Just getting started, what should I do with my 20g? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 16 Old 07-14-2008, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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Just getting started, what should I do with my 20g?

A friend was very generous and gave me a 20 gallon tank with everything I need to get it going, all I had to buy was a water testing kit.

The tank was well established and fortunately I got all the substrate from it. We emptied the tank and probably 24 hours went by until I refilled it with fresh water at my house. Will any bacteria still be alive in that gravel?

I'm worried about New Tank Syndrome/Cycling. So I'm thinking I should start off with a few hardy fish. I do like the look of Tiger Barbs and I read that they are quite hardy, will these make a good starter fish?

My end goal is to have 6-8 Neon Tetras, a Pictus Cat and I'm not sure what else yet. Will the Tiger Barbs be aggressive towards these?

Just tested the water for fun:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 7.8

pH seems a bit on the high side, is this a problem (if so, what can I do about it?)

The zeros look good, but I guess if there is nothing in there producing ammonia, there's no way to tell if the bacteria are present.

I appreciate any and all advice, thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 16 Old 07-14-2008, 02:41 AM
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I doubt much if any bacteria survived in the gravel, What did you do with the filter in the time the tank was empty?

I'm going to say the pictus cat will be a no, I just did a little research and they are very sociable and very active and require a large area to swim in that your 20 gallon tank would be unable to provide.

If you had a shoal of say... 5 -6 tiger barbs with your tetras I believe you would be ok. The tetras are fast, and with enough tiger barbs they might not even bother much with the neons.

I wouldn't get to excited yet, you'll more then likely have a mini cycle, just stock very slowly!

And just before you laid dead weight upon its shores, I stung you in the face for that's the nature of my core.
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-14-2008, 02:56 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Little-Fizz
I doubt much if any bacteria survived in the gravel, What did you do with the filter in the time the tank was empty?

I'm going to say the pictus cat will be a no, I just did a little research and they are very sociable and very active and require a large area to swim in that your 20 gallon tank would be unable to provide.

If you had a shoal of say... 5 -6 tiger barbs with your tetras I believe you would be ok. The tetras are fast, and with enough tiger barbs they might not even bother much with the neons.

I wouldn't get to excited yet, you'll more then likely have a mini cycle, just stock very slowly!
Thanks for the fast reply.

I am not using the filter that was on the tank, so no bacteria help there either.

I'm not too worried about the size of the Pictus, if he gets too large, I can pass him along to my friend. I'm more worried about his long whiskers as I've read the barbs only bother long finned fish.

Aside from compatibility issues, will the barbs be a good fish to start with? I was thinking 3.
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post #4 of 16 Old 07-14-2008, 03:07 AM
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Yeah, I think you'll do well with the barbs. You shoul be ok to start off with all 5 (or 6) of the barbs, this should be enough to kick off your cycle, that is, I'm assuming(sorry) you are cycling it with the fish?

Personally, I would avoid putting the cat in there anyways, they require certain lighting because they are nocturnal, a lot of hiding places and will try to eat your neons. They like to be in small groups too. I'm not to sure if it would harm other fish with its barbs, it's very possible. Plus it leaves more space for other fish.

And just before you laid dead weight upon its shores, I stung you in the face for that's the nature of my core.
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post #5 of 16 Old 07-14-2008, 03:57 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Little-Fizz
Yeah, I think you'll do well with the barbs. You shoul be ok to start off with all 5 (or 6) of the barbs, this should be enough to kick off your cycle, that is, I'm assuming(sorry) you are cycling it with the fish?

Personally, I would avoid putting the cat in there anyways, they require certain lighting because they are nocturnal, a lot of hiding places and will try to eat your neons. They like to be in small groups too. I'm not to sure if it would harm other fish with its barbs, it's very possible. Plus it leaves more space for other fish.
Yes I am cycling it with the fish, but I'm not sure that I want that many barbs, I was thinking 3 total.

My last post was unclear, I was worried about the Tiger Barbs attacking the Pictus cat's long whiskers, not the other way around. I wasn't aware of the cat's lighting requirements and didn't think it would be aggresive toward my neons. Could you recommend a good website that I could use to find information on specific fish? I'd love to be able to find this stuff out myself instead of bothering you guys all the time.

In any case, I will rethink the cat, perhaps a few Cory's of some kind instead?
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-14-2008, 05:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dekz
Could you recommend a good website that I could use to find information on specific fish? I'd love to be able to find this stuff out myself instead of bothering you guys all the time.
LOL, it's good to ask questions and bother us and get information as long as you actually plan to use the information that you're given, which it sounds like you will :) As for finding information, one of the better things you can do is Google the type of fish you want and go through the first oh, let's say 10 pages and gather your information like that because over the span of 10 different websites you will most likely start comparing them and say to yourself "Hmmmm, this one says the same thing as those other two about (insert topic here)".

This is the song that never ends...
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-14-2008, 07:28 AM
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With nippy fish like Tiger Barbs or Serpae's keeping them in small groups will likely make the nipping worse. I won't claim to be an expert but from what I've been seeing most nipping complaints from from people keeping only a very few fish and the ones who say they don't have problems tend to have bigger schools. This isn't a serious study, just an informal observation.

Fish act differently when stressed. Some run and hide, some seem to get aggressive.

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post #8 of 16 Old 07-14-2008, 07:41 AM
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I would strongly suggest a fishless cycle. That way you can stock your tank more quickly, and no fish are harmed during the cycle itself. Fishless cycling is also faster than the traditional cycling method. The fish used during the traditional cycle are going to be very uncomfortable (ammonia is poison ) and some or even all of them may die. The ones that survive will likely have no quality of life afterwards because of internal damage as well as damage to their gills. Also if you use a fishless cycle you will not have to worry about what to do with your cycling fish after it is complete. On the whole I think that a fishless cycle is the most humane way to do it. If you don't know what a fishless cycle is, feel free to ask me and I will explain it.
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-14-2008, 07:43 AM
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Speaking as someone cycling with fish.

Do a fishless cycle. Seriously.

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post #10 of 16 Old 07-14-2008, 08:54 AM
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It is always good to do a fishless cycle, that way none of your fish will die. And no money wasted.

I still have two swords from my first mistake in this hobby, about a year ago. They are troopers :)

You will need more then three barbs to keep them without them getting nippy towards each other and other fish.

And just before you laid dead weight upon its shores, I stung you in the face for that's the nature of my core.
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