I just got a 20 gallon tank. It came with a filter and a hood with incandescent lights. Its set up, with water, but the only thing in it so far is a shrimp in one of those loose tea holder things for your cups. I've read that a shrimp works well for a fish-less cycle of the tank.
But I always thought a few drops of whatever water conditioning from the pet store fixed it up, so reading up on how the ammonia/nitrate cycle works squashed that idea.
I have a paper that I am keeping track of ammonia and pH levels on. So far ammonia is at 1 and pH is 7.6-8, and that is straight out of the tap.
Do I need any other sort of tests? I am using water based ones, I read that the paper strips can be not as accurate.
I have two dwarf gouramis currently I will be wanting to move to this tank. I've done some reading up on these little guys and it seems they are a terrible fish to do fish-in cycles with. I'm not doing fish-in cycling, but should I be worried about adding these guys to the tank first? Or should I pick a tank mate for them that is hardier and add them first?
And on tank mates, what are some good fish to go with dwarf gouramis? I know size of fish is limited and I'll need something timid and docile like them. Or lower level swimmers? I've read dwarf cichlids are good or platies. But I'm open to suggestions.
So now the insides of the tank. I'm planning on going with the common fish tank gravel and fake plant/decorations, but I was curious on how hard it would be to slowly switch over to live plants?
Sorry for length, but I have lots of questions. Do I seem to be going in the right direction?
I'm fairly new to the fish keeping world; only having a gold fish, a beta fish and now currently two dwarf gouramis. I'm very fascinated by it all and learning a lot, but have a long way to go.
I'm open to any tips/suggestion as well.