If you are used to a peaceful tropical aquarium, the switch to (veil tail) goldfish is often a big step. Not only do goldfish need cooler water, large aquariums and a special diet, they are also a bunch of underwater bulldozers who love nothing more than uprooting and eating plants. In addition, they produce much more waste than most other fish.
Here are some helpful tips to keep your goldfish happy without them turning the tank into a complete mess!
Buy plant species that will not be eaten
I always recommend Java fern for goldfish aquariums. This plant needs to be tied to rocks or wood so the fish can’t dig it out of the substrate, and they also don’t like the taste/texture and won’t try to eat it. Other plants that do well with goldfish include Anubias varieties, Java moss, Cryptocoryne, Vallisneria and Hygrophila. Duckweed and waterweed are usually seen as a tasty snack between the goldfish pellets, but they usually grow so fast that it doesn’t matter.
Ga bare bottom!
A barebottom aquarium is an aquarium without a substrate . This is undesirable in most tanks, but because goldfish are very messy, there is a good chance that pieces of food or plants will remain between the gravel. If this starts to rot, you can get ammonia spikes, which of course is not the intention.
Removing the substrate can be a huge improvement. Cleaning is much easier, the fish have more liters and no rotting pieces are left behind. There are still options for plants: try plants in vases/pots, floating plants, raised terraces, plants in suction cups or Java fern/Anubias tied to stones or wood. With a little creativity you can go a long way.
It is a good idea to remove the gravel from the tank very slowly, for example over the course of 2-3 months, so as not to remove too many good bacteria at once or release too much ammonia (this accumulates over the years in the sand/gravel). It is possible to remove all the substrate at once, but then it is recommended to temporarily separate the fish, remove the substrate, do a large water change (80-90%) and then dose with liquid bacteria (such as Safe Start ) to help restore the bacterial culture and prevent toxic ammonia and nitrite spikes.
Go for a container without plants
For some, an aquarium without plants is not an aquarium, for others a way to be creative. Some of the prettiest bins I’ve ever seen don’t contain plants – go for driftwood, rocks, decorations, air pumps, or fake plants like this one ! Everything is possible, as long as it is not sharp and the fish cannot get stuck in it.
If you have more great tips for setting up a goldfish aquarium or if you want to share your own experiences, don’t forget to leave a comment below!