Newbie (ish)20g tank set up help

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IveGotSunshine

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Hey all,
new to this group. I have a 20g set up with 2 goldfish, a guppy, a glow tetra, and a couple snails. There are also a few live plants in there and some ornaments. (This 20g tank in a kids room we recently got to consolidate random fish that have been won or given to us.) I need help setting this tank up better for success. I would really like it to be a good looking tank with some easy plants, more fish (if possible) and low maintenance.
There is a heater set to 75, and a hang on back filter. I use RODI water, change about 5 gallons every 2 weeks, and change the filter pad weekly. I feed the fish once every couple days.
Its a bare bottom tank but I think substrate would make it look better- what kind should I get for a natural look? How much?
What other fish can I add?
What lighting for plants? (I have an led strip that causes a lot of algae)

Basically Im wondering what I need for like a minmalist clean looking "field" tank. What kind of plants are on the substrate and used for the "tree."
 
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Liv2011

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For a planted tank you could put in about 2 inches of substrate. I’m not sure how many pounds of gravel/sand that translates to. There are calculators for that. Plants grow in either. Gravel’s easier to rinse at the beginning, but sand might look better. (You have to stir sand up a bit every so often to avoid anaerobic pockets, though.)
Anubias plants are pretty easy.
You’ll need a bigger tank for the goldfish. They get big and are messy. They also like cooler water than the guppy and tetra.
Once you have that taken care of, try more of those tetras. The bigger the group of tetras, the happier they’ll be.
How long do you have the lights on? I’m no lighting expert, but I’ve heard that keeping the lights on too long can increase algae growth.
 
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FinalFins

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IveGotSunshine said:
Hey all,
new to this group. I have a 20g set up with 2 goldfish, a guppy, a glow tetra, and a couple snails. There are also a few live plants in there and some ornaments. (This 20g tank in a kids room we recently got to consolidate random fish that have been won or given to us.) I need help setting this tank up better for success. I would really like it to be a good looking tank with some easy plants, more fish (if possible) and low maintenance.
There is a heater set to 75, and a hang on back filter. I use RODI water, change about 5 gallons every 2 weeks, and change the filter pad weekly. I feed the fish once every couple days.
Its a bare bottom tank but I think substrate would make it look better- what kind should I get for a natural look? How much?
What other fish can I add?
What lighting for plants? (I have an led strip that causes a lot of algae)

Basically Im wondering what I need for like a minmalist clean looking "field" tank. What kind of plants are on the substrate and used for the "tree."
Hi, welcome to the forum. :)

You can't keep many plants with goldfish, since they tear through and devour plants. Carpeting plants liek dwarf hairgrass that gives the feild look will be eaten first day I bet.

Sand is the most natural substrate, with various sized river gravel in it.

Also please stop changing the filter pad- it contains benificial bacteria that detoxify the water- you are throwing it all away when you change it.
Do you have a test kit?

The goldfish will get too large for your tank, common goldfish with one tail can get to a foot or more long, and if you have a two tailed fancy variety- they can get quite large too- 8 inches to a foot is average.

Also your tetraa would like more of their kind to properly exhibit natural behaviour.

I don't intend to be rude but I think you should consider these things before setting up a planted tank, which can be complicated. :)
 
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Algonquin

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Welcome to Fishlore! I'm glad you've come to this forum seeking some advice - there's lots of helpful information to be found here! :)

I agree with the previous comments - your goldfish are not suited to the size of tank they are in, and they prefer cooler water than the guppy and tetra. They are also known to be fairly messy fish, and will likely make keeping your tank clean and balanced quite challenging.

Personally, I would suggest rehoming them - either with someone who has a more suitable tank, or 'surrendering' them to your local fish shop.

Your tetra and your guppy will be much happier with more of their kind. While Tetras are 'schooling' fish, guppys are not really, but are very social - the will be much more content with a couple more of their own. Do please only keep male guppies - any females in the mix and you will be overrun with babies in no time!

Best of luck!
 
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Greenfungaloo

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hi! I would suggest that you transition your tetra and guppy to a different tank(I'm not sure about the temp requirements though...), and let the two goldfish grow in there (so that there are no ammonia problems). Then you can keep your tetra and guppy in a smaller tank, and even add some more tetras/guppys
 
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Algonquin

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20 gallons is actually a pretty good size for guppies & tetras. they are both very active fish, so I wouldn't put them in a smaller tank - especially since they're used to the space of a 20 ;)
 
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Greenfungaloo

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Algonquin said:
20 gallons is actually a pretty good size for guppies & tetras. they are both very active fish, so I wouldn't put them in a smaller tank - especially since they're used to the space of a 20 ;)
very true-i just thought that if one cant get a bigger tank, then it is preferential that the goldfish have the biggest
 
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Algonquin

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Wondering why you are using RO water, and are you remineralizing it? What is the Ph of the tank?

For substrate, I personally prefer sand. It's easier to clean than gravel, as the waste just sits on top of it (as opposed to gravel, where the waste falls into it). Looks natural as well. But everyone has their own preference on this one :)

If you find you are having 'a lot of algae', that may mean you have the lights on for too long. If you put live plants in the tank, the algae will at least have some 'competition', so may not be as bad. That issue can be explored in time though. :)
 
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IveGotSunshine

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Hi guys, thank you for the responses. I agree the tank mates aren’t ideal and are better suited to different areas. The goldfish are fair fish that we have had for 5 years and they are growing very slowly? Maybe 1/4 an inch length and width since we’ve had them? They used to be in a 10 gallon and we had zero algae and zero issues. I was trying to be a better fish parent so I upgraded them to a 20 gallon with a better light and that’s when the algae issues started. LOL. I will def decrease the light. The tetra and the guppy a friend of ours were keeping in a bowl on the table w a bubbler and didn’t want anymore so My kids ended up coming home with them and we had already given the 10 gallon away so into the 20 they went. The tank gets RODI water bc Our city h20 is full of garbage, pesticides, metals and nitrates that cause algae issues once you add warmth and light. I change the filter pad ever week bc there are 2 dirty goldfish and it gets gross. The bacteria can live on other surfaces in the tank but maybe the sandbed suggestion would help with that too. No idea what the ph is, I would guess 8. I would love to rehome the goldfish but... kids. Lol. That sucks that they will eat all the plants though. Sigh. Maybe an additional 20g is in my future now.
Okay so sandbed, reduce lighting, maybe try some plants just to see what happens. Can I add a couple tetras/guppies to make the 1 guys happier even though they share space with goldfish or is the tank already over the limit?
 
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Algonquin

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Tough call about adding more fish... it would be better for the fish to have friends of their own kind, but it is also adding to the bioload. The problem with adding only one more guppy or only one more tetra is that you may end up with one of them being dominant, and harassing the other one (sometimes until the stress overcomes them). But I can't really recommend adding 5 more tetras either, since the tank is already stocked full. Maybe try adding 2 males guppies and 2 tetras? Its a tough call but if you are willing to try it, and up the water changes, it could work out. If you've had the goldfish in a 10g for 5 years, it's likely that their growth is already stunted and they wouldn't reach their full adult size at this point anyway.
One thing i would definitely do is add some more media to your filter- something more permanent that you can rinse in old tank water once in a while if it gets gunky, but that doesn't get replaced. Bio rings and coarse sponges are good options. You can then continue to change your cartridges when you feel you want to, without tossing out all the good bacteria that is living on them.
I think you mentioned doing water changes every 2 weeks - you might want to consider upping that to weekly for best conditions for the fish.
Keep us all posted please! ☺

Also I forgot to mention that if you are using RO water that is stripped of all minerals then you might want to consider a remineralizing additive... fish need all the various minerals for optimal health... I was just reading a thread on this forum yesterday about the long term (negative) effects of RO water on certain fish.
 
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