Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources (
-   Freshwater and Tropical Fish (
-   -   Help stocking my 20 gallon please! (

Krigjz 01-19-2013 12:30 PM

Help stocking my 20 gallon please!
Hello everyone.
I recently acquired a 20 gallon tank, and planted it.
My tank is now cycled and ready for fish! I went and bought 4 harlequin rasboras today, but was wondering how many fish I could put in there.

Currently my tank population is:
4 Harlequin Rasbora
3 Zebra Nerite
3 (As far as I know) Malaysian Trumpet Snails
I found one pond snail hitch-hiker that I immediately eradicated a few days ago, have not seen anymore yet, but who is to say if they are there or not. :P

8 Java Ferns
10 or so Vallisneria
2 Anubias Nana
4 or 5 gold ball clumps of java moss

My substrate is ~3 inches (it has hills and valleys) of pool filter sand.

My pH is steady around 6.8 (my tap pH is <= 6.0, but I put a Tufa rock in my tank..I only ever do 25% max water changes, and my pH sometimes dips slightly afterwards, but quickly goes back up to 6.8). I also am supplementing my snails calcium diets with the occasional algae wafer or leaf of kale/spinach.

Temperature is steady around 78f.

I want to put in as follows:
2 more Harlequin Rasbora (didn't want to add all 6 at a time) (for the top of the tank)
6 cardinal tetras (for mid-range)
Maybe one or two more nerites (probably tigers instead of zebras, to add some variety)

I also wanted to get some Amano shrimp, and some bristlenose catfish. What I am wondering is if my bottom layer (Shrimp, catfish, snails) will be too overstocked, or if my tank is overstocked in general...or if it is under stocked! Also, how many shrimp/catfish should I add?

Any other questions for me, let me know!

otter 01-19-2013 07:03 PM

aha I really like lightly stocked tanks, they're easier and more aesthetically pleasing.
I would say maybe 10 fish, if you are really into the rasboras, then I would get more so that they have a bigger school.
Usually you should have 6, but shh 4 is ok.

I really love betta fish, and rasbora are totally compatible with betta. I recommend getting a male betta, though *warning* some male betta are more aggressive than others, thankfully, none of mine are that way. Female betta can totally get along with the rasbora, and have great personalities.

Another fish that might be nice is a Borneo sucker. they are really sick looking, though I've never seen them for sale at any of my pet stores, but I have seen them for sale at petco online.
A bristlenosed pleco would be cool too!

The betta on aquabid are very very pretty, though expensive, if you're looking for a high quality betta. Otherwise, you can rescue one from walmart or petsmart and give it a good home.

hope this helps! :)

Byron 01-21-2013 05:33 PM

First thing, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:cheers:

I would add another 3-5 rasbora; this fish is very social and like to be in a good group, the more the better, and is always healthier the more there are. It is not active, so more will work in a given space than would be the case with an active swimming species. A group of 9 would be nice.:-)

Cardinal tetra are similar in many respects, being sedate fish, and they would be a good mix. A group of 7 should be fine. However, I would remove the rock if this is raising the pH, and add some Malaysian Driftwood. Cardinals do better the more acidic the water. A pH around 6 wold be fine, and good for the rasbora too. And, cardinals always are found among sunken wood or thick stands of plants.

You don't mention the GH, and this is actually even more important than pH for soft water fish, but I will assume it is on the soft side.

Now, as for other fish. I would avoid any Betta, this is only asking for trouble. While it is true that some people have had good luck with them in a community tank, the fact is they are not good community fish. The Betta can take a real dislike to brightly-coloured fish (= cardinal), and/or the tetra can decide to nip the Betta fins. Characins have lots of teeth, and don't mind using them when tempted like this.

And a Borneo Sucker Fish, which is the Chinese Hillstream Loach, is not at all suitable. This species must have cooler water, and good water flow. The data in the profile [click the shaded name] explains why. This is just the opposite of what the cardinal and rasbora need.

Corys on the substrate would be a nice fit. A group of five (no less, ever) up to seven or eight.


Krigjz 01-25-2013 09:29 AM

Thanks guys,

My only fear with lowering the hardness of my water would be my poor snails. My tap water is acidic and soft (I don't have a gH test kit, but when I tested my water at the LFS, they told me my water was really soft, will pick up a gH test within the next couple of days.) If I remove the Tufa, what can I do to keep my snails alive? They seem to enjoy the algae wafers, but completely ignore the spinach or kale I throw in there. It may be because I don't weight them down, so I will try that.

If I'm not mistaken, doesn't the driftwood lower the softness of my water even more? I fear that my water would be way too soft for my poor invertebrates. :(

squishylittlefishies 01-25-2013 09:38 AM

Yeah, I would not add the driftwood. It sounds like the ph and gh of your tap water is just right for your fish. If the water is too soft it can cause more problems with disease. I would reccomend getting some artificial driftwood from the petstore to create a more natural setting but not mess with water parameters.
Sounds like you will be nicely stocked!

Byron 01-25-2013 11:06 AM

Not everything will work together, when it comes to species of fish and invertebrates. So you need to decide what living creatures you want, and these should either suit your water (the easiest and safest, making water changes simpler) or the water will have to be adjusted for the creatures which is more effort and more risk.

You don't mention the snail species. It is true that most need calcium (= medium hard water) but the Malaysian Livebearer Snail does fine in soft water. I have soft water, around 5 to 6 dGH, and my pond snails are fine too.

If you are going to get cardinal tetra, remove the rock and add wood. Assuming you want the fish to be healthy and at their best.


Krigjz 01-25-2013 07:20 PM

I have 3 Zebra Nerite snails in there right now.
I also have some Malaysians (started with 2..I think I have about 5 now).

It seems the Malaysians will be fine, it's the Nerites I am worried about. If I added a small piece of cuttlebone to the water for the snails to chew on, would the change in hardness be negligible enough?

Byron 01-26-2013 01:41 PM


Originally Posted by Krigjz (Post 1405439)
I have 3 Zebra Nerite snails in there right now.
I also have some Malaysians (started with 2..I think I have about 5 now).

It seems the Malaysians will be fine, it's the Nerites I am worried about. If I added a small piece of cuttlebone to the water for the snails to chew on, would the change in hardness be negligible enough?

I don't know, you would have to measure the GH.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:36 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome