20 gallon high stocking. Will it work if i do water changes a lot?

darkcat

Hi,
So i have
1 gold zebra loach (Will add one more)
2 julii (Will upgrade 1 or 2)
5 neon tetras
1 betta.

So I think that this is overstocked. I can't return the fishes and I don't have space for another tank. The fish store person said that they all can go in a 20 gallon tank and won't be overstocked. Well I believed that because I wasn't familiar with the gold zebra loaches. I asked this in another thread and people said that it's overstocked. I was thinking of doing frequent water changes. Is that fine? Also, can I upgrade the school of the juliis and do 1 more zebra loach? I also used aquadvisor but there was no gold zebra loach and was wondering what loach can I use to put in there.
 

YellowGuppy

So long as there isn't too much aggression in the tank, you'll probably be alright. This would be better in a 20 long than a 20 tall, but if that's what you've got that's what you've got. It may be advisable to rehome the single loach in favour of more corys, but you'll probably be okay if you've got reasonable filtration and large routine water changes.

All of these fish would likely do well with plants, too, which could help consume some nitrogen in your tank. Rooting a pothos or two might not hurt either.
 
Upvote 0

darkcat

So I have 2 juliis how many more can I add if I have:
2 gold zebra
5 neon tetra
1 betta?

Can I do water changes when nitrate is 20 ppm?
I mean, I do have a empty 5 gallon aquarium but it's small. I also have a 1.5 gallon tank for quarantine.
 
Upvote 0

YellowGuppy

With most schooling fish, it's preferable to have larger schools and fewer species. I'd say pick either the corys or the loaches, and get a few more of your favourite. (e.g. 3 loaches total, or 6-7 corys).

There are a lot of mixed opinions on water change thresholds, but I feel like most people don't bat an eye at letting nitrates get up to 40 PPM. Some report allowing them to get to higher numbers (I've seen some people who allow 80 or 100+ PPM) but it may not be advisable. If you can keep up with changes at 20 PPM all the power to ya, but a little higher probably won't hurt anything.
 
Upvote 0

JettsPapa

So I have 2 juliis how many more can I add if I have:
2 gold zebra
5 neon tetra
1 betta?

Can I do water changes when nitrate is 20 ppm?
I mean, I do have a empty 5 gallon aquarium but it's small. I also have a 1.5 gallon tank for quarantine.

You didn't ask, but I don't think I'd try using a 1.5 gallon tank for quarantine. Water parameters can get out of whack in a heartbeat in a volume of water that small.
 
Upvote 0

darkcat

You didn't ask, but I don't think I'd try using a 1.5 gallon tank for quarantine. Water parameters can get out of whack in a heartbeat in a volume of water that small.
Should I be using my 5 gallon then?
So overall:

Do water changes when nitrate is 20ppm or more.

Can have:
1 betta
6 neon tetras or 5
4 julii
2 Gold Zebra loach

Use 5 gallon tank for quarantine.
 
Upvote 0

barbiespoodle

I'm going to throw in my two cents (and it might not be worth that much) about keeping an overstocked tank.

I am doing just that. The tank is way overstocked for various reasons I won't bore you with.

What makes this tank work is the biological side of filtration. Instead of using premade cartridges in the hob filters, I replaced them with course sponges cut from pads made for pond filter. I did this slowly, one sponge at a time because these sponges needed time for the beneficial bacteria to colonize. Since this is a bigger tank, I was also able to add additional sponge filters, again, beneficial bacteria magnets.

And as stated, adding live plants also is a big help in biological filtration.

Doing this has made this overstocked tank very easy to take care. Once a week, sometimes less, I do a 25% water change, rinse out a sponge or two and I have crystal clear water with great water prams. Takes me a whole 15 minutes.

I'm going to echo that you should decide on the loaches or cory's. Cory's like to be in groups and a 20 can house more than you have. My 20 long will house 8 panda cory's once they have grown up enough to lay eggs at which time their current tank will become a hatching/grow out tank, and that 20 long can house even more pandas. My 55 gallon will have 12 albino's when the fry I'm growing out (now 2 months old) get big enough to add back into the tank with their parents. Sorry, I love loaches, but I'm also a big time cory fan, cory's give you more options as to what kind of fish you can keep. And come on, aren't cory's about the cutest things and the juli's are beautiful as well as cute.
 
Upvote 0

ferg42995

mattgirl is a big fan (and I agree with her logic) of doing weekly water changes even if your water parameters show that everything is "fine." I will let her expand more if she has time, but basically she points out that there are a lot of things in the water that we DON'T measure that need to be removed or replaced through water changes to keep a tank healthy. So even if you haven't hit the 20ppm nitrates, you should still do a weekly water change for all of those other components of the water we aren't measuring/testing. Just something to consider.
 
Upvote 0

darkcat

I'm going to throw in my two cents (and it might not be worth that much) about keeping an overstocked tank.

I am doing just that. The tank is way overstocked for various reasons I won't bore you with.

What makes this tank work is the biological side of filtration. Instead of using premade cartridges in the hob filters, I replaced them with course sponges cut from pads made for pond filter. I did this slowly, one sponge at a time because these sponges needed time for the beneficial bacteria to colonize. Since this is a bigger tank, I was also able to add additional sponge filters, again, beneficial bacteria magnets.

And as stated, adding live plants also is a big help in biological filtration.

Doing this has made this overstocked tank very easy to take care. Once a week, sometimes less, I do a 25% water change, rinse out a sponge or two and I have crystal clear water with great water prams. Takes me a whole 15 minutes.

I'm going to echo that you should decide on the loaches or cory's. Cory's like to be in groups and a 20 can house more than you have. My 20 long will house 8 panda cory's once they have grown up enough to lay eggs at which time their current tank will become a hatching/grow out tank, and that 20 long can house even more pandas. My 55 gallon will have 12 albino's when the fry I'm growing out (now 2 months old) get big enough to add back into the tank with their parents. Sorry, I love loaches, but I'm also a big time cory fan, cory's give you more options as to what kind of fish you can keep. And come on, aren't cory's about the cutest things and the juli's are beautiful as well as cute.
I have a hob filter Quiet Flow 10. Should I replace the pre-made cartridges too?
I'm going to do water changes once a week or twice a week.

Is overstock ING bad because of high nitrate levels? If so, I can do water changes a lot.

Also, I'm thinking of adding a lot of plants so that some of the fishes can hide and explore.
 
Upvote 0

SotaAquatics

Nitrates aren't usually the main cause of problems in an aquarium, if you properly understand them. You can still start reaching toxic levels when you get 80-100 ppm or higher, but fish can adjust up to those levels without too much trouble. It usually takes a relatively long time for nitrates to build up that high, and that gives the fish time to adapt.

The issue comes when someone didn't clean their tank for 1-2 months, does a 50%-75% water change and drops 100 ppm nitrates down to 25-50 ppm. That will shock your fish and can cause deaths, if you ever were to have high nitrate levels, you should do smaller but more frequent water changes until they are back to a more ideal range. Live plants are a great addition as well, I have to add nitrates to a 40 gallon I have with over 100 guppies in it twice a week, plants use up all the waste and the additional fertilizer.

The bigger issue with overstocking is quality of life for the fish. Think of your aquarium like "the mall". Some fish - your teenagers, love to be in big schools, and as long as you keep things clean and safe parameter wise, its great to load them up. Some fish - grumpy old guys like me, would rather have the entire place to themselves and will have a very rough time being in crowds, they can become aggressive, stressed, etc. Your tetras and corys will do great in that tank in schools, plenty of room and they enjoy the company. The betta you will want to watch how he does, they all have different personalities. It doesn't sound like too much crowding for the betta in my opinion, but if he turns out to be a bit grumpy you could move him to the 5 gallon.
 
Upvote 0

darkcat

Yup!! My betta is more curious about the food and me than the other fishes. He's acting very good! He's not aggressive.
I want to make this a heavily planted tank and was wondering what plants I can use for them.
 
Upvote 0

JustAFishServant

I have a hob filter Quiet Flow 10. Should I replace the pre-made cartridges too?
I'm going to do water changes once a week or twice a week.

Is overstock ING bad because of high nitrate levels? If so, I can do water changes a lot.

Also, I'm thinking of adding a lot of plants so that some of the fishes can hide and explore.

"You can never have too many plants!" The more compatible plants you have in, the better the tank will be overall. Params will be on point, although some will require fertilizer additives or at least more water changes (this adds vital minerals and nutrients in the water that a lot of chemical additives just don't provide).

Again, as previously stated, try rehoming the Gold Zebra Loaches and replacing them with more Corydoras. Just because you can't return them to the store doesn't mean they can't find a good home! Corys like to feel secure in large groups, Zebra Loaches like a lot of space for large groups (which you don't have). Find him a nice home via local buy/sell websites or even Fishlore! Plenty of us would love to give a wonderful new home to a new Zebra Loach friend!

As for compatible plants, it all depends on your tank. Do you have low, mid, or high lighting? Do you do a lot of water changes? Do you add ferts? Do you have low or moderate flow on your tank? Answering these questions or searching online for good plants should help!

Hope this helps you throughout your adventures, and good luck!
 
Upvote 0

mattgirl

mattgirl is a big fan (and I agree with her logic) of doing weekly water changes even if your water parameters show that everything is "fine." I will let her expand more if she has time, but basically she points out that there are a lot of things in the water that we DON'T measure that need to be removed or replaced through water changes to keep a tank healthy. So even if you haven't hit the 20ppm nitrates, you should still do a weekly water change for all of those other components of the water we aren't measuring/testing. Just something to consider.
I couldn't have explained the reasons for weekly water changes no matter the nitrate level any better than you have Change out no less than 50% of the water each week and your fish should live long healthy lives.
 
Upvote 0

darkcat

"You can never have too many plants!" The more compatible plants you have in, the better the tank will be overall. Params will be on point, although some will require fertilizer additives or at least more water changes (this adds vital minerals and nutrients in the water that a lot of chemical additives just don't provide).

Again, as previously stated, try rehoming the Gold Zebra Loaches and replacing them with more Corydoras. Just because you can't return them to the store doesn't mean they can't find a good home! Corys like to feel secure in large groups, Zebra Loaches like a lot of space for large groups (which you don't have). Find him a nice home via local buy/sell websites or even Fishlore! Plenty of us would love to give a wonderful new home to a new Zebra Loach friend!

As for compatible plants, it all depends on your tank. Do you have low, mid, or high lighting? Do you do a lot of water changes? Do you add ferts? Do you have low or moderate flow on your tank? Answering these questions or searching online for good plants should help!

Hope this helps you throughout your adventures, and good luck!
It's a really strong lighting. I kind of hate it because it's too bright. I usually don't keep the lights on. I don't do much water changes but if nitrates are high because of this overstocking, I might need to do a lot. No, I don't have any fertilizer because I wasn't interested in plants. The flow is a little strong. A lot of them gets pushed but they seem to be fine.
 
Upvote 0

JustAFishServant

It's a really strong lighting. I kind of hate it because it's too bright. I usually don't keep the lights on. I don't do much water changes but if nitrates are high because of this overstocking, I might need to do a lot. No, I don't have any fertilizer because I wasn't interested in plants. The flow is a little strong. A lot of them gets pushed but they seem to be fine.

Well in that case, there may be a good bit of plants for you! Try hornwort, that stuff will such the nitrates right out of that tank! It does prefer stronger lighting like yours. Maybe try some salvinia, or even cabomba! Think about some sword plants, they like nutritious substrate, and in a tank like yours, you have plenty of it! Let's see, some semi-aquatic plants might work also! Purple waffle, pothos, philodendron, chinese evergreen, mondo grass...and the list goes on!
 
Upvote 0

darkcat

Thank you guys!! I can't rehome the gold zebra loach because he's my family member and I don't want him to leave. I'll try to upgrade the tank but I think I can't. Gold zebra loaches can live about 7 years so I'll have time to upgrade or move into another house. I'll be making this a heavily planted tank. I'll also do water changes once every 1 to 2 weeks. I'll still be doing the stocking:
1 betta
4 julii
2 Gold loach
5 neon tetra.
I'll watch out for aggression and when I feel really over stocked, I might move some into the 5 gallon.
 
Upvote 0

barbiespoodle

I'm fairly new to the planted tank thing, just 2 or 3 years. And I am an old lady on a limited income so I'm low tech all the way, just a couple various substrates depending on the tank and the over head lighting.

I have found in my journey of turning all my tanks, now 6, into planted tanks that there are a lot of options as far as plants that work in a low tech tank. And since I started, my tanks have never been so healthy. I'll never go back to plastic even though I used plastic for around 50 years. Plus I just plain love plants, have always been a gardener, and now I'm able to keep gardens indoors year round, just a different type of garden than my outdoors ones. I've even had a surprise flowering of one of my anubia's.

I have a hob filter Quiet Flow 10. Should I replace the pre-made cartridges too?
I'm going to do water changes once a week or twice a week.

Is overstock ING bad because of high nitrate levels? If so, I can do water changes a lot.

Also, I'm thinking of adding a lot of plants so that some of the fishes can hide and explore.

Replacing the cartridge is going to be up to you, I only know it worked for me. The plus side is that in the long run, it is far cheaper than the premade filter cartridges. Also, it makes your hob filter do basically the same as a sponge filter as far as biological filtration without the added need for a sponge filter and air pump. The reason I went this route is the over all cost. I have two hob filters in the 55 gallon that work perfectly and were expensive to start with so still wanted to use them. But the cost of the replacement premade filter cartridges was taking out a huge chunk out of my aquarium allowance (remember, old lady on a limit income). The pond sponge filters were cheap and in a year or so, have never had to be replaced, only rinse out here and there, a big savings that I was able to put into other parts of my tank care. For more info, go to youtube, there are several very informative videos about what I did, that's where I got my info to start with.

Just remember, if you chose to go this route, it has to be done slowly. the sponges have to have time to be seeded with the beneficial bacteria. In my case my 2 hob filters have a total of 3 cartridge compartments. So I did one, let it get seeded, did the next, ect.

This is a terrible pic of my experiment into replacing the premade cartridges with sponges. But as you can see, the water is crystal clear even though the tank is overstocked. And remember, this tank also takes me a whole half hour a week as far as tank care and sometimes even less when I have one of my hospital stays, it's had to go 3 weeks without care in those cases. I have made all my tanks balance enough between biological filtration and plants to withstand one of my hospital stays and I'm able to do all 6 in about a hour when I have a day off from work. The rest of the time I'm able to just enjoy my tanks. At my age, I'm more into the enjoying part than the work part, lol.
 

Attachments

  • 20210403_162025.jpg
    20210403_162025.jpg
    266.7 KB · Views: 18
Upvote 0

darkcat

I'm thinking of getting java ferns, anubias and mayaca fluviatilis. Anymore recommendations? I was thinking of frogbit but it says its hard to do water changes.
 
Upvote 0

YellowGuppy

I'm thinking of getting java ferns, anubias and mayaca fluviatilis. Anymore recommendations? I was thinking of frogbit but it says its hard to do water changes.
Frogbit doesn't really impede water changes unless you have a CRAZY amount of it (at which time you could sell or give some away, out just compost it if it's in your way), but it does best when provided with a comprehensive fertilizer.
 
Upvote 0

barbiespoodle

Anbius are probably my fav plant.

Most of that is for the simple reason, the silver dollars in my 55 gallon, aka, the plant assassins, don't bother them. Believe me, it is not easy creating a planted tank with silver dollars, I think herding cats is easier.

But also they have so many applications in the planted tank. The first is their ease of care. They don't want to be planted so plant substrate is not necessary. I just glue or tie onto an interesting piece of hardscape, be it a rock or piece of wood, even tucked into a crevice of a piece of drift wood. It is so easy to get artistic with them.

And there are so many sizes to choose from to fit the tank in question. That is where research comes into play, some do get quite tall, others are small or medium size. You can even buy ones already attached to a piece of wood or rock if you don't want to do it yourself.

I can't speak about frogbit, but I do have duckweed floating in a couple tanks, freebies from my natural outdoor pond. They don't cause any problem as far as water changes. The thing to remember is that the tank water does need to be lower to give them room to float, they need air above them, if they are too close to the lid, they will die. I keep my duckweed because the dangling roots do help create a balanced tank, plus my shrimp are always hanging on them, which is cute. And when they get to thick and block off the light from the other plants, I just take a net and scoop out enough to reduce the mat. Since I didn't pay for them, I don't feel bad about putting them on the compost pile or throwing them in the 55 gallon to be a silver dollar snack.
 
Upvote 0

darkcat

Do you think I can do
4 julii
3 gzl*
1 betta
6 neon tetra**

* I've read that they should be kept at 3-5 minimum, so I did 3 instead of 2.
**6 neon tetras okay right? They use different zones.
 
Upvote 0

YellowGuppy

Do you think I can do
4 julii
3 gzl*
1 betta
6 neon tetra**

* I've read that they should be kept at 3-5 minimum, so I did 3 instead of 2.
**6 neon tetras okay right? They use different zones.
You're now up to 7 bottom feeders in an aquarium that has slightly more footprint than a ten gallon tank, three of which will grow to be 4+ inches long. Especially if, as you mentioned, you're planning on heavily planting the tank, you'll have next to no room on the bottom for any of those fish to comfortably move about.

6 neons and the betta aren't a concern, but I would STRONGLY suggest picking a single species for the bottom, or consider a larger (or at the very least, longer) tank for that stocking plan.
 
Upvote 0

darkcat

I decided to do this:
4 cories
1 betta
1 gold zebra loach
5 neon tetras

I'm going to do water changes once every 1-2 week. Will this work?

II read that gzl can be alone, although they still prefer schooling.
 
Upvote 0

JettsPapa

I decided to do this:
4 cories
1 betta
1 gold zebra loach
5 neon tetras

I'm going to do water changes once every 1-2 week. Will this work?

II read that gzl can be alone, although they still prefer schooling.

Since you're already decided, are you just looking for confirmation? I don't know if it will work. I do know I wouldn't do it, but if you want to anyway go ahead. It's your tank. I don't put skulls and castles and shipwrecks in my tanks either, but I don't care if other people do.
 
Upvote 0

darkcat

Yes it's just a confirmation but I bought them yesterday because it was memorial day.
 
Upvote 0

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
6
Views
108
darkcat
Replies
18
Views
279
Noroomforshoe
Replies
8
Views
168
Megaanemp
  • Question
Replies
1
Views
158
AggressiveAquatics
Replies
11
Views
138
AndEEss

New Aquarium Stocking Threads

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom