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 Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup

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cholt
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PostSubject: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Wed Sep 10, 2014 8:18 pm

Hello,

I'm trying to figure out what kind of fish to put into my first 20g setup. Right now the tank has 3 zebra danios in it while the tank cycles(still in the first week). this tank has about 20 small plants in it that will grow to be a nice planted tank i hope. i have read so many different things I'm not sure what to put in the tank or how many of each. any suggestions would be great. i like the look of neon tetras or similar. I was thinking of getting a julii, green, and maybe a bumblebee cory for the bottom of the tank. do think they would school together? Other than that I'm just not sure.

thanks
Chris
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Deb
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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:57 am

Hi, cholt.

From your pic your 20 G looks like a 20 high (rather than a 20 long.)  In that case I would not add more danios, because danios, even the small ones like Danio tinwini (ocelot danio) like to have long stretches of swimming space.  

If you like neon tetras (Paracheirodon innesi), you could have a decent size school of them in that size tank, probably 12-15.  Glowlight (Hemigrammus erythrozonus) and pristella (Pristella maxillaris) tetras are nice, too, and live a long time.  They like to hang around from the middle of the tank to the bottom third, and will do some exploring, which makes them more interesting IMO.  There are lots of nice tetras, but in order to get a decent number of them in a 20 G, stay with the ones that are smaller.  Buenos aires tetras like to eat live plants, so you may want to avoid those.  

Cory catfish are great and everyone will have their favorites to recommend to you.  The main thing is to stick to ones that are medium to small, and then you can get more and make a nice group of them.  The other main thing is to keep the first inch of sand really clean for them.  Stir it a bit when you are siphoning.  The three corys you mentioned would probably hang around together at times, but do not look for any real schooling behavior in tank-raised corys.  Even wild-caught ones soon lose the urge to "school" in the aquarium, where conditions are so different than where they came from.  In a 20 high you could keep a nice group of about seven medium size corys, such as C. trilineatus, and others that reach the same max size.  If the "green cory" you mention is really a Brochis species, then it will become too large for your 20 high.  Where did you see it?

In your last post you mentioned male guppies.  In a 20 high these would be just about perfect.  There would be plenty of room, and their swimming style suits a high tank.  Guppies are all over the tank, constantly exploring, and poking their noses into things that are none of their business *lol*  They are active, curious, and not fussy.  If you choose different colors, then your kids could even give them names; that's an idea with good and bad points.  Guppies can be pests, too, and may pester the mild-mannered corys.  Modern, fancy guppies don't usually live very long, maybe a year or more.  

A nice South American theme tank could be:
10-15 small tetras
5 male guppies
7 small to medium Corydoras catfish  
2 Otocinclus catfish

I can think of any number of SA or Asian themes which would work in your size tank, but I'll stop for now. Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Thu Sep 11, 2014 1:56 pm

Rasboras, honey gourami, sparkling or croaking gourami, checkerboard barb, hatchetfish, pencilfish might also be worth considering' these should mix OK with your tetras, danios, and corydoras. Gouramis can get territorial, but mainly toward other territorial fish; they dont usually cause much trouble for non-territorial fish (everything else listed above).
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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:53 pm

Keep the suggestions coming. I might add 1 gourami to the mix once the tank is established since my oldest son wants "bigger" fish in the tank. or would a dwarf gourami work better.
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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:16 pm

Chris, It's really difficult to choose fish as you are finding. There are nearly endless possibilities of fish combinations you can choose from. Deb, and Gerald have given you some excellent advice on what may work with your size tank and fish stocking. I can understand your son wanting larger fish but you really should consider what theme your going for. Mixed Community tanks are nice, and when you look at the compatibility labels on the fish store tanks you may think because you are choosing fish that may be the same compatibility code, they may not be due to the areas they come from. Many of the types of Gourami's can grow to 3 to 5" range and a 20 gal might support one or two but not happily. They are territorial and have been known to become quite aggressive. Probably won't harm Danio's as they are always on the move. While I guess possible I have not heard of Gourami's bothering Cory's. But slower finny fish and other territorial fish are often targets for Gourami. The Dwarf Gourami are very colorful and for your size tank perhaps a more likely fit, you still need to keep an eye on the aggression levels.
Remember your tank is just a box that your keeping live fish in. They 100% depend upon you alone to keep them safe, healthy, and happy. Nature provides them opportunity of having oxygen, clean water, food, room to move, choose who they swim with, and on and on. Your box does not provide any of that. With a 20 gal and adding larger fish will significantly reduce the number of fish you can safely keep so again another consideration to keep in mind. Cory's do best in groups of 6, Danio's also do better in groups of six or more, as due most Tetras, and some Barbs. Each time you go to your local fish store (LFS) you and your son are probably going to see a fish that makes you want to try and next thing you know you have quite a hodge podge of fish that some may get along and some become expensive dinner.
If you are really wanting long term enjoyment and a wonderful experience with your new tank, try to keep a regional theme to your tank and fish selection. In the long run you will find the rewards far less stressful, and painful. As the Food Lion says in his commercial "That's my two cents and I'm sticking to it"
Good luck and wishing you and your son years of fun and success with your new tank.

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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:37 pm

Thanks for all the information everyone. I guess i have another question or 2 as well. What is a good water temp for a community tank? From what i can tell the tank is sitting at around 78-80 degrees.
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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:31 am

I personally find 80 degrees to be a bit warm unless you are housing Discus. my tank stays around 74-76 and has been very healthy. I find the cooler water tends to make the fish a little more active. if the tank reaches 78, I find them to be a little sluggish. Has anyone else had a different experience?

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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:57 am

Gourami for a 20 high: I'd get a dwarf or smaller species (honey, sparkling).  Mass-farmed dwarf gouramis are extremely disease-prone (another reason I prefer honeys).  If you can find hobbyist-bred dwarfs they usually live longer.  Maybe a pearl gourami - they're a bit less ornery than the other med to large gouramis.

Temp: 74 to 78 is a good range for "most tropicals".  Certain species from warmer parts of the Amazon, Orinoco, and SE Asia do better at 78 to 84 (rams, discus, etc ... check sources).  Fish I would expect to be less active at 78 than at 74 are obligate cool-water species, like some N.Amer natives, hillstream loaches, other fish from streams fed by mountain runoff, and some of the spring-endemic species.
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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Fri Sep 12, 2014 4:35 pm

I suggest Guppies as a fish for first tank owners. The aren't as fussy as some other fish and they provide endless activity. Your son may find the activity a good substitute for size and there are some fish mid- sized fish that will get along fine with Guppies. I would also keep both males and females. There are few occasions more exciting that finding babies in a tank. It's unlikely that your population will get out of control quickly if ever. Also Guppies are plant friendly. That's important if you want to keep a planted tank. I suggest 2 females for every male...
Enjoy! Hello

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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:07 pm

OK HELP... Need some advice. We went away for the weekend(left Friday afternoon back late Sunday evening). One of our friends was taking care of our animals(dogs and cat) and decided to feed my 3 danios from what i can tell a 20g tank full of fish worth of food. Now I have rotting fish food in the bottom of the tank everywhere and it looks like it has a transparent slim on it and the top of my heater looks the same way. Do i do a vacuum of the tank out tomorrow after work or not since I'm just ending the 1st week of cycling this new tank. I did check the water parameters. pH 7.0, Ammonia 0.5, Nitrite 0 and Nitrate 0 when i got home and saw the tank.

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Chris
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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:42 pm

Just saw this message. With ammonia at .50 my advice is to siphon out as much of the uneaten food as you can, meaning all of it, and do a 25% water change. Don't feed the fish for one or two days. Watch them for signs of distress.

A water change will not disrupt your cycle and may help it by adding fresh oxygen to the water.

.50 ppm for ammonia in the first week of cycling is about normal, but it's still hard on the fish. These days it's not recommended to use fish to cycle a tank so I'm curious where you got that advice from?

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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:02 pm

Thanks Deb, I will do the vacuuming and water change after work tomorrow. I googled aquarium cycling and read multiple articles that suggested doing it that why. it wasn't til tonight i saw that there is a way to do it via a water additive. I feel rather dumb not finding it sooner. Would you suggest using one of the water additives or another way to cycle the tank. the only reason i did the fish in style cycle was it seemed to be the most recommended from what i found.
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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:53 pm

No, I wouldn't recommend using a chemical or bacteria booster, or any additive at this point.
Do the siphon and the suggestions as above, and then just keep on with what you're doing, I'm sure it will be fine.

A few years ago, a fishless cycling method using fish food (or pieces of cooked shrimp) became very popular and people moved away from using fish to cycle a tank, so I'm surprised there are still articles out there recommending a fish cycle.

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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:26 am

i did see one article that said to use fish food, a dead fish, or something like shrimp. But the article was for a salt water setup so i didn't think it would apply for freshwater. But now i know better. I will be doing the water change and vacuuming this afternoon. again thanks for all the info.
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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:36 pm

@cholt wrote:
OK HELP... Need some advice. We went away for the weekend(left Friday afternoon back late Sunday evening). One of our friends was taking care of our animals(dogs and cat) and decided to feed my 3 danios from what i can tell a 20g tank full of fish worth of food. Now I have rotting fish food in the bottom of the tank everywhere and it looks like it has a transparent slim on it and the top of my heater looks the same way. Do i do a vacuum of the tank out tomorrow after work or not since I'm just ending the 1st week of cycling this new tank. I did check the water parameters. pH 7.0, Ammonia 0.5, Nitrite 0 and Nitrate 0 when i got home and saw the tank.

I'm an old timer and don't frown on cycling with fish. It's the way I have always done it but I realize it's not the only way. An ammonia spike is to be expected as your tank cycles. I encourage you to keep testing your water chemistry every few days until you see the presence of Nitrates before adding more fish. A good cleaning and large partial water change are appropriate. I would change around 40% because of the over feeding.

When I saw your earlier post, I wrote a long reply to explain my views on cycling. But I noticed that others had covered the most important points and I deleted most of mine. I now think the Nitrogen Cycle  might be worth some more discussion. One of the things I mentioned but deleted was that cycling with fish is very stressful on those fish used for cycling. They may not make it through the process. It's one of the reasons many hobbyist moved to fishless cycling. Water changes during the Nitrogen Cycle should not interrupt the process if done with water that is dechlorinated before adding. It may prolong the process but lessen the severity of the Ammonia and Nitrite spikes. Nitrogen cycling should be a one time deal for your household. The hard part and wait is almost over... Cool

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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:11 pm

Thanks for all the help guys. I think i was able to get all the old food out of the tank with the cleaning. Right now I'm not a fan of my choice of using sand over my other substrate. I also did about 40-50% water change as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:35 pm

OK I have another question. I was talking to one of my coworkers that has been keeping fish for years and he offered to give me one of his old filter cartridges when is swaps out for a new one. He said that would help the tank cycle process by introducing the bacteria the cycle is trying to produce to begin with. Is this a good idea or not so good?
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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:48 pm

Great idea. I would go over his place when he cleans his tank. Bring a bucket. Squeeze out all his filter media and get any brown soupy stuff to your bucket. This will be disgusting. And the pour the brown soup in to your tank and maybe soak any of your filter media in it. Just do it fast as the bacteria will die off in the bucket. Only thing else you can do is take your filters over his place and let them run on his tank for a week or two. If you did not have fish already I would do the fishless cycle with ammonia. It really works!
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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:00 pm

It can be a very good thing, but it has some inherent risks. If his tank has any kind of problems, disease etc, then those could transfer, but usually i accept that kind of offer realizing the risk is minimal compared to the benefit.

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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:03 pm

i was talking to him a little more after i posted last and he has the same size filter i do so i could get his old filter cartridge and put in the second slot on my filter or take him a new one to put in his second slot for a couple of weeks to get this started.
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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:13 pm

@cholt wrote:
i was talking to him a little more after i posted last and he has the same size filter i do so i could get his old filter cartridge and put in the second slot on my filter or take him a new one to put in his second slot for a couple of weeks to get this started.

This is the way to do it. ThumbsUp One sponge will give you enough bacteria but not too much. The good ammonia-eating bacteria need something to eat or they will starve and die. With only the three danios, and not that many fast-growing plants, the ammonia uptake will be moderate. So exchanging the one sponge, as you suggest, is a very good approach and should work well for you.

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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:43 pm

Awesome. thanks for the info once again everyone. I will be getting a "new to me" filter sponge in the next couple of days. I also found out he lives 5 minutes from my home so the time from tank to tank will be minimal. So once i have that filter in I'm going to wait a day or so and i will start to add a few fish in at a time.
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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Tue Sep 16, 2014 5:28 pm

OK me again... So when I got home today I fed the fish for the first time since the over feeding issue this weekend and only one of the 3 Danios seemed to want to eat. I was looking at the other 2 of them and they both seem to almost have a greyness to them on their back halves. One of them more than the other. Any ideas?
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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:18 pm

With ammonia present it is toxic to them. Some fish handle it better than others. You want 0 ammonia, 0 Nitrite and some Nitrate which you remove with water changes. So any ammonia or Nitrite is poison. This may be the whats going on.
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PostSubject: Re: Fish suggestions for my first 20g setup   Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:10 pm

just did a water test, pH 6.8 , ammonia .25, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0
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