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20 gallon stocking questions from a first timer

This is a discussion on 20 gallon stocking questions from a first timer within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I have similar water as you, i assume your on a well also so I'll say what I do. First off use the water ...

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20 gallon stocking questions from a first timer
Old 07-17-2012, 04:48 PM   #11
 
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I have similar water as you, i assume your on a well also so I'll say what I do. First off use the water from the outside spigot to keep all the minerals for your plants, I am in love with my 5 golden honey grouami even if my beautiful males are stuck guarding eggs where I can't see them in the back. With them I have 17 harlequin rasbora, 2 longfin chocolate BN, and 6 kuhli loaches. If you wanted a similar tank I highly recommend a male and female golden honey gourami and 7-9 harlequin rasboras. With them you can do any kind of BN pleco you wanted or the dwarf corys you mentioned earlier. The gouramis don't mate like live bearers so once the male gets the female to have her eggs he takes them up into his bubble nest and guards it alone and doesn't bother her at all. My females are the showcase of my tanks because the males are rarely seen once they start guarding but when they do its vibrant. My avatar is 2 of my females fighting for dominance
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:05 PM   #12
 
Thanks warewolf !

Byron: I just finished your 4 part article on live plants. I think I will be OK with my filter if I simply take out the active charcoal element and replace it with a same size piece of filter floss to retain particulate. Only issue is that because it flows over the water like a "cascade", it will still disturb the surface.


So, I made a mistake and bought orange gravel. I would much prefer black or dark grey. Is there a safe technique of replacing the gravel once the tank has fish in it?

Is it basically, take the fish out, replace gravel, run filter for a while to take care of stirred up sediment,and then put fish back? Can I get away with removing say half of the gravel and putting the new gravel over it?
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:25 AM   #13
 
Update:

In tested the water prior to it going into the softener and the hardness is between 150ppm and 250ppm, the buffering stayed the same and the pH was closer to 7.4-7.5

I went to the store and bought one anubius and one bunch of java moss... I regret the moss since it started flying around, and haven't the faintest how to make it pretty.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:23 PM   #14
 
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Kroum, answering your last two posts.

On the gravel, do it now; better to get it done with so the tank can start settling biologically. I would recommend playsand; it is very inexpensive (the cheapest substrate you can get), plants grow very well in it, and substrate fish love it (some need it). I use Quikrete Play Sand from Home Depot; Lowe's I believe also carries it. They call it "tan" but it is a mix of black/gray/white/tan and looks like the sands in the Amazon streams. I have now changed 5 of my 7 tanks to this sand, and another is about to change over.

On th water, I definitely recommend using pre-softener water. A GH of 8 to 9 dGH will help your plants, and this still results in soft water so soft water fish will be fine. The pH being a tad lower is better too; this suggests something in the softener being added to the water, so best to avoid that.

Filter, are you up for replacing it? You can go with the present one (can it be adjusted for less flow?) but something simple would serve you better. I only use sponge filters in tanks under 50g. A dual Elite is what I have on my 20g and 29g, connected to an air pump. Another alternative is a Fluval U1 which is a sponge with a motor which avoids an air pump. I have one like this by Eheim in my 33g, but sadly Eheim don't make these any longer.

I mention these issues because it is easier to get all this ouot of the way before fish arrive.

Byron.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:47 PM   #15
 
Byron, is A zoo plant grower bed substrate a good option? I found a new local store with the largest aquatic plant selection I have yet to find in my area and all their planted tanks use this. The black color is very visually pleasing to me.

I think I will follow your advice and tear everything down, change the substrate, plant it, and try to either reintroduce the guppies or return them to the store and start fresh.

How long must the planted tank "run" before I can put the fish in? Just long enough for the water to clear up?

Which plants other than anubius and java moss do you recommend for a beginner?
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:14 PM   #16
 
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Originally Posted by kroum View Post
Byron, is A zoo plant grower bed substrate a good option? I found a new local store with the largest aquatic plant selection I have yet to find in my area and all their planted tanks use this. The black color is very visually pleasing to me.

I think I will follow your advice and tear everything down, change the substrate, plant it, and try to either reintroduce the guppies or return them to the store and start fresh.

How long must the planted tank "run" before I can put the fish in? Just long enough for the water to clear up?

Which plants other than anubius and java moss do you recommend for a beginner?
I'm not familiar with that named substrate. If you can give me a link to some data I will have a look, I might see something pro or con. But without trying these things it is sometimes difficult to comment. I will say that i have use Flourite in one tank, and wold never waste the money again. This is the tank that I will be changing over to playsand this month, after 15+ months of poor plant response (worse in fact than in my sand-only tanks). Not worth the money in my view. Plus, some of these are hard on substrate fish.

You can set up a new tank with fish on day 1 if you have it well planted. This means lots of plants, including several fast growers like stem plants and particularly floating plants. As this will be your first, I wold go easy though. You will want to put the existing fish (if any) in a spare temporary tank, nothing fancy, while you change the main tank. So they can be returned a few at a time. Keeping wood or rock from the main tank wet in the temporary tank helps, as bacteria will be on this if it is not washed or allowed to dry.

Sword plants (Echinodorus, several species are in our profiles under substrate-rooted plants) are easy, don't get the large species for a 20g. Ceratopteris cornuta is my favourite floating plant. Brazilian Pennywort is a nice stem plant, also grows nicely floating, and only moderate light unlike most stem plants.

Byron.
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:31 PM   #17
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kroum View Post
Thanks warewolf !

Byron: I just finished your 4 part article on live plants. I think I will be OK with my filter if I simply take out the active charcoal element and replace it with a same size piece of filter floss to retain particulate. Only issue is that because it flows over the water like a "cascade", it will still disturb the surface.


So, I made a mistake and bought orange gravel. I would much prefer black or dark grey. Is there a safe technique of replacing the gravel once the tank has fish in it?

Is it basically, take the fish out, replace gravel, run filter for a while to take care of stirred up sediment,and then put fish back? Can I get away with removing say half of the gravel and putting the new gravel over it?
Awesome! Most don't make the connection with my name to the Bulgarian werewolf so I'm impressed

On other easy plants I highly recommend messaging knuggs and seeing if Lucas will sell you pack of low light plants like he did for me, got a great deal on over a dozen different plants and he's the only one I've ever seen with peacock moss and if nothing else its worth getting just a bundle of that instead of java and his prices were reasonable. Plants that worked for me from him are are peacock moss, bronze crypt, Brazilian sword, dwarf water lettuce, Hydrocotyle Umbrellata, Hygro Pinnatida, L. Aromatica and a couple I'm unsure of the name of
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:36 PM   #18
 
Thank you Byron!

This is the substrate I am talking about:
Azoo Plant Grower Bed Substrate (Brown or Black) | Exotic Corals| Aquatic Plants | Rare Cichlids
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Old 07-19-2012, 11:15 AM   #19
 
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Originally Posted by kroum View Post
First, if it were me, I would want to see this myself in a local store so I could feel it with my hand before buying it. Some of these are rather coarse (like Flourite and Eco-complete) and I found this an issue with corys and such. I choose F over EC primarily due to it feeling a bit smoother, or so I thought, but in hindsight it is still too coarse. I never buy substrate material without handling it.

Second, it is going to give out in just over a year. Unless you plan to tear the tank down and reset with more, I would start off with sand or fine gravel. Chances are, regardless of their claims, some fertilization will still be needed. Floating plants and non-substrate rooted plants will obtain no benefit whatsoever from the substrate, so liquid fertilization is going to be necessary to balance. And this gets down to the substrate plants anyway, with sand/gravel.

Third, it claims to mess with pH. I try to avoid adding any substances that fiddle with the chemistry unless it is essential and I have a fair grasp of it. My local water authority is now adding substances to buffer pH, and this is bad enough.

And as for prolonging water changes to one every six months, this is risky nonsense. I know this can work--with lots of plants and few fish in spacious tanks. But my fish get half the tank changed every week, and I know there are benefits. This sort of claim is just not practical.

Playsand will work as well in my view, and be much less expensive.

Byron.
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Old 07-19-2012, 01:31 PM   #20
 
Varkolak, I missed your post yesterday, but it may have something to do with the fact that I am Bulgarian: ). Thank you for sharing your experience with those specific plants. I will keep it in mind when I start buying.

Byron, I haven't touched this substrate, but it looks semi-porous,and it is pretty fine. Probably 1mmor even .5mm grains. I really want a dark/black substrate. This is why I liked it so much in the store. I am about to go there again at lunch, and I will ask a lot more about it.

I think I'm going to do this... tomorrow after work: )I'm just sad over the 2 guppies already in the tank. I have grown attached to Ajax and Lemon...
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