20 Gallon Tank Stocking Plan

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by Wintersprite, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. WinterspriteValued MemberMember

    Hello everyone, this will be my first post on Fishlore.

    I just recently set up a 20 gallon tank at the beginning of June, and it just finished cycling yesterday. The readings were 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 5 nitrate. The fish currently residing in the tank are 1 halfmoon betta and 4 harlequin rasboras. I plan on adding 4 purple harlequins in about a week. I want to make sure that the tank stays cycled before I start adding more fish. I was also thinking about adding 1 or 2 ghost shrimp to help keep the bottom clean of food. Then finally once the tank has been established for at least a good 3 months I was wanting to add 3 otocinclus catfish (2 common and 1 zebra).

    Once everything has been added the final stocking list would be:

    1 halfmoon betta
    8 harlequin rasboras (4 regular and 4 purple)
    3 otocinclus catfish (2 common and 1 zebra)
    1 or 2 ghost shrimp

    With this stocking list would I be alright or am I a little overstocked? If I am overstocked please feel free to leave some other suggestions.

    Thank you all for your thoughts and input.
  2. ClearEyesWell Known MemberMember

    The betta and the shrimp are okay, but the other fish are probably going to end up getting killed by the betta. Bettas should be by themselves. They might seem okay for a while, but they tend to suddenly flip out and attack all their tankmates at random.

  3. Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    The otocinclus are schooling fish and need to be in a group of six or more. Also, to emphasize, bettas are aggressive and need to be kept in a tank of their own.
    The betta may or may not eat the shrimp. They are carnivores by nature.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum

  4. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    Welcome to Fish Lore!!!! Good to have you here!!! :D

    I think it sounds alright to me, bioload wise. Compatibility wise, I'd just keep a close eye on the betta and harlequins, as I'm not sure if those are typically nippish fish. When kept in community tanks, bettas are less likely to bother fish that stay on a lower level than they do. Also, the otos need to be in groups of six or more.

    You'll hear a lot of controversy on this, but I'm totally not against betta communities. :)

  5. JswinWell Known MemberMember

    I have ottos in a group of 5 they honestly never stay together they are always separate. Maybe mine are just weird. My beta did fine with some neon tetras for a while. Then the tetra fin nipped the betta and the betta stopped playing nice. The tetras then got rehomed
  6. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    OP, are you asking for compatibility or space/bioload conformation? Cuz' if it's compatibility...... well, there's a TON of controversy on as to whether or not bettas can be kept in community tanks. :)
  7. WinterspriteValued MemberMember

    Thank you guys for the information so far.

    Sorry my question was not very clear on the compatibility or space/bioload. I was wondering about the space/bioload for that stocking list.

    As of right now the betta and 4 harlequins have been in the same tank since the beginning and everyone seems to be getting along fine. Neither the harlequin or betta seem to bug each other; however, if a problem does seem to start I will rehome the betta into a tank by himself. From the information I had gathered the harlequins are peaceful fish and not fin nippers which is why I decided to house them with the betta.

    As for the otos would I have space to add 5 or 6 of them? If not by not getting the shrimp would that make room for 5 or 6 otos?

    Thanks again for all of the information
  8. Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Yes you would have the space to add the additional oto's. In fact, you could even add a couple other fish. Maybe a dwarf cichlid or another school of tetras. I would not add a gourami though. They'll fight with the betta for sure.
  9. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    Yes, I think you'll most definitely have space for a group of six otos.
  10. bettamarsValued MemberMember

    My 20 gallon stocking list is kind of similar in the sense that I have 8 harlequins and I will be getting a honey or dwarf gourami (instead of the betta) and then instead of the Otos I'll be having some guppies, and if you decide to get a dwarf cichlid, I'lol be getting a ram, so I'd say your stocking plan is pretty close to mine, although I wouldn't personally risk the betta in there.
  11. alinkWell Known MemberMember

    Yes, there is controversy on whether a Betta can be in a community tank. The reason you have that is become some people are successful with it, while others are not. This is because Bettas have different personalities like people almost. Most fish can be stereotyped to aggressive or peaceful, nippy, etc. Bettas can be anything, and you dont know until you put them in the situation. Often times the result is the Betta attacking and killing the fish in the tank with them. Sometimes, it works out with a chilled out Betta. So realize this when deciding what to stock. Often times it may take, months, or even years, before the Betta decides to go on a rampage. That is why it is commonly suggested not to risk it.
  12. WinterspriteValued MemberMember

    I forgot to mention that my 20 gallon is 20 high and not long. I am not sure if there is a difference when it comes to stocking or not for the high vs. long. If there is no difference then I am thinking that my final stocking plan will be:

    1 halfmoon betta
    8 harlequin rasboras (4 regular and 4 purple)
    6 otocinclus catfish (4 common and 2 zebra)
    2 ghost shrimp

    With that list I should still be fine space/bioload wise correct?

    As mentioned before I already have the betta and 4 harlequins in the tank, and they are all getting along just fine with no body getting picked on. If things start to go south with the betta when the other fish get added I will rehome him into a new tank by himself.
  13. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    Imo, your stocking list still sounds fine. But for future reference, yes, there is a difference in what you can a stock a 20 high and a 20 long with. Might get others' opinions on this, though.
  14. alinkWell Known MemberMember

    I dont see a problem with space. The 20 high has a smaller footprint than the 20 long, so it would limit you a little on stocking. I think you would be better getting 8 of all the same kind of Rasbora and Oto. You could do more than 2 Ghost shrimp, however I personally have not had success with Ghost shrimp living more than a week or 2. Mainly because they are breed as feeders, so the breederdont take as much care in maintaining the environment. I would recommend some red cherry shrimp or amano shrimp. They tend to survive longer and are more appealing to look at, IMO. 1 shrimp per 2-3 gallons of water, being a tall tank, I would say 6 is a safe number in your case. I would say you still have room for another fish or two. Perhaps 2 Platy (both male) if you like them, or one Ram. If the betta doesnt work out, that would open even more space. I would recommend replacing it with a dwarf Gourami.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015
  15. WinterspriteValued MemberMember

    Thank you guys for all the suggestions. I am now thinking about not adding any shrimp to the tank because I am not sure if the betta would want to eat them as a little snack. If I do decide to add shrimp later on down the road I think i might try the amano shrimp.

    Alink, thank you for mentioning the platys. They do look like they would be a neat little addition to a tank. I might consider adding a couple males later on down the road. If I do decide to add them to my tank can they be fin nippers or are they a peaceful fish like the harlequins?
  16. alinkWell Known MemberMember

    They are peaceful as can be. Just make sure they are males. Google search how to tell the males and females, it is very obvious once you know what you are looking for. If you get a male and a female, they will reproduce worse than rabbits. Even getting a female from the store can produce babies for up to a year...
  17. JswinWell Known MemberMember

    If you want ghost shrimp I would get 10 or so because every time I've gotten any a couple have died and my betta still currently lives with shrimp. He's ok with them, just not fish.
  18. WinterspriteValued MemberMember

    Ok, I will be sure to check out the differences before I go out and buy any if I decide to go with some platys.

    I saw some amona shrimp yesterday at my lfs when I went to check out some fish. They do look cool. I might have to consider getting a few to help keep the bottom free from food that might land on the bottom since otos seem to only eat algae. My only main concern with them would be that the initial size you buy them at seems to be pretty small. I am not sure if the betta would try and eat them at such a small size or not (the amona shrimp that is).
  19. Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    It's best to remove the betta and keep it in its own tank and prevent any future problems in the first place. What looks like a calm betta one second, will turn into a killing machine without a moment's notice...
  20. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Just wanted to add that Platies can fin nip a bit, or at least they did in my tank. They started a bit on my African Butterfly Fish during feeding time. They weren't overly aggressive, but I think they got a bit frenzied when they were eating. They also can be pretty messy fish. I rehomed mine for those two reasons.

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