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Andrew Goldfish

Andrew's 125 G Dirt Planted Goldfish Tank

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For 23 years I maintained a saltwater aquarium filled with "Rambo fish" like triggers, lionfish, puffers, damsels and clownfish. I finally decided to pack up my salties to the local Petco and convert to freshwater. After doing a lot of research I decided to turn my 125 gallon tank into the type of habitat that 4 Oranda goldfish would pick if they had a vote.

After years of using buckets to do saltwater water changes I finally got a siphon for the sink. Bye bye saltwater.

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The background that I'd been using for 20 years had a freshwater scene on the other side. How convenient. Printed in Japan. Penn- Plax. 1987!

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After a thorough vinegar tank cleaning I added 1 inch of organic potting soil and covered that with 1 to 1 1/2 inches of medium to large smooth gravel. The local Lowes didn't have the popular Miracle Grow in organic so I got another brand that had the same stats.

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Next I added a wide variety of plants in the back as the tank cycled to see what type would grow best in my setup. I was well aware of the potential problems of goldfish uprooting and eating/killing your plants and making a muddy mess. But that won't be considered a problem, since the driving theme of this tank is to make an ideal habitat for the goldfish.

The test plants were Anubias, Java Fern, Green Crypt, Crypt Balanse, Bacopa, Amazon Sword, Umbrella, Ludwigia, Wisteria and Peacock Fern. I basically got every type from my local Petsmart and Petco that someone said did well with Goldfish, plus a few others that I liked the look of.

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I added a double light strip to increase plant growth and got rid of the aquarium's glass lid. Aqueon 36 inch: 6700k daylight and Colormax bulbs. I'm not going for crazy levels of light, but I figured the plants would need more than the Lowes GE daylights I used for viewing my saltwater fish. 30 watts * 2 + 21 watts * 4 = 144 watts for a 120 gallon tank. The plan is to run them 6 or 7 hours a day and see how fast the plants and algae grows.

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I kept the same 3 box filters on the back, rated for around 180 gallons of water. It's probably more aeration than the plants would like, but I'm hoping to grow four healthy Orandas to their full size so I figured even with the plants I'd eventually need it. I didn't put any carbon in the new filters.

The plan is to let the tank cycle for a month or so with just the plants and see how it goes. Then maybe add a few plant friendly fish for maybe another month while doing weekly water changes of about 20 percent.

As to why I decided to keep Orandas: I went through the list of breeds of fancy goldfish and watched YouTube videos to see what types I found interesting to watch over time. Orandas seemed the most intriguing to me. So the long term plan is to have four Orandas in a heavily planted tank with some small driftwood and maybe a few other small structures. The stretch goal being to actually breed the fish.

So that is where I stand one week later. I got three Mopani pieces of driftwood that I boiled and will be soaking for a few days. Right now I don't think I want any big structures other than the plants so the fish have maximum swim area.

But this is ALL completely new to me, and everything I've done so far is based on researching a half dozen forums, websites and YouTube channels the last two weeks.

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That looks great! I'll be following your thread, as I'm planning to do a 180 US gal dirt tank, so this will be educational :) good luck! That size tank will make an amazing home for 4 orandas :)

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Looks great!!!!

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Hi Andrew,

Welcome! I look forward to interacting with you more, and will certainly call on you for your fish experience as well. :)

Your plan sounds pretty ideal, actually. My only suggestion for orandas (or any other goldfish for that matter) is to get them small, have patience, and groom them up to the fish you want them to be. Adult fish are nice, but you will have ceded control of their growth and development during the most important years.

Orandas are my favorite goldfish as well. :)

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:clapping: that was a fun read!

Goldfish rule! :thumbs:

Sounds like a great home for your soon to be orandas :)

I agree with Alex :alex getting small and growing them is rewarding and fun! :nana

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How funny! I JUST bought a pack of the Petsmart's green crypt today haha. Those goldfish are so lucky. My goldfish are gonna tell me :hi and move to where you are. haha.

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I love a nice dirt tank, so you and I are going to get along just fine. :D I can't wait to see how it grows in.

A suggestion: Watersprite goes wild in dirt. Try it out!

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Welcome to the forum!!

I am looking forward to more updates on your tank :) it looks like you are off to a great start!

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Andrew, if you didn't know, the last two people that posted are our planted tank experts! :nana

They are plant savvy and amazing ladies :hug

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Andrew, if you didn't know, the last two people that posted are our planted tank experts! :nana

They are plant savvy and amazing ladies :hug

You're too sweet ;)

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Welcome to the site, Andrew. :hi

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Welcome!!! :nana I look foward to see in more pics!! You have an amazing set up!!

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I don't know why, but the background pic gave me a nice chuckle! Looks great and your goldies are going to be very lucky! :nana

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Wow thanks for everyone's comments. I definitely plan to get small Orandas and let them grow, and I got Watersprite on my to-get list. Not finding everything I want at the local Petsmart and Petco so I may need to order online somewhere.

Thought I'd give a little shout out to some of the people who inspired me to pick a planted tank and Orandas these last two weeks.

First up I'm thrilled to see Tithra posting here. Watching the Orandas on her YouTube channel is what finally settled me on getting that type of Goldfish: https://www.youtube.com/user/tithra33

I loved watching Dustin's high energy videos at Dustin's Fishtanks. That's where I first got pointed to this site: https://www.youtube.com/user/Dustinsfishtanks

I was actually about 50/50 between either doing a Piranha or Fancy Goldfish tank two weeks ago, and his videos helped me make up my mind.

Watching Jennie's fun and informative videos at Solid Goldfish made me confident I wasn't going to get bored with fancy goldfish: https://www.youtube.com/user/flashofpink

I also enjoyed watching Jacobs Aquarium channel, especially when he got all gaga opening his box of new Orandas: https://www.youtube.com/user/JacobsAquarium

And here's a small update on the tank.

After boiling my Mopani driftwood pieces and soaking them for a few days they finally seemed to stop leaching tannins into the bucket. So I tried my hand at attaching my Java Fern with brown thread to two of the pieces. So at least there is a little structure in the tank now instead of the boring test row of plants.

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And now the hard part: doing nothing with the fishless tank for a week.

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I'm also a massive fan of Dustin and his dirt tanks! :thumbup2: and of course Tithra! ;):D

I'm looking forward to seeing any changes that take place in the next week :)

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Hello and Welcome to the forum. :)

I enjoyed reading your post. I'm excited for you for having such a large tank because now I can go see your photo's and video's once you get your tank all set up and get/pick your fish.

You had mentioned that you might have to go online to get them. I'd like to suggest raingarden.us because I purchased a Blue Oranda last October there and have been enjoying him so much. He's been nothing but a very healthy, active fish. Steve was great in helping me decide. I had my choice down to two blue oranda's. He raises them himself and you can ask him if he has any as young as you want. Mine was actually 18 months but I knew he came from a reputable resource that took care of his stock. I just recently sent Steve an update on my fish from him. He replied back to me which I thought was awesome. Or if you decide on another type of fish I'd like to suggest Cynthia from eastcoastranchu. She is awesome and does sell young healthy Ranchu. Right now she's not selling for she's doing preventative health treatments on them. The fish leave her property very healthy.

The four shout outs that you gave out I too watch their video's and enjoy them. :)

I'll be looking forward to seeing your planted tank all set up and seeing your new fish.

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Well I am very excited to see this tank as it grows!!!! Great job!

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One week later the plants seem to all be doing ok, and I finished reading Walstad's book.

Question. I want to order some Water lettuce, Frogbit, Duckweed, Hornwort and Vals. Any suggestions on where to order from for someone here in Indianapolis. The local Petsmart and Petco don't seem to carry these.

Also, I think I'll try Walstad's siesta light scheme. 4 hours of light in the morning. 4 hours off for CO2 to rebuild. Then 5 more hours in the evening for a 13 hour light cycle day.

Also I think I'm going to get a UV filter. Any suggestions?

Edited by Andrew Goldfish

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You can try aquabid.com or planted aquarium central. I've ordered plants from Pac and so have quite a few people on here. They all came to me in really good shape but shipping is pretty expensive there. Shipping is cheaper on aquabid

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One week later the plants seem to all be doing ok, and I finished reading Walstad's book.

Question. I want to order some Water lettuce, Frogbit, Duckweed, Hornwort and Vals. Any suggestions on where to order from for someone here in Indianapolis. The local Petsmart and Petco don't seem to carry these.

Also, I think I'll try Walstad's siesta light scheme. 4 hours of light in the morning. 4 hours off for CO2 to rebuild. Then 5 more hours in the evening for a 13 hour light cycle day.

Also I think I'm going to get a UV filter. Any suggestions?

I second the suggestion of checking aquabid for floaters. I've bought duckweed from sellers there and on eBay in the past.

Regarding UV filter, I have 25 watt emperor uv from goldfish connection.com the emperors are great UVs (probably the best consumer UV). You can order them from many different places online, but the one from goldfish connection is nice because it comes with everything you need for setup including an appropriate pump (wattage of the bulb is important too, but the gph of the pump you're using is going to determine how long the water is in contact with the bulb and subsequently what the UV is able to kill). I can't remember how large of a tank the emperors that GFC sells are rated for but you can check out their site and also the emperor aquatics site. Aqua vim is another brand that has come up recently, it seems to only be sold on eBay and is a cheaper version of the emperors. I have no personal experience with this brand so I can't say much.

Here's my review on the emperor http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/100241-emperor-smart-uv-25-watt/?hl=%2Buv+%2Bsterilizer+%2Bgoldfish+%2Bconnection+%2Breview

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Andrew, if you didn't know, the last two people that posted are our planted tank experts! :nana

They are plant savvy and amazing ladies!

If you mean expert at killing plants, then you got the right girl! That doesn't mean that I don't keep on trying! :rofl3

Thank you, Aubrey! :heart

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I think we've all killed our fair share Tammy :P

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I think we've all killed our fair share Tammy :P

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Except for you, and your perfectly behaved tenants. :peeka:rofl3

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I think we've all killed our fair share Tammy :P

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Except for you, and your perfectly behaved tenants. :peeka:rofl3

Lol, yes the tenants are pretty well behaved but when user error results in the lights and co2 not being turned on for 2 weeks it's a quick way to kill off an entire tank of plants :P

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tank9.jpg

Thanks for the info everyone. I took a look at the two sites and Peabody Paradise from another thread, which had everything I wanted, so I ordered from them.

I decided to go ahead and tie all the anubias to driftwood and, since the water had a persistent yellow color (I guess from the driftwood) I decided to do a 2/3 water change.

THEN... I finally got around to buying a test kit (never did a water test in the 23 years I had saltwater) and discovered I had .5 ppm ammonia, 0.0 nitrites after 17 days with water. BUT... when I tested my tap water I unhappily discovered it was also .5 ppm ammonia. Rats. So I guess I don't really know what the ammonia level actually was before I did the water test.

Isn't that a huge amount of ammonia for tap water? I never had any problems with the saltwater fish when I did water changes, so I'm puzzled. (I also tested some bottled water, which had 0.0 ammonia, so I know it wasn't just a bad test.)

I also discovered my tap water pH is between 7.4 and 7.6, in-between the low and high pH test strip ranges.

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