Tropical Fish Keeping banner

1 - 2 of 2 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am planning on getting a 20-gallon tank but I'm not sure what to stock it with... So far, the biggest tank I've had is a 6 gallon. What kind of equipment/test kits should I get for the 20-gallon tank? Is it fine to just buy a Petsmart 20 gallon tank that includes supplies, or do I need to look into the supplies more? When it comes to the fish, I am looking for long-living strong fish that won't reproduce but will make my tank look more interesting. I am also planning on keeping mystery snails- how many can I keep? Is it okay to keep cory catfish in a 20-gallon tank? What about electric blue lobster? Can I transfer some of the fish from my other tanks into this new tank or would that expose them to disease? Should I quarantine the fish that I buy before putting them into the tank? Would it be okay to have a betta fish in there with the other fish I am planning on buying or will it nip at them? Sorry, I am very new to this and just want to make sure that I am getting the best possible fish tank and supplies.
 

·
Registered
7 aquaria: live plants, shrimp, snails, celestial danios, white clouds, corys, ottos...
Joined
·
24 Posts
...What kind of equipment/test kits should I get for the 20-gallon tank? Is it fine to just buy a Petsmart 20 gallon tank that includes supplies, or do I need to look into the supplies more?
I would gather my own supplies, vs getting a kit that may or may not be suitable. You can sort of save money on a kit, but not if it contains stuff that is inappropriate or not used at all.

Many times, you can save a little money by buying a tank and hood/lights together. I have really grown to like the new LED hoods, both for their abundant light, lack of constant tube replacement and that they don't generate much heat, which can be a problem unless you run AC full time in the summer.

Do you want living plants? If so, you'll want a 'substrate' that contains nutrients. This substrate would be the first layer down, about an inch thick, under a layer of aquarium gravel. I have good result with Fluval, which resembles black gravel. I used SeaChem (ground clay) in several tanks and while plants did well too, the brown sediment/dusting never goes away, and if you have a digger, your water will always be cloudy.

If no plants are wanted, you can use pure gravel or coarse sand.

In any case, finer-grained gravel is better because food particles don't settle in as deeply and are easier for your fish and vacuum to get out. Fine sand can be troublesome, in that it packs down, doesn't vacuum well and is also difficult to root plants into.

I have tried the PetSmart store brand filters ("Top Fin") on several mid-size tanks and they have been hit and miss. Some have run non-stop for years, others died in a week or a month. Save your receipt! I do like how convenient they are to swap elements and that you can buy 're-pack kits' for the filter elements and save a little money over time. I am also running small Fluval filters on some tanks, which seem to be better quality and quieter, but not much difference in size or water quality. Get a filter on the larger side, like one that is rated for 20 to 30 gallons, vs one rated 10 to 20. Most will adjust to reduce the flow if needed. Don't go overboard, most fish don't like turbulence, nor do most plants. Use some used filter media from your existing tank to help start beneficial bacteria in your new filter.

Heaters should also be sized slightly larger, using the same guidelines as filters. The heater will shut off when temperature is at the set point, and I prefer an adjustable heater. Even a heater that is on the small side will cook your fish if the thermostat fails, so I don't worry too much about having a larger heater.

While an air stone and pump aren't always necessary, I like to have one running a little bit in the back corner to break up the surface tension. Without breaking up the surface film, the ever-present film will accumulate and reduce gas exchange. You don't need to boil the water with it, just a light stream of bubbles. Keeping it near the heater also helps stir the warming water and helps equalize the temp throughout the tank.

For test kits, I have the API "Freshwater Master Test Kit" and it covers the most useful tests: pH, ammonia, nitrates, nitrites. For some fish, mineral content/hardness is critical and I have a separate API test kit for hardness.
When it comes to the fish, I am looking for long-living strong fish that won't reproduce but will make my tank look more interesting.
There are so many fish available, it is hard to suggest something. I would stay away from danios in a 20, they are very active and will hound each other, yet need to be in a group.
I am also planning on keeping mystery snails- how many can I keep?
I would say 'no more than two' in a 20 gallon tank. They are very active and quite voracious. They do a great job cleaning up (but not algae), but they will steal food from your bottom feeders. I have several hundred throughout about 7 tanks, after only buying about 6. I have saturated my friends with free snails and I am now in the habit of patrolling my tank covers for eggs, which will hatch between 40 and 80 babies.
Is it okay to keep cory catfish in a 20-gallon tank?
Yes, and Corydoras are great fish. I have two full-size types (trilineatus and parallelus) and they have bred in two of my 20 gallon tanks. Get at least 3, they do much better in groups, and provide them hiding places, like caves. I have 7 or 8 in each larger tank, most born here.

I would stay away from the dwarf Cory species until you have more experience. I have been around aquaria for many years and do well with just about everything else, but I have not had good success with two of the three commonly available species.
What about electric blue lobster?
I don't know, no experience with those.
Can I transfer some of the fish from my other tanks into this new tank or would that expose them to disease?
Yes, if water conditions are similar, you can transfer your existing fish over. If water conditions are poor, the fish will get sick, but it is not because they caught something from the new setup, it is because they are stressed or damaged by contaminants. Be patient and let your new setup age and cycle before moving fish in and you will have better success.
Should I quarantine the fish that I buy before putting them into the tank?
Yes, it is best to isolate new fish for a few days or a week, in case they have some hidden issues. That would be a good use for your 6 gallon tank. It is also much easier to treat your fish with any necessary chemicals if they are isolated in a smaller tank.
Would it be okay to have a betta fish in there with the other fish I am planning on buying or will it nip at them?
As long as there is planty of room, floating plants and hiding places, and your other fish are fast or smart and don't have long fins...you MIGHT be OK, but I would not do it. Male bettas are extremely territorial and will both damage/kill other fish and wear themselves down chasing one they can't catch. As a rule, male bettas belong in one-fish tanks.
Sorry, I am very new to this and just want to make sure that I am getting the best possible fish tank and supplies.
I wish you luck with your new setup!
Ed
 
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
Top