My new Goldfish barrel! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 15 Old 06-09-2008, 01:54 AM Thread Starter
bhone20's Avatar
My new Goldfish barrel!

This is a new home I created for my goldies & Fatties. There is five small feeders, and one that I bought a while ago as a feeder, but I kept him because he only has one pectoral fin. I like oddities.He was almost 1 inch long when I bought him 2 months ago. He is now 3 1/2 inches and FAT. I have decided to keep them, And tossed in some snails that my LFS guy gave me today. This is as close to a Goldfish pond as I'll get. The container is a 100 gallon galvanized water trough that we used for our horses. When we had horses, we had a half dozen goldies in their,
but didn't last long due to the jays and crows eating them. I put it under the eave next to the house. I'm just waiting to get a fountain to complete the overall look.

I paid $25 in rocks,some plants,a few pots,home made cave from ceramic pot,and in the middle,I put an under gravel filter from a 10 gallon tank I got at the swap meet. so, whatcha think??

The brown rock is on top of the under gravel filter.The sealed granite stones where hand picked,and the 1" gravel is from my drive way:)

Top/full view.The handle and opening is the top of a cat litter bottle made for hiding.

There are two snails in there can you see them? They have ninja camo!

This is (Big Boy).He has no left pectoral fin.I think he is probably around 5 months old.

Tried to take a close up, but he darted just as the shutter snapped.

2 of the newest ones I have had for 1 week.

2 more.

There is one of the Fat Heads.

80 Gallon--One 12" Albino Tiger Oscar(Whitey),One 11" Common Tiger Oscar (MC-THE OSCAR),One 5" Male Convict(TURNBUCKLE),Three 4" Male Convicts(STATE,MR.DESTRUCTO,ADREI),One 13" Pleco(RILO)

20 Gallon--One 4" Female Convict (Sparky),One 2" Female Convict(WRIGLEY),One 6" Pleco(BEAVIS)

10 Gallon--One 4" Female Convict(COUNTY),One 5" Albino Pleco(SUCKER),One 1" Female Convict(PHEEBE)
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post #2 of 15 Old 06-09-2008, 02:09 AM
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I have a few comments for you.
1. 5 feeder goldfish aren't going to stay in something that size long term. Each of those fish should reach 14 inches, and you can expect that within the first couple of years if they're healthy.

2. I noticed the rust on the tub... that is very unhealthy for fish and snails. Due to the type of metal those things are made of, you may find you will have a problem with heavy metal contamination with the fish. If it were new and sealed with something safe, that would be different...

3. The rocks most commonly found in driveways tend to contain a lot of limestone and other heavy metals. That is not something considered safe for aquarium animals.

If you're wondering on how long these fish should last... comets (feeder goldfish) have a lifespan of well over 40 yrs. With 5 of them in 100 gallons, be prepared to do almost daily water changes by the end of the next 6 months or so to keep them healthy, if the metals aren't a problem. As you've already seen with the one, they grow extremely fast.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #3 of 15 Old 06-09-2008, 08:10 AM
Well you have been busy haven't ya? It looks nice.
I hope you don't have any of the problems that were mentioned.
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post #4 of 15 Old 06-09-2008, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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The rust is on the OUTSIDE!!!. There is no rust on the inside,I CHECKED. It has some sort of coating on the inside.It is just coated with algea stuff that I couldn't scrub off.The gravel will be changed as soon as I get more brown aquarium gravel.Sounds like I should sacrifice some of them to insure the well being of only two :) .thanks for the heads up, bettababy!!.Maybee I'll put a pond linner in there, yeah? :)

80 Gallon--One 12" Albino Tiger Oscar(Whitey),One 11" Common Tiger Oscar (MC-THE OSCAR),One 5" Male Convict(TURNBUCKLE),Three 4" Male Convicts(STATE,MR.DESTRUCTO,ADREI),One 13" Pleco(RILO)

20 Gallon--One 4" Female Convict (Sparky),One 2" Female Convict(WRIGLEY),One 6" Pleco(BEAVIS)

10 Gallon--One 4" Female Convict(COUNTY),One 5" Albino Pleco(SUCKER),One 1" Female Convict(PHEEBE)
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post #5 of 15 Old 06-09-2008, 01:01 PM
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A pond liner would do it! If adding the liner, swapping out that gravel, and reducing the number of fish in the pond, then you're most of the way there.

The other problem you're going to find is that the undergravel filter is not going to sustain those kinds of fish in such an environment. Under gravel filters are more useful to plants than they are to animals.
I would strongly suggest either replacing it or adding to it, something like an internal filter can work well... but there are many chioces.
Any outdoor pond with fish in it needs filtration. The amount of filtration depends entirely on the size & type of pond, and the animals and number of animals in it.
Goldfish are extremely dirty fish, and fatheads aren't much better. While undergravel will allow for some biological filtration, it won't be enough to handle such a large waste load, and it will also contribute to the build up of solids under those plates... which will increase nitrates quickly.

The easiest way to keep it clean enough for fish to be healthy would be to add a different type of filter or to do daily water changes, not relying on the weather to take care of it. If this is located outdoors and you don't want gaudy equipment cluttering your pond, I have a suggestion for you.
Check into a small barrel filter. This is a very common form of filter for a pond, easy to use, and extremely effective. It is also something that sits outside the pond (next to it) which would allow for you to build rocks up and around it, creating a waterfall that empties and then recirculates into the pond. You could easily hide the barrel and hoses with rock formations/structures. In doing such a thing, you will make the whole pond more authentic looking, increase your water flow rate, increase oxygen, and double your filtration (because the waterfall with the water washing over the rocks will become biological filtration). This would also allow you to remove the undergravel filter and make for a perfect environment to raise pond plants.

Pond plants will also be an important addition for your pond. The plants, especially things like lilies and floating plants, will create shelter for your fish. The fish will need that shelter to help them avoid predators and to give them a place to get out of the sun without having to be confined to one small spot. This will encourage your fish to be out and swimming around where you can enjoy them. The bright orange coloration of a comet will attract many types of predators, as you have already experienced. Adding plants like lilies, water hyacinth, iris, and various others with color/blooming flowers, will help to hide the bright orange that would otherwise stand out and attract those predators.

If the waterfall idea appeals to you, I am willing to show you online the things that you would need, and to even draw you a diagram to follow so you have a general idea of how to set it up.

I am of the belief that anyone can have a beautiful pond, you just have to plan it out really well first. I'll help in any way I can because ponds are something I treasure.
I have built a number of them, all different sizes over the years, and the one we'll be starting to work on soon for this summer is going to double as a swimming pool with waterfall so I can swim with my fish in my own little slice of heaven. I am finally going to get a chance to be a part of their world instead of just making them a part of mine, which will allow for a lot of research that currently is needed and not being done. I can turn anything into a pond if given the chance!

One last thought... in being outdoors in a pond your fish are going to find a lot of natural food. Mosquito larvae is going to be an alltime favorite for those comets, and they can eat a lot. This is a good reason to slow down any feedings you might be offering. Obesity in fish is just as dangerous as in people, and comets will eat it if you give it to them.

Best of luck to you, let me know if I can be of any further help.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #6 of 15 Old 06-09-2008, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, ma'am. I would GREATLY appreciate your ideas and you pointing me in the right direction as to the external filter and especially a water fall. I really want one, but I dont know how to incorporate it into this barrel.A diagram would be great, maybe you can show me what you would do if you had this barrel.It is all I have, so I want to make it look nice. I'm going to ditch the gravel, what should I put for the bottom.I can easily remove all the ornaments and rocks if you suggest something different!.How many Comets should I keep?.I want them to GROW, but I want them to be happy and not stressed from over crowding. What type of plants/how many/where should they be located in the barrel? I have no knowledge of live plants, I would like to start learning the things I need for installing/maintaining/cleaning them. I put that under gravel filter in because I dont yet have the money for a proper sized filter.I've had these Comets for a while, so they are quarantined and I can feed them to my Oscars.

and one more thing.Can you maybe tell me how much the waterfall and canister might cost so I can start saving?

I have more questions for you, but I can't think of anymore right now.Thank you for your help Dawn,you are most kind . :)

80 Gallon--One 12" Albino Tiger Oscar(Whitey),One 11" Common Tiger Oscar (MC-THE OSCAR),One 5" Male Convict(TURNBUCKLE),Three 4" Male Convicts(STATE,MR.DESTRUCTO,ADREI),One 13" Pleco(RILO)

20 Gallon--One 4" Female Convict (Sparky),One 2" Female Convict(WRIGLEY),One 6" Pleco(BEAVIS)

10 Gallon--One 4" Female Convict(COUNTY),One 5" Albino Pleco(SUCKER),One 1" Female Convict(PHEEBE)
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post #7 of 15 Old 06-09-2008, 05:52 PM
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Ok, I'm going to take this in steps for you. There are other filter options to do this same thing, but the barrel filters are usually the cheapest and still wonderfully effective, not to mention easy to care for. You will get more versatility with a barrel filter in this type of situation because your intake and output for water can be run by hoses to where you need them.
VERY IMPORTANT: Your barrel filter should sit above the water level so gravity can work for you.

I changed the color of the rocks to symbolize rock outside of the tub and also rock inside. The type of rock you use is up to you, check prices with places like rock quarries and landscaping supply stores for options near you. Slate rock can work well, but you'll need more of it than using granite boulders or other such "chunk" rock... a combination of the 2 can also be used according to your prefereneces. The idea is to build the rock structure solid so it doesn't tumble. I used a basic brick type shape for ease of making the graphic.

Now, if you turn things around, there is another option in building this. You can also go length wise along the back of the tub. I will post 2 photos so you get a better feel for how that would work/look.

As for pond plants, let me go make a list of easy options for you, and I'll see if I can find links to photos of them also. There are a lot to choose from.

Now, lets discuss the money end of something like this. The filter, I would expect to cost between $80 - $100, but for a pond filter able to handle 100 gallons, that is actually pretty cheap. Most others will run starting at $200 and go up from there.
A link for the example of the filter I used in the diagrams is here:

Liner, again this will be dpendent on where you get it. For something that size, probably at least $50. When you measure for the liner, be sure to measure length x width x height x depth to get your size. You want the liner to cover over the top lip of the tub and be able to reach down low enough to be anchored by rock. If you measure properly, purchase some extra rock, you could easily run a rock wall all the way around the tub, which would hide it completely. Anyone looking at this would then think it is a real, natural, pond, and the tub at the base of it would be our secret!

For the rock, you could easily bring home large boulders from a beach to create a lot of it. The part you'll want to really purchase rock for is anything water will come into contact with going into or in the pond itself. You'll want to make sure the rock is fish safe, and getting them from a beach or park can bring in pesticides and lots of pollution. You will also want to check the local laws about removing rock from any beach or park area, as some places don't allow it. I have done this in the past to save money, then purchased the same type of rock for the waterfall itself. Rock can get expensive and is usually sold by weight. Slate is pricey, and because it is so thin, more of it would be needed. Granite isn't any cheaper, and is just as heavy... so I can't really offer you an idea of what the rock would cost if you chose either of those. However, patio bricks in various shapes/colors are available, and are often used to line aronud a pond or flower garden. These can run anywhere from 85 cents to $5 each, depending on the type. If money is an issue, I would suggest putting the watefall on 1 end as shown in the first photo because it will save you a lot on rock expenses.

Cost of plants will also vary according to your preferences. I'll put up another post for you later with a list of pond plants to research. Then you can check to find out what is available locally.

I am a bit rusty, but let me see if I can make a graphic of how this should all look once it's finished... I will come back with that for you, too.

Number of fish, if working with comets... no more than 2 for somewhat long term conditions. The waste level and amount of space they need for swimming will make this a limit in that size/shape of a container.

If I forgot anything, I apologize, just point it out and I'll pick it up in my next post. This should be enough to get you started.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #8 of 15 Old 06-09-2008, 11:46 PM
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I want to start this post by apologizing. I did a number of these graphics in steps so I could make sure I wasn't forgetting anything, and in posting the first graphic, I mistakenly used one that should have been deleted. I mixed up the intake/output on the barrel filter in the diagram. I did build another, which is what I had intended to post, but got the 2 filenames mixed up.
This is the one I should have posted:

As this diagram shows, the intake is above and the output is below. This is the reason for running the hoses where you want them.

Now that I have fixed that... lets address the pond plants as I promised.

Water lettuce
This is a wonderful floating plant! It is great shelter for the fish, not only at the surface, but down into the water as well. Water lettuce has a very large root structure, and it creates lots of territory down below, and allows something for the fish to nibble on. Water lettuce, if enough of it is there (at least 1/2 the tub surface covered, is a great filter, too. This plant has the ability to eat a lot ofo nutrient level.

Water hyacinth
Another wonderful pond plant, with bright blue violet blooms. Also has a large root structure and works as the water lettuce to eat nutrient levels and provide shelter for the fish.

Water lily
Water lily is another popular pond plant. These are potted plants that are completely submerged, the leaves and flowers will grow and float on the water's surface. Flowers come in a wide range of colors. These are most commonly referred to as "lily pads".

Tiger lily
Tiger lily is a bog plant, so these are planted in pots on shelves or rocks in the pond... they should not be submerged as deep as the water lily, but also come in a wide variety of colors. Very easy to grow and spread on their own over time.

Water lotus
Another bog plant that is not submerged as deeply as water lily, but has very wide leaves that grow up out of the water. Very pretty, especially when they flower.

Tiger lotus
Similar to water lotus though I have never seen or heard of these flowering. Will grow up out of the water nicely creating shade and shelter. Comes in green and red varieties.

Water iris
Another bog plant that grows pretty easy and spreads on its own. These grow tall, make for a nice backdrop around the edges of a pond. These also come in a wide variety of colors.

There are many many types of pond plants, but these are some of the most popular and easiest to find. Other plants that can be used are things like anacharis, naja grass, and most other fully submersible plants that don't have a real high requirement for light. With fully submersible plants, there is a good likliehood they will become food, so anacharis is one of the most popular for this reason.

If you need more ideas for plants, please let me know. I can provide you with a link to a website that deals strictly in pond plants.

That should do it until I am able to get the last graphic complete. It will probably take a few days, so please be patient.
If you have further questions, please ask.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #9 of 15 Old 06-10-2008, 07:12 AM
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Wow! How long did it take you to make those posts, Dawn? Impressive.

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post #10 of 15 Old 06-10-2008, 01:46 PM
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LOL, Lupin, you make me laugh. It took a few hours, but you already know I didn't mind doing it! The graphics aren't perfect, I sort of slapped them together quickly, but it was enough to give a general idea of what I was seeing in my head.
This post has actually helped me with a pond of my own. I have a window flower box along the front of my house, lined in lannon stone rock to match the rest of the house. I recently began digging it out so I can turn it into a pond, but because it is long and narrow, similar to this tub... I think I may decide to put in a waterall like the last photo I posted.
I thought it would be neat to stock it with feeder fish and use them as a feeding ground for the many blue herons and sandhill cranes we have in this area. To have those feeding right in front of my big windows would be a wonderful sight and make for some awesome photos!

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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