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|You want to keep the decor in
goldfish systems simple... no sharp items, or ornaments, plastic
plants they can get stuck in. Leave space all around the inside
perimeter for their sauntering...
Safe gardens for Goldies 3/26/10
Thank you in advance for your help. Hopefully! I just finished reading
the page on DIY decorations.
I need help badly. I have been researching but getting mixed
Very confusing out there!
I want to start a small business doing freshwater gardens mainly for
I was a landscape designer in my past life
<And I a waterscape contractor>
and as I was searching for plants I thought of this idea. To put a full
garden together so people just have to place that one piece in the
aquarium. It would have a mixture of plants in it already. I will be
using aquarium safe silk plants. ( I had originally spent $80.00 on
silk plants from Michael's but could not get definitive information
if they were aquarium safe so I am not using them.
<As far as I'm aware they are safe. There may be some
brand/makes that are not... Particularly I'd be leery of any that
have encased metal stems>
I stared out using Terra Cotta coasters as my base. I ordered silk
plants and cut the original base off of the silk plants. When trying to
attach the thin silk plant stem to the Terra Cotta base with silicon it
took too long for the silicone to set so the plant flopped over.
<Try a "hot glue gun" here>
Then I tried cutting up plastic tubing, attaching, the tubing to the
Terra Cotta base and then filling the tubing with silicon and then
putting the stem of the plastic plant inside. Too time consuming and
restricted the aesthetic look. So then I tried attaching the stem of
the plant with a glue gun
first and putting the silicon over the "glue gun" glue after
it dried. That worked well, however, I read where that was not a good
idea because it could leach toxins into the water.
<I think you are very safe here>
I called the manufactures of glue sticks and they told me to use a
236-110 glue stick and it would work in an aquarium situation. I just
need a dab to secure the plant quickly to the Terra Cotta.
Is that a safe application?
Would I still need to cover the "glue-stick"
glue with silicon?
<Likely not... unnecessary and takes a day to cure>
Will that application be secure enough so the plant does not
The other idea was sculpting the base with Sculpey instead of the Terra
<Mmm... is safe to use>
That way I could make the holes deeper, have more shapes to use other
than the round coaster. I could sculpt a kidney shape base and so one.
Maybe I could poke the holes into the Sculpey form prior to baking and
then insert the silk plant stems in them once it was dry. and secure
with silicon or ?????
<The glue gun>
What would be the best Sculpting clay to use?
<Sculpey, or other similar polymer clay>
I have been trying all kinds of applications but have not come up with
something easy and fast that I can still get creative with. I also
tried drilling holes in the Terra Cotta and using silicon to
<I would not use Silicone/Silastic... too messy, takes to long to
set up and cure>
Still this is problematic because the stem of the silk plant does not
stay secure and in place while the silicon dries and I have to
Any ideas, would be soooooo appreciated. I am frustrated but determined
to make this work!!!!! Gardens for Goldies' trudges on!
<Congratulations on your new enterprise! Bob Fenner>
Re: Safe gardens for Goldies 3/27/10
Thank you Bob. Wow that was fast!!! I am so wanting to get started
doing this. Can I ask you if any hot glue will do or should I get the
industrial strength glue as the company suggested?
<I would get the industrial strength. Our olde company was amongst
the first to sell "painted wooden fish", from Indonesia and
We bought broken coral pieces from a friend's business and mounted
these and a nice tasseled descriptive tag... With hot glue...>
Also just to clarify, the silk plants I got from Michaels should be
<I do think so. I have seen such employed in freshwater systems on
They are just greenery and I took all metal and traces of glue out of
them. I have a fern like plant that did turn
the water a little green when I soaked it in alcohol. I don't know
why I did that but I had a moment and thought it may bring something
bad out of the plant. Good thing I am not a frustrated doctor.
Thank you again for all your help. Very much appreciated. I can sleep
now until my next dilemma. Take care
<And you my creative friend. BobF>
Re: Safe gardens for Goldies 3/28/10
Many, many thanks to you. I have finally reached a level of serenity.
For the time being. LOL Have a great day.
<And you. BobF>
Freshwater Decor ? Goldfish
sys. 3/12/08 Hello...
Would a product made of alabastrite (not painted) be safe for a
goldfish tank? And would a concrete type statue be safe with
enough water circulation and oxygen? Lisa <No, none of these
things is acceptable. Unless an ornament or material is
explicitly sold as aquarium safe, don't assume that they are.
Concrete for example contains lime, and that can raise the pH of
the aquarium very quickly. You can get coatings that prevent
this, allowing its use in ponds for example, but why bother? The
variety of aquarium-safe rocks and ornaments is huge and wide
ranging in price as well, so there's really no reason not to
use them. Granite and slate can be bought from garden centres and
used to create all manner of "terrain" inside the tank,
and there's also bogwood, ceramic ornaments, terracotta, etc.
Anything pond-safe should be aquarium safe. Cheers,
Neale.> Re: Freshwater Decor
? 3/12/08 Thanks again Neale...... I asked about
ceramics before and see that you mentioned that they would be
safe as well but I'm getting so much different feedback from
others. Some say ceramics are not safe unless they are marked
"dinnerware" safe. <Ah, you misunderstand. When I
say "ceramic ornaments" I mean the stuff sold in pet
stores for fish tanks. Ceramic mangrove roots, castles, and the
like.> Well, no statues or things of that nature would be
marked dinnerware safe. Someone suggested buying
"bisque" ceramics and then painting it ......but where
would I find the right type of paint for inside the aquarium.
<Wouldn't bother. Running an aquarium is difficult enough
sometimes without adding unknown variables.> And some have
said that ceramic can be glazed but needs to be fired a certain
temp to make it "safe". I know I'm being anal here
but I have yet to find one single aquarium decoration that I
really like. <Hmm... I tend to go with what I know -- granite,
slate and other stones sold as pond safe. Cheap, easy to obtain,
safe. I don't really care much for ceramic castles and
temples and shipwrecks, but I know some people like them. To be
honest, Goldfish couldn't care less about ornaments save
plastic plants, which they like for the shade. So why not go for
a "jungle" style with thickets of plastic plants
surrounding an open area for swimming? Bamboo is another great
material, especially the super-thick stuff, for creating
"oriental" scenes. The downside to bamboo is it rots
and needs replacing every couple of years. But it is so cheap,
who cares?> I'd be willing to buy someone from another
country even if it was what I was looking for....don't mind
shipping it in for the right product. Lisa <Some books on
aquarium decor out there... 'The Inspired Aquarium',
'Aquarium Design', 'Aquarium Displays Inspired by
Nature ', 'The Complete Aquarium' and others. Track
down, consult. I happen to like 'The Complete Aquarium' a
lot, and on Amazon.com it goes for about a buck second hand. Do
also visit a garden centre and see what they have for decorating
ponds and rockeries. Factor in the use of submersible lights and
airstones -- these make dramatic additions, and will turn
something humdrum into sheer magic if used right. Cheers,
Fancy Goldfish and empty shells or corals
Dear Bob, <Jean> I am going to set up a freshwater tank
(80-gallon size). I want to have Fancy Goldfish in it. Some people say
that it is not good to put empty shells or corals in the tank for
Goldfish, for it is difficult to keep the water balanced for the fish.
<In general, yes... the shells may make the water too hard and
alkaline (though Goldfish do like water that is moderately so), and
that the shells/decor are too sharp, likely to cut the clumsy
goldfish> I have a real pretty coral (only the bone, not a live one)
and three pretty empty shells. Will they really going to do harm to the
water for my fish? <Possibly> I will appreciated if you would
answer this e-mail. Thank you very much. Best Regards, Jean
McGowan <I would not use these on general principle... but if
you'd like, place them and see... you can test for water quality or
just "bio-assay" (watch your livestock) to see if they're
mal-affecting your water quality, or the fish are getting snagged on
them. Bob Fenner, who does have seashells in with his African