Tank change from goldfish to tropical
Last fall, I had a pond emergency that required over wintering six 6 inch goldfish in a 55 gallon tank. The pond will be repaired and enlarged this spring. Should I start over completely before stocking tropicals ?
I would wait until the goldfish are out. Cooler temps keep them eating less, which means less ammonia. That and they will most likely snack on anything that can fit in their mouths (including lovely live plants). But there is no reason you can't start planning now! What are your tap water parameters? PH? Hardness, ect?
The goldfish will definitely be long gone before anything happens. There are some plants in there for their munching enjoyment but, they will join the goldfish in the pond. With hat in hand and a bowed head, I must confess that the only test kit I've had is for our swimming pool (we do fine). I have always used experience and eyeball. In general, our water is a little hard and a little alkaline.
Most of us don't have hardness test kits either. But getting something like the API master kit is a really good idea; it's practically mandatory when cycling a tank. For water hardness you can check your local water treatment plant. They publish water quality reports yearly, and most of the time they include hardness and pH.
I know livebearers like guppies and platys do well in hard water. If I remember correctly rainbow fish do, too. You've got some pretty and colorful options. FWHardness This seems like a pretty good article that points out a lot of hard water fish; I found it while looking for hard water fish in case I move. (I can't vouch for everything this guy says, tho.) I have soft water, so I have no experience with hard water fish. But I'm sure other members here do.
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