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Old 11-15-2007, 07:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New hobbyist - with goldfish!

Alright - I was told to get a hobby, and I chose an aquarium. I decided I was going to try and keep live plants this time around (only had plastic when I was a youngster). Unfortunately, I have a taste for goldfish.

30 gallons, has been cycled for 2 months.
water conditions all normal for fish
KH 4 dH, GH 8 dH, pH 7.4, CO2 4 mg/l
Iron drops added because my vals washed out
Undergravel fertilizer tabs added - well, because my vals washed out.
Fake CO2 injection - a powerhead that pumps yeast driven gas at the bottom of the tank.
substrate is large, rounded gravel (1/2 to 1 inch pebbles)
Light: Coralife Aqualite T-5 fluorescent double bulb (21 watt 10000K + 21 watt actinic blue)

2 small fancy goldfish, 1 king dojo, a ginormous snail population due to a rogue egg patch.
1 piece of driftwood with a very happy anubias rooted to it.
1 bunch of Jungle Val that I left bunched that has made exactly 1 runner.
1 bunch of anacharis - goldie salad - that brought snails.


1.) My anacharis uprooted itself after a fertilizer tab was pushed in by its roots. All its anchor strands rotted off, all the rooted strands rotted at the bottoms. That which is floating around now is nice and green - why did it uproot?

2.) Substrate: Big gravel is good for goldies - they tend to get stuff stuck in their mouths if its too small - but I imagine it's bad for plants. Someone suggested laterite. Can I add laterite (or some other substrate) to an already established tank successfully? Can the substrate be mostly on the bottom? with roundy gravel on top? Should they be evenly mixed?

3.) Your walkthru site link for newbies mentions that airstones are a bad idea with CO2 additions - and to be honest, I'm confused why my CO2 is still so low with the CO2 yeast bomb I have brewing. Is the stone the culprit? Is there any reason why I should remove it? Can I leave it in? Is it doing anything but making bubbles? (and removing my CO2 :P)

4.) VACUUMING! Goldies are dirty. I vacuum once a week and nastiness always comes up. I'd love to have a self-regulating substrate system that doesn't need much vacuuming and takes care of it's bioload itself. Can I vacuum (I avoid the areas with plants, but I get about 1 inch away at times)? Should I only vacuum the parts without plants? If my tank was better planted, would I still need to vacuum? (e.g. the plants do that dirty work for me?)

5.) Algae. I had a golden algae eater that was doing a wonderful job - unfortunately he had a taste for goldie fish slime and started sucking on my fish. Now he's gone, and there is red algae EVERYWHERE. I'm ordering some cherry red shrimp and a dozen non-breeding nerite snails from AZgardens, but I'm sure the plants could help with some out-competing. Suggestions? More plants? i'm afraid to add more with such low CO2 concentrations.

6.) Lighting, Ferts, CO2 - what am I doing right, wrong, need to do more of or less of?

Thanks for the help in advance - the substrate and the vacuuming are my big concerns.
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: New hobbyist - with goldfish!

Your substrate is much too large for keeping plants, this is way the val is having problems staying anchored. Plus too large of a gravel allows too much debris to fall through and with goldfish you don't want that. I would probably switch the substrate out for pool filter sand, since you say Goldfish will eat smaller gravel, and put a layer of Laterite underneath for added nutrients. This will intell removing all occupants (plant,animal) into a temporary holding place for a few hours while this is being done. It's a little time consuming but can be done pretty easily if planned out in advance.

In planted tanks you want to vacuum only the areas that are open and without plants. This is another good reason to use sand as a substrate, because the debris can be easily sucked off the surface. You can always vacuum in between plants if there is enough space between plants.

Any agitation to the water surface is going to cause C02 loss and with DIY system you need all the C02 you can get. I would remove the bubbler if I was you.

Add more plants, the more the better. Use a lot of fast growers to help suck up nutrients, that the algea also feed on. The red algae is actually a bacteria so you will need to treat it with E-mycin or blackout to get rid of it initially, then keep a balance tank to keep it away.

42 watts is very low lighting on a 30G tank, so keep that in mind when purchasing plants. I would also change out both bulbs. The actinic bulb does very little for plant growth and the 10000k in my experience increases BBA growth. I would use either a 6500k or 6700k bulbs for better plant growth.

As for the C02 in lower light tanks, less is needed compared to higher light tanks. If you want more C02 try hooking up another DIY unit or use Seachem Excel (carbon source) in addition to.

Get yourself a good liquid micro/macro solution to feed the plants, Seachem makes a good line.

Another thing is not to leave your plants bunched when planting, spread them out a bit so they can get light to the bottoms & have room to grow/spread.

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