I need help making a decision - 20 Gallon Hex tank

Leeman75

I am stuck in indecision and I need help from my fellow Filshlorians!

My plan for my project tank has been the following:

Pair of Apistogramma
15ish Chili Rasboras

I'm fully cycled and would be ready to get the Chili Rasboras, however, they are nowhere to be found right now. There's a couple of online places that I'm not very familiar with, but between their price and shipping, it's really not a viable option. I'm also considering as alternatives Ember Tetras, Red Phantom Tetras, Serpae Tetras, and maybe even Cherry Barbs. I really like the red color and am looking for as deep of a red as I can. I'd say the Ember Tetras are the front runner since I can get a bigger group of them. But I'm not sure.

To further complicate things, I'm wondering about having some sort of Gourami in there too. I have a Flame DG in another tank that I could move. He's pretty peaceful and I don't think I'd have any problems with compatibility. I'm also considering a few Honey Gouramis. My daughter added a couple to her tank and they are fantastic!

So, here's kind of my options. I am planning to overstock a little bit. It's a 20 gallon, but I have an HOB and Sponge filter and it's planted decently. Would love some thoughts:

Option 1: 15 Ember Tetras 1 DG or 2 HG Pair of Apistos
Option 2: 8 Red Phantom Tetras DG/3 HG Pair of Apistos
Option 3: 8 Serpae Tetras DG/3 HG Pair of Apistos
Option 4: 6 Cherry Barbs DG/3 HG Pair of Apistos
 

Ghelfaire

It's a hexagon tank so most fish won't exactly work, they prefer long tanks over tall ones. Ember tetras are your best bet as the other fish get a bit bigger. Not sure if a gourami would work but I'm sure someone with more experience with them can chime in.
 
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Leeman75

It's a hexagon tank so most fish won't exactly work, they prefer long tanks over tall ones. Ember tetras are your best bet as the other fish get a bit bigger. Not sure if a gourami would work but I'm sure someone with more experience with them can chime in.

Yeah, that's why I was really looking at the Chilis initially. Not finding them has really messed my plan up. Now it does seem that Embers will really be the only logical choice for the color Red.
 
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Cody

I like the ideal of embers as well. I think the small reds will look cool in a tank like that. Watching them bounce from top to bottom will almost be like watching coals in a fire! lol
 
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aquachris

I have a 20 hex that sits in my basement that I have no idea what to do with.. mostly similar things, just finding something that would work just isn't easy.
 
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Ghelfaire

Guppies are also a good option too, they don't school so a long tank isn't 100% necessary. They also come in a ton of colors. If you get males only they won't breed out of control.
 
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Cody

Guppies are also a good option too, they don't school so a long tank isn't 100% necessary. They also come in a ton of colors. If you get males only they won't breed out of control.
I was thinking this also. There are some really cool strains out there also. And I find they tend to really move about all levels of the tank which gives you a nice affect in a tank that height.
 
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Leeman75

Yeah, I thought about the guppy thing, but I'm just not feeling it. I'm wondering if it's because it was the first non-Danio fish that we got when we first started with aquariums and ended up getting bunches of them and then they all had babies...I think it just kind of turned me off of them.

My wife is telling me to just be patient and wait until the ones that I really want (the Chilis) become available, but I have no idea when that will be. I have a fully cycled and planted tank that I'd like to get stocked up. She also asked if I have to get the small fish first and can't just go to the Apisto pair first. I'm not sure how that would work. I have been planning this order for a while thinking that since the nano fish will be in there before the Apistos, it would lessen the likelihood of aggression towards them. I don't know if that's true or if I'm overthinking it.
 
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Cody

Yeah, I thought about the guppy thing, but I'm just not feeling it. I'm wondering if it's because it was the first non-Danio fish that we got when we first started with aquariums and ended up getting bunches of them and then they all had babies...I think it just kind of turned me off of them.

My wife is telling me to just be patient and wait until the ones that I really want (the Chilis) become available, but I have no idea when that will be. I have a fully cycled and planted tank that I'd like to get stocked up. She also asked if I have to get the small fish first and can't just go to the Apisto pair first. I'm not sure how that would work. I have been planning this order for a while thinking that since the nano fish will be in there before the Apistos, it would lessen the likelihood of aggression towards them. I don't know if that's true or if I'm overthinking it.


There is truth to that no doubt but Im
Not sure how critical it is with dwarf cichlids vs something like let’s say Angels.

My thought is it’s more crucial for a fish that they would eat, like angels to small tetras. or if it’s something more aggressive.

But I will side with your wife to do what you really want to do. Now ember tetras are a great looking fish as well and I’m sure you would be disappointed. But don’t settle and wish you hadn’t

also as far as guppies go, I hear you. My LFS has been getting in unique strains that are pretty pricey. Some costing $30-70 that are cool enough to make you want some. But I think the “first fish” aspect turns a lot away as you get more experienced.
 
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Leeman75

There is truth to that no doubt but Im
Not sure how critical it is with dwarf cichlids vs something like let’s say Angels.

My thought is it’s more crucial for a fish that they would eat, like angels to small tetras. or if it’s something more aggressive.

But I will side with your wife to do what you really want to do. Now ember tetras are a great looking fish as well and I’m sure you would be disappointed. But don’t settle and wish you hadn’t

also as far as guppies go, I hear you. My LFS has been getting in unique strains that are pretty pricey. Some costing $30-70 that are cool enough to make you want some. But I think the “first fish” aspect turns a lot away as you get more experienced.

You're probably right about the waiting. I'll give it a little time.

As for the Guppies, I did take a peek at some of the online places after the suggestion, but just like you said I was seeing the Guppies that looked interesting enough being WAY more expensive than my original plan A and B. I can't stomach that at all.

I'll try to wait a little longer. Part of my impatience is coming from wanting to get the tank stocked more to start generating more ammonia for the plants to really root well. I did use root tabs and a fert in the water column, but I imagine nothing works like the fish by-products.
 
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Cody

You're probably right about the waiting. I'll give it a little time.

As for the Guppies, I did take a peek at some of the online places after the suggestion, but just like you said I was seeing the Guppies that looked interesting enough being WAY more expensive than my original plan A and B. I can't stomach that at all.

I'll try to wait a little longer. Part of my impatience is coming from wanting to get the tank stocked more to start generating more ammonia for the plants to really root well. I did use root tabs and a fert in the water column, but I imagine nothing works like the fish by-products.
Not sure If you had any plans for future algae control but maybe throw a couple snails in there. Definitely a decent amount of poo for the small package.
 
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Leeman75

Not sure If you had any plans for future algae control but maybe throw a couple snails in there. Definitely a decent amount of poo for the small package.

Yeah, that's a good point. I'm not sure how long I have to wait in order to have some algae grown for them to eat. At this point, I've had a glofish and 2 platys in there for 3 weeks to get the cycle complete. I'm not sure what would be there for snails to eat at this point.
 
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Cody

Yeah, that's a good point. I'm not sure how long I have to wait in order to have some algae grown for them to eat. At this point, I've had a glofish and 2 platys in there for 3 weeks to get the cycle complete. I'm not sure what would be there for snails to eat at this point.
I know a lot of way the that grows isn’t always visible algae but rather the biofilm, which is the Slimy feeling on the inside of the glass.

if you went Nerite they would be fine munching on that. More scavenger/omnivorous varieties would want some veggies or other food to pick off the bottom.

I hope your wait isn’t too long. it’s so frustrating waiting for a specific species and I have a hard time paying shipping costs. Luckily I have decent stores that do get a lot of great fish but they’re at the mercy of their suppliers as well.
 
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TClare

I think you could get the Apistogrammas to start with, I don't think they would attack any rasboras or tetras that you get later. Not sure about the gouramis though.
 
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Leeman75

So, I may be changing my plan. I have 2 Keyhole Cichlids in my 55 gallon tank that I'm wondering if it would do them a lot of good to get moved to a tank with fewer larger fish. Part of me doesn't want to do this because I've had this intense desire to keep Apistos for so long, but I think it would be best for my Keyholes, which are my favorite fish.

I can still get my Chilis or Embers, but then let the Keyholes grow much bigger in a much more peaceful environment and then maybe look at moving them back in a year or so and get the Apistos then.

I don't know. I'm so indecisive on this.
 
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TClare

Mmm I’m actually in a similar situation, getting some keyholes soon, but I already have some Apistogramma and two of them are pretty aggressive with eachother (but not with other fish). I am a bit concerned that they might bully the keyholes. I am also setting up another tank, so one set of cichlids might have to be moved depending on how things work out....
 
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