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teh_Kibbster

Need a second opinion on my setup

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Hey all,

I am strongly considering turning my 90 gallon goldfish tank into a planted one (still keeping the goldies mind you!). I am no longer happy with the look of the tank and the gravel bottom is starting to become a real pain. I LOVE my planted tanks and they require the least upkeep out of every style of tank I've ever had. I also find the fish act more "normal" when they're darting around in a green forest instead of a glass box.

I have already experimented with this lot of goldies and they're not big on eating plants. They haven't touched java moss, ferns, rotala indica (well, they mowed down the first bunch, but no longer eat it after I started tossing clippings from my heavily planted 10 gallon in there, lost the taste for it I guess), a no-name crypt I have, a large sword, anubias. I think they're going to leave things alone. I'd like to get some kind of lily. Vals were also a no-go, they were too tasty.

I have had great success with Eco-Complete and Flourite mixes in my ten and six gallons. I dose occasionally with Flourish Excel and have some generic root tabs that I use. I'd plan on doing the same in the 90.

However, I had some questions. The substraits I love need 3" depth, and I tend to bank it up even a bit more at the back. Is this going to be a problem for goldfish and their poop?

Also, this is a 90 gallon tank. I like working in the 3 watt per gallon range, I get the best growth with the least algea, and I can manage red plants at this level. Any suggestions for a light fixture that will give me the growth I need? I'm looking to spend under $200 on lights, so maybe shop lights from Home Depot or something?

Are goldfish able to live with tankmates like shrimp? I assume it would have to be something larger, like bamboo shrimp? My RCS will be staying in the ten with the guppies, but I'd like to get some kind of clean up crew going in there if possible.

I plan on putting the fancies out in the rain barrel for a month or two while setting up this tank. I think that will give the plants enough time to establish and root before the gang come around nosing and being goldfish. I'd like to put them out sometime in July or August. They can easily stay out until October in my area.

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3" of gravel could lead to some serious problems down the road. When I first joined the forum, I had my fish in a 75 with 2-3" of gravel and I ended up lossing all but one fish due to the deep gravel providing breeding grounds for bad bacteria. Your best bet would be to either use less gravel -- around an inch-- and use weights to secure the plants a bit more, or to plant everything in pots/containers. If you're not dead set on substrate, you could secure anubias and java ferns and mosses to rocks and wood. I have done this and Have a fairly densly planted 35g at the moment. Plus you wouldn't need to spend as much on lighting or ferts. I have an anubias that is 9 inches tall and it is growing under 1.4 W of light and no ferts at all. As far as the shrimp go, bamboo might be a good choice. I have had gohst shrimp in my tank before. Some got eaten and some didn't. Good luck, and don't forget to post pictures! :)

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I have a planted tank with a sand substrate. I like the sand because the poop doesn't fall into it, and it seems cleaner. It's about 2 inches deep, maybe a little more. Also, because the sand is so dense, it holds the plants better. The goldies hunt and peck at them a lot, even if they don't eat the actual plant, so keeping the plants in place is an issue.

Btw, you are right -- they nibble the ends of vals, but overall, I'm easily able to grow enough vals to keep up.

I have ghost shrimp with my goldies. They do become snacks, but they manage to keep their distance most of the time, as long as they have plenty of hiding places. :)

Pictures are mandatory. ;)

Edited by ShawneeRiver

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Yeah, my concern is that most of the plants I have already are root feeders. They NEED at least 2" to grow in. I will just have to be vigilant with my syphon to get as much poop as possible. The mulm I'd want to keep though. I'm not planning on buying a whole bunch of plants, I'd have more than enough clippings from my ten in the next 2-3 months to transplant into the 90 and fill it. I already toss at least a handful of cuttings every week simply because I don't have enough buyers and I have no more tanks in which to plant them.

I already have moss, ferns, and anubias on my driftwood. I'm not in love with the look, but it is pretty easy to maintain. My plant list is basically set, except for a lily (maybe). I might try vals again, and let them establish while the fancies spend the summer outside.

Your suggestion about the sand makes a lot of sense. I think I might do 3 bags of Flourite sand as the cap layer, and 2 bags of Eco-Complete as the base. Root tabs as needed. From MOPS, this will cost me $119 and change.

I'm also thinking of pulling the driftwood I've had in there for years. It's really starting to fall apart in the last year or so, but it's been in there for 6 years now, tank up and running for 7 years at the end of the month. I think I'm entitled for a revamp after this long!

My real concern is the lighting, the tank is (I think) 18" tall, and getting enough wattage down to the bottom of the tank is going to be my biggest challenge.

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My plants are doing OK with the sand and root tabs. I'm using a mix of multi-pupose sand and pool filter sand. It cost me $15. I have tried Floramax with a sand cap and Eco Complete with a sand cap. I wouldn't do it again. It just gets all mixed up, which doesn't looks bad. And my plants are growing better in those two tanks, but it also could be the lighting.

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