Scaping for Goldies. Help

Discussion in 'Goldfish' started by hollie1505, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. hollie1505

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    I have just bought an 85 Gallon aquarium as an upgrade for my 40 Gallon Goldie tank. I have purchased an 800GPH filter and some Elodea Crispa.

    I am used to having heavily planted tropical aquariums and I'm unsure of how to scape and decorate a tank for Goldies. I don't know the best substrate? Any special requirements? Do they need caves? Wood?

    I currently have an Oranda, and two Fantails and they like to dig :) they have two caves and some Elodea Densa and Cabomba in with them at the moment.

    I am lacking inspiration and a google search for goldfish tanks turns up huge fish in tiny bowls, not exactly the look I am going for! any help or useful links is appreciated!x
  2. poeticinjustices

    poeticinjusticesWell Known MemberMember

    Oooh fun! Okay, I know you don't mind my endless posts lol so I'm not holding back!

    You can use a lot of different substrates with goldies. I've read some controversy on sand here and there but I've also heard many more love it for their goldies esp being easier to clean and no risk of getting it stuck in their mouths. I have taken an issue with the standard tank gravel. The reason being that I bought fairly large gravel I didn't think they could suck up, and they sure did surprise me! Motley once spotted a piece of anacharis tucked in the gravel and nearly inverted her face trying to suck up the gravel around it to get it out haha and in the process picked up a GIANT piece of gravel. It really scared me. So I'm going with bigger substrate - river rocks in the terracotta (on top of fluorite) and the rest barebottom. The only thing to remember is that they forage, a lot. If it can go in their mouth, it will, and they'll make a mess. I would venture a guess that dirted tanks would not fare well under a goldie assault haha.

    As far as special requirements - I would just say be careful with sharp edges and such. Fancies can be clumsy swimmers and they're super curious so they get into everything. I would say that the dorsal fin-less (ranchu!) and eyeball-exagerrated are the most at risk for injury. I keep only plants in my goldfish tank but that's not to say that you have to do that. I just had a bad experience with hidden edges on a rock decor tearing fins. Actually, if you go to Member Fish Tanks, here's a thread called "4ft Setup" or something like that, I think the OP is Alasse (sp?), and this member has a GORGEOUS goldie setup with driftwood and fake plants. One of my favorite tanks ever.

    I don't think caves are so important as a simply interesting environment is. Goldies are curious, playful and troublemakers haha (a school of goldies is called...a troubling!). So they're really happy when they have a fun and interesting environment.

    My current tank is nothing to sneeze at aesthetically. I haven't really worked on it since we are upgrading. But what worked for me in setup are these 3 ideas...
    1) A play to play (fun, interesting)
    2) A place to swim (open, fancies are less active, yes, but they're still active and fantails are the most active of the fancies usually)
    3) A place to rest (peaceful, calm)

    EDIT: By the way, try Googling "Goldfish Aquascape" then check the images. No bowls there :)
  3. OP

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    They currently have sand and I am a little anxious about switching to gravel for that exact reason although I may mix some larger pebbles with the sand to give it a bit of colour and not the plain white look. Maybe some colourful glass pebbles as it's going above the toy boxes! I may go bare bottom and add colourful glass pebbles as I collect them (I don't want to consider how much this would cost so I may stick with mixing them with sand!). I may also have to copy your terracotta pots idea as I don't have them in any of my tanks and it's nice to have a bit of variety :)

    I am going to have to find this tank, although I think I may remember it. Did it have red silk plants? I can't quite remember it but I remember that being a beautiful tank and I looked into silk plants, pretty expensive but it looked like they were worth it!

    What is considered fun for your Goldies? Or what do you use to entertain them?

    I like the terracotta idea as a way to increase swim space as it imagine when plants get bushy there is at least the area beneath clear (not that I anticipate too much of a problem with tank size). Speaking of active goldfish, since I mentioned Klaus sitting on the cave I have noticed he is nowhere near as active as the others and sort of, hangs around more than I originally thought. I don't know if I'm creating a problem so I am just keeping an eye on things for now but I fear I could "just keep an eye on him" for too long.

    How would you create an area of calm? I assume it would be in the place where the filter makes the least current but, is there something that your Goldies like to do to relax, as such?

    I have found some nice bogwood and I was wondering if they'd be okay with bogwood? I don't see why not but you never know!

    I guess aquascape is the key word to a successful internet search!


  4. renthusWell Known MemberMember

    In all honesty, when it comes to 'scaping a tank for goldies, I wouldn't bother. Just toss in a bunch of things and they'll do as they wish with them, lol. I know that in my pond, my goldies really really like having an area that's just totally overgrown with soft stem plants (anacharis) that they can swim through and become invisible. They also like having a lot of open space to move around and exercise, so having a lot of decorations isn't so great.

  5. poeticinjustices

    poeticinjusticesWell Known MemberMember

    With my ranchus in QT, I am becoming a bigger fan of the look of bare-bottom tanks. It's tricky with goldfish though because they like to have stuff to sift through. That's part of my reasoning for the giant, terracotta bowl rather than just pots, to give them something to pick around in haha.

    The thread I'm talking about did have red silk plants. Gorgeous, huh?

    Goldfish are pretty good at self-entertaining if they have each other and, in a large tank like yours, they will :) But in the tank, I just mean stuff to pick through and at. Pieces of decor they can swim through and such are great, just watch out for edges or holes they could get stuck in.

    I really and genuinely believe that goldies are among the most domesticated of fish. They love to see you and interact with you. I just realized my ranchus hang out on the filter side of the QT, opposite the terracotta pots, because that's where they can see out into the room better. They go nuts watching my dog eat on the floor beside the tank and, for Chise, I have to leave a little bit of the tank uncovered at night because she likes to peek out lol.

    I've been doing a lot of reading about goldies and shallow water, not just young but adults as well. It seems a lot of reputable keepers like this practice. Unfortunately it's really hard to do because they need so much water to dilute their waste. Which is the purpose of my terracotta as well. To sort of "raise" the aquarium floor so they don't have to dive as deeply. I intend to give them very little need or want to go below the terracotta. It's a bit of an experiment, but I'm excited to try it out.

    My goldies picked out the area with the most coverage and least current to rest. Mine prefer to sleep between plants or behind tall structures (I had these two rock formations I really liked but they had all these hidden edges I missed during inspection..."aquarium safe" my bum!). They'll find it but it'll probably be where the current is less. I gave them that place by providing a few plants.

    What do my goldies do to relax? Lol hmm...well they like long walks on the beach, a warm cup of bloodworm tea and curling up in front of a fire with a good book :p

    I can't imagine bogwood would be a problem but I don't keep any sort of driftwood. I would just make sure you do the usual soak and such and that's not too sharp that they might hurt themselves. You know, the usual precautions.

    It's not anything you need to overthink and, if you see they aren't utilizing the whole tank for whatever reason, you can investigate and adjust as needed. Just have fun with it :)
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2014
  6. OP

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    This tank will be in the centre of the room about 3 feet off the ground, above my sons toy boxes so they'll be able to observe plenty. They swim over whenever he's getting a toy out... They're probably expecting food but, I like to think they've come to say hello!

    I have three fancies at the moment, Roger being the biggest at about 3.5", Klaus 3" and Frankie is just about 1" and I am planning on getting two Ranchus (to begin with!) that is five fancies. If I follow 20G the first, 10G thereafter, I am thinking that 60G of water would be adequate? I am planning on slowly increasing the amount when I am doing water changes by about 2 Gallons a week. I am likening them to bettas, in the sense that; they all have long fins (I know Bettas are labyrinths too though) and like to bob up to the surface so I will see how they get on and stop if I see any issues.

    I have sort of pinched your terracotta idea I'm afraid and this is what I've come up with...


    Great artwork, if I do say so myself! Haha.

    I'm going for a play sand substrate (as we have 20 15kg bags of the stuff!) mixed with marina beach pebbles (I have them in my betta tank and they're quite large and very smooth),Terracotta pots topped with glass pebbles along the back anacharis either side of a big java fern, some large flat pieces of bogwood with moss sort of leant against them with open swin space in the front and bogwood and anubias in the foreground.

    I don't leave my scapes be too often and adjust them according to where the fish think things should go, before we meet in the middle and settle on a layout that works for both of us :)

    I have put a small bogwood with some anubiad nana in their tank to see what they make of it... it's one thing they can't dig up at least! I'm not against them digging things up, I like a little bit of even greenery so as long as there's something green on the bottom, I'm happy.

    I am not so much over thinking as getting excited about getting my hands dirty and can't help myself but get bits and bobs in. Or at least, into my eBay shopping basket... And I still haven't been to the aquatic shop on the other side of town!

    Hope you and your finned friends are keeping okay today.xx

    forgot something important....

  7. poeticinjustices

    poeticinjusticesWell Known MemberMember

    HAHA those photos are so cute and the last pic gave me a good chuckle.

    It sounds like your tank will be beautiful, and I am looking forward to seeing it :) You have more options than I do. I love driftwood but am terrified of it because my water is poorly buffered.

    I know your excitement and super excited for you! Also selfishly jealous lol. I imagine your tank may be up before mine, as I've realized just how tiny the fish in my 29g troubling are.

    Anubias nana is beautiful, especially when it flowers, which I only recently learned it does. Motley, my female lionhead in the 29g, picked at the flower quite a bit, but it's a tough plant. The flower looks a lot like a peace lily :)

    I've become more open to sand lately, let me know how your goldies like it. Maybe I'd consider a sand substrate on the bottom when my fish are big enough to tolerate the full depth of the tank. We can have twin tanks lol.

    I think they might do quite a bit of damage to the java fern and moss, but it's not like it's a rare plant, so you can experiment. Plus the anacharis will hopefully act as a deterrent.

    Thanks for asking after my fish haha. The troubling in the 29g are looking good. They are "play" spawning currently and it appears I have only one female, Motley, and her poor tail is looking a little rough from the bumping, shoving and pecking, but she seems fine. The ranchus get ever cuter. They have discovered the joy of anacharis and I returned from work to find they had all but devoured an entire stalk of it. Big mess and super hard to vacuum a tank that is on the floor (turkey baster and I have become good friends) but good to see them exploring :) The two chocolates seem especially bonded. They do this play bumping and following each other that doesn't really look like play spawning so much as just playing. It's pretty sweet.

    Of course, there's V. Who is not looking so good. I stress the word looking because behaviorally he seems perfectly fine and, where he isn't rotting away, his colors are actually becoming more vibrant, but it looks to me as if much of the edge of his tail is about to explode with infection :(

    I'm leaving town on Thursday for the weekend and I'm extremely nervous about it. I have my old boss's teenage son coming to look after the fish while I am gone and I actually think he'll be pretty good. I have the tiniest nitrite issue still in the QT from the mini-cycle from transferred media. However, V is the one I'm really worried about. I wish I could take him with me but the stress of transport would likely kill him. But maybe it's time to see what happens when I leave him be. I will either return home to a miracle or a catastrophe :( So I'm kind of a big, worried mess right now.

    I wish there was another, local FL member I could have come look after V and the goldies for me while I'm gone haha.

    Anyway - enough about me! I'm really excited to see your tank! And your ranchus! You'll have to post some photos of any new family members you bring home from the new store :) Good luck!
  8. OP

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    I'm rubbish at explaining things so I drew it. It showed my other half what I was talking about, not that he particularly cares but I like to tell him EVERYTHING about the tanks :)

    I have quite a lot of driftwood in one of my tanks and my pH is the same as all my other tanks but I keep a closer eye on the pH of that tank than my others... There I only check if the other parameters are off.

    My son is going to the in-laws on Saturday morning until Sunday tea time so I plan to have it in place and filled with water by the time he's at home and then move the Goldies in one evening in the week once it's had time to settle. I plan on moving their filter with them and running a new one permanently so I don't think I'll have too many issues with my cycle but I'll be keeping a close eye on things whilst they adjust to their new home.

    I find the sand really easy to clean. I have it sloped so all the poop gets collected in the back left hand corner and I just do a couple of seconds vacuuming daily, then a proper vacuum at their water change. If it's not sloped to hide the poop though, it looks very messy, very quickly. That is probably only true for the lighter shades though. Darker sand would hide it, I suppose?

    I read somewhere that they won't touch the Java Ferns. It doesn't matter if they do because I have it in most of my tanks and I am going to try and use those. The same with the moss. They love the Elodea they have so I've bought lots of new stuff to fill the tank out a bit, although it grows amazingly well in one of my tanks in particular so I am going to put some in there to keep a constant supply from home.

    I had never really heard of goldfish spawning until I was reading about yours, it sounds pretty brutal! I suppose if she's happy though, it can't be too bad. Maybe she's egging them on? Wiggling her Caudal at them? haha... Sorry, I just imagine her as a big flirty fishy now :)

    I like how our fish can make all the mess we want, yet if my other half leaves a crisp packet on the sofa, I'm raging! It shows how we feel about them, I treat my son the same (Obviously my son gets a little bit more attention than them ;) )!

    Sending all the best to V, Fingers crossed he keeps fighting :) It'll probably do you good to be away from him, try not to worry too much whilst you're away. You're leaving someone you trust to look after him.. You could always get him on FL!xx
  9. Fishy Friends

    Fishy FriendsWell Known MemberMember

    You could always paint the bottom of the tank (on the outside) - a textured sand color paint would appear to be sand☺
  10. OP

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    I like that idea. I could even silicone sand to the base, or on a sheet beneath the glass to save money. It's a hard decision because I think my son would like the look of reflections on a bare bottom tank, but I find sand much easier to clean. Substrate is where I am having to make the highest decisions.

    I received 50 stems of Elodea Crispa today, and I have 30 stems on Elodea Densa on order. Not all for the same tank. I plan on using my fry grow outs to grow extra for a constant supply for the goldies.. I can always trim and bin!

    My Cabomba is currently flowering and it looks lovely!x
  11. poeticinjustices

    poeticinjusticesWell Known MemberMember

    I had to look up elodea crispa - how cool looking! Like green tubes!
  12. OP

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    Just fancied a bit of variety! It's a lot darker green than the densa.. They're loving playing in it.. I keep thinking they've vanished!x

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