Originally Posted by tophat665
Dawn, it pains me to disagree with you, but...
Yoyo loaches get at least 6" long and should be in a group of 5 or more (though three will work sort of). I wouldn't keep such a group in a tank of less than 50 gallons. Botia striata in a group of three might be a good call for this tank.
Were I going to go for a limited aggression tank in the 20 gallon range, I'd go with 10 platies - 3 males and 7 females. However, I also have a tank of predatory fish that I could use as a culling solution for the inevitable fry.
Without a culling solution, in a 22, I'd start with a hunk of driftwood in an eco-complete substrate and plant the bejeezus out of it with dwarf sags in the front, crypts in the midground, and and rotala, cabomba, and/or hygro in the back (and I'd make sure to get 40 watts of light over it. 2 standard fluorescents on a glass top ought to do it). Stick a black background on it.
Then, 10 neons, 3 otos, 8 glowlights or kerris or 10 embers. Fishless cycle. Neons in first, otos 3 months later, your second school 6 months after that.
Alternately, 15 neons/20 embers and 10 cherry shrimp.
I am biased towards larger schools of one or 2 kinds of fish. They, to me, look better than the fruit salad approach.
I guess this is a point where we have to agree to disagree. Not all fish have
to have a large group, especially in a small tank. Also, neons average 1 - 1 1/2 inches full grown... a school of 10 in a 22 gallon tank is pretty much a limit unless someone wants to do water changes twice/wk or more. Remember, neons are very sensitive to water quality, its not just a stress issue.
If a group of loaches is required, maybe try something like the Botia sidthmunki? These stay tiny enough to allow a school of up to 5 - 6 of them with maybe 8 neons in a 22 gallon tank.
When choosing plants for a new tank there are a few things to take into consideration:
Not all plants grow well in every water type, so knowing what your params are for pH, gh, kh, phosphate, iron, magnesium, calcium, etc are all going to be useful information.
Temperature of the tank also makes a huge difference for plants. Some, like cabomba, prefers cooler temps, while things like the ruffled sword requires higher temps.
Each plant fits into a category, and the best way to plant a tank is to find out what the requirements are for the plants that interest you, and then find out which ones will work in your created environment.
Some plants only do well when planted in groups, such as needle sag or the val plants. Some plants, such as hornwort, do better when floated, as it draws its nutrient level directly from the water column instead of through roots that are anchored in a substrate. Some plants like anubias can't be burried into the substrate... only the root structure is anchored... and then you have things like needle and dwarf sag, which need to be burried up to the crown.
Know the environment before attempting to plant it. Also, I have been keeping planted tanks for over 20 yrs and never had to use the extras such as eco-complete to achieve a beautifully planted tank.
I will post a picture here of an example of a tank I have running now... and I started it cycling with crypts, basic fine black gravel, and a lunar aqualight over the top (with one 10,000 k bulb and one 6700 k bulb in it)
The 2nd picture is how the tank still looks now, and I have to trim out the naja grass about every 3 wks because it grows so well and shades out the other plants.