20g Planted Tank Stocking Ideas - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 12-21-2012, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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20g Planted Tank Stocking Ideas

So I'll be getting my 20g all set up to start fishless cycling this weekend, but I wanted to throw out some ideas for stock.

I was thinking about this:

5 x Cardinal Tetras
2 x German Blue Rams
3 x Fire Red Guppies (1 male, 2 female)
1 x Flame Dwarf Gouramis
4 x Panda Cory's

Do you guys think this would be a good setup? Would it give me an even distribution of fish? (Top, Middle, and Bottom) AqAdvisor said this would stock my tank at 100%.

I'm using Eco-Complete for the substrate, it will be heavily planted. AquaClear 50 for the filter.
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post #2 of 4 Old 12-22-2012, 09:48 AM
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You might just go ahead and set up your tank with the plants right away. I prefer play sand as a substrate, as it looks really natural and will be better for your corys. As for the filter, assuming that the 50 means 50 gallon tank, I'd go with a filter matching the size of your aquarium. With plenty of live plants from the start, you could add the guppies right away. Check your water parameters regularly and control ammonia with water changes. No ammonia is good ammonia. This is not a quick and easy method, it is another method. In my opinion, for a fully planted tank, the fishless cycle is a waste of time. If you were preparing for an artificial environment, it would be a good method. In any event, make future stocking additions gradually to let the tank adjust to the bio load. Best of luck.

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post #3 of 4 Old 12-22-2012, 02:51 PM
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Is the tank 20gal long or tall? Hopefully it is long.
Do you know your water parameters (pH, gH, kH)? If your water is soft and acidic you should be good.

Here is a revised version of your tank:
9 x Cardinal Tetras
2 x Blue Rams (one male, one female)
6/7x Panda Cory's

I feel that fewer species in larger schools look better (especially in small tanks such as this one). The Blue Rams will be your centerpiece fish. Larger schools are better for the fish too. Even with 3 species, you'll still have plenty of activity all over the tank.

Have you kept freshwater fish before? Rams aren't for beginners.

I would recommend getting a filter that is one size larger than your tank. If the tank is going to be heavily planted, it's unnecessary to have that much filtration.

I might also suggest replacing the pandas with bronze cories. They might be better able to handle the acidic water that cardinal tetras demand.

Last edited by AK Fresh Water; 12-22-2012 at 02:55 PM.
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post #4 of 4 Old 12-22-2012, 03:22 PM
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I agree with most of what has been posted, but there are some major issues too.

First, the rams. These fish need warmth, no less than 82F. This is fine for the cardinals, but not the corys. Corydoras panda is a cooler water fish [click the shaded name for the profile]. The guppy would be at the high end of its preferred range, which is not usually the best, as this means the fish is working harder all the time [higher temp = more effort to "live"].

Water parameters are key here, as the cardinals will not last in harder water. The ram needs whatever they were raised in, check that profile [click Blue Ram].

On the substrate issue, I would agree that corys often have trouble with Eco-complete and the very similar Flourite.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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