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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi from Southern California. I'm new to this forum, and thought I should introduce myself.

I got my first fish were back when I was in graduate school (the first time...), a pair of gold sailfin mollies. They were undemanding enough even to breed for me, but as I knew nothing at all about fish, they eventually succumbed to what I now think was nitrate poisoning. I washed out the 10 g tank and stored knickknacks in it for the next couple of decades.

About fifteen years ago I got inspired to put a tub on my patio with a few goldfish and a water hawthorn (Aponogeton distachyos) in it. It looked great the first day: pretty dark green leaves, nice white flowers, graceful orange fish. The next day the aponogeton was half as big as it had been the day before. In three days it was gone. Those little goldies thought they had fallen into buffet heaven, I guess. The day after the aponogeton disappeared I went to work. While I was there the temperature hit 105 degrees F and the sun hit the tub. I came home and found I had made fish stew. I still feel bad about it.

I took the tub inside the apartment and repopulated the tub with exactly two fish and a local Juncus species in a fishproof pot in the middle. All three did well until I moved back in with my parents and the tub went out on the patio, where the fish were promptly eaten the first night by one of the neighborhood raccoons.

Learning from that mistake to lock down the tub every night, I managed to keep two more goldfish (comets) for several years. One of them died several months ago. I bought a small fantail to keep the survivor company, but it was a bad mix -- the fantail got pretty badly bruised, for one reason or another.

Out came the antique 10 gallon tank. I cleaned it out, repaired it, put the fantail in. Then scoured the Internet so I would actually know what I was doing this time. (And about time!)

The tank cycled and all of a sudden I had more nitrates than I knew what to do with unless I spent my life swapping out water for several hours a day. "I know," I said to myself, being a Master Gardener (by which I mean 'a graduate of the state university's Master Gardener Program' and most certainly not 'someone who knows everything there is to know about plants'), "I'll find some goldfish-proof plants to suck up the nitrates."

And so it begins. Here I am.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It's always fun doing the first water test :-D
Actually it was fun. I'm sorry to say the novelty's wearing off.

goldfish need a waay bigger tank than a 10g though. just a heads up.
Yeah, I know. That one fish is already making the 10g overstocked, and she's twice as big as she was four months ago. I'm agonizing over the next tank purchase at this very moment. What size would you recommend, if I find this fantail two pals and assume all three grow to their optimal size? And do you have any plant suggestions? So far the anubias and the Java ferns have been left untouched. I put in an Echinodorus 'vesuvius' as an experiment but it's getting a little shorter every time I look at it.
 

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Psst! Nitrates are fine. No reason to do water changes. Yes, those sour-tasting plants you added will enjoy the nitrates and be resistant as snack food. But the level of nitrates that it would take to kill any but the most fragile of fish (inverts may be another story) is probably completely off the chart (literally, you wouldn't be able to measure it with a basic test kit).

When we talk about adding specific chemicals as fertilizers, more than 50% of that chemical mass is KNO3, or potassium nitrate.

As far as testing, yes, it gets old :) Many of us use our test kits religiously for the first few weeks or months of the planted tank experience, and then ...well, I haven't pulled out a test kit for at least 6 months, and I've got 6 relatively happy tanks.

The point is, relax. Don't stress it. Experiment with plants, and ask around for low-light fish-resistant plant suggestions. You've already gotten a good start on it. Good luck!
 

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IMO, if you're aiming for a planted tank or more plant choices, I'd grab another tank for the goldies, and use the 10 gal for a small community w plants. They're way too destructive for reg plants other then what you already have
 
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