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Possible Remodeling of a 55 Gallon Tank.


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Hi all. After my lionhead died I considered the injustice that I've done all the others.

Attached is a picture of my 55 gallon tank. Originally I thought that I could get about 7-8 goldfish in this thing and hopefully watch them grow from tiny to fairly large fish.

I am realizing that I didn't account for all the ornaments and thick layer of gravel that I have in the tank.

There are currently four fish in this tank now and I do weekly 60% water changes. I'm wondering if I should take out any ornament or would I be able to maintain this tank with four fish.

I'm not too keen on the fish that are in there. I'm so I'm going to be giving them to someone else. It's possible I may have to recycle or try to fix the water conditions in there as well. I also may be buying a 30 or 40 gallon tank to house about three small orandas or pearls.

Please tell me what you suggest.

image_zps58748b8c.jpg

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Since you have been having problems, I would consider going back to being at-capacity or even understocked. Koko's recommends a bare minimum of 15 gallons per fish, but optimally we would like to allot 20g or more per fish. This should last them well into the future.

Also, if your tank and tap PH is close and you can regulate the temperature of the water going into your tank, you can do weekly WCs of 80% or even as close to 100% as you can get. I personally get as close to 100% as possible without removing my fish, every week, and I am understocked. The most helpful thing you can do for a fish is provide a clean environment.

I would remove anything in that tank that is hollow. Hollow ornaments are a breeding ground for bacteria and the water inside them stagnates, creating a toxic environment for fish. Goldfish do not generally need places to hide, so hollow ornaments aren't necessary for them either.

Also, I would switch your substrate for a layer of sand that is no more than 1/4"-1/2" thick, or go bare bottom. Gravel is not only a big dirt-magnet even when vacuumed weekly, but it also could become lodged in your goldfish's mouth and choke them. Remove the gravel slowly with each water change to prevent your cycle from having a bump, or just dump it all out if you are starting over.

Good luck with what you decide. :)

Edited by ChelseaM
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You've got some gorgeous ornaments in there (I really love the trees to the right)! Do you know if they are solid or hollow? If they're hollow, water will be trapped in them and can harbor some nasty bacteria. :( There are ways to seal them though. I'll try to find the link to a thread that has a great solution to that. :) Alternatively you can run an airline in them and get some bubbles going to keep the water circulating. But keep in mind that they do displace water, the more you have in there.

Do you know what your water parameters are right now? If you want to fill this out, we can see where your cycle is.

  1. Ammonia (tank/tap):
  2. Nitrite (tank/tap):
  3. Nitrate (tank/tap):
  4. pH (tank/tap):
  5. kH (tank/tap):
  6. gH (tank/tap):

But in general, we usually recommend larger weekly water changes, especially with tanks that are more heavily stocked - your nitrates will add up very fast otherwise. Many of us here do 90% changes with no harm done to the fish, so long as the temperature matches and the pH is within close range. So that's where the chart I pasted might come in handy. :teehee

Could you also tell us a little about your filtration? What kind of filter (the size if you know), what media you use, and how it's set up.

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Thnks ladies.

I have a HOB Marineland bio filter. I also have a Fluval canister 206.

I really doubt that the ornaments are hollow because I swore i almost broke the glass when I started out. The dragon and the waterfall may be hollow of any out of the bunch. Water passes through the waterfall to make it look real.

I'll commit myself to larger water changes each week. I'll do as low as it goes without having to take them out.

Sadly I have to order the Kh and Gh kit. I never thought I'd need one.

Since you have been having problems, I would consider going back to being at-capacity or even understocked. Koko's recommends a bare minimum of 15 gallons per fish, but optimally we would like to allot 20g or more per fish. This should last them well into the future.

Also, if your tank and tap PH is close and you can regulate the temperature of the water going into your tank, you can do weekly WCs of 80% or even as close to 100% as you can get. I personally get as close to 100% as possible without removing my fish, every week, and I am understocked. The most helpful thing you can do for a fish is provide a clean environment.

I would remove anything in that tank that is hollow. Hollow ornaments are a breeding ground for bacteria and the water inside them stagnates, creating a toxic environment for fish. Goldfish do not generally need places to hide, so hollow ornaments aren't necessary for them either.

Also, I would switch your substrate for a layer of sand that is no more than 1/4"-1/2" thick, or go bare bottom. Gravel is not only a big dirt-magnet even when vacuumed weekly, but it also could become lodged in your goldfish's mouth and choke them. Remove the gravel slowly with each water change to prevent your cycle from having a bump, or just dump it all out if you are starting over.

Good luck with what you decide. :)

Thank you for your advice. I'll really take that into consideration. Matter of face I'll put it into effect. Depending on the reading I'll decide if I can afford to switch the substrate.

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I used to have one of the trees you do, and I know that those are definitely hollow. And the inside of the little house with the stairs is also hollow. Anything that lets air or water inside it (unless it is an airstone) is good to remove.

Do you know what model your Marineland is?

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Thnks ladies.

I have a HOB Marineland bio filter. I also have a Fluval canister 206.

I really doubt that the ornaments are hollow because I swore i almost broke the glass when I started out. The dragon and the waterfall may be hollow of any out of the bunch. Water passes through the waterfall to make it look real.

I'll commit myself to larger water changes each week. I'll do as low as it goes without having to take them out.

Sadly I have to order the Kh and Gh kit. I never thought I'd need one.

Since you have been having problems, I would consider going back to being at-capacity or even understocked. Koko's recommends a bare minimum of 15 gallons per fish, but optimally we would like to allot 20g or more per fish. This should last them well into the future.

Also, if your tank and tap PH is close and you can regulate the temperature of the water going into your tank, you can do weekly WCs of 80% or even as close to 100% as you can get. I personally get as close to 100% as possible without removing my fish, every week, and I am understocked. The most helpful thing you can do for a fish is provide a clean environment.

I would remove anything in that tank that is hollow. Hollow ornaments are a breeding ground for bacteria and the water inside them stagnates, creating a toxic environment for fish. Goldfish do not generally need places to hide, so hollow ornaments aren't necessary for them either.

Also, I would switch your substrate for a layer of sand that is no more than 1/4"-1/2" thick, or go bare bottom. Gravel is not only a big dirt-magnet even when vacuumed weekly, but it also could become lodged in your goldfish's mouth and choke them. Remove the gravel slowly with each water change to prevent your cycle from having a bump, or just dump it all out if you are starting over.

Good luck with what you decide. :)

Thank you for your advice. I'll really take that into consideration. Matter of face I'll put it into effect. Depending on the reading I'll decide if I can afford to switch the substrate.

Sand is really cheap. Go to Lowe's and get a 50 pound bag of Pool Filter Sand for around $7 (where I live). Rinse it in a 5 gallon bucket until the water runs clear. You'll probably end up using about 30-35 pounds of it. The reason we don't like thick layers of gravel (or gravel in general) is because debris gets caught in and below the gravel and cannot be easily removed by a siphon tube. With sand the waste sits on top of the sand because it is so dense. You can easily siphon it up during your weekly water change. The only thing you need to make sure you do is run your fingers through the sand every couple days to remove any anaerobic bacteria which can be deadly to fish if they dig sound and find these pockets of bacteria. If you don't want to do any if this, go bare bottom. SUPER easy to maintain and very clean looking. Regarding the ornaments, take them out and examen them. If there is a hollow place in the decoration where water can become stagnant, it's a no go. They can be filled with aquarium safe silicone to solve this problem.

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Thnks ladies.

I have a HOB Marineland bio filter. I also have a Fluval canister 206.

I really doubt that the ornaments are hollow because I swore i almost broke the glass when I started out. The dragon and the waterfall may be hollow of any out of the bunch. Water passes through the waterfall to make it look real.

I'll commit myself to larger water changes each week. I'll do as low as it goes without having to take them out.

Sadly I have to order the Kh and Gh kit. I never thought I'd need one.

Since you have been having problems, I would consider going back to being at-capacity or even understocked. Koko's recommends a bare minimum of 15 gallons per fish, but optimally we would like to allot 20g or more per fish. This should last them well into the future.

Also, if your tank and tap PH is close and you can regulate the temperature of the water going into your tank, you can do weekly WCs of 80% or even as close to 100% as you can get. I personally get as close to 100% as possible without removing my fish, every week, and I am understocked. The most helpful thing you can do for a fish is provide a clean environment.

I would remove anything in that tank that is hollow. Hollow ornaments are a breeding ground for bacteria and the water inside them stagnates, creating a toxic environment for fish. Goldfish do not generally need places to hide, so hollow ornaments aren't necessary for them either.

Also, I would switch your substrate for a layer of sand that is no more than 1/4"-1/2" thick, or go bare bottom. Gravel is not only a big dirt-magnet even when vacuumed weekly, but it also could become lodged in your goldfish's mouth and choke them. Remove the gravel slowly with each water change to prevent your cycle from having a bump, or just dump it all out if you are starting over.

Good luck with what you decide. :)

Thank you for your advice. I'll really take that into consideration. Matter of face I'll put it into effect. Depending on the reading I'll decide if I can afford to switch the substrate.

Sand is really cheap. Go to Lowe's and get a 50 pound bag of Pool Filter Sand for around $7 (where I live). Rinse it in a 5 gallon bucket until the water runs clear. You'll probably end up using about 30-35 pounds of it. The reason we don't like thick layers of gravel (or gravel in general) is because debris gets caught in and below the gravel and cannot be easily removed by a siphon tube. With sand the waste sits on top of the sand because it is so dense. You can easily siphon it up during your weekly water change. The only thing you need to make sure you do is run your fingers through the sand every couple days to remove any anaerobic bacteria which can be deadly to fish if they dig sound and find these pockets of bacteria. If you don't want to do any if this, go bare bottom. SUPER easy to maintain and very clean looking. Regarding the ornaments, take them out and examen them. If there is a hollow place in the decoration where water can become stagnant, it's a no go. They can be filled with aquarium safe silicone to solve this problem.

Thanks Justin. If I do the sand there won't be any ornaments. Lol. I'm loving the look of bare bottom too.

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Many people do bare bottom with great results. You can add dècor, just make sure it's the right kind. Live plants played in pots are usually great. Plastic plants weighted down with river rocks usually work well too.

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I have been keeping a barebottom tank pretty much since I started seriously keeping goldfish. I love the tank planters from Riparium Supply as well as planting in little jars. A scattering of large river rocks (Like the polished ones from the pet store) makes for more break-up on the bottom too so you have something to look at and for the fish to forage through. (I keep between 6-7 rocks in the tank at a time.) You can use superglue to attach Anubias or other rhizome plants to the rocks, which also makes a fun look. :)

Edited by ChelseaM
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Got it. The thing about live plants is that I'm terribly afraid of the critters that it comes with them. The most terrible thing is that I love in the Virgin Islands I can't find anyone to ship fish or live plants to me. Even my tank had to be special ordered.

I know that you can't ship through USPS unless you're a licensed seller or buyer but I know some ship through fed ex but the cost of shipping is ridiculous. If I could ever find somewhere that sells fish I would be the best godly keeper in the Caribbean.

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There are a lot of things you can find to put in your tank, believe it or not. I'm sure your local SUPERmarket carries some sort of aquarium plant (right?) and you can find river rocks around a, well, river. Rocks you find can be determined safe or not by dropping some vinegar on them and seeing if it bubbles. If it does, don't use that rock. If it doesn't bubble, go ahead and boil the rocks and put them in your tank! I personally don't keep too many live plants as I think it's sort of a hassle, and they definitely aren't a necessity, so, find stuff and make your tank your own! Plastic plants, river rocks, and sand will make for a great looking, safe aquarium for your fish!

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Regular Member

I like gravel. And I like yours. However i would remove enough so that you barely have enough to cover the bottom. Makes it easier to clean and give the fish more water.

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How's everything going, MissFree?

Well after the black lionhead died I really choked while removing the waterfall ornament from my tank. I just closed my eyes and tossed it. I upped my water changes to a larger percentage and once a week. I'm getting more comfortable using prime and checking the water parameters. I'm having more fun seeing them swim around with no care instead of worrying so much now. I know that I may need to do a treatment in this tank after all the casualties that I've had but I'm not going to quit.

Thank you so much for asking.

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I like gravel. And I like yours. However i would remove enough so that you barely have enough to cover the bottom. Makes it easier to clean and give the fish more water.

Thank you for that :) I'm thinking about changing the color because the Pro Gold blends in a little too good. They find it amongst the gravel but I'm still weary of them not being able to tell gravel vs food just because of the color.

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How's everything going, MissFree?

Well after the black lionhead died I really choked while removing the waterfall ornament from my tank. I just closed my eyes and tossed it. I upped my water changes to a larger percentage and once a week. I'm getting more comfortable using prime and checking the water parameters. I'm having more fun seeing them swim around with no care instead of worrying so much now. I know that I may need to do a treatment in this tank after all the casualties that I've had but I'm not going to quit.

Thank you so much for asking.

We really do care about you and your fish! I'm so glad you got rid of the waterfall. I have seen them at PetSmart, and they they are very interesting. However, we need to think of the safety of the fish first, and then our wants later. I can tell you care because of your dedication. So many people would quit after a fish dies, and I respect you for not doing that. Heading forward, I hope all of your fish do well. If you ever need anything, don't hesitate to start a thread. I can guarantee you somebody will help! Good job keeping up with the water changes and parameter checks. Sometimes we get so caught up in worrying for our fish we forget to even admire them. Sometimes I just like to sit and watch for 5 or 10 minutes. Watching your fish is a very important step in caring for them. This way you can know their normal behavior and can tell early in if something about them doesn't seem right. I also hope your current WT is doing well. We can assist you with that, too, if you'd like. Edited by Justin
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