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Discussion Starter #1
As I mentioned in my other post, I've got a goldfish in need of a new home. I'm thinking a 5 gallon. In the old community tank he and his now-deceased fellow goldfish loved to root around in the gravel and eat the plants. Next to the clown loach, they're the most destructive fish I've met. So, he's gonna have a tank all to himself, but I'd really like to give him some real plants. He didn't seem to munch the anubius or java ferns, so I'll probably get some of those for him. Maybe some anacharis to munch on.

Here's what I'm thinking:
5 gallon tank
fish tank gravel, nothing fancy
clay pots for the plants
plain top soil
1-3 mm grain sand to cover the top soil
plants- not sure what kinds (other than what I listed above) and how many. Suggestions?

Golfish are messy fellows, so I thought this way he could root around and have his plants to munch without destroying the tank. When a plant gets eaten I can simply take out the pot it's in and replace the plant. Does that sound reasonable? Would the pots allow for the soil and plants to do the filtration? Or should I still do the bottom of the tank in topsoil capped with the sand, plant the plants he probably won't eat in the substrate and do the pots for the plants he'll most likely eat?
 

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Anubius and java fern do not like their roots in the soil. Just rubberband them on a piece of bog wood and they will live very happily. No need for any soil with them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Anubius and java fern do not like their roots in the soil. Just rubberband them on a piece of bog wood and they will live very happily. No need for any soil with them.
Actually, I was just reading on another section about Super Glue gel being used to attach rhizome plants to rocks and wood. It sounds like a great idea! I've used dental floss before with decent results.
 

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I'll be curious to hear how your potted plant experiment works. I was considering trying something similar when and if I get more goldfish. I'd do it in a larger tank, though. What kind of goldfish is he? Most of the goldfish I've kept outgrew a five gallon pretty quick. Some of the fancy ones can make do for a bit longer, as they don't swim very athletically, but eventually even these guys get pretty big. Once they get too big they tend to scrape themselves up on the tank decorations. Plus I also feel a bit bad for solitary goldfish; they're sociable little guys and like company.
 

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If you are considering a 5 gallon for a goldfish, the fish must be pretty small right now. But it WILL grow. Rule of thumb for a small to medium goldfish is 10 gallons per fish. I think you would be much happier (and the fish) setting up a 10gal. Most of my medium to larger ones are in 29 gal tanks. Some by themselves, at the very most two. My goldfish tanks are, for now, plant-less.

For a goldfish you will need a filter of some kind. The plants will not be able to keep up with the ammonia output of them. A plant that I have been able to use (in a larger tank) is a jungle Valisneria. Not only to goldfish like to uproot, they like to eat plants too.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Tames, he was the smaller of the two goldfish. I'm not sure of the breed, fantail maybe? He's quite handsome, orange and white with long white fins. I was hoping for a smaller tank, but you're right, they do have a tendency to grow. And I figured I'd need a filter of some sort but was hoping the NPT would be able to handle the load. Oh well. Do you think, though, that I should go NPT anyway and supplement with the filter or not even bother with NPT and just go with filter?
 

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Or should I still do the bottom of the tank in topsoil capped with the sand, plant the plants he probably won't eat in the substrate and do the pots for the plants he'll most likely eat?
I agree with the others that this tank is not ideal for a Goldfish. They do grow and live many decades. However, if the choice is between death and what you've envisioned, your fish is lucky and will probably be healthier in an NPT than just a regular tank.

I would put the plants in pots as you've planned. The rest of the substrate (without plants) should be a thin (about 1/4 inch) of gravel or sand. That way your substrate doesn't go anaerobic. I've set up tanks this way (potted plants plus thin layer of gravel), and they work very well.
 

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Please do not put that goldfish in a 5 gallon tank. If it is a deep-bodied "egg shaped" goldie, he could grow to the size of a grapefruit. I would not put him in anything less than a 30 gallon. If he's has a streamline body-type then--unless you have a gigantic tank--he needs to be in a pond. Lots of people suggest double filtration for a goldie, as they can be messy little chubsters. There's no way keeping that fish in a 5 gallon with no filtration will be any good for him. You know, their lifespan can exceed 20 years. I see him surviving in that type of set up for 2 years max.

A fishtank is not an accessory, a furniture piece, or a knick-knack to look at, they require diligent care and a certain level of intelligence. In the future you need to properly research the needs and requirements for every fish you would like to buy before you purchase it.
 
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