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Gravel Vs Barebottom


karla80

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Hi, I know for a while there's been the same old question, "Which is better, gravel or barebottom?" and when it comes to keeping the tank clean, barebottom is best, but what is best for the goldies? Yesterday I was showing someone my new tank and I told the person that I prefer to go barebottom b/c I always feel bad watching my fish eat their food while trying to spit out gravel and poop. Then she told me that goldies love to dig in their gravel. In nature that is what they do, so I thought I'd ask, do goldies appear happier picking thru their barebottom tank as oppose to spending the day digging thru gravel? Do they not get bored easily in a barebottom than in a tank w/gravel?

From what i see, after each water change, my goldies will go to their favourite spot where they sleep and start digging. Later on I go to check on them and they've dug a bare spot to sleep in, almost like making their bed :D .

karla

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I use a bare-bottom tank because it is much easier to maintain than a gravel-bottom tank.

I would probably have trouble keeping up with a gravel tank but I plan on getting gravel as soon as I am less busy. I definitely agree that they are happier with gravel.

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I've never kept a "pure" barebottom and rather opt to have fairly large pieces of selected river rock. I think I agree with your friend who says they're much happier digging around, and I feel that my goldfish seem to appreciate having the rocks there to peck around.

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I figured given that in their natural environment they would be constantly digging that it almost seems natural for them to want to dig therefore having the right size gravel in their tank may be more beneficial to them, even though it is more work for us. :) This person's comment on goldies loving to dig just got me thinking. :D

karla

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I think a good compromise between complete barebottom and gravel is river stones. I use a scattering of these instead of gravel. They still provide some interest for the goldies while they're foraging for food and it's quite cute the way they push them around the tank! The other benefit is that they don't trap nearly as much debris as gravel does and are easier to vacum around - especially if you have a good filter with an intake close to the bottom anyway. Sometimes you just have to experiment with things until you find something you're happy with. At the end of the day goldfish are very adaptable creatures and there is no reason why they can't be just as content in a barebottom as in a gravel tank. Take a closer look at river stones and see what you think :)

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well, if we talk about nature, gravel is not the only factor we have to consider. There are a lot of other fatcters such as green water, algae and natural sun light. Some of them are better than gravel to have in the tank. In my opinion, instead of putting a gravel, i want to cultivate green water and green algae in my tank. In that way, my gf will grow very fast and live happy in closet natural setting. For whom doesn't know about green water, here is the link

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/...showtopic=39607

It's just my 2cents :D

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oh I know that green water is an natural environment for goldies, I was thinking more about behaviour not necessarily environment :) . Like to me when they are digging for food during feeding time, I feel bad when i see them having to spit out gravel and poop while at the same time enjoy their meal, even though the gravel is more sand-like but if they are natural diggers or bottom feeders maybe this is something they instinctively do due to their ancestors. Sorry, I study anthropology and sometimes I look at animal behavior through an anthropological approach when all i wanted to know is if in a way goldies actually like digging in their gravel. But I do like the river stones idea :) .

karla

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Please do not take it as an offensive one. Just a general discussion, I believe whether the gf like digging the gravel or not, is just our human perception. (A lot of people from my work complainted about my barebottom when they saw the pics.) And we don't know the real behavior of the fish has a relationship to the gravel yet (or a positive or negative relationship.) Somebody has to do a scientific research for the relationship.

Sometimes it is fun to let the brain work for nothing :D

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Hi guys,

Having nothing to do during my lunch break and was thinking about this topic. And here is some of my though, When we feed gf with sinking food, most of the food goes into gravels. When gf move the gravels, they get some food (reward). So this condition is paired to the gf behavior. As a reward, gf will constantly moving gravel and looking for a food. For human, we perceive "gf loves to play with gravel." Like I said before, nothing offensive, I just associate my undergrad Psy lessons with this topic.

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That sounds like a very good point for the most part exept that Goldfish "play" in the gravel even if you feed them floating pellets or flake food. Still, it was an interesting theory.

Interesting point, I wish somebody support the research funding for this project and I can do the actual research. :P

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hmm although i haven't done much research on the topic, i'd think that barebottom is more beneficial to both parties (us and our babies). although some may argue that it's less "natural", wouldn't the lack of gravel benefit the tank by not only providing volume for water, decreasing the amount of waste and other detreitus (sp?), thus decreasing the chances of parasites and other "hiding places" for other harmful agents?

i mean i'm not saying just by going barebottom, you're risk free, but i'd think it benefits both the fish and us by making life easier during water change time. :) it's kinda like a hospital... the less stuff you have around, and the easier it is to clean the rooms, the more germ-free the space will be. hehe we don't find carpet in hospital rooms. ;)

::edit:: haha grammar mistakes. :rolleyes:

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hi, I do not find anyone's input offensive, I just got thinking that regardless how much harder it is for us to maintain a clean home for our goldies due to gravel, that perhaps they prefer gravel b/c it is in their nature/character to dig and by going barebottom we're almost denying them what they are instinctively suppose to do. I hope this makes sense. It's like when something startles them and they automatically hide. No one taught them to hide when they're afraid, they just know to do so.

My problem is that when I observe my goldies, I look at their behavior based on what I've learned in my anthropology classes. :)

See i got a new tank and i thought i'd go the barebottom route but after a friend told me that goldies love to dig, it got me thinking about what they would prefer since this will be their new home so i thought that if goldies naturally prefer gravel then i'll add gravel to their new tank. But small_ranchu you are right about someone doing research on goldie behavior and their relationship w/gravel. :)

karla

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So how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

I think that you are over-analyzing this. Goldfish instinctively look for food, particularly on the bottom. If there is gravel on the bottom, they are compelled to look through it to see if they can find food. If there is no gravel they will scout the bottom, pecking on whatever they find. How can one conclude that they LIKE one more than the other? Can't draw any conclusion from this. Therefore, don't make your decisions on this basis.

Think about other more concrete issues - do you like the look of gravel vs. bare; do you like the look of river stones, is a spanking clean tank bottom important to you? If YOU are happy with your set-up you will be motivated to maintain it, and the goldfish will be better off.

I've always liked the look of light gravel, but I've had it with the junk that it holds. Even if I have just cleaned the tank, the fish stir the gravel and there are floaty bits everywhere. I hate floaty bits. A bit of river rock gives the tank (to me) an aesthetic "grounding" yet doesn't hold much if any junk and is easily cleaned. I'm happy with that, and I am sure my fish are happy with that.

Dennis

P.S. I guess I've over-analyzed it too.

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I have read that the natural habitat for many Goldfish in the wild is a mud-bottom. :) Certainly so for Koi.

I agree with Deniss that we have to maintain some degree of practicality [and reality] when considering how to "house" our fish... The Fancies are so far modified from the original wild fish that to think we need to reproduce a tropical Asian stream for say a Ranchu, is not practical. And to think they "need" that is not realistic. It's like saying a Pomeranian needs the snow because its distant ancestors pulled sleds. ;)

First of all, there is nothing natural about fish in aquariums. That's a hard pill to swallow, but it's true. We can give them the best *possible* [key word] environment in aquariums without fooling ourselves into thinking we're doing as well for them as the ancestral fish do in their river habitats. Even the show quality fish imported from China are generally raised in huge ponds. Check out some of the websites. So by the very act of keeping them in glass aquariums, we are taking our fish completely out of nature and into "our" zone.

Back to bare bottom vs. gravel or stone. In my experince, bare bottomed tanks are infinitely more clean. And that is good and bad! A downside is the loss of habitat for ben bac. It can be argued that ben bac only grows on the [aerobic] surface of gravel, river rocks or whatever, just as it will the glass surface of a bare bottom tank. But I find it impossible to believe the biofilm sticks "as well" to glass as it does porous rocks or gravel. Also, the surface area of gravel is much greater than bare glass. Then there is the fact that everytime we wipe the bare bottom and sides to remove algae, etc., we are completely dusrupting the biofilm. So, the loss of ideal babitat for ben bac is a trade off of going from gravel to barebottom. I also believe the fish will learn to appreciate not digging through gravel. They will find other ways to entertain themselves.

I think Deniss is right that a scattering of river rock is a good compromise. I also agree that experimenting and coming to the conclusion of what works best for the individual to keep the individual motivated and interested, is especially good advice. One thing is for sure about Goldfish keeping! There are absolutely no two Goldfish keepers who agree on how to do everything.

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From observing my goldfish I believe they are natural foragers. During the day they are constantly on the look-out for food. So, it doesn't really matter if your tank has a gravel bottom, glass bottom, algae bottom or mud bottom. They will be investigating the 'bottom' (and sides, and surface) for food.

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From observing my goldfish I believe they are natural foragers. During the day they are constantly on the look-out for food. So, it doesn't really matter if your tank has a gravel bottom, glass bottom, algae bottom or mud bottom. They will be investigating the 'bottom' (and sides, and surface) for food.

i second that.. hehe they're little piggies. :D

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  • 11 months later...
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But what about the poo? Can that be considered punishment?

Goldfish aren't like humans, they don't think that eating poo is a punishment, :yeah: a lot of animals eat poo, our next door neighbours dog eats my dog's poop if I don't get to it a pick it up quick enough :rolleyes: ! Rodents often eat their own poop to digest it a second time/get more nutrition out of it.

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