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El natural with a filter?

1341 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Shurik
Has anyone set up a tank with a soil+gravel substrate, low light, and a filter running?

I'm considering, only considering at this stage, converting my 30 gallon goldfish tank into an "el natural" style. But I doubt that the plants could handle the waste produced by the goldfish, as the tank is heavily stocked, so if I did it I would want to keep the filter running.

Can anyone advise on the up and downsides of doing this?

There would be other problems to surmount, namely the goldfishes habit of uprooting plants and of rooting through the gravel. I'm hoping that if I made the gravel layer relatively thick, I would prevent them from making a mess every time they did their uprooting or digging thing. And maybe the soil layer would encourage root growth more than the current gravel does, and make the plants harder to uproot. Hopefully.

Any comments on this idea?
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Dear HelenF! :D

I do have 50 gal with the soil+gravel substrate, low light, and a filter running, goldfish and low light set up. Welcome to see my thread, sorry it's got so huge now. But I got some good links about such a set up other people left for me. (I should fish them out for you)
Personally I think this is totally possible, why not? :D

You can start from Betty's great experience with goldfish NPT,

Good luck! :D
Hi Shurik,

I had actually forgotten that your tank was for goldies too, and I hadn't read it in a while.

I'm so glad that you put your goldfish in there. I totally agree that we have a responsibility to the fish we own, even those bought with not enough understanding of their needs or how large they would grow. My goldies are definitely in that category and I probably wouldn't have bought them if I had realised, but since I did, I think that giving them a good home is far more important than having a stunning tank.

I have a couple of questions about your tank:

1. How much soil is in it? I find it hard to see the soil under the sand in the early shots. My NPTs have about an inch of soil in the bottom, so far, but it looks to me like yours is less than that.

2. How large are your goldfish? They look at bit smaller than mine, which are up to about 4.5 inches. But it's hard to tell because your tank is larger and a different shape to mine.

3. How much light do you have over the tank?

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I see your fish keeps rioting for better living conditions, good for them! [smilie=n:

[B]The soil:[/B] I used Home Depot soil and followed this method. Instantly I've noticed huge difference in the plant growth, colors and absence of algae. Also I had almost no ammonia spike and that was great! I would do it again, even though I had to do it in my livingroom. I do have a little less then 1" layer of it.
I've noticed my links don't always functioning any more. In this case here is the link to the article about this method.

If this is still not opening, you can find it in General Interest Forum- Library-How to: mineralize soil substrate, by Aaron Talbot.

The fish: The big one is about 5" and the little one is about 4.4", and I think they actually started to grow again after they moved into 50 gal! :rolleyes:

Lights: this is something undefinate. I do have two T5 HO light fixtures, 39w x 2 for about 8 hours a day and another one 24w x 2 for occasional blast. But I don't really follow this schedule, and as a result of it they get much less of the light. I have lots of floaters so it diffuses the light even more.

I don't regret putting my fish in this tank at all. They do great and they are fun to watch. Plus now they look so healthy and happy, and it is another nice thing to see. :D

I had a list of plants I used, and I can add to it that Japonica Blyxa became their favorite delicates, but other then that, everything else stays intact. Occasionally H.P. rips out some HC, but this is really nothing compare to what I was promised.

I let everything root in really well before the fish went in, and this was pretty wise idea.
Here is another useful link about goldies and some people have planted tanks, but this forum really makes me cry because I had no idea of how badly I've treated my fish in the past. Just like it happened to you, if I only knew what I was getting into with these guys!

So here it is, but I always need my handkerchief ready when I read it. :cool:
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