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    Friendly note from GFK. Please review this beginner guide for your fish.

Substrate or not?

Discussion in 'All Questions from Newbies' started by ThatGuy, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2016
    Location:
    NJ
    Trying to see if having some substrate is better than a bare bottom. I know that bare bottom is easier to keep clean but substrate helps build good bacteria to break down waste.
    Just seeing what pros and con's there are since goldfish tend to be messy fish.
     
  2. joe

    joe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Location:
    I live in Miami Florida
    If you are going to have heavy stocking levels I would go bare bottom. Many of the breeders here go with that type of set up. If you like substrate, just go with enough to cover the bottom. You can always tie live plants to rocks or thrift wood
     
  3. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2016
    Location:
    NJ
    What I plan is having 3 in a 40gal and 1 in a 10 gal for now. Is that considered heavy when goldfish are concerned?
     
  4. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2016
    Location:
    NJ
    Also with Goldie's being big on eating greens won't they just eat any plant I put in there?
     
  5. CC11

    CC11 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2015
    Location:
    Australia
    Mine eat with gusto the plant with small leaves. I have a pond type reed (rarely eat) broad leaf plant (rarely eat) & Elodea (that is there for them to eat). They are fed twice per day and currently are not eating the Elodea much. I tye mine down with rocks but if you have a real sifter they will pull up a lot of plants. Also new fish tend to give them a hard time as well. I probably spend $12.00 every couple of months buying one or two plants if the tank looks ratty.
     
  6. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2016
    Location:
    NJ
    What about swords? The LFS always seems to have a surplus of that type of plant. Also what do you tie them with just rubberbands or string?
     
  7. CC11

    CC11 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2015
    Location:
    Australia
    My LFS said the bigger the leaf (tough) the better. I looked up swords and my reed type plant probably is a sword just not with a broad leaf. Use rubber bands as eventually the fish will "get" the plant except for my reed/sword so far it's been in for 3 months.
     
  8. mjfromga

    mjfromga Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2015
    Location:
    At Home
    I heard that Java Ferns don't taste good to goldfish and can survive in poor lighting. They do seem as if they d be easy to uproot or fling around, though. As for the substrate, that's really down to personal preference.

    I love the look of gravel personally. Even more so, I like a thicker gravel substrate look. This means I need to clean often and be very thorough, as old food and poo can get stuck in gravel. This is no trouble for me, but for someone with less time or patience, it may be an issue.

    I got aquarium gravel and mixed many different shapes and colors together along with a bag of large black river rocks, a bag of glass looking things, and half a bag of seashells. Gravel like mine costs about $13 for a 20 lb bag at wally-world. Sand is like $10 for a 50 lb bag.

    Some people think colored gravel is hideous, I think bare bottom is hideous. A fun part of the hobby is making the tank suit you. But bare bottom is said to be the easiest to clean. Sand gets sucked into tubes and gravel gets disgusting. Every way has it's downsides etc.
     
  9. CC11

    CC11 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2015
    Location:
    Australia
    I like my substrate to its blue gravel what I have read sand can create anaerobic pockets easily. So can gravel btw so cleaning is a must.
     
  10. fantail1

    fantail1 Professional Breeder

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Location:
    Bedfordshire, England
    No need for substrate. Limited benefits and outweighed by downsides. Haven't used it in years and never will again.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. Fishheadz

    Fishheadz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Location:
    Moffat, CO.
    I like the ease of bare bottom, but I use Black Tahitian Moon sand , @ about 1/2" -3/4" thick, I keep one end of the aquarium(s) bare bottom (because I use a sump pump, like used in a basement that floods, to extract water for water changes, though this particular pump will handle "solids", I try to keep my sand in the aquarium). The fish really seem to spend a great deal of time sifting the sand. I'm not certain, (I have no scientific evidence or data) but the sand may help them break down foods, and possibly help keep their guts cleaned out.
    I don't like gravel, it's too difficult to clean. With sand, most of the poop is settled on top, though the sand "swishes" around pretty easily, much easier than gravel. The other issue with gravel is that since goldfish like to sift, gravel could become lodged in the goldfishes throat, if it (intentionally or accidentally) tried to swallow it.
     
  12. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2016
    Location:
    NJ
    I just went with a light cover of river pebbles and some large clam shells. Doesn't even fully cover the bottom. Right now I have some fake plants and bamboo but am going to trade them out for some real plants once I upgrade.
     
  13. Fishheadz

    Fishheadz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Location:
    Moffat, CO.
    "Lucky" Bamboo, is not bamboo, it's in the Dracaena family, it is not an aquatic plant, and will rot if left fully submerged. Also, the shells may alter your pH.
     
  14. csoth1

    csoth1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2016
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    All of our tanks are bare bottom. It's just unnecessary work to add a substrate. However for appearances sake we paint the (outside) bottoms of our tanks with a coat of textured sandstone colored spray paint, then finish them with two coats of black to block the light. The unevenness of the single coat and the texture in the paint gives it a pretty nice natural sand strewn appearance without having the mess of actual sand substrate in your tank.
     
    Fishheadz likes this.
  15. GoldenMcNewbie

    GoldenMcNewbie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    Potted aquarium plants work with goldfish.
     
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  16. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2016
    Location:
    NJ
    The bamboo is not fully submerged. I've always had it in almost every fw tank I've had with no ill affect. I know the shells will help keep the pH higher that was my intention. Once my 45 is up and running I will not have the bamboo at the bottom maybe on the sides if at all. I figured why get plants now if I'm only going to shut this tank down eventually.
     
    Fishheadz likes this.
  17. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2016
    Location:
    NJ
    2016-01-20 20.43.03.jpg 2016-01-20 20.42.43.jpg
     
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  18. CC11

    CC11 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2015
    Location:
    Australia
    I personally worry about pots and anerobic bacteria I think that is a phobia of mine. A friend gave me one for xmas and well it has had many uses since then and will never now be able to go in the aquarium. Very old photo no ornament with hole now. Pretty very fine stems and leaf plants lasted 2 weeks max looked great the first day.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  19. GoldenMcNewbie

    GoldenMcNewbie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    Your aquarium is essentially a large pot. Gravel won't become anaerobic as sand.
     
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  20. *Ci*

    *Ci* Goldie Guru

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Plant roots oxygenate the substrate, keeping it aerobic. So if the potted plant is healthy and growing you won't have problems. If you have a deep substate on the bottom of the whole tank you will get anaerobic pockets unless the tank is so heavily planted that the root masses fill all spaces - so really better to plant in pots.
     
    CaliGold likes this.

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