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Exposed substrate divider for goldfish tank

1699 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  SnBMeg
I'm planning to setup a partially planted/mostly bare-bottom tank for two of my goldfish. I'd like to section off an area along the back of the tank, which I can then fill with substrate and plants.

My question is: what would be the best way to create a barrier?

I may just make it out of plain plexi, letting the substrate show through. ...Unless I decide to paint it. >_>

If I use plexi, I'd like to create a 3-sided box shape which I can then place against the back wall. Would silicone alone hold it together, or do I need something more? And how should I fix it in place against the wall?

I've been considering the possibility of making a moss wall to cover the barrier, so that when it grows out the barrier will be completely hidden. But do goldfish eat java moss?

Any other suggestions, or advice?
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Silicone will eventually fail as a plexi adhesive.
If I were you, I would go to your local dollar store and look for plastic containers in the shape/color you want. Fill them with substrate plant the plants and drop them in your tank.

That way you can move them around if you want, and its almost zero work as opposed to cutting plexi and silicon etc.
turbo's method might be best, but even so, goldfish will at times move substrate out of the "pots" just for fun.

I like your idea though (especially the moss wall cover). You could use acrylic (maybe plexiglass?) and bend it by heating so that you don't need to use silicon, but you might want to do all 4 sides instead of just 3. That way you wouldn't have to attach it to the back wall. And it could be wavy. Might be challenging to NOT be wavy....

Since the fish will scatter some of the substrate, what about a very thin layer of gravel instead of totally bare bottomed? That way you won't need to pick up substrate every day to keep it looking tidy.

Depending on the size of your tank, and the look you're after, you might be able to find window box flower pots that work. But I want you to try your original plan and work out all the kinks so I can copy. :) I have a slate-tiled "bare" bottom tank for my goldfish and keep plants in terra cotta window box planters. I prefer terra cotta to plastic.
Java moss depends on the fish. I think you can be fairly confident that a lot of it will end up free-floating if not outright consumed. But instead of painting, maybe you can silicon on some rocks for a natural look. Hey, you can create a wall out of flat stones with pockets and terraces for plants!

dangit now I wanna do that. Where am I gonna put 150 gallons of goldfish while I redo their bowl?
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Thanks for the helpful replies!

Darn, it sounds like it would just be a whole lot easier to use the potting method. I was really starting to get into the plexi idea. Still, laziness is ever-compelling. :p

I'd like to keep to glass or plastic, rather than ceramic or stone, at least for this tank. Not sure why, when I think about it... But anyway, preferably plastic, just so it would be lighter. I also want to avoid sharp corners and edges, since both of the goldfish going in this tank are telescopes, and one is completely blind (and the other may be losing her sight, too.)

The tank is 36" long, and I'd prefer something that's ~30" long x ~4-5" wide x ~4-5" deep. Seems that I should make a trip up to the Container Store this weekend! They're bound to have something close to that. :D

My plan is to use mostly sturdy, spreading plants (Amazon Sword, Java Fern, Anubias, etc.) to block off the substrate from casual access. However, I learned a trick while using potted plants in my other goldy tank: to use decorative river stones, turned on their sides, over any bare areas. The stones are too large for the fish to pick up, and their height and close proximity keep the fish from reaching the substrate, so that bare bottom will actually stay bare. The final look is quite nice, as well, especially in clear containers. ;)

I did fiddle a bit with the idea of making a barrier out of sections of glued-together stones that would slot together like puzzle pieces (easier to get in and out of the tank than one huge piece.) But in the end I more-or-less tabled it with the decision that I'm too impatient to get my fishies moved over right now. XD

I may still try the plexi idea, just to see if I can get it to work, but on a smaller scale; maybe a nano to begin with?
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I guess the stone wall isn't a very good idea with googlyeyed goldies. :fish1: You'll have to be careful with the plastic containers as well, but I'm sure you'll find something!

I like the plexi idea too, especially if you're doing it.
I think stone would actually be okay for telescopes, so long as it was very smooth and the particular fish weren't prone to ramming into things. :hihi:

I may get a new tank--like a 2.5G--especially to try the plexi. And maybe give it to my African Dwarf Frog if everything works out.

daFrimpster, do you know how long silicone will last? That's another thing I'd like to find out, just fmi.
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