20 Gallon Tank Help with stocking options

Danny002

I have a 20g long that I'm looking to restock and I'd like some opinions about my options. Currently, the tank only has 4 Glowlight Tetras and pretty heavy filtration. Ideally I'd like to have a pair of Apisto. Cacatuoides (Cockatoo Cichlids) and get 3 or 4 more Glowlights to fill out their group, but I have a couple questions/ concerns.

1: Would it be better to just keep one Apisto instead of a pair? I've heard that they can get lonely with just the one, and most of the information I've found is about keeping a pair. However, I'm worried about any aggression that could develop between the male and the tetras (which leads to my next question).
2: If I were to keep a pair, how much should I worry about aggression, and how can I prevent it? I really like my glowlights, and I'd be quite upset if I found them all dead because the male got upset or defensive over the tank.
3: And of course, would this be a good option in terms of bioload and general space? I don't want to put any of the fish in a bad situation, but I don't have experience with cichlids so it's tough for me to make this call off of my own knowledge and I'd appreciate any insight.

Scaping isn't an issue as I'm planning on changing up the tank, but I would like recommendations on things to incorporate into the scape.
I'm also open to other stocking suggestions if anyone has any!
 

Mudminnow

I have one Apistogramma cacatuoides (a female) in a 20 gallon long with 11 neon tetras, 1 January tetra (accidental purchase), and 6 otocinclus. My apisto gets along peacefully with all the other fishes in the tank.
 
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fallfever

Cockatoos are a good species to start with. I'd actually up the number of glowlights as you have plenty of space. Aggression usually looks more like chasing in my experience and rarely leads to any harm. Add some hiding spaces and cover and you're good to go. I don't know that apistos get lonely, but they certainly are far more entertaining as a pair as you get to see their mating behavior.
 
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Danny002

Cockatoos are a good species to start with. I'd actually up the number of glowlights as you have plenty of space. Aggression usually looks more like chasing in my experience and rarely leads to any harm. Add some hiding spaces and cover and you're good to go. I don't know that apistos get lonely, but they certainly are far more entertaining as a pair as you get to see their mating behavior.
I figured I would keep the glowlight school smaller since I prefer to keep the stocking on the lighter side. I'm not really looking to breed the Cockatoos, and I assume the tetras would probably go after the fry if they did breed. Would this stress the female out too much?
Side note: Is there any specific base diet you would recommend to feed the apistos? I feed frozen to supplement my current fishes' diets, but prefer to have a main pellet-type food for them.
 
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fallfever

I doubt your tetras would eat all the fry and the apistos would be less stressed and more protective of the fry for a while. It really is entertaining to watch. I find them rather ho-hum alone, but that's just me. I never had issues feeding the apistos, they readily took bug bites, occasional flakes (once they realized it was food), shrimp pellets and any frozen food. A good sinking pellet will be fine with frozen supplements. That really is a light stocking - nothing at all wrong with that - so no worries with bioload.
 
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TClare

The Apistogrammas will not attack the tetras, but if you have a pair they might well attack each other, eg if the female is not ready to breed the male will chase her. And if they do breed sometimes the female will attack the male when she is guarding the young. They can be really aggressive to eachother so it is important to provide small caves and crevices as hiding places where they can escape to. It is fine to keep a single Apistogramma but you will see more colour, displays and behaviour if you have a pair. They will pretty much ignore the tetras, but the tetras will eat their fry, or most anyway.
 
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Eaton

could you post a picture of your tank

make sure you have a lot of plants wood and rocks to brake up the line of sight so the pair are not always looking at each other
 
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Danny002

I doubt your tetras would eat all the fry and the apistos would be less stressed and more protective of the fry for a while. It really is entertaining to watch. I find them rather ho-hum alone, but that's just me. I never had issues feeding the apistos, they readily took bug bites, occasional flakes (once they realized it was food), shrimp pellets and any frozen food. A good sinking pellet will be fine with frozen supplements. That really is a light stocking - nothing at all wrong with that - so no worries with bioload.
The Apistogrammas will not attack the tetras, but if you have a pair they might well attack each other, eg if the female is not ready to breed the male will chase her. And if they do breed sometimes the female will attack the male when she is guarding the young. They can be really aggressive to eachother so it is important to provide small caves and crevices as hiding places where they can escape to. It is fine to keep a single Apistogramma but you will see more colour, displays and behaviour if you have a pair. They will pretty much ignore the tetras, but the tetras will eat their fry, or most anyway.
could you post a picture of your tank

make sure you have a lot of plants wood and rocks to brake up the line of sight so the pair are not always looking at each other
Thank you all for the help! I'll stock up on some of those foods for them and see what they prefer.
My tank is in quite the need of a makeover anyways so I'll definitely be taking all of your advice into account in terms of caves, plants, hardscapes, etc. I've always wanted some Apistos so this is something very exciting to look forward to!
 
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