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fup10k

To bare-bottom or not to bare-bottom? (And either way, what plants?)

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So I'm sick of the sand in my tank. It traps things, it is very hard to clean, and it's just gross. 

I have already decided that i'm taking the sand out and going bare bottom (for now) but I've always been interested in having some sort of pretty carpeting

 

My main concern is cleanliness. It's impossible to thoroughly clean all of the sand, but I think if the tank was fully carpeted it would help keep things cleaner. Any planting at all would help, anyway. 

 

Can you still have beautiful "planted" bare-bottom tanks? Does anyone have any examples? 

 

And if you do have a heavily planted (preferably with carpeting) aquarium, how hard is it for you to clean? 

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Yes, you can have a beautifully planted bare-bottom tank. I know of a few members here who do, and a few who have in the past. :)

 

You can basically have most plants in a BB tank. Plants with rhizomes, like anubias and java ferns, can be tied to rocks or driftwood. Other plants can be planted in small containers, such as Riparium Supply Planters (my personal favorite), glass jars, or small unglazed terracotta pots. 

 

As far as a carpet goes, this will be determined by your fish. Some fish will destroy plants, and buying a matted plant carpet for your tank is often very expensive. 

Edited by ChelseaM

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The thing with carpets is that a lot of the plants tend to thrive in high light which requires injected carbon dioxide. A few low tech carpeting plants to look at are crypt parva (very slow growing), helanthium tenellus, lilaeopsis brasiliensis and even moss. There are a few more, but those are probably the most common. As for cleaning them, well, you don't really need to. Any waste will be used by the plants. If you really want to you can hover a gravel vac about an inch above the carpet, but it isn't essential (and in cases of particularly dense carpets you won't achieve much).

Here are some that I've grown. The nano was essentially one giant mixed carpet. 16612980928_d9a8aabf16.jpg

A fairly dense hairgrass carpet.

15662523270_eed790a5a6.jpg

16729323677_c8b82c6bb2.jpg

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I love my sand, it's so easy to vacuum the surface to take out any debris so I never saw a problem with it.

I personally don't like bare bottom, but it can look very nice when planted. Anubias are a good goldfish proof choice.

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I used gravel. Hated it. Disgusting.

Now my tanks and ponds are all bare bottom. Love it.

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The thing with carpets is that a lot of the plants tend to thrive in high light which requires injected carbon dioxide. A few low tech carpeting plants to look at are crypt parva (very slow growing), helanthium tenellus, lilaeopsis brasiliensis and even moss. There are a few more, but those are probably the most common. As for cleaning them, well, you don't really need to. Any waste will be used by the plants. If you really want to you can hover a gravel vac about an inch above the carpet, but it isn't essential (and in cases of particularly dense carpets you won't achieve much).

Here are some that I've grown. The nano was essentially one giant mixed carpet. 16612980928_d9a8aabf16.jpg

A fairly dense hairgrass carpet. 15662523270_eed790a5a6.jpg16729323677_c8b82c6bb2.jpg

Would any of those survive in a GF tank? :o

I have sand. I love it. Easy to clean. I had bare bottom for yeeeeAarrrrsss cuz I didn't want gravel again. I still don't want gravel but the sand keeps the fish so busy. :rofl3. Moving it around where they want it only. To have me move it back to where I want it on WC day. :rofl

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The helanthium tenellus (taller grass looking plant in background of first photo) should if you allow it to establish prior to adding fish. It grows very fast in high tech and moderately in low tech, but what I like is that it puts out extensive roots that require a bit of force to uproot. There are some bigger related species that would probably fair a lot better though; helanthium bolivianum comes to mind.

Edited by dan in aus

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Yes, you can have a beautifully planted bare-bottom tank. I know of a few members here who do, and a few who have in the past. :)

 

You can basically have most plants in a BB tank. Plants with rhizomes, like anubias and java ferns, can be tied to rocks or driftwood. Other plants can be planted in small containers, such as Riparium Supply Planters (my personal favorite), glass jars, or small unglazed terracotta pots. 

 

 

 

The Riparium planters are great!! I copied his design and made my own from some containers from The Container Store using a hot knife - though after all the trouble I should've just bought some! Not all plants work in them though. I tried putting in some jungle vals and it was a mess, the shoots they send out get trapped in the jar. But I've put a bunch of different sword plants and some crinum calaminstarum in them and they look great! Plus you can put root tabs in them!

 

The only downside of using them in a barebottom tank is that my fish are always moving and rearraning them! They push them around while looking for food so they never stay where I put them.

Edited by Kulukan

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I wonder why I have so much trouble cleaning my sand and you guys don't! I try and try to vacuum it all up but some always, always still have stuff under it and my little oranda digs it up easily.

Honestly, my fish Don't like to "uproot" just for the sake of doing it, suna usually uprooted plants just by moving sand or leaning his fat self against them (lol)

I think carpeting doesn't sound like such a bad idea right now since I think I'd be able to get them to leave it alone as long as I feed them at the top. They don't really eat plants or anything, it's just the sand movement that would be a problem (but I believe soil substrate wouldn't move as easily as sand anyway so that would help)

I don't mind adding co2, but I'm just not sure where to start. I'm planning to set a new tank up in August for them, I think the 29g is just too small for two fancies. They get along well now but they don't have much growing room.

What are good tank sizes for goldies, dimensions wise? I was thinking something around 60-75 gallons but I can't find tanks that aren't so... Tall lol.

Edited by fup10k

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75 gallon tanks aren't very tall. :idont.

When I got mine I picked a stand that I could stand on the floor and still rach the bottom of the tank. :rofl. I had a 90 gallon (same length and depth as a 75, just 3-4 inches taller) and I had to stand on a chair to reach the bottom. I found that very annoying. :rofl. The stand for that one was also taller.

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Unless you have single tailed fish, I would not be feeding them at the top of the tank to reduce instance of swim bladder problems. Also, the fish will still forage for food in the carpet, so the plants may still become food. 

 

Good dimensions for a goldfish tank are short and long. Many people here prefer a 40 gallon breeder tank for a pair of fish.

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Unless you have single tailed fish, I would not be feeding them at the top of the tank to reduce instance of swim bladder problems. Also, the fish will still forage for food in the carpet, so the plants may still become food. 

 

Good dimensions for a goldfish tank are short and long. Many people here prefer a 40 gallon breeder tank for a pair of fish.

 

:rofl  That would only make sense to an aquarist.  Short AND long?  :rofl3

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Unless you have single tailed fish, I would not be feeding them at the top of the tank to reduce instance of swim bladder problems. Also, the fish will still forage for food in the carpet, so the plants may still become food. 

 

Good dimensions for a goldfish tank are short and long. Many people here prefer a 40 gallon breeder tank for a pair of fish.

 

:rofl  That would only make sense to an aquarist.  Short AND long?  :rofl3

 

:rofl TRUTH! 

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I had the same problems with sand that you seem to have, fup10k. I was only ever able to make it work when it was heavier sand and in small tanks (5-10 gallons). Ever since I switched to bare bottom I've been really happy with the ease of cleaning. I think it's possible to have a very beautiful set-up with no substrate. The kinds of plants I use are all the type you can tie to rocks and driftwood: anubius, java ferns, other types of ferns. But, I've seen people use the little clay pots to plant other types of plants and have gravel or sand in just those pots. You could try that as well. As for tank size, the 75 gallon tank is one of the best sizes... They aren't overly tall. The measurements are 48 x 18 x 21. Just don't get too tall of a stand. The setup that they had at PetSmart for this tank with stand was the perfect height.... I'm really short and I could reach in and touch the bottom without any kind of step stool. :)

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I don't ever clean my sand and it's not gross or dirty :idont

 

The only vacuuming is done by the Goldfish and the Plecos  :)

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So I'm sick of the sand in my tank. It traps things, it is very hard to clean, and it's just gross. 

 

I had the same problems with sand that you seem to have, fup10k. I was only ever able to make it work when it was heavier sand and in small tanks (5-10 gallons).

 

I've used sand for a long time and I find that it does not trap things and stays clean.  Sand is my top choice for goldfish and that brigs me to some questions . . .

What type of sand are you using?  How are you cleaning the sand? 

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I guess the main thing for me was I found it got sucked up in the siphon and then I had to clean it out of my buckets (which I hate doing), or I'd get layers of brown algae on it and thought it didn't look good (which happens in my tanks anyways, but is easier to clean off when there's no substrate at all). My personal preference is just that I like not having substrate. I wouldn't use it in any of my tanks, but some of my non-goldfish like making nests with it and stuff. 

Edited by goldfishgirl82

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Oh, i dont actually feed them at the "top" lol, they're fed by hand a little below the surface. No air gulping.

Hmm... Maybe I was thinking of the wrong tank at petsmart, it seemed SO big and tall but I guess that's because I'm used to the 29g. (forget me being able to reach the bottom, I'm 5'1" and struggle with the 29g on my tippy toes lol)

Im not cleaning the sand in any weird way, I've been vacuuming it but I'm always finding poop or something hidden under it, or I'll find them uncovering hidden poop :/ I'm not sure why. It's the crappy PETCO sand anyway so it's not heavy nor is it really the best thing

Edited by fup10k

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There's still the fact that you're feeding them near the surface, and that will train them to forage at the top of the tank as well as the bottom. They'll gulp the air on their own while 'foraging'. It isn't generally something we want, although it's not always controllable.

Edited by ChelseaM

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There's still the fact that you're feeding them near the surface, and that will train them to forage at the top of the tank as well as the bottom. They'll gulp the air on their own while 'foraging'. It isn't generally something we want, although it's not always controllable.

Hmmmm.... I don't think i've ever seen them gulping at the top, the only time they really "forage" up there  is when they're eating on the roots of the bamboo they dug up 

but they could probably just be doing it when i'm not looking then, I'll stop feeding toward the surface 

Edited by fup10k

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I don't mind adding co2, but I'm just not sure where to start. I'm planning to set a new tank up in August for them, I think the 29g is just too small for two fancies. They get along well now but they don't have much growing room.

I can't really point you in any direction other than to do a google search and read everything. Jess' video in this thread is a good place to start, and I'd be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. :)

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/117810-pressurized-co2-setup-basics-video/

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A few quick pics of my formerly bare bottom. ;)

 

1069942_10151719246393711_1591872025_n.j

 

601023_10151549988693711_1013386465_n.jp

 

1483301_10152053741753711_502627517_n.jp

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If you rinsed the sand well prior to adding it, I can't imagine why it would cause you so much trouble to vacuum it. :idont

You just lightly go over it with a good gravel vac, sometimes lightly circling to grab a bunch of pieces of debris at once. Can you post a photo of your layout with the sand?

Also I totally adore my 75. It's really not too tall even and its very ...impressive in a room. :rofl I can't look away lately. :lol

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I don't mind adding co2, but I'm just not sure where to start. I'm planning to set a new tank up in August for them, I think the 29g is just too small for two fancies. They get along well now but they don't have much growing room.

I can't really point you in any direction other than to do a google search and read everything. Jess' video in this thread is a good place to start, and I'd be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. :)

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/117810-pressurized-co2-setup-basics-video/

 

 

Ohhh i love Jess' videos! I'm so sad she had to give away her goldies because she was moving :( they're so beautiful. 

 

A few quick pics of my formerly bare bottom. ;)

 

1069942_10151719246393711_1591872025_n.j

 

601023_10151549988693711_1013386465_n.jp

 

1483301_10152053741753711_502627517_n.jp

 

That last one!!!! I'm so in love!! You had such a beautiful set up, oh my goodness <3

 

If you rinsed the sand well prior to adding it, I can't imagine why it would cause you so much trouble to vacuum it. :idont

You just lightly go over it with a good gravel vac, sometimes lightly circling to grab a bunch of pieces of debris at once. Can you post a photo of your layout with the sand?

Also I totally adore my 75. It's really not too tall even and its very ...impressive in a room. :rofl I can't look away lately. :lol

 

I'm not so sure if my picture would make much of a difference, it's seriously just flat sand. Nothing's planted, there's just a tiny rock, an old shell, and a small log.

2nlhe1g.jpg

 

My poor ugly tank ;A; I dug up all of my plants a few months back and was actually going to start re-planting and planning in january (but, well, suna starting having his problems and all of my fishy attention went to him)

 

As you can see, it's not that deep and it doesn't LOOK dirty from the top... but whenever I start siphoning i just find all sorts of uncovered debris and i have no idea why it's getting there. It seems like there's always some no matter how much i siphon out. I really think it's just so lightweight that it gets moved by the fish and covers their poop and leftover food. 

 

EDIT: ALSO.... i saw some super cute cinder-block tank stand setups and decided i probably definitely need a 75 gallon. I re-looked at them at petsmart today and the tank definitely isn't that tall, I think i was thinking of their 60 gallon that was right next to it. 

(Plus...with a cinder block stand I can choose how high. hehe)

Edited by fup10k

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