I decided to give a substrate planted tank a try with a 15 gallon tank. This tank is going to be used to recuperate a mistreated common goldfish this winter, so that next spring he can be released into a goldfish pond. I at first thought this would be rather straight forward, but I made the mistake of going shopping on too little sleep, and now I'm second guessing some of my decisions. I'd appreciate some input.
What I have:
15 Gallon tank with canopy and light strip on the way. I intend to use the light that comes with the strip. If I need to get a new bulb, I am having trouble finding an 18" bulb over 15 watts, so suggestions are welcome. As it stands, I intended to go with low light plants... more on that later, I guess. I can't have an open top tank with another form of light, because I have cats who would just loooove to swim with the fishes. I also have a heater, therm, test kits, etc. Normal fish gear.
For substrate I have:
CaribSea Midnight Black Floramax Premium Aquarium Substrate at PETCO
I actually bought this thinking it was flourite gravel, because it was next to the flourite.
PETCO Black Aquarium Gravel at PETCO
When I got this home, I began to think it was too big, but it has been the only dark gravel I have found. I can get tan, fine gravel. Should I ignore aesthetics and get the finer gravel?
I also have OC potting soil and store bought top soil I am mineralizing...assuming mineralizing is wetting it and letting it dry repeatedly.
For filtration/circulation, I intend to get:
Tetra Whisper In-tank Filters at PETCO
do I need to do anything to the cartridge it comes with?
For plants, I planned on low light:
Low light plants package
and since my tank has strongly alkaline water I planned on some drift wood such as this:
Malaysian driftwood covered in Riccia Fluitans, sale, buy, information
I am uncertain about how much root structure the plants in that package have, but I intend to get MTS. However, nowhere local has MTS, so if anyone knows a good online resource for them or a seller on ebay who sells them, I'd appreciate it.
Assuming this goes as planned, will partial water changes effect the tank adversely? A goldfish, even one, is a very dirty fish, and I know this is not an adequate permanent home, which is why it's only temporary (He's about 3-4" now, living in a betta bowl where he has lived his whole life, and he will be in the new tank alone, as it is a smaller tank. I did not do this to him; I'm just trying to help him, and it's too cold, and I feel he is too weak to be released directly into the pond as he is.) Anyway, that is the reason for the question. If I am forced to do weakly partial changes to help the plants keep up with his waste, will this counter mind what I am trying to accomplish with the ecosystem? Ultimately, when the goldfish is re-homed, I want to have a neon tetra based community tank in the 15 gallon.
If you tell me that I am foolish to try a substrate planted tank for a wintered goldfish, I will bin the whole idea and just try to set him up a rush job tank to get him through the winter. Please, corrections and advice are welcome. I'm pretty new to fish and plant in general.
I don't want to derail the thread, so if people are more comfortable PMing me, I look forward to hearing from them.