Starting out a 20gal freshwater tank!

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by meamea568, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. meamea568New MemberMember

    Hey all, new member of Fishlore here! :;hi1

    So I'm planning on getting my very first tank soon and wanted some suggestions. I consider myself fairly new to fishkeeping, and the only real experience I have is caring for my sister's male betta and two comet goldfish. However, I have been doing a lot of research, and I understand the cycling process/nitrogen cycle pretty well.

    I'm looking at a 20 gallon freshwater tropical tank for my first one. How would you recommend I stock it? I would like to have a community tank with several different types of fish, but I'm unsure of which fish are compatible, their effect on the bioload, space in the tank, etc.

    Another thing that I would like to know about are the supplies I need. I've looked through all the articles on here and I think I have everything, but I'd just like to make sure. So far I have a tank, fish food, a filter, a lighting system (it's part of the tank's cover), heater, and a thermometer. I know a water test kit is a necessity, and I read that the API Master Test Kit is good. Also I read that Prime would be a good water conditioner. Is this pretty much everything I need or am I good?

    Any advice and suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much! :)
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
  2. k8XPValued MemberMember

    20 long or tall? What are the dimensions? Makes a difference for stocking.
    Did you make sure the filter you bought was for twice the gallons? (ie. an Aquaclear 50, or two 20's?) Everything else is good but if you want to have real plants I would recommend getting upgraded lighting.

    You will also need a water change siphon and two buckets, algae brush/sponge, and I also would recommend getting a separate 10 gallon kit (nothing fancy) for quarantining fish you add after the first batch.

    I'll let some other people suggest options for stocking, all I know would work well in 20's are tetras, harlequin rasboras are nice, danios, swordtails, platies but NOT all of these together, lol just options. If you want several species, you will definitely need to make sure they are compatible species and you have good sized schools, and that the fish stay small.

  3. fishaddictionValued MemberMember

    I would get a school of 5 corys (your choice) and then I would get another school of tetras or barbs (school of 5) and then you might be able to do one more school of tetras or barbs.
    note- tetras and barbs are not comparable the corys are fine with either species.

  4. meamea568New MemberMember

    Okay so the dimensions are 24"L x 12"W x 20"H. And thanks for the information about the filter; I honestly did not know that. :p And no, I will probably not be getting real plants so I think the lighting will be fine.

    Would a 5 gallon be too small for a quarantine tank? I have a spare tank, and it would just be more convenient to just use that one rather than purchase another.

    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
  5. meamea568New MemberMember

    If its any help at all for stocking suggestions, I really like the idea of getting either swordtails or maybe a dwarf gourami.
  6. bankruptjojoFishlore VIPMember

    The 5 gallon will be fine for a qt tank.

    A dwarf gourami would work. I'd then get a school of neon tetras or rasboars. Get 12 of one or the other. Corys would really like a longer tank but panda corys stay a lil smaller. You could do 6 of them if u really wanted. There are also pygmy corys that would do much better as they are really small but they can be hard to find. But if u could find some u could do 12 of them. That would be pretty much stocked.

    I would get a sponge filter to run on the main tank so if u need to set up a at tank u can just move it over to instantly cycle it.

    Hope this helps and welcome to fishlore.
  7. meamea568New MemberMember

    After doing some more research, this is what I've come up with as a basic plan:
    Pygmy or panda cories
    Neon tetras
    Dwarf gourami

    Do you think this is fine? How many of each should I get?

    Also, what exactly is a sponge filter?

    (Thanks so much, everyone!)
  8. bankruptjojoFishlore VIPMember

    im not sure how the swordtail and gourmai will get along. i think they will do ok but someone else will have to chime in to be sure. i think swordtails need 3 females to every male. so if that is the case you might only be able to get 1 male, or maybe 2 females. assuming that would work then i would do...
    1m swordtail or 2 female swordtails
    1 gourami
    10 neon tetras
    10 pygmy corys or 6 panda corys
    also that is pretty stocked so id make sure you keep the tank extra clean. if you know you might want to slack off a bit id drop the swordtails...

    a sponge filter is a filter that is powerd by a air pump. the whole setup is pretty cheap. here are some links..
    sponge filter
    air pump
    check valve
  9. meamea568New MemberMember

    Would platies maybe work better with the gourami? Also, is there any fish that has a lighter bioload that I could possibly swap out for the swordtail if the platies don't work?

    For the filter, should I get double the gallons like someone earlier said?
  10. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    One thing to watch out for with livebearers (Platy's or Swordtails) is babies. Unless you get all males, you can pretty much plan on a lot of fry.

    You could go with Danio's or Glofish (Glofish are Danio's that have been genetically modified with jellyfish DNA in order to get some great colors) instead of platy's/swordtails. They are egg layers so you probably will not end up with fry.(Of course if you live in California you can't get Glofish since they are illegal there). And Danios/Glofish are compatable with cories and a Dwarf Gourami.
  11. LyleBWell Known MemberMember

    Years and years ago I did keep a pair of Dwarf Gourami and a pair of Sword Tails with no problems that I recall. They were part of my very first aquarium, a 29 gal community tank. As I recall, the other members of the community were 3 Julie Corys, a Plecto, some Neons, and possibly some White Clouds. I don't mean to recommend the combination, others may have more experience. Just saying it worked for me.

    I don't recall any extensive fighting problems.

    Unfortunately, I haven't seen any nice Dwarf Gourami for a long time. Maybe I was spoiled with the nice pair I had, but none I've seen in the past decade or two come close to the colors or the nicely defined pattern that I remember. Most sources also state that the females are a drab gray. I distinctly remember my female was less colorful compared to the male, but did have powder blue and gold strips similar to the males blue and bright red strips. She was also an attractive fish in her own right.

    Foggy memory or decline in quality available I can't say for certain.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  12. meamea568New MemberMember

    I've decided not to switch out the swordtails and rather replace the neon tetras if possible. Would four male endler guppies be okay?
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  13. k8XPValued MemberMember

    Yeah 5G is okay for QT'ing a few small fish at a time. You can put the filter for the 5g on your 20, and remove it when you need to use it for the QT. I have 2 HOB filters on my 20 gallon... An Aquaclear 50 and Aqueon Quietflow 10. I keep the Aquaclear on the lower setting so my fish aren't being thrown around by an ocean-like current, lol.

    Bigger filter keeps your tank cleaner, handles larger bioload. Definitely browse this page for some filter and other equipment options. :
  14. meamea568New MemberMember

    After asking around on several different sites, I've decided to take out the swordtails and neons and just get three dwarf gouramis (one male, two females) and then get eight panda cories. Just because this is my first tank, I'd rather understock it and then possibly add more fish later, maybe a smaller schooling fish like the neons.

    I currently have the Top Fin Power Filter 20 and will possibly be getting a second one for this tank.
  15. bankruptjojoFishlore VIPMember

    The dwarf gouramis will fight. I had 3 in a 40 gallon and they wouldn't stop fighting. The are close relatives of bettas. You can try honey gouramis, they are much more peaceful but even that's not a sure thing.
  16. meamea568New MemberMember

    I saw this stocking list on another thread while looking around, so how about this:

    3 platies (1 male, 2 females)
    6-8 panda cories
    1 dwarf/honey gourami

    I checked it out on AqAdvisor and it was still understocked with room for platy babies. I am purchasing another 20gallon filter for this tank as well.
  17. bankruptjojoFishlore VIPMember

    I think i would add one female then that sounds good. But eventually you might end up with to many platys fry.
  18. meamea568New MemberMember

    Yeah that was one of my main worries with having two females. However, do you think that the male will harass her too much if there's only one female?
  19. k8XPValued MemberMember

    Good choice with the cories! They are cute little guys.
  20. meamea568New MemberMember

    Thanks! I think they're adorable! :D

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