Hello there! Last March my wife and I bought a 20 gallon aquarium to introduce our young son (2 at the time) to the wonderful world of pets, without getting a dirty cat or a dog that we'd have to walk when it's minus 30 degrees Celsius here in the winter. No thanks. We planned to get a 10 gallon tank, not knowing anything about fishkeeping, but luckily they had a 20 gallon kit on sale and we decided to get it.
So we got the tank, set it up, listened to some horrible advice from our local big box store, and our fish lasted less than a month.
Discouraged, the tank sat in our living room, filter running for over 6 months, used only as a nightlight when our projector was on.
Finally, after some nagging from my wife about trying fish again, we picked up some platies at a smaller local fish store that only sells fish, no dogs or cats or other things that have nothing to do with fish. We also picked up some better advice from them. I also read up on fishkeeping online this time around.
After a few weeks, the fish were fine, and the water in my tank still crystal clear. Our first time around we overfed and undercleaned the tank. Never again! Now we feed conservatively and make sure to do proper water changes every week. So we added some corys. A month later, all the fish were still fine, and now we were enjoying ourselves. We started looking for new fish we could introduce to our aquarium. Of course, a 20 gallon tank is severely limiting. So we decided to get a larger tank.
I found a used 55 gallon tank online (kijiji) with a stand and many accessories for a reasonable price. Also, delivery was available! Great!
He dropped it off, left, I filled it up, it had a leak. ARGH. And I don't even know where the guy lives, because he dropped it off.
Anyway, had someone who had fixed leaks before reseal the aquarium for me, filled it up and... success! No leaks. Awesome. So now we're excited again!
At this point I know I have at least a month of cycling before I can get into some serious fishkeeping, lol (it's funny, when you have a 20 it seems too small and you want a 55, now our 55 seems small and I want a 125. And we JUST finished cycling the 55) so I joined some online forums to get some stocking ideas. I was looking for something peaceful, colorful, active and a decent size. Platies are the largest fish in our 20 gallon so I wanted something at least 3+ inches in the big tank. I also wanted something reasonably hardy, as we are still beginners in the hobby.
Over and over again people suggested Rainbowfish. As a happy coincidence, my tank finished cycling (0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, 10 Nitrate) just as my LFS got in some rainbowfish! Last week I picked up 4 Red Irian Rainbowfish and this week I picked up 2 more, plus 4 Lake Kutubu fish. The fish were almost completely void of color at the store, but within minutes of getting into my tank, colors started to show.
So right now my 55 gallon tank is stocked as follows:
8 Zebra Dainos
8 Red Platies
6 Red Irian Rainbowfish
4 Lake Kutubu Rainbowfish
Eventually I would like to add some active bottom swimmers to round out the tank. I liked the idea of a Black Red Tail Shark, he could pretty much have the whole bottom of my tank to himself, noone uses it. However, I don't like the idea of a RTS harrassing my peaceful fish, and it seems to be the luck of the draw on whether or not an RTS is going to be a menace or not. Obviously the larger the tank and the more hiding spots the better chances for minimal aggression but some of them just seem to be meaner than others regardless of circumstance.
So alternatively I thought maybe some zebra, polka dot, or yoyo loaches. I'm probably leaning more towards the polka dots right now, if I go that route.
My 20 Gallon tank is currently
3 x Twin-Barred Platies
3 x False Julii Corys
If my 55 gallon will be overstocked when I add the loaches, I can move some platies and all the danios into my 20 gallon.
I run a Topfin 20 and a Tetra Whisper EX20 in the 20 gallon. Right now I only have an Aquaclear 70 in my 55 gallon, but I plan to add a Tetra Whisper EX70 or another Aquaclear 70 before I add any more fish, and before the Rainbows grow much.
Well, that was a mouthful.
I must say, I like the size, colors, and temperament of the Rainbowfish I have seen so far. What a fun, entertaining fish!