This year my grandmother's last fish (2 corys and a bnp) died. She had had them since I bought them for her eight years ago. Now she has an empty 55 gallon tank sitting in her living room. I'd like to get her fish once again, but I'm thinking about a smaller tank. I have a spare 20 gallon that I would like to give her, set up, and do weekly maintenance on. I've been talking with my sister and I think a basic plan, that won't get too expensive has formed, but I'd like some feedback on.
My sister would like to get some reticulated hillstream loaches. Personally I think an alage eater would be a great idea, as I'm not sure I can convince my grandmother to not leave the light on all day. Would an unheated tank and vastly oversized HOB filter suffice for them or would I need a powerhead as well? Given the tank size is about their minimum, would I be able to keep any other current loving fish in there or would that use up too much of the oxygen? Glowlight danios or a Microdevario maybe? BTW, I had wanted Celestial pearl danios for her, but my little sister is bossy and persuasive.
For the overall look I was thinking of a river tank with lots of rounded rocks of varying sizes (I have a nearby creek to get them from, hopefully they pass the vinegar test). Plants aren't naturally occurring I know, but I would still like to add some. I thought various anubias, mosses, ferns, or even Vals would be ok with the current. In other words a bunch of plants I know very little about. I know the light would need to be bright, but not sure how bright. I've never tried to actually grow algae. I'm also not sure what substrate, as I don't know if sand would get blown around.
Any one have any thoughts for me? Total revisions are welcome too lol. I'm just planning this out right now.