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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so a friend recently gave me his old 20 gallon tank. After wiping it down and cleaning it out, I have bought some substrate (gravel and sand, I did gravel in 70% of tank and sand in other 30%) I also bought some plants at the store today by the name of Cocomba.

I am going to do the fish-less cycle as this appears to be my best option. I have a filter and heater that I will be using as well as planting the plants throughout my tank.

My only quesiton is should I use some of the artificial plants from my other tanks to speed up the process with my new tank or could I possibly take another decoration?

Also, I would like to know some stocking options? I seen a dragonfish today at the pet store and I REALLY liked it. If any one has experience with them and fish that go good with them, I would appreciate it.

p.s: I want to stay away from guppy and gourami as I already have those in other tanks. Thanks
 

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By dragonfish I think you might mean a bichir or a dragon/violet goby? If so I'm sorry to say but they both get too big (up to two feet long!) to be safely housed in a 20 :( They really should have a larger tanks (thinking around 55-150), even when young.

Can you post the dimensions of the tank? 20 gallons come in three different sizes, and that changes possible stocking plans a bit.

We also need to know the gh, kh, and ph of your water to suggest suitable fish for you. You can usually find this information online from your water supplier/city website.
 

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Perhaps the plants are Cabomba?

I was all set to start with a fishless cycle until I realized the benefit of plants... add substrate, water, plants and first group of fish within days. This does require enough plants and fast growers are best. Skip the artificial plants unless you feel that you need a little bacterial help initially, it can't hurt but may be unnecessary.

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah the plants are cabomba, that was my mistake on the misspelling. My tap water is around 120-180 ppm gH and about the same for kH. My pH for my water is around 7 - 7.5.

And that is bad news about the dragon goby (that is what I seen). I really liked that thing. I was hoping to find a cichlid that I could house in my 20 gallon, because I like the way they look and they are a little more aggressive which is what I want.

The tank dimensions are 16 inches high, 24 inches long, and 12 inches wide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm looking for opinions. I have a 20 gallon high tank. I planted the tank with Cabomba with sand and gravel substrate and I plan on getting a floating plant later in the week to add as well. My tap water is rather hard, around 160-180 ppm and the pH stays at or around 7.5. I have a Tetra Whisper 20 gallon filter as well as a heater. I will be placing an air stone in the near future.

At the moment, I have a 10 gallon tank that is a little overstocked so I plan on moving 3 of my guppy (one male and two female) to this tank. I was wondering peoples opinions on other fish to add. The gravel takes up about 70% of the tank and the rest of the tank is 30% sand. I want a different bottom feeder than a cory if I can find one that can fit in the tank. I really want something that looks cool at the bottom. I also want some other fish that can go with my 3 guppy that I will be adding.

Any opinions or options will be greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've also thought of moving all six of my guppy to the 20 gallon and adding different fish to my 10 gallon. (It also has 5 cory (I know the 10 gallon tank is overstocked with 6 guppy and 5 cory, but the water is clean and levels always stay great)(also why I want to move the guppy or maybe even the cory or just leave them alone and just add to the 20 gallon.

I am stuck on what I want to do.
 

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For an interesting substrate fish, look at the Whiptail Catfish. Click the name for the profile. Make sure it is the common one, species Rineloricaria parva, as there are similar-looking fish that may be labelled "whiptail" that get much larger and can eat plants. This little one doesn't. There is also the "red" variety, in our profiles as Red Lizard Whiptail. These should manage in your water. Corys are fine with them too.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Are there any cichlids at all that can fit in a 20 gallon high tank? Even if it is the only fish in there, I don't know why but I am completely fascinated with them. I wish I had space for a 55 gallon but I just don't right now. But I would love to have a cichlid and other fish but I know cichlid are tough to keep in a 20 gallon.

Water parameters are gH: 160 ppm and pH around 7.5. Temperature is about 76.
 

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The length of the tank, because it is a 20 gallon tall, is limiting somewhat but the cockatoo dwarf cichlid is a close match... pH is near the top of its range, temperature would have to come up a bit. There is a difference between wild caught and tank raised but you can just check with the store which they are. I looked at these initially but my water is far to hard for them.

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That is a beautiful fish. Full of color which I feel would look good. Unfortunately, the fish store that I will be getting fish from does not appear to have them. I feel like after reading their profile that they would fit well in my tank, with my tank being 24" long I would be able to have one male and two female.

Are there any other cichlid that fall into this same size category?
 

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Yes, I was thinking one of the dwarf cichlids in Apistogramma, but most will be wild caught and thus require very soft water. A. cacatuoides is possible, though this is a harem fish and one male with 2-3 females; on reflection, this should work in a planted tank, lots of bits of wood and plants.

There are the "shellies" from Lake Tanganyika. But most other cichlids need more space (or different water for the dwarfs from SA).

Byron.
 

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That is a beautiful fish. Full of color which I feel would look good. Unfortunately, the fish store that I will be getting fish from does not appear to have them. I feel like after reading their profile that they would fit well in my tank, with my tank being 24" long I would be able to have one male and two female.

Are there any other cichlid that fall into this same size category?
Always ask as sometimes they will bring in stuff. They just order what sells, I get that, but if one person shows an interest in a particular fish, they might consider bringing them in.

I got emerald catfish this way, and have a standing order for red lizard whiptail catfish that, if they are expensive (means not as easy to sell) they will call me before ordering them.

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I haven't decided what I want yet. I like the cockatoo dwarf cichlid. I may have to unfortunately go away from cichlids as I just can't decide on something nor do I want to push the limits of the fish that I will be putting in the tank.

I was just going for a different style of fish that has color and personality that would swim around my 20g. Cichlids were my choice because I have a friend who has them and he loves them. I would be okay with going for another style of fish whether it be a schooling fish or not. I want color in the tank. I may try to find a cockatoo cichlid at the fish store but if not I will ask them (going to Aquarium Adventure, a fish store in Columbus, OH that I feel is knowledgable about fish) and see what they suggest.
 

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I haven't decided what I want yet. I like the cockatoo dwarf cichlid. I may have to unfortunately go away from cichlids as I just can't decide on something nor do I want to push the limits of the fish that I will be putting in the tank.

I was just going for a different style of fish that has color and personality that would swim around my 20g. Cichlids were my choice because I have a friend who has them and he loves them. I would be okay with going for another style of fish whether it be a schooling fish or not. I want color in the tank. I may try to find a cockatoo cichlid at the fish store but if not I will ask them (going to Aquarium Adventure, a fish store in Columbus, OH that I feel is knowledgable about fish) and see what they suggest.
If I may offer a suggestion to help avoid trouble down the road...look around, at fish in a good store, at our profiles...find fish you like, then learn about them...back to the profiles again. Believe me, this is the only way to success without harming fish along the way. There are lots of options, too many to list; but not everything works together, so it takes some careful thought and planning.:)
 
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Given your hardness and Ph I don't recommend Apistogramma species at all. They might be able to survive at your levels but wouldn't be happy.

You could look at some of the African dwarfs, Pelvicachromis species for example, that show lots of color and would be interesting to keep. Some of them are now becoming at risk too because of destruction of habitat and on-going fighting so you would be doing your bit to help conserve the species too.

Trevor
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I just wanted to update, I decided to go with some live plants, planted and floating, as well as 3 serpae tetra, 3 espei rasbora and one german blue ram. AQ advisor said that the ram would be too aggressive to go along with my rasbora, but they have been together for about 5 or so days with no signs of anything wrong. I added the ram last after my tank had been running for about a month or more ( I waited until my ammonia and nitrite both read a little and then both dropped to zero. I think adding the live plants and other things from one of my cycled tanks really helped the process. All the fish are doing great.

I read that the ram would be a picky eater which could cause him to have problems, but so far when ever I put food in the tank, he seems to eat quite well. He is constantly going around the tank picking at the plants and other things around the tank. I am very pleased with him and I am going to wait a couple weeks and if he is still doing good, I would like to get a female to go along with him (the people at my fish store as well as online said he would be much better with a female companion).

I just wanted to update and see if anyone had any thoughts on my setup?

(I have a Tetra 20 gallon filter and I just bought a sponge filter that I am putting in there that will arrive tomorrow. Also, I have quite a few snails in my tank now that have really helped keep in clean.)
 

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Good go on planting it... going to need some pictures, eh?

What temperature are you keeping the tank at? The rams are 80F+ fish.

You will want to up the tetra and rasbora groups to at least 6 each, they fair much better in groups. If you are adding one more ram for a pair and bringing the other groups up the tank will be a tight fit.

It's not so much a matter of seeing that nothing appears wrong in the very short term (5 days is very short) it's seeing that everything is right over the long term and being prepared to deal with issues that may end up not being correctable while trying to maintain the status quo with regards to tank stocking.

Jeff.
 

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The rasbora and ram are not the problem (or shouldn't be), but you may have trouble with the Serpae Tetra. They can be nasty; read the profile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
My thought process is that I would like to add more serpae tetra, probably 3 more. I would like to add one more ram as well. As far as the rasbora go, I may leave them where they are at 3, and see how they go. That will be the extent of the fish. I would not have a problem getting rid of the rasbora, but as of now, things are okay and I want to see how they go.

I am keeping the tank at 81 degree. I have seen that rasbora would be good with this temperature, and it may be on the high end for tetra, but I keep most of my tanks a little high temperature wise.

As far as plants go, I am going to the store tomorrow to get a couple more plants to add, as the cabomba I have I don't really like now that I have them in my tank. I will probably keep some, but I would like to add different plants.
 
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