20 gal long - fun to watch stocking?

Tezzy

Our tank has been such a source of fun during this pandemic! My 4 year old son and I sit and watch together every morning. I even catch my husband sitting and watching every now and then. I stocked it with the intention of having something fun to watch and talk about as a family. So we went with livebearers.

Several months in, I’m on a weekend circuit of the local Petcos and Petsmarts asking (begging) them to take some of our exploding population of platies. Not to mention the constant water changes required. So, it’s time to move on from the baby making factories. I’m going to give away the adults, let the fry grow up, and take those guys in eventually.

The question is - what will be fun to watch as a family? We loved the livebearers because they had such personality and were always changing. It doesn’t matter if the fish are particularly attractive - just need to be fun.

I’ve always wanted a pair of apistos or German rams - but do they have the entertainment factor? I also have had my eye on CPDs or sparkling gouramis.

We also have 4 otos, 4 cories, and 2 ADFs in our tank. It’s heavily planted and pretty well established at this point.

Thanks for any suggestions!
 

jkkgron2

Hm, the ADFs are going to make it tricky to keep any semi-aggressive fish in that tank. Celestial pearl danios would be nice, and should get along well with what you already have. You could also look into getting an all male group of guppies (make sure to quarantine any new fish!) if you want a type of fish that’ll always be at the front of the tank begging for food.
 
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LHAquatics

Corydoras are very active, fun, and cute
 
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mattgirl

Since you and your family enjoy the platys have you considered just removing all the females. A tank with all males of any of the species of livebearers will at least prevent the explosion of babies. Some folks really enjoy male guppies. I've seen photos of really colorful little guys. Mollies come in various color combinations too. Since I don't have livebearers I don't know if an all male tank would be peaceful.

I am fond of various Tetras. Right now I have blood fin, neon and black skirts in my 55. The blood fins are the most active. If you like active fish they would work for you or you may want to consider danios. I've had both zebra and pearl. Pearls are bigger than the zebras. At first glance they seem pretty plain but looking closer their colors shimmer. A school of the pearls may be a bit big for a 20 gallon though.
 
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Tezzy

Hmm do the semi-aggressive go after the ADFs? I had no idea. Glad I didn’t make that mistake!

We do have 4 cories! Although we have 2 pandas and 2 peppered. There were more before we went out of town for 2.5 weeks for Christmas. Let’s not talk about that :-( I’d love to get more friends for these guys after I get the stocking problem under control.

All males could work! And it would be fun to keep a few that were born in the tank. One of the adult males is nipping at the other now, however. I’m not sure if that’s because they are fighting over the females or just general behavior. Thanks for the other suggestions too!

Apologies for not quoting - the overlay window is too big to drag on this tiny phone. Or maybe I’m just incompetent lol
 
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Otocinclus13

I'd recommend keeping a few male guppies as well- they really do have unique personalities. They'd do well as centerpiece fish for the tank, and maybe a school of something peaceful and colorful to fill out the upper layers- ember tetras or green neons stay small and would give you a nice school and some room left for more cories. If you're interested in dwarf ciclids (which really do have a unique personality all their own), you could go with bolivian rams. Less colorful, but more peaceful and more likely to get along with the ADFs. Another option would be to try a betta as the "personality" of the tank- they're similar to guppies in that they're pretty personable, and many of them get along well with the right tankmates.

The tanks I most enjoy watching are tanks with lots of variety, particularly in species. For example, a tank with a centerpiece fish, bottom dwellers, a school for the middle, and snails and shrimp will always have some fun behaviors going on! Shrimp are easier to keep than you'd think and are one of my kids favorites in our dining room tank, and it's often a treasure-hunt to find where the snail is
 
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jkkgron2

I still don’t think that keeping any semi-aggressive fish with the frogs would work out well. Rams are definitely more peaceful, but some frogs tend to hang out more on the bottom or middle of the tank, and that’s right where the Bolivian would be hanging out.

Peacock gudgeons might be good for centerpiece fish. They’re very bright and color, and they have great personalities. They’re peaceful too.
 
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