Upgrading 10 to 20 gallon tank suggestions

  • #1
Hello, I currently own a 10 gallon glofish tank with 10 danios. I am gonna upgrade to a 20 gallon long to give them more room. The 20 gallon long is the only one that fits the height requirement I have. The only hood that fits it is the Aqueon Full hood that uses the T8 Bulb. I have the Aquaclear 20 so it should still be sufficient for a 20 gallon tank.

Question # 1: Should I get Colormax or Actinic Bulb to make colors in tank pop and fish glow?

Question # 2: Can I add more fish? I wanted to get 2 ghost shrimps for the gravel. I was also thinking of adding some Glofish Tetras to the tank for variation, maybe 5 tetras to go along with my 10 danios. Any suggestions?

Question # 3: Filter media: so far all I use is the sponge and biomax. I haven't added carbon in a good 3 months, water is clear with a slight yellow tint (from driftwood, but I'm all right with the tannins color, it helps lower the ph a little). Was gonna add another media, is there a better alternative then carbon because I am tired of changing carbon each month.
  • #2
You are currently overstocked with danios in the 10. IMO you will be stocked with 10 danios in the 20L. No room for more fish. You could probably add shrimp, but default to someone who knows inverts better than me. As far as a third media goes maybe Purigen? Or you could just add more biomax. I'll leave the lighting to someone who knows more

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I ---I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. " -Robert Frost
  • #3
You can order a blue led strip on Amazon for $6-8 and add it between the florescents to achieve the same result as colormax. I ran that setup until I got all LEDs.
No more fish in a tank that size. Small shrimp have almost no bioload. A few ghost shrimp would be fine to add to the 20.

Carbon is completely optional. It helps clarify the water, but if you don't have health issues in the tank chemical filtration is unnecessary. Many people just run mechanical (filter pads) and biomedia. You could also look into Seachem Purigen. It can be recharged, so you don't have to constantly buy more.

Your filter will be too small for a fully stocked 20g. You will need to consider upgrading in the near future.

Edit: Danios aren't super messy. If you're diligent in your maintenance, that filter may be ok.
New Fish in Town
  • #4
That is about the max, or close to it as far as stock level in a 20 gallon. Ghost shrimp are only 39 cents at petsmart, but they don't last long. I have had 3 in a fish bowl for a few months now, but I have had about 6, or 7 die in that time. You could add some shrimp though. I would buy about 10 because 3, or 4 of those might last more than a month.
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thank you all for advice. Yes, unfortunately like most people who start in the hobby we listen to the people at the local PetSmart who tell you to buy the 10 gallon and it can have 10-15 fish in it LOL. But because I got so addicted to this hobby I just finished setting up and transferring over to a newer 20 gallon long.

Question if anyone has any ideas. This morning when I fed my fish I saw that my 2 long fin zebra danios (I have 7 glofish Danios and 2 long fin danios, one glofish died by the filter last week, I now rubber banded a thin sponge filter around the filter intake so no more fish get caught in the filter) where barely moving and on the surface of the water near the filter exhaust. However my other 7 glofish danios were behaving normally. I tested the water (results below but seem normal), and an hour later one long fin died and the other is still barely moving. This caused me to move the fish immediately to the new 20 gallon (was gonna wait one more day because lid arrives tomorrow, but figured they need more space immediately possibly.

Water conditions:
Started New Cycle on 1/28: PH 8.2, Ammonia 1.0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5.
Today: PH 8.2, Ammonia 0-.25 (between 0 and .25), Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10.
Note my water PH is naturally 8.2 and Nitrate is 5.

Any suggestions on why the longfins arnt doing well. I read they like (danios) ph of 6.5-7.5, so yes the PH is a little high. Driftwood and Peat make no difference because water is so hard.

Thanks for any input.
  • #6
It's an unlikely circumstance, but it happened to me so I'll share the info.
Do you have a water hardness test? I had the same problem as you. All my readings were fine, all my fish died anyway.
The problem as my hardness.
My water wasn't just hard, it had a lot of gunk and metals in it.
I've started using filtered water and everyone is happy and healthy now.

Pierce Bourgeois
  • #7
Adding a shrimp/snails would be great for any aquarium in my opinion because I feel they take away from the bio-load than actually contributing to it. I have not had a ton of success with ghost shrimp. Like others have mentioned buy a few extra at a time because some die rather fast even in pristine conditions. As for snails go for nerite snails they won't go "breed" crazy on you.

Your ph is definitely on the higher side for freshwater tanks, but if it is stable there is not reason your fish should not be able to adapt. Adding a ph down additive with each water change should help with that. Just make sure to do it slow because you don't want to shock all your fish. Once the ph has stabilized you may need to play with it in for future water exchanges to get a good idea of how much to add.

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  • #8
Regarding PH: Its high but I really didn't want to get involved in adding chemicals unless its nessessary, in fear of PH swings. Also because my water is so hard, the ph won't change much because I read the water hardness buffers the PH making it very difficult to change it.

Regarding Hardness: Yes water is very hard, because my city uses well water. I was hoping that even though I have a whole house water filter (removes iron, chlorine, chloramines, ammonia, ect . . from the water) I wouldn't have water issues, but it is still hard. I am not gonna add a RO because too expensive, especially after just adding the whole house water filter and water softener on the tank less water heater. I guess I just learned to not buy long fin danios because they can't handle the water conditions.
  • #9
I think I read something on water softeners. They create an artificial hardness. They bond with hardwater minerals to prevent all the rust, scale, and other gunk that comes with hard water, but they're not good for fish. I haven't verified that information, I'll let you decide if you want to look into that.
For a small tank like yours, you can go spend a few bucks at Wal-Mart or the grocery store. Buy the cheap distilled water, and mix it with yours to lower hardness and ph a little.
If your water is really hard, it will take more distilled water.
Hard water is 300ppm. EPA recommends not consuming anything over 500ppm. My tap water comes out between 600-900.
I mix RODI and tap then modify to maintain around 500, but I have cichlids. You may want to lower yours further.
All options to consider if you continue having problems.

  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Regarding Hard Water and PH: Today I will pick up distilled water and just use it to top off evaporated water and on water changes will mix in a little distilled water to help lower ph and hardness a little.

Crazy thing is I just woke up and was looking for my last long fin danio and can't find it anywhere. I am sure it died as well because it looked like over last 24 hours, just like the other one. Crazy thing is I can't find the body anywhere. I wonder if the other 7 Danios ate the body?
Pierce Bourgeois
  • #11
It is possible, but unlikely. Some peaceful schooling fish can become aggressive when they are kept in smaller schools or when they are in too small of a tank. I would definitely do a pretty intense search for the fish because if it is in there and starts to decay it can cause all sorts of problem. Not sure what your tank setup is, but try looking in the plants/rocks/any decorations. Sometimes a dead fish can get caught up around the edges at the top of the aquarium. Those are the usual locations in my tank.
  • #12
Yeah its there. The body sinks when they die, the floating occurs due to gases during decay. He's probably caught near the bottom of a decoration

  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Weird note: I just took EVERYTHING out of the fish tank, all decorations, plants, sifted through the gravel, looked around the glass, the hood, and around the tank . . . nowhere to be found the dead danio . . . all I can assume now is he was eaten. Maybe my fish are hungry because I still have a small trace of ammonia .25 so I am feeling lighly for about another week or two to keep the bioload down, and they devoured the fish.
  • #14
Hello all! I used to have a 20 gallon aquarium that got a crack in it so I transferred everything to this ten gallon that was once my quarantine....picture at bottom. It and the filters in it have been established for a little over 2 years. I know my 5 harlequin rasboras, 5 pygmy corys, 1 betta and 1 peacock gudgeon are anxious to get back into a larger aquarium. I'll be picking up a 20 long this evening. I have two aqua tech H.O.B. filters on the ten stuffed with ceramic biomedia, one rated for 5-15 gallon the other rater for 20-40. I'm going to put the 20-40 on the new 20 gallon tonight when I set it up and leave the 5-15 in the 10 gallon. I'm going to be using new substrate...roughly 1.5 inches dirt with a 1.5 inch black sand cap...I've used this substrate set up before with success. I will also be transferring all of the plants and driftwood from the 10 to the 20 in hopes that the established filter plus plants and driftwood will help give me a very short cycle...I have heard some veterans say they have "cycled" so to speak a tank almost instantly using this method or is that false? The one thing I'm concerned about is the stress on the fish currently in the 10 gallon. Even though one filter will be left on the 10 during the new cycle i'm afraid of ammonia spikes and just stress in general since they won't have plants in there with them for awhile until the new tank is ready. How does all of this sound to everyone? Any hints, tips on transferring basically everything besides substrate from one tank to another?
13925079_1384016618293811_3163844061902163400_n.jpg will post pics of 20 gallon progress as I go along.
  • #15
Starting the new tank setup within the hour. Any tips especially on reducing fish stress and thoughts on how quick a new cycle can be done using all established equipment other than gravel...although I plan on putting some old gravel in a fine mesh bag to help seed the new tank. I have cycled many tanks from scratch but never this method so it's a little new to me.I feel like by removing one of my two filters and all the plants/driftwood from my 10 gallon will cause spikes and and water parameters to go way off balance in the 10 so the fish will be stressed regardless if I leave them in the current 10 gallon or putting them in the new 20 after a day or so. I can't decide what would be less stressful for them. I would like to have a solid game plan before diving in.
  • #16
So which fish are moving over to the 20g? Are you keeping the betta in the 10g? I'd just move over the fish over to the 20 gallon along with the 20-40 filter but just test your parameters on both tanks for the next several days in case you get any spikes.
  • #17
thanks. everything will be moving besides the betta. He will have that to himself once everything is said and done

  • #18
after 4 hours of working on the new tank here is my progress so far. The driftwood on the right will match the piece on the left eventually and will carpet it with some sort of moss down the road. Can't really see the taller plants in the back and I still have a little rock scaping to do. The big rocks on the right are just holding down the wood until water logged. I change my mind a lot but I probably won't deviate too far from what I have going on so far......
  • #19
Well for my 40 breeder I got a brand new AC 110. I seeded the filter with the bio max from my AC 50 on my 20 gallon. After 1.5 days I added my 8 cories then the next day I added my 3 guppies and a couple malaysian trumpet snails and 4 nerite snails. Its been 4 days since I set up my tank and none of my fish died or show any sign of stress. All the fish are eating and my plants are fantastic.
  • #20
That's good to hear I hope to achieve similar results but I do expect mine to take at least a few days. With all the seeded material in my new tank....filter media, plants, driftwood, mesh bags of about half of my old gravel hanging inside I have hopes that everything just carries on as normal. That probably won't be the case but I can hope.
  • #21
So I woke this morning and the new tank is looking good, still a little cloudy. Ammonia MAYBE .2, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20. I have slightly hard water I don't have an exact measurement, and my p.h. is right around 7.5. It's always a little on the high side but I have always believed for most fish as long as water parameters remain constant and stable they can adapt just fine, even fish labeled as soft water fish can adapt to hard water..not EXTREME hard water however. I know that's a debatable subject...I didn't put any fish in last night however I found a 2 dead pygmys and 2 dead harlequins in my old established tank. I made the mistake of making my substrate too deep in my old tank and things got stirred up a lot transferring plants and everything to the new tank. I think I may have hit some anaerobic bacteria pockets or the removal of so much beneficial bacteria just threw everything way off. My nitrites are through the roof. So I promptly put all the remaining inhabitants into the new tank.(holy jeez harlequins are hard to catch!) It's only been a few hours but everyone is behaving as normal. I will wait a couple weeks before getting my schools back to a normal size. A school of only 3 harlequins and 3 pygmys just looks sad right now. On a brighter note it's been a long time since I have have a long tank over a tall tank and I forgot how much cooler schooling fish behave in a long tank. I'll probably bring the rasbora school back to 5 total and a total of 7 pygmy's once it's all settled. I hate loosing fish but unfortunately these things happen.
  • #22
Did you move the filter already into the new tank before you moved the fish yesterday? If so, the bacteria would've needed the ammonia (from the fish) to stay alive. And then by removing the filter from the 10g, you removed the bacteria to support the bioload of the fish there. It's possible that's the reason why they died.
  • #23
Yes I put my larger filter in the new tank last night and left the smaller one on the 10 gallon in hopes it could maintain the 10. I knew removing so much BB from the established tank would be dangerous. That's why I was on the fence of either putting the fish in the new tank right away or leaving them in the old one for a bit. I did put a sizable amount of fish food and a couple mystery snails in the new tank last night in hopes of producing enough ammonia for the time being. So the larger filter from the old tank was running in the new one for about 10 hours without fish. I also periodically scooped a few cups of water from the old tank into the new one in hopes of introducing some ammonia...or was that not a good idea?
  • #24
I would've moved the fish along with the filter. That way, the betta would be enough for the 10 gallon and the other fish would've supported the BB on the larger filter. Tank water would've done nothing to add ammonia.

Sorry for your losses. =/
  • #25
Another lesson learned for down the road. Thanks
  • #26
Sorry about your fish! This is why for substrate if you have it really deep then you should stir it every once in awhile since once a pocket form the only way to release it is get all your inhabitants out otherwise like in this case fish will die.

Yeah I really like when schooling fish are in longer tanks since not only do you see them school they swim more often since in a taller tank theirs not that much room to swim. They just hover
  • #27
Sorry you lost some fish. Sounds like you have it under control now. Alison
  • #28
I definitely kept my new substrate much more shallow than I had in the old one. I get a lot of advice from Dustinsfishtanks youtube channel as he is very popular when it comes to doing dirted tanks. He typically only does 3/4 inch to 1.5 inch dirt bottom layer with some clay root tabs here and there and then a shallow cap substrate. so maybe 2.5-3 inches total which is what I stuck to in the new setup. a little higher in the back corners but not much. I'm excited to start restocking a bit in a couple weeks once everything is settled to make my schooling fish happy again with bigger numbers.
  • #29
and thanks aliray! Things seem to be under control for the moment. Just have to keep a close eye on things.

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