Setting up my first 20 gallon tank and have some questions!

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Dakota Long, Jul 29, 2015.

  1. Dakota LongNew MemberMember

    I'm new to fishkeeping and I'm currently looking to set up a 20 gallon tropical freshwater tank. I've done lots of research but want some clarification on a few topics that have given me different information. I'll go ahead and list all supplies I currently have below:

    20 gallon fish tank
    ex20 Whisper Filter
    100w thermometer
    gravel, fake plants, hiding places, etc

    Is it necessary to have an air pump? What are the pros and cons?

    Also, I know I need to cycle the tank at the beginning but the conflicting information I've read is that some say I can have fish while cycling and some say I cannot? Would it be okay to introduce a few small schooling fish while the tank cycles? How long does a tank realistically take to cycle?

    If I want to use live plants, which are recommended and what type of gravel/substrate should I use?

    My last question is it okay to use chemical additives to speed up cycling such as pro algae growth drops?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. AquaticBrandonWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to Fishlore! :)
    I would upgrade the filter to a slightly larger one. It's always best to have a filter that's rated for a larger aquarium that your current tank. There's a few ways you can cycle your tank. One way is with dosing pure ammonia and another way is using a product like Tetra Safestart. This will cycle your tank in I believe 2 weeks. If you use Tetra Safestart, you add the TSS and a few Hardy fish. For live plants here is an article that should help
    You can use any substrate and use ferts like flourish or some root tabs.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  3. Dakota LongNew MemberMember

    Thanks for the reply,

    Is using the Tetra Safestart harmful in the longrun? Or cause the tank to not naturally cycle in the future?
  4. AquaticBrandonWell Known MemberMember

    No it's not harmful in the long run. You only use it to cycle your tank. It contains live bacteria

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  5. happyfins14Valued MemberMember

    I would recommend fishless cycling as it is safer for fish. It's helpful to use live plants when fishless cycling. If you are not experienced with plants and have no lights or anything I suggest anacharis, as it is extremely hard to kill. Good luck!
  6. CoradeeModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to Fishlore :)
    Some useful threads on cycling here
  7. Dakota LongNew MemberMember

    Thanks for the replies everyone, I feel better about it all now. The only question no one really addressed I'm still a little confused about is do I need an air pump? Would the plant basically suffice in place of this? Thanks once again in advance to everyone being helpful!\
  8. happyfins14Valued MemberMember

    The plant will definitely help oxygenate the water. I wouldn't really get an air pump as the plant and filter should be enough, but if you are worried you can get a small one :)