10-25-2010, 03:40 PM
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I would not attempt angels in a 20g; being a shoaling fish, they should be in a group of 5+ and that means a 55g (4-foot) tank minimum. Unless it is a breeding pair, which can manage in a 20g for spawning, but that doesn't appear to be what you are attempting.
The checkerboards will be fine; beautiful fish, I wish I could get them locally. Which species? There are 4 all "commonly" named checkerboard, 2 Dicrossus species and 2 Crenicara species, all 4 are in our fish profiles under cichlids (obviously), second tab from the left in the blue bar at the top of the screen takes you to the profile section. In a well-planted quiet (minimal water movement) tank, ideal.
You asked for ideas, so here goes. I would consider different "dither" fish than Black Neon Tetra, lovely as they are. Almost any characins would work; tetra, pencilfish, and hatchetfish for surface interest, plus Corydoras for the bottom. A BN, or a whiptail (the Rineloricaria species that are small) or a Farlowella? All of these, including the checkerboards, must have soft, acidic water, something I will assume you have; dwarf cichlids will not last long in hard water.
If you want to see Amazonian geographic tanks, my 115g Amazonian Riverscape and the 90g flooded Amazon forest tank are in the photos under my "Aquariums" below my name on the left. The 90g is the sort of tank you should aim for with checkerboards, etc.