20gal tank with fish

  • #1
OK I've researched around even after I did this and still decided to try it, so please don't hate me to much! =/

I've acquired a 20gal tank and put 3 clowns that are just over an inch, one banded coral shrimp, one electric blue hermit crab, and a replenish pack of a few types of snails and small blue and red leg crabs totaling 15ish. I set this tank up with 20gal tap water with 10ml API stress coat+, 30lbs live sand(15lbs course and 15lbs fine) 1 big live rock(7lbs ish). Emperor 280 filter, Sea Clone 100 protein skimmer, and heater set at 78 degrees.

I let the tank sit with the 10ml API stress coat+, live sand, live rock and filter for over 7 days before adding my animals. I'm going on 3 weeks since I setup the tank and right now things seem great. I've tested my salinity(perfect), HP(7.9), ammonia(.50ppm), nitrite(.15ppm), and nitrate(0ppm). I have great color and growth to my rock, water perfectly clear, no unwanted growth that I can see, and the 3 clowns seem to be very happy.

My question is why do so many people say you shouldn't have even one fish such as a clown in a 20gal tank? What is the big problem I'll face with this setup?

  • #2
Hi, welcome to Fishlore

First comment - this tank is still cycling, and you'll need to be very careful to ensure your fish survive the cycle. Please take some time to read the link in my signature that explains the Nitrogen Cycle.

My question is why do so many people say you shouldn't have even one fish such as a clown in a 20gal tank? What is the big problem I'll face with this setup?
The primary reason for this recommendation is because of the way we acquire marine fish/specimens for our own enjoyment. Unfortunately, many of the fish sold in the marine trade are caught from the wild and re-homed. Whilst clowns are being successfully tank-bred these days, many of the fish are still caught from our reefs.

Ponder this for a second - 20G of sea water, versus the vast expanse of the ocean, and the size of a natural reef

As aquarists, we have no right taking these animals from the wild, but given that we do, we owe it to the specimens we take to provide a suitable environment for them.

The size of a reef also means that these specimens aren't accustomed to be crowded in a small tank, and whilst in the wild, it is easy to setup a territory, it's not so easy in an aquarium.

Do you have siblings? Did you share a room as infants? Did you get on each others nerves as you grew? What happened? Well typically you either end up fighting with each other day and night, or you get bigger rooms/rooms of your own.

Let me put this another way:
One clownfish can reach 4", in a regular 20G, that's 24" x 12".

Now imagine, the average human is probably 5' 10" (70"), being confined to a box for the rest of your life that is 35' long by 17' wide, and that's working on height, but it's about the same scale. It's just simply not enough room for one person, now imagine you have to share that same space with 2 other people?

I hope I haven't come across as blunt, it is not my intent. I am passionate about marine life, and in providing suitable environments for the animals we take from the wild.

Note: I do appreciate that no matter what environment we put fish in, it won't compare to their natural habitat, but I hope it shows that bigger is better.
  • #3
Well said above. I think many fishkeepers start out as a way to not only keep cool-looking fish, but to have a cool-looking setup in their house. We have to remember as fishkeepers we should be choosing to keep healthy fish over what looks cool. My suggestion, if you want to keep all of your fish, is to setup another, larger saltwater tank, so as the clowns grow, you can graduate them to a bigger home!

Also, please take some time to read up on the nitrogen cycle. It will help you to become a better fishkeeper!

Good luck with your new setup! It's always exciting to start up a new tank! We look forward to following your progress.

Just as a sidenote, love the pic of the blue hermit!
Stang Man
  • #4
The sad part is that when you start the tank out, ohh and please change to R/O water first off this would benefit you in the end. Anyhoo as you start the tank is fresh and has a chance to gain control till one day you wake up and everything is green or brownish this is due to start up, yes they are fine now but in a matter of time the fish will produce nitrates and phosphates that will be un controllable so just be aware of this. Second is and I have seen this way to many times is that when that point comes people totally give up and ditch the tank and all the creatures that lived with the tank. I would strongly suggest that you should get a much larger tank to deal with those matters as they arise this would give the fish and all a better chance to thrive and be a sustainable tank on there part. Third and foremost would be take our advice before it's to late amd you not be happy at trying to fix the problem. Good luck on your choices and just be advised of the problems in the near future.

Eli The Fish Man
  • #5
I think you will be fine I have a 15 gallon aquarium with a damsel, royal dottyback, and I used to have a star for a couple of months before apaisata anemones killed it. All you have to do is make sure nitrates are low. You also have to make sure the salt to the water is fine.
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Thank you so much for the help and support all! I really would like to take one fish out but I ordered it online =(. I am watching my levels every day at the moment. I have RO water mixed with salt and stress coat ready to go. I plan to make a 3gal change either tonight or tomorrow. I do plan on getting at least 10lbs more cured fijI live rock, but I'm stuck until the beginning of next month (need to get paid again).
Eli The Fish Man
  • #7
Your welcome.
Stang Man
  • #8
I wouldn't use Stress coat, IMO has no benefit for salt water applications it's fine for fresh but has aloe in it and makes the water oily and that's not a good thing.

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