank. it seems like its going to be difficult to try and fit a bunch of pots in there and still be able to distinguish between a foreground, background, etc. The driftwood takes up a lot of space and limits my options as well, but I've decided to leave it in there.
 

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I like the idea of root tabs... seems easy enough. Are they all pretty much the same or is one brand better than the others?
Just make sure to get ones for aquariums. Terrestrial root tabs use Ammonium products to supply Nitrogen. As we all know Ammonium is not healthy in an aquarium.

Root tabs are generally pretty much the same save the price. I'd look for a tab that is made up of complete nutrients from N, P, K (macros) and micros.

for example:
http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/FlourishTabs.html
http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/PondFlourishTabs.html
 

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Cool tank! I wish I have that huge driftwood of yours. Mine is barebottom planted goldfish tank (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/low-tech-forum/90151-low-tech-planted-goldfish.html#post875131).

My goldfishes are my fertilizers :) I use Walstad natural aquarium method by putting top soil in my sword plant pot. It has been growing like crazy (the pic in my older post was 2-3 months ago). I have 1" topsoil, regular gravel with laterite mix, and topped with bigger stones to prevent my goldfish from digging in.

I think your driftwood arrangement looks great. You can tie anubias or fern here and there. I have my ferns on individual river rocks and move them around whenever I am bored.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I like your tank Spacemonk, it has a nice simple, clean look to it. I've thought about going back to bare bottom, but I just didn't like the look of it in my tank last time I tried it. I'm thinking about replacing the gravel with black river rock like the stuff you have around your plants.

I haven't added any new plants yet. Unfortunately I just had to spend the money on replacing the lights and fixture since I suspect that one of the cats though they should use it as a launch pad and knocked the light fixture into the tank. You can imagine my horror when I came home from work to find that.

Inspired by hydrophyte's suggestion of a larger plant in the center, I did do a little rearranging and moved the sword out of the corner towards the middle. I think with a little TLC it'll grow quite a bit bigger.
I like it a lot better like this, and it makes room in the corner for something else, although I'm not sure what else yet :) (please pardon the water marks on the glass)
 

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That does look better. What do you think about switching the sword with the crypt that is just to right of center?

Hey I have a couple of extra ozelot swords. They'll do well in low-tech too and they might look good in there.

I want to have a goldfish tank and maybe a pond someday. I might put together a container pond next summer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So I have some val, hornwort and parrot feather coming sometime this next week. I'm hoping the Val will do well and maybe the other 2 will survive. These will be planted in pots as well. Will regular aquarium gravel work, or would some potting soil or sand work better?
In a few more weeks I'll have some new java fern to attach to the driftwood.

How big do the ozelot swords get? I may have to take you up on that if I still have some room left...

I do want to make sure I leave a nice open area of swimming space, or my poor clumsy fish won't have enough room to move around. You should see these guys trying to swim through plants...they're not very good at it!
 
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