New 20 Gal.
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New 20 Gal.

This is a discussion on New 20 Gal. within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Hi, I'm new here! I just got a great deal on a 20 high tank at a rummage sale, and I want to do ...

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Old 07-19-2009, 01:38 PM   #1
 
New 20 Gal.

Hi, I'm new here!

I just got a great deal on a 20 high tank at a rummage sale, and I want to do this one the right way as much as I can. I haven't put anything in it yet. My fish (3 fancy guppies) are in their old 10 gallon tank right now. I've been changing half of the water in there every month and changing the filter cartridge at the same time and adding 1 tsp of salt per 5 gallons.

So what I'm wondering is what else should I be doing to maintain optimal conditions in my tank? How to create a good environment for them in the first place? Can I put a female betta in with them? How do I decide what other fish to keep? Guppies are the only thing I've been able to keep alive in my tank. Sadly, my mollies and goldfish died.

I'm also thinking of putting real plants in this one and wondering how to do that?

Thanks :)

Last edited by Eltoe422; 07-19-2009 at 01:41 PM..
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:50 AM   #2
 
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Welcome to the forum. I have some suggestions concerning your tank maintainance that should help you create that good environment you want.

First, partial water changes [pwc] should be done weekly, not once a month. The pwc is the only way to remove fish urine and keep the nitrates reasonable; no filter can do these two tasks, so get in the good habit of doing a pwc every week. Just 25% of the tank volume is fine, but 30-40% would be great. Less water changed more often is better than changing more water less often. A more stable water quality is maintained with regular and frequent pwc. In nature water is always moving past the fish, and the pwc is the closest we can come to this in an aquarium.

Second, don't replace the filter media (foam pads, cartridge...) until it no longer works; as long as the water has to pass through it and there is enough material that none of the water is able to bypass the media, it is still good. Bacteria colonize the media and you want to keep them, not get rid of them. Rinse the foam or cartridge to remove the mulm and put it back. This should be done in a pail with water from the tank, not tap water, to avoid the chlorine killing the bacteria.

Third, do not use salt in a freshwater aquarium. Only brackish water fish require salt regularly. Mollies can have it, although some molly keepers don't. But guppies don't need it. Salt has an effect on the internal organs and workings of the fish, and adds stress.

I don't know if the mollies and goldfish were in your 10g at the same time, but they are not compatible fish since they require considerably different water conditions (temperature mainly). In a community aquarium, the fish must be compatible: that means, they must all have the same basic water parameter requirements (temperature, pH, hardness...) and their behaviours must be compatible. I believe a betta is not a good mix for guppies or most other small fish, but I'll leave this for a betta keeper to answer.

Live plants are very beneficial in an aquarium, and they are not difficult. You have to provide good light and sufficient nutrients. You should have a fluorescent light over the 20g tank, one tube will be sufficient. The tube should be full spectrum to provide good light for the plants and viewing. Rooted plants (swords, etc), Java Fern, Anubias, floating plants will all grow well under this light, plus a liquid fertilizer like Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Plant Supplement added once a week.

Byron.
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:22 AM   #3
 
female bettas are more friendly with other fish but you should probably not put them with guppies. Usually only males would react adversely to the guppies because of their colors but there is a chance a female might also react adversely so its unadvised. Everything else byron has already covered.

If you do get a betta, note that the females cannot be kept in pairs, and must be kept singualrly or a min of 3. They have a heirarchy and if you keep a pair they will fight constant for dominance. Also, if you keep 3 or more bettas, you will need a good cover, they will occasionally fight, way less often then in a pair, but they will have little disputes and the loser will need to hide for a while.
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:55 AM   #4
 
I guess I was using salt instead of a water fizzy thing cuz a friend told me to. What should I be doing to make the tap water safe for the fish?

The mollies and goldfish were not in there at the same time, but the water conditions were probably the same when I tried both.

I just got a heater, so now I guess I just need to learn what temp my guppies like and find other fish that like the same temp, right?

Is there a way to tell if a bulb is full spectrum if I didn't buy it myself? It says "15w preheat" on it, so maybe it's not good enough for plants? Should I put the plants in first and then stock with fish?
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Old 07-20-2009, 11:08 AM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eltoe422 View Post
I guess I was using salt instead of a water fizzy thing cuz a friend told me to. What should I be doing to make the tap water safe for the fish?

The mollies and goldfish were not in there at the same time, but the water conditions were probably the same when I tried both.

I just got a heater, so now I guess I just need to learn what temp my guppies like and find other fish that like the same temp, right?

Is there a way to tell if a bulb is full spectrum if I didn't buy it myself? It says "15w preheat" on it, so maybe it's not good enough for plants? Should I put the plants in first and then stock with fish?
Salt will not remove the chlorine, chloramine and possible heavy metals from tap water. Only a water conditioner will do this. There are several good ones available. Make sure it removes chlorine and chloramine, first and foremost; these are deadly to fish. Some conditioners also remove heavy (toxic) metals, and that is good, since some municipal water has a lot of metals (I'm lucky here, my water is very soft) and some like copper if high enough can kill fish (and plants). Some conditioners will also detoxify ammonia; I have never bothered about this because in an established tank the nitrosomonas bacteria convert ammonia to nitrite (and the nitrospira bacteria convert the nitrite to nitrate which is harmless at normal levels which is the reason for the weekly pwc). But if your tap water pH is 7.0 or above, the ammonia detoxifying conditioner is probably a good idea. It only takes a small squirt of conditioner to instantly condition the water; if you use a pail for the pwc, add the conditioner as you start to fill the pail. You can also add it directly to the tank as you start to syphon in the fresh water.

Guppies can manage in a reasonably wide temperature range, so the standard 77-79F of the normal commnity aquarium is fine. You can adjust your heater according to the instructions that come with it. In your 29g you will have room for some other fish, and yes, choose those that prefer the same temperature range. There are lots of tetras, danios, rasbora that will work. Or other livebearers; just remember that having male and female livebearers will result in countless fry regularly.

I suspect that tube is not full spectrum. You can buy them at most aquarium stores. Measure the length of the tube that you have so you will know which size. They come in standard sizes and specific wattage for each size, so the full spectrum will also be 15w but the length is important to ensure it fits. They are a bit more expensive, but worth it if you want plants, and the colour rendition of fish and plants is natural.

You can add the plants as soon as you have the new tank filled with water and the heater and filter are working; its always good to set it up and let it run 24 hours to ensure everything works and the tank is not leaking. Then add your plants. Fish can be added slowly (you know about cycling a new tank?) and your three guppies could be put in; I would get a small bottle of "Cycle" or "Stability" and add it when you add the first fish; both products are a bacteria supplement that helps establish the bacteria and ease the stress of a new tank on the fish.

Byron.
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Old 07-20-2009, 04:05 PM   #6
 
Actually, I don't know about cycling a new tank. I've seen the word on other threads, but what exactly does it entail? I'm guessing the first step is to put everything not alive in the tank and fill it up?
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Old 07-20-2009, 04:27 PM   #7
 
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here's a link on cycling your tank.

The Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle

It's actually a pretty simple process. Just takes time, remember that mostly bad things happen fast in this hobby.

Last edited by Arkamaic; 07-20-2009 at 04:29 PM..
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