Guppies In A Tall Tank? 20 Gallon Tank

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by BennyB, May 20, 2019.

  1. BennyB Valued Member Member

    I have an 18-20 gallon hex tall tank and its been a bit of a challenge to plan the stock for. After much deliberation the plan is to stock it with live plants, four red cherry shrimp, two amano shrimp, six smaller sorts of cory cats such as salt n' pepper, dwarf or pygmy cories, and twelve other fish. At first I was going to do one or two gouramis and like 6-8 platies, but I'm very worried they'll eat the shrimp. So now I'm thinking I want the shrimp, the six cories, and twelve fancy guppies. I know guppies are still higher in the food chain than the shrimp, but I also know the shrimp are faster and will have many places to hide.

    I have two concerns with this new plan... First of all the filter may produce too much current. I don't think this is going to be much of a problem, but I still worry. I ordered a new filter, the Penn Plax Cascade 500 Canister external filter which is rated for 30 gallons and has a GPH of 115. Got a really sweet deal on it from Amazon. I've never used external canisters but I don't think its going to generate too much current being rated for only 10-12 gallons more than what I need.

    But what I'm really concerned about is the shape of the tank. I know guppies need room to swim and like to occupy the middle and top areas of the water. Well the nice bits of granite I got won't reach that high so there will be plenty of open space in the middle and top areas, but I still wonder. A tall tank has a lot of depth and frilly fish that have trouble swimming in currents might dislike that.

    Does anyone have any experience with this issue? Does anyone have any thoughts on my stocking plans? Thanks in advance.

  2. fjh Well Known Member Member

    Do you know what the footprint of the tank is?

    I think that canister filter would be great. I wouldn't worry too much about the flow; al long as they have someplace to chill out of the current they will be fine. Most fish can withstand more flow than we give them credit for. Also (just looked at that on amazon) does that come with a spray bar?! >.>

    IME guppies will inhabit all levels of the tank. Basically wherever they can find food. If anything, I would advise adding a piece of floating driftwood or something near the top to help dispel the current from the filter and make them interested in something other than scouring the bottom for food.

    In terms of stocking, you probably could have a gourami without it killing all your shrimp. Shrimp are excellent at hiding, especially if you provide live plants. Besides, a gourami might be able to eat shrimplets if he can catch them, but I doubt a full grown shrimp will be able to fit in its mouth.

  3. BennyB Valued Member Member

    Hey thanks for responding. I'm not sure what you mean by footprint, and it indeed does come with a spray bar. I was planning on investing in some driftwood branches if I could find them so I could do that. Are you recommending the gourami in addition to the twelve guppies or should I reduce to eight guppies if I get the gourami?
  4. fjh Well Known Member Member

    Footprint, meaning the horizonal area at the bottom of the tank. for instance a 2't x 4'l x 1'w would have a volume of 8 cubic feet but a footprint of 4 square feet. Bit harder with a hex shape though - might be easier to measure the height and divide the volume in cubic inches by the height in inches.

    My fish all love driftwood :p and you don't have to buy it at a shop, if you can find some you can use that as long as you prepare it correctly.

    how about:
    6x pygmy cories
    1x dwarf gourami
    6x male guppies
  5. BennyB Valued Member Member

    I believe it has a 210 square inch base. I've heard I could just find some wood, debark, bake and boil it but didn't think it was as simple as it sounded. Is it? Maybe I can find some that's already debarked and give it a good soak, otherwise I know a local place I can buy a whole cypress stump for cheap and chop it up for a bunch of pieces. I was going to do this because I also hoped to help people I know set up and run their tanks as a side hustle.

    I'll think about the gourami. I've never had one so I was interested in learning to take care of one, but I've never had guppies either and was really loving the idea of a huge school of them. It sounds beautiful, like a kaleidoscope of butterflies fluttering in the water.
  6. fjh Well Known Member Member

    Either way can work :) Most of my pieces were collected from a creek near my house. I think most were root systems because they grew around rocks and such. Just make sure you biol them (and soak if you don't want tannins) and you should be good to go.

    Edit: also, guppies don't really school like tetras or other fish do. Mostly they will all do their own thing. Thats wy they are considered "social," meaning they prefer to be kept with other fish (or any species) and not schooling.
  7. BennyB Valued Member Member

    I see. Would you recommend I salt the tank? I’ve read that guppies like 1 tbs of salt per five gallons of water, but would a dwarf gourami, Cory cats, shrimp and amazon swords be able to tolerate it? Should I use a smaller amount?

    Also, if I have, say, 15 gallons of water and add three tablespoons of salt, then change out a third of that water, there would be no complications if I were to just add a new tablespoon of salt in with it?
  8. fjh Well Known Member Member

    Guppies do prefer hard water and on their own might even be happier with it, but I would advise against salt with all the other inhabitants.
    Cories and shrimp react poorly to long term salt use, and while the gourami could withstand it, he would definitely prefer complete fresh water. Additionally, very few plants will be able to tolerate the salt. Since guppies are perfectly fine without salt, I wouldn't add any.

    In theory, yes. Just mix the salt in with whatever water you are replacing. But make sure its proportional to the amount of water you removed, not the amount you add back in, because salt doesn't evaporate!