Large Self Sustaining Tank Build

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GoldfishBreeder

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So I am upgrading my goldfish into a bigger tank, anywhere from 45-75, and I want to get more goldfish to keep my lonely oranda company. I want to buy goldfish but I don't have the budget to spend more than $50 per fish, but I want quality goldfish. I've looked into every breeder I can think of but I don't know if there are other breeders I haven't heard of. My tank however is going to be a planted tank and the goldfish will share it with ghost shrimp and white cloud minnows. My project is to make a no maintenance fish tank where it will not frequently need water changes, not need a filter, not need to scrub algae of the walls of the tank. My plan was to do a small layer of dirt on the bottom of the tank, than add a thicker layer of natural colored gravel and sand. I wanted to add in some bigger stones and larger pieces of drift wood, then add in a bunch of plants for the fish and shrimp to feed off of. I know I can't put to much wood in the tank because the fish need a lot of space to swim.
 

SM1199

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I will say that I don't think two goldfish in a 45-75 gallon tank will ever not need a filter because they just produce SO much waste. And that's not even including the white clouds. Also, goldfish LOVE to munch on plants, so they'll tear up all your ammonia-absorbers. This would be really nice and doable with only white clouds and/or other small fish, but goldfish just won't work. They will also most certainly gobble down any shrimp that they can reach.
 

Skavatar

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have you researched the Walstad Method?

you'd want a 75 gallon b/c oranda's are one of the largest fancy goldfish varieties. even the "smaller" ranchu can get to the size of a fist.

you don't need to pay over $50 for goldfish unless you're looking to goto Shows, and breed show quality fish. it'll take some time buy you can find a really nice goldfish at one of the petstores. i found this really nice blue oranda at one of the PetSmarts in the Houston area for $7.99. Blue Oranda
 

Unforgiving Llama

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If you are looking for self-sustaining, I think Walstad is something you should look into as Skavatar stated.

I recently stated a 29 gallon heavily planted Walstad with sand over organic potting soil and have been very pleased with the results. No fish yet, but the algae is non-existent despite high light for 12 hours a day, and the plants are growing very well. The plants out compete the algae for nutrients, and my pest snails and ramshorns finish off the leftovers.

My other tank, a 10 gallon is a kind of half-Walstad (lots of plants but with Fluval shrimp stratum and a HOB) has been up and running for a year with fish and shrimp/snails and is virtually algae free. My tap water has about 20 ppm nitrates, but my tank actually has less (5 ppm) due to the plants. I do a 10% water change every week and that is it.
 

BlackOsprey

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I'd recommend the Walstad method, but I agree with SM1199. I don't think it would work with goldfish at all. For a tank to be self-sustaining, it needs to be *very* heavily. Wild junglelike growth is ideal, with a ton of emergent or floating plants too, and goldfish will make a complete salad of it all. The setup also requires relatively light stocking to work without additional filtration, and even just 1 goldfish produces a ton of waste.
 

aoiumi

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The walstad method might work, but keep sm1199's advice in mind. I don't keep goldfish, but it does seem to be a legitimate concern. Be careful, and keep a close eye on the tank.
 

PascalKrypt

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Such set-ups are great and can work with higher bioload than you might think (speaking from experience, people underestimate how much a filterless soil cycle can handle), however you should think long and hard about a water change regime. There are no true closed environments in nature, and a zero water change tank simply doesn't work (I'm including only top-up here). It may take longer or shorter but eventually your tank will develop old tank syndrome. So you do need some water change regime, not for the water quality but to prevent the build-up of harmful trace substances and potentially the lack of trace elements required by plants and livestock in the long run (but that varies). The scary thing about old tank syndrome is that you won't see the symptoms until it is too late.
I would recommend adding a shrimp colony if you really don't want to do weekly water changes as they help a ton with breaking down detritus and leftover food bits and the sort. You'll still need to do a bi-weekly change at minimum, in my opinion, and for the health of your fish I would strongly recommend sticking to a weekly change (maybe change less, like 10 or 20%?).
I keep plants with both herbivores and notorious uprooters and they get snacked on and young plants get uprooted but once established it works out okay. Soil is a terrific substrate for plants, they anchor much better than in aquarium sand. I've not tried it with goldfish though, so no guarantees there.
 

Foxxway

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"the goldfish will share it with ghost shrimp"
:emoji_raised_hand:Hold up.
Trust me. I've already done the ghost shrimp with goldfish thing. It worked out GREAT for the goldies, not so much for the shrimp. If you're planning on the shrimp being a food source for them, then Coolio. If you actually want to enjoy them as pets, you won't get the chance. Even though you provide hiding spaces and they mostly come out at night when the fish should be sleeping, those ornery goldies will eat them like the delicacies they are.
 
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