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Plecco

Low maintenance tank?

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I have a very stable setup that seems to be ridiculously low maintenance.

Its a 35 gallon hex with an Eheim canister filter, no heater, t5 lighting with a mix of nutrient dense gravel and aquatic soil.

I have 3 ryukin young adults, 1 telescope, 1 adult oranda, and 1 juvenile (4") common pleco.

There are Malaysian trumpet snails and a few very small mystery snails. I have Anubius planted and a very large piece of driftwood.

I also had a full floating carpet of duckweed which they ate readily for the first 3 months of the tanks life, followed by an overtaking of salvinia for several months and finally almost exclusively overtaken by frogbit.

I have since stripped all floating plants and am awaiting a replenishment of duckweed via my community 55 gal where it lasts / propagates much better sans Goldie's. It makes me nervous and I am monitoring them carefully for signs of stress because I know I am breaking a lot of rules.

Years ago I had a 55 gallon with crushed glass substrate and a couple of aqua clears when I was a kid that used to lead to sick fish all the time at a similar stocking level despite water changes every 3-4 weeks.

So with this current setup I feed them 0-4x a day depending on my schedule and changing about 70% of the water every 30-50 days. I cleaned the filter once after 5 or 6 months when output dropped. I only vacuum the gravel where their food drops if at all.

I never use carbon or fine floss. Just some coarse pads, some bio balls and some women's pantyhose filled with crushed coral and gravel.

Whenever I test the water everything checks out ok - some slightly elevated nitrates but still well within safe parameters. And I have tested everything from nitrites to hardness.

I never see them gasping, no blood streaks, no torn rays or anything out of the ordinary.

No algae problems or anything either.

I believe that the floating plants are working magic on the tank and giving them something more vital for them to eat than the usual diet of spectrum pellets, occasional freeze dried krill and most recently some frozen bloodworms.

I also believe the snails are contributing to this great balance.

My objective is to try to get back to a full duckweed floating carpet on top, but if they eat too fast to make a combo of duckweed and salvinia which they eat less readily. The frogbit they never touched but might be a much better natural water filter for its 2-3" root trails.

I feel like I am breaking so many rules but the fish are quite healthy. I enjoy my fish, feed them whenever I am home and clean the tank when it's convenient. It seems like I have a great thing going and then I read these posts about people doing water changes 2x a week and with very low stocking density.

I wonder if my experience can help anybody out there to build a nice setup and regardless of how often they want to do maintenance- to have a healthier tank overall.

Or, am I just going to make a lot of people with set rules angry. I love my fish and would do a lot more maintenance if I really thought they'd be much better for it... But I would swear these are some of the healthiest fish I've seen.

In fact my freshwater planted co2 injected community 55 gal gets the same treatment and there are tetras in there I began the tank with 4 years ago who are going quite strong. I've had angels and kribenses breeding alongside Molly's in there.

Are water changes just a substitute for natural ecological balances we can engineer into these aquatic microsystems with just a few plants and snails? It seems that way to me.

Edited by Plecco

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i think it's wrong in very many ways.. just because you can keep a stable system, which i think you should also post the water params to support your post above, i think it would be restrictive where it concerns room.

fish like to swim, in cramped spaces, it creates all sorts of problems like stunted growth, personalitly problems such as aggression, anti social.. it's like i guess putting 5 people in a bathroom to live where they can have an entire home to play in.

most goldfish are hearty creatures. but, that does not mean we can cram them into a sardine can. there are other toxins in the water that goldfish and plants produce where we do not have the means to test. they have to live in this stuff until you decide it's time to change their water :blink:

they may appear healthy..... for now... but how long will for now be?

it is my personal opinion and by no means that i share it to you for you to become offended in any way.. but i think your set up is cruel to it's occupants.

how about some media? video?

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You aren't making anyone angry, but I don't know that you will sway any hearts either.

There have been reports of goldfish living in bowls for a great number of years, without water changes on only top offs of water. Yet, these fish persist in surviving. I don't know that I would rush out to tell everyone to follow my lead, if that were my setup. That is not testament to great care; it's a testament to the survival capabilities of a species of fish.

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My main issue here is that it's a hex tank. They just aren't really a favored shape for goldies, who prefer longer tanks. You're overstocked, and even if your nirates aren't showing it; there just isn't much room in a tank that shape for larger goldies, idk what size yours are currently, but I couldn't imagine 5 of my goldfish in my 30 gal. It is crowded with three in there! and my tank is a standard rectangle. In a larger tank it's easier to get away with pushing the stocking limits because there is more physical space for the fish to move around in, but as you go smaller you have to think when is enough enough? I also personally would never keep goldies in a hex tank because IMO it's just not a good shape for them.

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I feel that even if the parameters are staying in check and the fish appear healthy, I couldn't put that many in a 30 gallon. It would just appear too cramped to me. I have 6 in an 80 gallon (4ft long) and that seems like the maximum for me. I also agree that longer tanks seem to be better, as they give more swimming room. Though I have crazy algae, I haven't had any serious problems with the fish since having this set up. It would be awesome to have a tank that you could get away with such low maintenance on ( :druel), It just doesn't sound like a good environment to achieve thriving goldfish with.

I do however agree with the above, it would be interesting to see your exact parameters and some photos of a video of the set up :)

Edited by FishyMandy

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Agreed with the above... Just because you can seemingly get away with this sort of set up doesn't mean you should. There are billions of dangerous micro organisms living in the water that only gets changed every so often. It's one of the reasons we do the water changes so often. Of course there are instances where fish can stay alive with minimal maintenance, but there is a difference between healthy and alive. They can't exactly speak to you and tell you of their discomfort so while they may appear healthy they may just barely be living. I don't doubt that established ecosystems are easier to maintain, but I do doubt an aquariums ability to be a completely self efficient ecosystem. I would also be interested in the parameters. Perhaps if you use a drop test, you can post a picture comparison with the color chart? After all, one persons yellow can be another's green (: my first objection is keeping a common pleco in with these fish, especially in a hex shape. Both pleco and goldfish can grow to be over 8 inches, the pleco can get well over 12. Common plecos are also know to attack goldfish. Of course, just like not every fish will die without regular water changes and upkeep, not every pleco would attack a goldfish. But knowing what we do now about both situations, why not be safe than sorry? Please do excuse me if I sounded rude at all. I am genuinely not trying to be. I don't agree that these types of practices should be condoned or encouraged at all. It would be amazing if this was in fact a sustainable and healthy ecosystem but to be able to make that sort of claim it will take a lot more than just a vague description of the set up and in check parameters. I hope that none of this is offensive at all. I enjoy learning about the science behind fish keeping and discussing it. And if I have learned anything while reading the topics on the emergency forum it's that minimal maintenance and overstocking, with or without plants, never ends well /:

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Like you, I am interested in ways to improve the environment for fish to compensate for some factors we cannot control (and for many, that includes purchasing a gigantic tank). That said, hex tanks do bother me a bit (I am haunted by this gigantic, very thin, hex tank in the York, England train station which was filled with sad looking goldies) as do your stocking levels. To truly contribute to an informed discussion about creating complex and sustainable eco systems for fish, you should post your test results and some photos, videos of the fish and set up. I look forward to seeing these!

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Like you, I am interested in ways to improve the environment for fish to compensate for some factors we cannot control (and for many, that includes purchasing a gigantic tank). That said, hex tanks do bother me a bit (I am haunted by this gigantic, very thin, hex tank in the York, England train station which was filled with sad looking goldies) as do your stocking levels. To truly contribute to an informed discussion about creating complex and sustainable eco systems for fish, you should post your test results and some photos, videos of the fish and set up. I look forward to seeing these!

I'd like to add to this things like growth rate, and I would love to see a video or pictures of your set up.

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I don't think it's possible to create a fully self-sustaining ecosystem in a tank, there are too many external factors that it would miss out on; however, I will say, as a planted tank enthusiast, I've often wondered if it were possible to create either an incredibly low maintenance or self-sustaining tank. The former I have seen done to some extent.

Professional aquascapers like James Findley and Takashi Amano have several large display tanks that are high tech low maintenance; I'm talking in the thousands of litres here. In conjunction with large water volume, they also have minimal bio-loads and a lot of diverse plant species. In that respect I believe they can cut back significantly on water changes, but that doesn't mean they aren't performed, they're just less liberal. In regards to feeding, I believe the fish in these tanks are still readily fed, however, it wouldn't surprise me if in absence of an external food source, certain fish graze on other fauna in the tank i.e. shrimp.

Edit: I was mistaken with the video I had provided. If that tank weren't in Sumida Aquarium, and were allowed to grow more wildly, then I would consider it somewhat low maintenance. But since it has to be maintained daily for viewing purposes it's far from low maintenance. Sorry about that. Actually that supports my initial point to some extent; it's not really doable, even in these large, well planned, 'nature' aquariums.

Edited by dan in aus

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You can have a relatively low maintenance goldfish set up. It's called a pond. Outside. :)

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I have a 55 set up for low maintenance but not with supper messy fish like goldfish. I just can't see that working for the long haul. As stated above goldfish put off a hormone that prohibits growth. If you do not remove that on regular bases your fish well be stunted and that means not healthy. . I would get a set up for the goldfish that is goldfish friendly and use that tank for a couple angelfish. They love tall tanks and do not produce as much waste.

Good luck

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I agree with everything said above, I also want to point out that we only test for a few water parameters. There are lots of other things, such as organics, that build up in the water that we do not test for, which is why regular water changes are so important even when your water tests fine.

I think duckweed is certainly a great idea in a tank. It is great for sucking up nitrates and provides a food source. So I will wholly agree with you on that, although I could never keep it in my tank regularly because my big fish would suck it down before it could replenish.

It is doubtful you will change anyone's mind on stocking guidelines though. My guess is your fish are small at this point because there is no way anyone would condone keeping 5 full grown Goldie's in a 30 gallon, my two make a 40 gallon look like a 20, it just wouldn't be possible to keep that many larger fish comfortably in that tank.

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All that fish in there simply can't survive in that size tank. It's way too small, and it isn't low maintenance You have to do weekly water changes, and the stocking lines are 20 gallons for the first fish, and then 10 for each fish after that. Please at least get a big plastic Sterilite tub for the fish to temporarily store them in until you get a bigger tank around 80 gallons, because of the snails, fish and pleco.

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I don't think it's possible to create a fully self-sustaining ecosystem in a tank, there are too many external factors that it would miss out on; however, I will say, as a planted tank enthusiast, I've often wondered if it were possible to create either an incredibly low maintenance or self-sustaining tank. The former I have seen done to some extent.

Professional aquascapers like James Findley and Takashi Amano have several large display tanks that are high tech low maintenance; I'm talking in the thousands of litres here. In conjunction with large water volume, they also have minimal bio-loads and a lot of diverse plant species. In that respect I believe they can cut back significantly on water changes, but that doesn't mean they aren't performed, they're just less liberal. In regards to feeding, I believe the fish in these tanks are still readily fed, however, it wouldn't surprise me if in absence of an external food source, certain fish graze on other fauna in the tank i.e. shrimp.

Edit: I was mistaken with the video I had provided. If that tank weren't in Sumida Aquarium, and were allowed to grow more wildly, then I would consider it somewhat low maintenance. But since it has to be maintained daily for viewing purposes it's far from low maintenance. Sorry about that. Actually that supports my initial point to some extent; it's not really doable, even in these large, well planned, 'nature' aquariums.

apparently it can be done. have you heard of Diane Wasltad? She wrote a book about that. Its how people used to set tanks up before filters and special lighting and all that. Its all about creating balance . Apparently its very interesting and sciency, all you de is get it running then top up the water now and then. I am going to try to get hold of a copy. It sounds amazing.

Sent from my GT-S5830i using Tapatalk 2

Edited by orandafan1981

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Sorry that had nothing to do with this set up by the way. I would like to say that i agree a longer tank would be nicer for your fish mine seem so much happier and less aggressive now they are in a longer tank.

Sent from my GT-S5830i using Tapatalk 2

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Just want to share my experience with a hexagon tank and goldfish. I had a 30 gal hex for them (1 to 3 at a time) but had trouble getting any to live past a year--usually much shorter than that. Only the last gf I had in there did make it past the year mark but ended up having his fins deteriorate pretty bad--I wasn't changing water every week either. I think you having live plants in yours does help matters--I didn't have them in mine. I now have had 5 goldies in a 40 gal breeder tank for 2 years and they are doing great--especially since I change the water once or twice a week. The one gf from the 30 gal has almost all his fins back and looks good. So you don't HAVE to have a monster tank but keeping it clean is vital.

If you really want low maintenence then it's best to stick with tropicals like your 55 gal. They can take it better in the long run than goldfish. I currently have a 20 gal with trops and sometimes only change water once a month and they are fine--so I agree with you on that working ok. I also still have fish that I've had for years (cory cats for 3 and 4 years +) so it proves they can deal with that situation. I'm sure cleaning more often would be a good idea in general however. :)

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apparently it can be done. have you heard of Diane Wasltad? She wrote a book about that. Its how people used to set tanks up before filters and special lighting and all that. Its all about creating balance . Apparently its very interesting and sciency, all you de is get it running then top up the water now and then. I am going to try to get hold of a copy. It sounds amazing.

Sent from my GT-S5830i using Tapatalk 2

I have indeed heard of Diane Walstad and her book, I haven't read it though. I'll have to take a look at some point. :)

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I have the book. Didn't care much for the science part of it but it is how I have my 55 set up but I am still doing weekly water changes. Just can't seem to break that habit.

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If anyone is near Queens NY I have some goldfish for you. A large pleco too if you have a large tank.

A day after I wrote this, I returned home after 3 days to see a few fine red streaks in their fins.

I think the lack of floating plants is doing it but there is no way they will replenish in time to cure it.

I also agree its too crowded. I had gotten them very small and they have gotten much bigger. I think 2-3 is my number.

The pleco I want to re-home is from my other tank- he's an albino. The one in my goldie tank will need to take his place in the 55.

The albino has been upset with the lack of space as he has gotten bigger and the plants have proliferated. Call me crazy but he shows me he's upset by swimming up to the glass and staring at me. Usually this means he's hungry. But when Id drop in a wafer he would ignore it and about face and start thrashing between a couple plants. Then turn and look at me, repeat and finally swim to the back giving me his back. This was even more prevalent after a tank rearrangement.

But the last time I re-arranged this past month I forgot to leave him some bare space at the front and he has been absolutely motionless and hiding in the back since. Normally he sits somewhere he can see everything from and winks in acknowledgement when I spot him. No more as of this past 2 weeks.

I would have offered him up sooner, but I was considering a move. I just don't think a larger tank will work in my space right now. It's sad because he's a really bright and curious pleco.

I discovered this when one day during a massive water change he swam to the front in a panic. I offered him food which he ignored. He kept freaking out. I picked up a hollow ornament and felt a thrash from within- the other pleco had swam up inside and was no longer submerged. I quickly took the ornament out into a bucket of water and busted her out.

The other pleco watched the whole time and when I returned her to the tank he blinked/rolled his eyes and swam to the back.

So although it kills me, I can no longer keep him.

I've thought about shipping him to Alabama and asking a friend to release him, but I think he needs South American waters to be in his natural habitat.

Edited by Plecco

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If anyone is near Queens NY I have some goldfish for you. A large pleco too if you have a large tank.

A day after I wrote this, I returned home after 3 days to see a few fine red streaks in their fins.

I think the lack of floating plants is doing it but there is no way they will replenish in time to cure it.

I also agree its too crowded. I had gotten them very small and they have gotten much bigger. I think 2-3 is my number.

The pleco I want to re-home is from my other tank- he's an albino. The one in my goldie tank will need to take his place in the 55.

The albino has been upset with the lack of space as he has gotten bigger and the plants have proliferated. Call me crazy but he shows me he's upset by swimming up to the glass and staring at me. Usually this means he's hungry. But when Id drop in a wafer he would ignore it and about face and start thrashing between a couple plants. Then turn and look at me, repeat and finally swim to the back giving me his back. This was even more prevalent after a tank rearrangement.

But the last time I re-arranged this past month I forgot to leave him some bare space at the front and he has been absolutely motionless and hiding in the back since. Normally he sits somewhere he can see everything from and winks in acknowledgement when I spot him. No more as of this past 2 weeks.

I would have offered him up sooner, but I was considering a move. I just don't think a larger tank will work in my space right now. It's sad because he's a really bright and curious pleco.

I discovered this when one day during a massive water change he swam to the front in a panic. I offered him food which he ignored. He kept freaking out. I picked up a hollow ornament and felt a thrash from within- the other pleco had swam up inside and was no longer submerged. I quickly took the ornament out into a bucket of water and busted her out.

The other pleco watched the whole time and when I returned her to the tank he blinked/rolled his eyes and swam to the back.

So although it kills me, I can no longer keep him.

I've thought about shipping him to Alabama and asking a friend to release him, but I think he needs South American waters to be in his natural habitat.

if you haven't done it already (I am lazy and haven't looked :P) there is a classifieds (want to sell/buy) section on the forum that you should post in for any fish you'd like to rehome. You can also check in with your local fish clubs - most areas have a koi club or tropical fish keeping club of some sort and they may be able to help you with rehoming :)

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Um, on the off chance any of this is real. Don´t release the pleco in Alabama or any other location.

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I am a member of a local aquarium club- but working 54 hrs a week makes meeting attendance impossible.

I posted an ad on CL. If I have no takers Ill drop off the Goldie's at a local pet store.

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I am a member of a local aquarium club- but working 54 hrs a week makes meeting attendance impossible.

I posted an ad on CL. If I have no takers Ill drop off the Goldie's at a local pet store.

P

Perhaps you can email one of the aquarium club members and have them spread the word?

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