20 gallon planted South American community
I have been cycling the tank for about 3 weeks now and still cannot decide what fish to get. I have placed the driftwood and put the plants in (a lot).
My original plan:
2 Angel Fish (pair) or 2 Checkerboard Cichlids (pair)
8 Black Neon Tetras
4 Panda Corydoras
1 Bristlenose Pleco
Would this work? Please suggest any other ideas. It seems like this is kind of the textbook aquarium and would like to try something different. Thanks
I would not attempt angels in a 20g; being a shoaling fish, they should be in a group of 5+ and that means a 55g (4-foot) tank minimum. Unless it is a breeding pair, which can manage in a 20g for spawning, but that doesn't appear to be what you are attempting.
The checkerboards will be fine; beautiful fish, I wish I could get them locally. Which species? There are 4 all "commonly" named checkerboard, 2 Dicrossus species and 2 Crenicara species, all 4 are in our fish profiles under cichlids (obviously), second tab from the left in the blue bar at the top of the screen takes you to the profile section. In a well-planted quiet (minimal water movement) tank, ideal.
You asked for ideas, so here goes. I would consider different "dither" fish than Black Neon Tetra, lovely as they are. Almost any characins would work; tetra, pencilfish, and hatchetfish for surface interest, plus Corydoras for the bottom. A BN, or a whiptail (the Rineloricaria species that are small) or a Farlowella? All of these, including the checkerboards, must have soft, acidic water, something I will assume you have; dwarf cichlids will not last long in hard water.
If you want to see Amazonian geographic tanks, my 115g Amazonian Riverscape and the 90g flooded Amazon forest tank are in the photos under my "Aquariums" below my name on the left. The 90g is the sort of tank you should aim for with checkerboards, etc.
I have never seen Dicrossus maculatus (Spadetail), it is very rare; I did have D. filamentosus years ago, and the Crenicara species. Also lovely fish, one of my favourite dwarf cichlids.
I have a pair of Apistogramma baenschi "inka" in the 90g at present; a very rare dwarf [described in 2004 shortly after discovery] that turned up at one of the local importers in August. They seem well matched, so presumably spawning will occur at some point; they do seem to be checking out suitable territories in preparation. Neat fish too.
My lfs happens to have 6 checkerboards in stock. 2 males 4 females. Pretty expensive though. I will probably get one male and one female. Thanks for all the information. I will post some pictures of the tank up soon.
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