Stocking my 20 gallon community tank
Hey all, new member and beginner fishkeeper here!
So I'm planning on getting my very first tank soon and wanted some suggestions. I consider myself fairly new to fishkeeping, and the only real experience I have is caring for my sister's male betta and two comet goldfish. However, I have been doing a lot of research, and I understand the cycling process/nitrogen cycle pretty well.
I'm looking at a 20 gallon freshwater tropical tank with the dimensions of 24"L x 12"W x 20"H. How would you recommend I stock it? I would like to have a community tank with several different types of fish, but I'm unsure of which fish are compatible, their effect on the bioload, space in the tank, etc.
My original plan was this:
6 panda cories
6 neon tetras
1 dwarf gourami
However, now I'm concerned that I might be overstocking it and I'm considering switching out the neons for 4-6 ender guppies.
Any advice and suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much! :-D
Hello, do you know what your water parameters are? Ph, gh etc. This normally helps some of the much more experienced posters here offer better stocking suggestions.
Other things like will the tank be planted etc are also helpful. Get as much info down about what you want as all factors play there part in what would and wouldn't suit the look you want.
You could get platies instead of swordtails. They'll be fine in a 24" tank and come in lots of color variations.
As everyone has pointed out, this all depends on your water.
If you check out my aquariums on the left, my "Community" tank is a 20 gallon high tank, same dimensions as yours.
I only have 3 corys right now, 5 is better. I had 5 a year ago, two passed and as the behavior of the remaining three never changed, I never bothered adding more. They are very active bottom feeders, always scouring the bottom of the tank.
My guppies had fry, and two managed to survive hiding in the cracks of the driftwood, until they were small enough to survive in the open, so there are actually 4 + 2 small ones.
Mine is pretty heavily stocked but it is a well established tank that has a steady 5 ppm nitrates with weekly 25-30% water changes.
I am FINALLY going to add live plants to it next month. I should have done that from the start. Low light plants are super easy to maintain with liquid fertilizer and fertilizer tabs. I always shied away from planted tanks, but now that I see how easy it is, I highly recommend it.
I just ran your stock list through aquadvisor, which is only a guideline, but it puts you at 114%. This isn't bad. I don't consider myself overstocked until it hits 125%, and it won't usually give you an overstocked warning until 130%, unless there is some real territorial issues.
Again, it's just a guideline. You could probably replace the swords with platies and still have the numbers you're talking about. Now it's just a matter of finding fish that all need the same water conditions, and that are compatible with your water.
You'll want to stock it gradually. Which cycling method did you plan on using?
I'm going to test my water sometime soon this week, but all that I know as of right now is that my water is hard. :p
I'm planning on doing fishless cycling. I was planning on adding the swordtails first, then the cories, then the neons/endlers, and then the gourami. The thing is that I'd really like to get a gourami and/or some panda cories, but now that you mentioned that, I don't know what I'll do.
Is planting the tank really that easy? I was considering it for a while.
See if you can find out your PH and GH. Byron is always pointing out that "hard" and "soft" are often subjective and really only the numbers are going to tell you what you need to know.
I have 10 and 35 gallon planted tanks that only use factory bulbs. The 10 is LEDs and the 35 is a 30" single strip T8 bulb, nothing fancy. I use ferilizer tabs (I think they last 3 months, someone else can confirm) and liquid fertilizer twice a week, when I remember. I use Flourish Comp.
I have a variety of low light plants (I just ask the girl at LFS to show me whichever are low light, I don't even know the names of most of my plants). They're growing great. Had I known they were this easy, I would have started all my tanks.
If you add enough plants before adding fish, you won't even have to worry about a cycle.
The plants will take care of everything.
After asking around on several different sites, I've decided to take out the swordtails and neons and just get three dwarf gouramis (one male, two females) and then get eight panda cories. Just because this is my first tank, I'd rather understock it and then possibly add more fish later, maybe a smaller schooling fish like the neons.
My lighting system has 17 watts (I think) so I don't know if that will even be enough for low-light plants.
My water testing kit is coming today, so I'll edit this post or post later when I test my water.
a single 17 watt bulb is just fine for low light plants such as java fern and many others considered "low"
Next time the bulb burns out, I recommend a 6500k bulb. They are considered "daylight" bulb. I wouldn't suggest the "GE" "Aquarium plant" bulb. It is only about 3500k. If you can find them, the Glo bulbs are great, but locally I can only find them in T5. The "Ultra Sun" bulbs from Zoo Med are about $14.99 at petco. I wouldn't suggest any 10,000 kalvin or atnic bulbs.
Your tank is much smaller than mine. I have a 29 gallon tank which is 18 inches high with the same bulb. Needless to say mine wasn't cutting the cake since my tank is taller. I decided on going with a dual T5 Normal Output bulb (available at petsmart) since I couldn't find any dual T8 fixtures (Aqueon stopped making them). I am starting to get growth .. even some algae :( but my tank is new so some algae is normal. It hasn't settled yet.
Okay thanks! Should I just get a couple of java ferns then or are there other low-light plants I can get with my lighting?
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