A Twenty Gallon Tank Setup

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Jacob3997, Jul 26, 2015.

  1. Jacob3997

    Jacob3997New MemberMember

    Hello Fishlore Freaks,

    I bought my first twenty gallon fish tank, yesterday, so obviously, I am new to the hobby. It is 20" x 13" x 12".

    I have a few questions:

    How do I speed up the nitrogen cycle without using products like Dr. Foster and Smith's Colonize?

    What are great beginner fish I can add to the aquarium? I have heard fish like fancy guppies, zebra danios and assorted platies are great beginner fish, but what others can I use.

    Should I use gravel or sand?

    What pet stores can I trust?

    Finally, where can I buy the best fish online?


  2. DrSahl

    DrSahlValued MemberMember

    Hi there and welcome to the forum..

    I am pretty new here as well and since I am not American, I really can't help you with the pet stores (the ones I trust are in my country)

    my advice is that you figure out what you wanna make, is it a little biptop, a community tank or you just want to try out maybe having a fish like a Betta..

    When you find out what fish you want, its easier to choose between the substrates and if you need plants and how many etc.

    personaly, I like Betta's, but they are not great mixing, but could go with shrimps. Guppies are easy to hold and they are also great to look at if you ask me.

    As for the cycle process, you can get other products than those you wrote and there are a few threads here on the forum talking about it.

    You could speed it up by adding a few guppies or zebra's 2-3 while you start the tank up.

    Hope some of the more exprienced have some more advice :)
  3. BornThisWayBettas

    BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    Welcome to Fish Lore!!! Haha, "Fish Lore Freaks", I love that! :D

    I think Tetra Safe Start helps boost the speed of the nitrogen cycle, but I've never used it, so get someone else's advice on it.

    Well, what kind of fish do you want? I'd say zebra danios, like you said, are one of the hardiest fish.

    Kinda depends on what you want, cories do better with sand.

    It really all comes down to the individual pet store, really. Even when it comes to big chain pet stores like Petco and Petsmart it's all going to depend on the individual one. I always trusted my LFS for good advice and healthy fish until I bought six cory catfish from them which seemed to be the cause of a major die off in my tank, lost two of the cories, two of my glofish (zebra) danios, and both of my guppies. If you're an extra cautious person, I'd recommend QT for your fish. :)

    I can't give advice on buying fish online as I've never done it, so........

    Oh, don't forget the liquid test kit if you don't already have one!!! I recommend the API Freshwater Master Test Kit.

    More people should be able to offer more ideas and opinions on this, so let's see what they say. :)
  4. DrSahl

    DrSahlValued MemberMember

    I've used the Bactozym without any problems. Its also Tetra as far as I know.
  5. Et tu

    Et tuValued MemberMember

    Hi and welcome, about those tank measurements, they don't equal a 20 gallon. Is it perhaps a hex. Your stocking is totally dependent on the tanks footprint/area.
  6. OP

    Jacob3997New MemberMember


    Would you consider ottocinclus catfish beginner fish? Ottos really are cute.

    Et tu,

    My LFS said the tank I bought was a twenty long.
  7. Et tu

    Et tuValued MemberMember

    A 20 long is 30" x 12"x 12"
  8. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    You were probably lied to so they could make a sale. Is it too late to go and return the tank?

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  9. BornThisWayBettas

    BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    Not for uncycled tanks, because I've heard that they can be sensitive. I personally believe that once you get your tank cycled and your water parameters are stable you could have some. Just don't add them in first, imo.

    Also, it does sound like you might've been lied to about the tank, which would suck. :/
  10. Plecomaker

    PlecomakerWell Known MemberMember

    Or 24-12-16 for a tall right?
  11. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    That is correct. Either way, the OP's tank doesn't come close to these measurements.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  12. Plecomaker

    PlecomakerWell Known MemberMember

    My math stinks, but its bigger then a 10.
  13. New Fish in Town

    New Fish in TownWell Known MemberMember

    If you go with a 20 you won't have the most options, but you will still have plenty. There are a lot of breeds of tetras and barbs that will work. I have a snail, Long Finned Black Skirt Tetras, cory catfish, and Hatchet fish. The hatchet fish are odd shaped, so I bought them just to have a center piece. If you go with hatchet fish then you have to cover the top of the tank with a lid because they are jumpers.
  14. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    A 15 gallon is 24x12x12, which I think is closest to the OP's dimensions.

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  15. Plecomaker

    PlecomakerWell Known MemberMember

    Sounds right
  16. Et tu

    Et tuValued MemberMember

    My gut feeling is that the tank is a ten gallon 20"x 10 "x 12", in any case the stocking all depends on footprint. Tank should be measured, so original poster can proceed.
  17. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Well whatever the case may be, it's definitely not a 20 gallon long.

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  18. alink

    alinkWell Known MemberMember

    20 x 13 x 12 is 13.5 gallons. By the time you figure in the water level, substrate and interior measurements, its probably going to hold only 10 gallon of water. There arent many fish that can live in a tank like that.

    6-8 neon, cardinal, or ember tetras (all the same kind)
    5 guppies (all males)
    1 betta
    5 shrimp
    2 Platy (males)
    2 Guppy (males)
    3 Shrimp
  19. ClearEyes

    ClearEyesWell Known MemberMember

    Is 13.5 gallons really big enough for a school of tetras? I've always heard 20G at least.
  20. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    It is, for ember tetras but that's about the only tetras that will work.

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