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Sand, Gravel or Bare Experiment


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I don't think moving a fish from their tank to another one for a couple of days and then back to the original tank would be harsh. People do it all the time for QT, cleaning redecorating, etc.

Edited by jmetzger72
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What fascinating discussions. :)

Frankly, I don't even care what the answer is, or if there is a definitive answer. I do care very much that we begin to think critically on how we can address our theories and questions, instead of jumping into immediate conclusions. :)

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I don't think moving a fish from their tank to another one for a couple of days and then back to the original tank would be harsh. People do it all the time for QT, cleaning redecorating, etc.

Ah I was under the impression you would be doing in back and forth quickly :whistle nevermind then

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Measuring the time spent foraging for food on each side would invalidate the experiment. Clearly, it takes more time for a fish to find and eat food in gravel than on a bare bottom. It's like a bully grabbed the quarters you needed for a vending machine and threw half of them on the sidewalk and half in the weeds and unmowed grass. You'd spend more time foraging in the weeds than on the sidewalk, but not because you liked it better.

But you'd look "happier" to Happysnapper with your nose down in the weeds. :lol:

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I don't think moving a fish from their tank to another one for a couple of days and then back to the original tank would be harsh. People do it all the time for QT, cleaning redecorating, etc.

Ah I was under the impression you would be doing in back and forth quickly :whistle nevermind then

Oh, no...and I do appreciate your concern for the fish :)

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What fascinating discussions. :)

Frankly, I don't even care what the answer is, or if there is a definitive answer. I do care very much that we begin to think critically on how we can address our theories and questions, instead of jumping into immediate conclusions. :)

Haha...this is what led me to this experiment :rofl

Measuring the time spent foraging for food on each side would invalidate the experiment. Clearly, it takes more time for a fish to find and eat food in gravel than on a bare bottom. It's like a bully grabbed the quarters you needed for a vending machine and threw half of them on the sidewalk and half in the weeds and unmowed grass. You'd spend more time foraging in the weeds than on the sidewalk, but not because you liked it better.

But you'd look "happier" to Happysnapper with your nose down in the weeds. :lol:

Yeah, that's what I thought to :)

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I am currently experimenting with goldfish right now. Here are the problems I ran into:

With my experiment I was determining whether or not a fish would learn better with a "mentor" or without one. Essentially that is just me having more than one fish in one tank and one fish in the other, and seeing which fish would learn the behavior first. I ran into an interesting observation:

The fish in the tank with the rest of mine did not learn nearly as fast as the fish who was alone. Momo took 1 session to learn to hand-feed and Valentino just yesterday put two-and-two together that the food was actually coming from my hand, no matter if Tsumo was constantly taking food from my hand right in front of his face for the past week. It has taken since February for Valentino to realize that I am not a danger to him, and to realize that I bring food. It took Momo about 2 days to realize I bring food and 2.3 minutes to realize it came from my hand, 30 seconds to learn that I would feed her with my hand if she wanted to take the food.

My point here is that every single fish is going to be different in any situation you put them in. Some will be stressed with the moving you will want to do for your experiment. Some won't. Some fish are going to prefer one or the other in terms of substrate. Some won't care as long as they get food. Each goldfish will move at its own pace. It's what makes them so difficult to study. And it could make this experiment take a long time.

I also would like to remind you that gravel might not be the best substrate to use for the experiment... I'm sure you've read the reasons why in several places on the forum. But it's all your choice in the end.

Good luck. :)

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I read most comments but not all so excuse me if this has already been pointed out, but most 'bare bottom' tanks are not truly bare. The vast majority of folks here keep something for stimulus in the tank such as plants or a scattering of pebbles. Just want to point that out :P I wouldn't feel right about keeping my fish in a totally bare tank with nothing to forage in and around, but the addition of some plants on rocks and/or pebbles in my experience is adequate/comparable stimulus for the fish compared to substrate.

I know I have said it before, but in the 3 (?) times I have now gone back and forth between substrate and bare bottom I did not note any observable change in their behavior/foraging in one environment as compared to the other. Actually, the only time I have noted a significant change in the behavior of my fish was moving them from the 40 gallon to the 75 gallon. They have been more active in the 75 than I have ever seen them in the 40 (substrate was the same between this move)

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I also would like to remind you that gravel might not be the best substrate to use for the experiment... I'm sure you've read the reasons why in several places on the forum. But it's all your choice in the end.

Good luck. :)

I agree. But, I intend to use the large size gravel that they can't swallow simply for the experiment's sake. I don't use gravel for many reasons. This is simply to see what the fish do.

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I read most comments but not all so excuse me if this has already been pointed out, but most 'bare bottom' tanks are not truly bare. The vast majority of folks here keep something for stimulus in the tank such as plants or a scattering of pebbles. Just want to point that out :P I wouldn't feel right about keeping my fish in a totally bare tank with nothing to forage in and around, but the addition of some plants on rocks and/or pebbles in my experience is adequate/comparable stimulus for the fish compared to substrate.

I know I have said it before, but in the 3 (?) times I have now gone back and forth between substrate and bare bottom I did not note any observable change in their behavior/foraging in one environment as compared to the other. Actually, the only time I have noted a significant change in the behavior of my fish was moving them from the 40 gallon to the 75 gallon. They have been more active in the 75 than I have ever seen them in the 40 (substrate was the same between this move)

Yes! I intend to use the absolute bare bottom as a starting control. Then try a few river rocks. I also intend on trying large gravel even though I personally don't like it.

The other reason I want to try this is because no one has given the fish the "simultaneous" option of sand vs gravel vs bare bottom.

Edited by jmetzger72
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I also would like to remind you that gravel might not be the best substrate to use for the experiment... I'm sure you've read the reasons why in several places on the forum. But it's all your choice in the end.

Good luck. :)

I agree. But, I intend to use the large size gravel that they can't swallow simply for the experiment's sake. I don't use gravel for many reasons. This is simply to see what the fish do.

I wonder if you could get similar results with TMS vs Moonlight sand. They are different grain sizes so that would suit what you might be looking for without the risk to the fish. Or you could do sand vs. scattered river rocks. :idont Just trying to help minimize risk to get reward here.

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I would also like to say that this experiment has nothing to do with aesthetics or ease of maintenance. I am simply curious to see which medium, if any, the fish gravitate towards.

Edited by jmetzger72
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I really don't find that TMS is anywhere near the size of moonlight sand, nor a true gravel. If you're looking for a smaller, less chokey, while officially being gravel, I suggest Caribsea's "Peace River"

Here's a great video, which shows its size quite nicely. Lol!

I'm very interested in how your experiment plays out! :)

Edited by yafashelli
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I really don't find that TMS is anywhere near the size of moonlight sand, nor a true gravel. If you're looking for a smaller, less chokey, while officially being gravel, I suggest Caribsea's "Peace River"

Here's a great video, which shows its size quite nicely. Lol!

I'm very interested in how your experiment plays out! :)

Thanks! It will be fun if nothing else. I probably won't start it for a few weeks. Maruko is still in QT for a few more days for her eye issue. But, if Lisa takes Saki next week, I'll move Maruko back to the 38 gallon. Then I'll have a tank free for my experiment.

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I really don't find that TMS is anywhere near the size of moonlight sand, nor a true gravel. If you're looking for a smaller, less chokey, while officially being gravel, I suggest Caribsea's "Peace River"

Here's a great video, which shows its size quite nicely. Lol!

I'm very interested in how your experiment plays out! :)

Thanks! It will be fun if nothing else. I probably won't start it for a few weeks. Maruko is still in QT for a few more days for her eye issue. But, if Lisa takes Saki next week, I'll move Maruko back to the 38 gallon. Then I'll have a tank free for my experiment.

Is she *really* thinking about taking Saki? :o :O :o

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Is she *really* thinking about taking Saki? :o :o :o

Well, there's a 40 gallon breeder stand she had me buy in a box in my house that says "Waddles and Saki sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G" :rofl

Edited by jmetzger72
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There has been a lot of talk on here about sand verses barebottom tanks. I'm one that has a current topic going on about this and my tank setup now.

Your experiment Jared is wondering what fish would like best, the sand, gravel, or having a barebottom tank but your first sentence was about what's "best for our Goldfish." Those are two different things. People are going to have different opinions on what's best for our goldfish.

I personally wouldn't want to do this kind of experiment with my goldfish because I would be worried about them stressing out too much then getting sick from that.

Jess (tithra) brought up a really good point. A lot of members that have a barebottom tank don't have a totally "barebottom" as in empty tank. Mine for example has 12 live plants in it with several medium/small stones in it. When I feed my fish I drop the food all over the tank and I see them forage for the food. They are swimming in and out and around the plants. When I had the sand in for those several weeks (month or so) my fish seemed to act the same. They foraged with the sand and without it. Helen made a video a while back in regards to her fish foraging through her huge plant in the tank. She was telling us viewers that her fish weren't bored. They were trying to find all the food and not miss any drops.

Someone made the comment of how their fish is in qt now and bored with nothing in the tank. I have a fish in qt also and he totally looks bored also. That's because the tank is empty and he has meds in him. So he's probably not feeling his best at the moment.

It will be interesting to see if you do this experiment but will it be worth it if one of your fish gets stressed out by all the changes with his environment and all. I don't know! I'm just worried here. :(

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Goldfish are not as emotionally delicate as some people make them out to be. Putting a fish in a new tank for a few hours is hardly a major stressor. What is safe for goldfish if they get bored in an empty tank and get stressed if the tank is changed?

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Goldfish are not as emotionally delicate as some people make them out to be. Putting a fish in a new tank for a few hours is hardly a major stressor. What is safe for goldfish if they get bored in an empty tank and get stressed if the tank is changed?

I said what I said because it was mentioned about doing all different kinds of things during this experiment. I would think it would be easier and perhaps safer if you just had two big tanks and set one up barebottom and the other with your sand. And it seems like this would have to take longer than a few hours. These are just my thoughts on this subject.

_________

My comment got in under yours for some reason.^

_________

(DNAlex fixed the quoting error.)

Edited by dnalex
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Is she *really* thinking about taking Saki? :o :o :o

Well, there's a 40 gallon breeder stand she had me buy in a box in my house that says "Waddles and Saki sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G" :rofl

:wa

Let's just say Lisa is looking for a R&W chu while in Chicago. She would prefer a smallish one but if Jared's favorite stores don't have any Lisa goes :wub: over, Saki and Nishiki will be transferring to Michigan. :rofl3

:whistle

(This is when Jared calls his lfs and tells them to hide all R&W chus they have in the store all day on Wednesday. :rofl )

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There has been a lot of talk on here about sand verses barebottom tanks. I'm one that has a current topic going on about this and my tank setup now.

Your experiment Jared is wondering what fish would like best, the sand, gravel, or having a barebottom tank but your first sentence was about what's "best for our Goldfish." Those are two different things. People are going to have different opinions on what's best for our goldfish.

I personally wouldn't want to do this kind of experiment with my goldfish because I would be worried about them stressing out too much then getting sick from that.

Jess (tithra) brought up a really good point. A lot of members that have a barebottom tank don't have a totally "barebottom" as in empty tank. Mine for example has 12 live plants in it with several medium/small stones in it. When I feed my fish I drop the food all over the tank and I see them forage for the food. They are swimming in and out and around the plants. When I had the sand in for those several weeks (month or so) my fish seemed to act the same. They foraged with the sand and without it. Helen made a video a while back in regards to her fish foraging through her huge plant in the tank. She was telling us viewers that her fish weren't bored. They were trying to find all the food and not miss any drops.

Someone made the comment of how their fish is in qt now and bored with nothing in the tank. I have a fish in qt also and he totally looks bored also. That's because the tank is empty and he has meds in him. So he's probably not feeling his best at the moment.

It will be interesting to see if you do this experiment but will it be worth it if one of your fish gets stressed out by all the changes with his environment and all. I don't know! I'm just worried here. :(

Thanks for your comments, Cheryl. But, I believe the preferences that our fish indicate to us(or what they like)play a vital role in helping us to decide what's best for them. Since they can't express this to us verbally, we must really on experiments like this to try and determine their preferences through their behavior.

And as I mentioned above, the critical and distinctive component of this experiment is that the fish can choose whether to remain on(or favor)the substrate side or the bare bottom side. Putting the fish in a tank with substrate and then moving them to one without it would deny the fish the choice. You, the keeper would be making the choice which would defeat the whole purposeof the experiment :)

Edited by jmetzger72
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(This is when Jared calls his lfs and tells them to hide all R&W chus they have in the store all day on Wednesday. :rofl )

Yes, Tatsu has already made those calls :rofl

And I will be hiding Nishiki!

Edited by jmetzger72
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After reading through this, I started thinking about my cat. I just had him into the vet and got the speech about how I should let him outside. Norwegian cats go outside. I'm pretty sure they love it. Outside is nice.

In the U.S., I didn't know outdoor cats. My social circle was filled with liberal, humanities higher-ed folk born with organic produce in their hands. They went to pet rescues and submitted to interviews in order to adopt cats that never went outside. We were told that they would kill song birds, get into fights, get run over, get diseases, die early.

In Norway, people just get a cat from the neighbour, feed it and let it run around. The cats probably die earlier with smiles on their faces.

Should I let the cat out?

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After reading through this, I started thinking about my cat. I just had him into the vet and got the speech about how I should let him outside. Norwegian cats go outside. I'm pretty sure they love it. Outside is nice.

In the U.S., I didn't know outdoor cats. My social circle was filled with liberal, humanities higher-ed folk born with organic produce in their hands. They went to pet rescues and submitted to interviews in order to adopt cats that never went outside. We were told that they would kill song birds, get into fights, get run over, get diseases, die early.

In Norway, people just get a cat from the neighbour, feed it and let it run around. The cats probably die earlier with smiles on their faces.

Should I let the cat out?

When I lived in North Carolina, we let our cats out during the day and brought them in at night. But, we had a lot of land.

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