Where to start with a 20 gallon?

Maryellen

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Today I received a 20 gal tank from a friend who no longer wanted it. So I’ve decided to spontaneously start a new tank.

I have very minimal experience with fish, I just started my first planted 5gal (betta) tank a month or so ago, and have never dealt with schooling fish.

I want sand in this tank for sure, so I can plant a wider range of plants. (I’m relatively confident with dealing with live plants) I already have a few decorations to put in, and lots of fake plants from previous tanks, so I’m planning on doing a mix of live/fake plants, so it’ll be a rather heavily planted tank. The tank I have is the 20gallon ‘tall’ from Petco. My tap water has a highish ph, about 7.5 when the water is untreated.

Would a large sponge filter be enough to keep a 20gal clean? I have a 10gal hang on side type filter, so I’m wondering if I can use that and a sponge filter?

When it comes to what type of fish to get though, I’m at a complete loss. How many fish can I even put in the 20 gal? I obviously have a lot of planning to do.

Let me hear your suggestions as to what type and how many fish I should get. I’m open to just about any ideas.
 
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AquaticQueen

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Welcome to Fishlore!
The filtration plan sounds good. For the sponge filter, I would recommend trying to get one rated for a 30 gallon tank or larger.

For stocking, how about this?
3 honey gourami (1 male, 2 female)
8 neon or cardinal tetras
8 kuhli loaches
I know some people shudder at the thought of kuhlis, but I like them. If you don't like them, 6 cory catfish that are temperature compatible would be great too.

For a second stock option, this would work too.
2 apistogramma cacatuoides (1 male, 1 female)
8 neon or cardinal tetras
7-8 cory cats or kuhli loaches
 
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Maryellen

Maryellen

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AquaticQueen said:
Welcome to Fishlore!
The filtration plan sounds good. For the sponge filter, I would recommend trying to get one rated for a 30 gallon tank or larger.

For stocking, how about this?
3 honey gourami (1 male, 2 female)
8 neon or cardinal tetras
8 kuhli loaches
I know some people shudder at the thought of kuhlis, but I like them. If you don't like them, 6 cory catfish that are temperature compatible would be great too.

For a second stock option, this would work too.
2 apistogramma cacatuoides (1 male, 1 female)
8 neon or cardinal tetras
7-8 cory cats or kuhli loaches
I had to look up most these fish to even know what they look like, but I LOVE the looks of the honey Gouramis. They’re a go for sure! I figured I’d have some kind of tetras in this tank, Preferably neons, but do they reproduce quickly? The kuhlis are pretty cute too, do you think I could do 4 kuhli loaches and three or so Cory catfish? I also really like the looks of fancy guppies, would they be a pain to keep the population in control?
 

AquaticQueen

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Maryellen said:
I had to look up most these fish to even know what they look like, but I LOVE the looks of the honey Gouramis. They’re a go for sure! I figured I’d have some kind of tetras in this tank, Preferably neons, but do they reproduce quickly? The kuhlis are pretty cute too, do you think I could do 4 kuhli loaches and three or so Cory catfish?
Neon tetras are not like guppies and do not reproduce very fast.

Kuhlis and corys both need to be kept in groups of at least 6, unfortunately. It would be better for the fish to do one large school instead of 2 small ones.
 
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Maryellen

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AquaticQueen said:
Neon tetras are not like guppies and do not reproduce very fast.

Kuhlis and corys both need to be kept in groups of at least 6, unfortunately. It would be better for the fish to do one large school instead of 2 small ones.
I like that the Kuhlis are different then most aquarium fish, but they’re bottom level fish, right? Do you even see them most the time?
 

AquaticQueen

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Maryellen said:
I like that the Kuhlis are different then most aquarium fish, but they’re bottom level fish, right? Do you even see them most the time?
Yes, kuhli loaches are bottom dwellers.
Kuhli loaches can be pretty shy when kept in small groups and I probably wouldn't keep them in groups smaller than 8, ten would probably be preferable.
 

SouthAmericanCichlids

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I would go for Cories, I've heard khulis tend to be wild caught and have parasites. And here are some more possible stocking options:

1.
a. 4 pea puffers (They have huge personalities, are very small and look good)


2.
a. a GBR (German Blue ram) pair
b. 8 tetras (Almost any type besides a few will work (Make sure they are 4 in. or under)
c. 8 cories


3.
a. a fancy goldfish (I think they should have bigger tanks but some say they can do well in a planted 20g.


4.
a. an angel (Again I say no, but it is debatable)


5.
a. Betta (have a backup just in case but they should be fine)
b. 8 tetras
c. 8 cories
or instead of those two
b. 4 guppies


6.
a. 2 male or 2 female swordtails
b. 8 cories
c. 10 rosy barbs (Could nip the other fish, but probably with 10 they won't and if you have female swords they won't have much to nip at, but with males you will PROBABLY be fine)
 

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Maryellen said:
I had to look up most these fish to even know what they look like, but I LOVE the looks of the honey Gouramis. They’re a go for sure! I figured I’d have some kind of tetras in this tank, Preferably neons, but do they reproduce quickly? The kuhlis are pretty cute too, do you think I could do 4 kuhli loaches and three or so Cory catfish? I also really like the looks of fancy guppies, would they be a pain to keep the population in control?
If you like honey gouramis I suggest getting 4 of those, 6 java loaches and 10 Boraras maculatus. Nice, balanced, asian themed stocking.
 
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Maryellen

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SouthAmericanCichlids said:
I would go for Cories, I've heard khulis tend to be wild caught and have parasites. And here are some more possible stocking options:

1.
a. 4 pea puffers (They have huge personalities, are very small and look good)


2.
a. a GBR (German Blue ram) pair
b. 8 tetras (Almost any type besides a few will work (Make sure they are 4 in. or under)
c. 8 cories


3.
a. a fancy goldfish (I think they should have bigger tanks but some say they can do well in a planted 20g.


4.
a. an angel (Again I say no, but it is debatable)


5.
a. Betta (have a backup just in case but they should be fine)
b. 8 tetras
c. 8 cories
or instead of those two
b. 4 guppies


6.
a. 2 male or 2 female swordtails
b. 8 cories
c. 10 rosy barbs (Could nip the other fish, but probably with 10 they won't and if you have female swords they won't have much to nip at, but with males you will PROBABLY be fine)
As of right now I think I plan on getting honey gourami, and some Cory catfish. For sure. Could I put a blue ram pair in with those fish? And then would adding a small school of tetras be too much?
 

SouthAmericanCichlids

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I think if you had the gourami and the rams alone you would be heavily stocked, but maybe... Also they both can be aggressive fish so they might fight.
 
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Maryellen

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FinalFins said:
If you like honey gouramis I suggest getting 4 of those, 6 java loaches and 10 Boraras maculatus. Nice, balanced, asian themed stocking.
What other fish could I get instead of the boraras maculatus? I did some reading on them, and I’m not sure if I could keep my water parameters as steady as they’d like at first.
 

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I would not recommend keeping kulhi loaches in a 20 tall. They love to snake along the substrate and in my opinion and experience with them they prefer a larger foot print. If it were a 20 long I'd say go for it.

For a large cory substitute you could do pygmy cories. Dwarf rasboras do not need acidic waters to thrive in that you are reading. It does help for breeding, but they can be fine in slightly alkaline pH. You could also do kubotia rasboras.
 
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Maryellen

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Okay, how does this sound;

4 honey gouramis
5 Cory catfish
6 tetras (can i do both neons &cardinal tetras?)
And possibly some snails?

I think I might be being a bit ambitious with this many fish...
 

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I think that the cories are a bit, pushing the boat over the edge. There would be fighting in between the gouramis, if there are multiple males. The cories would be caught in the fight and the cories require a good bit of gallons. Also, if you want plastic plants, snails would be fine, but if you want real... Well, the snails would eat the plants. Neon tetra and cardinal aren't that different so it doesn't matter, if you get rid of the cories, then you can have 10 tetra.
 
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Maryellen

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FishBoy101 said:
I think that the cories are a bit, pushing the boat over the edge. There would be fighting in between the gouramis, if there are multiple males. The cories would be caught in the fight and the cories require a good bit of gallons. Also, if you want plastic plants, snails would be fine, but if you want real... Well, the snails would eat the plants. Neon tetra and cardinal aren't that different so it doesn't matter, if you get rid of the cories, then you can have 10 tetra.
Alright..
4 honey gouramis
10 tetras (5neon 5cardinal)
And some snails

Is there any type of bottom feeder that I can get that won’t need to be with others?
 

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