Oh what to choose? 20 Gallon Tank

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by Jahnikar, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. JahnikarValued MemberMember

    I'm starting the process of planning a new stocking for my 20 gallon standard and I need some advice. The tank is currently at a pH of 8.4, temp of 78* (heated), 0 amm, 0 nitrite, 10 nitrate. It is lightly planted with a black substrate, seashells, and a fake driftwood/log thing. The filter is an AquaClear 50 rated at 200 GPH. It is currently housing 8 neon tetras (to be moved to a different tank) and a ton of MTS.

    For starters, I'm thinking about moving my 6 male blackbar endlers and 3 panda corys into the 20 gal and upping the cory school to 4 or 5. Would that be an appropriate number of corys in this tank?

    Now for the yet-to-be-determined tankmates... Could I do either a German Blue Ram or Bolivian Ram as a centerpiece fish? Or do they need to be in pairs and if so, could I have a pair in this size tank? If those are not an option, what would be a good colorful centerpiece fish? For reference, I love the GBRs (obviously), flame gouramis, and cockatoo cichlids. Actually.... could I do one male cockatoo cichlid with my endlers and corys and maybe something else? Or maybe even an Angel fish?

    As for schools, I definitely want to keep my endlers. I like the cardinal and neon tetras but I don't want any of them in this tank, as I already have some in another. I like the looks of some of the longfinned tetras (like the black skirts) and ember tetras.

    I would also like to have some shrimp in the tank, if possible. So what do you guys suggest?
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  2. guppylover321New MemberMember

    You should get a guppy. They are easy to take care of. I think the water temperature that the guppies need is warmer than what the neon tetras need. Guppies aren't aggressive and don't have many needs.

  3. JahnikarValued MemberMember

    So after doing some more research.... I have even less of an idea what I want to stock and I'm getting quite frustrated :-\ My water has ridiculously high pH (8.4) and it seems that it's well beyond the optimal level for any of the fish I want. How meticulous do I need to be in selecting fish that will work with this pH? Can most adjust if acclimated VERY slowly?

    Thank you for the suggestion Guppylover but guppies really aren't my cup of tea. I think there are some very interesting and pretty ones out there, but they're not quite what I'm looking for in this tank.

    So basically I'm still at square one. I have 6 blackbar endlers and 3 panda corys. I plan to increase the school of corys up to 5 and possibly add a few more endlers. I would like to have another small schooling fish and one or two colorful centerpiece fish, but I have no idea what to get. Suggestions anyone?

  4. GordinianWell Known MemberMember


    I think you could do 8 neons, 6 endlers, and 6 cories (schools of 6+ are best). Then you could probably get away with either a single GBR or a pair, or MAYBE a trio of bolivians, but that may be pushing it. (I belive bolivians appreciate groups, but I've been hearing conflicting information)

  5. JoannaBWell Known MemberMember

    You know, a 20 gallon standard may not be large enough for a lot of centerpiece fish options. What about a dwarf gourami or a honey gourami as centerpiece? Alternatively, I wonder whether a red wag platy centerpiece would suit?
  6. JahnikarValued MemberMember

    Would a GBR be able to adapt to my water? Everything I've read says they like lower pH and soft water. I have high pH and ridiculously hard water. I don't know the specific hardness, but if I leave a glass of water out it will have hard water deposits after just a couple days :(

    Joanna, I do like dwarf gouramis a lot. Would I be able to keep shrimp (like RCS) with one? Or would they just be an expensive snack?
  7. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    I kept three blue rams pretty well in 7.8pH water and it was so hard it was rated for rift lake cichlids. It really depends on where you get them. They can't breed in those conditions, but if carefully acclimated they can do OK.
  8. GordinianWell Known MemberMember

    It may be harder for GBRs to adapt to your water, but I'm sure it's possible. You could try apistos, maybe. They aren't as delicate :)
  9. JahnikarValued MemberMember

    Well I'm glad to hear/read that adaptation is more likely than I first thought. That's definitely opened up a few options for me :)

    As for the apistos... I like this idea! I'll definitely have to do more research on these guys, though so far I'm definitely liking the apistogramma cacatuoides and agassizi. There seems to be a lot of conflicting info out there about them though. I know what I'll be researching the rest of the night! :giggle:
  10. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Guppies and neons have the same water temp preference. Both like water from the high 60's to the high 70's.
  11. Tigress HillWell Known MemberMember

    I have a pH of 8.6, and I've never had issues with my stock. Just acclimate more slowly than you usually would:;th
  12. JahnikarValued MemberMember

    And suddenly the answer is found.... Well, at least part of it. After some research and stumbling onto pictures of really, REALLY pretty tanks...

    I want to go with a heavily planted blackwater tank. Medium-dark sand substrate, a few large river stones arranged to make caves, lots of driftwood and TONS of low to medium light plants (to be determined later, I have lots of light and plant research to do first).

    If I do that, I think I will go with GBR or apisto cacatuoides for the centerpiece fish, either keep my neons or swap them for cardinal tetras, and maybe an otto. Could I have an otto or two in a 20 standard? I know absolutely nothing about these fish (yet) but saw one at my LFS the other day and was intrigued. If I have otto(s), would/could/should I still put my corys in here too? I think I'd still like to move my endlers too.

    I think basically what I will do is start the process of changing the decor first and get the plants growing. I'll still have my neons in the tank to maintain the cycle in the meantime. Then once I've got the basic layout, start adding fish. In the meantime, I think my tentative stocking list would be:

    Pair of either GBR or apisto cacatuoides
    8 x neon/cardinal tetras
    6 x blackbar endlers livebearers
    3 x panda cory (plus an eventual 2-3 more to finish school)
    ?? x otto

    Hmm I have a feeling that's gonna be way too much on the bottom.... What do you guys think?
  13. GordinianWell Known MemberMember

    That sounds like it's going to be a very pretty tank!

    Ottos are schoolers and like groups- I wouldn't get any less than 4. They won't stick to the bottom of the tank, they like to swim all over. Cories like schools of at least six.

    If you were to stick with all of those, I think your tank would be a bit overstocked. I would probably do either cories or ottos, but not both. Then you should be set!
  14. kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    I think that a 20 gallon might be a bit small for a pair of GBRs, too. GBRs aren't like Bolivians though and they could be kept singularly, so you could have just one as a centerpiece. Also, some people say apistos can be kept in pairs (one male and one female) but others say males like harems of two to three females, so I would be sure to research that first. I had an apisto as the centerpiece in my 20 long and he was perfect :)
  15. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    20 is OK for a pair of GBRs but really doesn't provide much space to get away if either partner needs to, and is definitely not large enough to grow out the fry. It also is not quite big enough for the apisto cacatuoides unless you get only a female, which are smaller than the males but not nearly as flashy.

    Blackwater's going to be difficult for you to pull off. Your high hardness levels will make it troublesome to bring down the pH, and you would have to bring your pH down a long way. Blackwater is also usually quite soft.
  16. JahnikarValued MemberMember

    Maybe I'm confused about blackwater? :;sh I was under the impression it was mainly just referring to the color and lighting of the water. Or does blackwater actually refer to a low pH, low hardness tank?
  17. kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    Blackwater can be achieved a variety of ways; one is to add Indian almond leaves. This tints the water brown, as you are thinking, but it also lowers the pH and hardness of the water. You CAN just make the water dark and lower lighting if you're going for that effect, but it won't technically be "blackwater." :)
  18. AlanGreeneWell Known MemberMember

    Dwarf cichlids? Appropriate for the high ph aren't they?
  19. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    Tannin-stained is what you are referring to. Blackwater is more of a biotope that includes tannins and low pH and hardness. The items that introduce tannins would affect the pH of your water, but not likely by much since your hardness is so high.

    @AlanGreene: Rams and apistos ARE dwarf cichlids, which is what we were discussing. :)
  20. kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    I thought apistos liked high-pH water too, but upon further research they actually prefer lower-pH, soft water. I have high-pH, hard water, and my apisto died of unknown causes; one of the suggested reasons was the water.

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