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New To The Hobby, 20 Gallon Long Stocking Ideas?

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JPB2012

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Hi, I am very new to this hobby, and I'm going to get a 20 gallon long soon, and I need stocking ideas. 2 fish that I would like to keep are a dwarf gourami, and neon tetras. What are some other fish that will get along with them and not overload my filter (I plan on over filtrating).
Thanks!
 
Hi JPB, in order to help, the guys on this forum need your water parameters :)
This is the hardness (GH and KH) and pH.

You want to make sure your tank is cycled properly. There is a really good guide on the tank cycling part of this forum, and as you dont have any fish yet id highly recommend reading it and performing a fishless cycle :)

Id then spend the 4-6 weeks that youre cycling doing your research online and then suggesting multiple ideas and have people tell you if its ok or not.

A good guide to quantity is 1 inch of adult length fish per US gallon of water in the tank. But with this bear in mind that a 4inch plec will produce way more waste than 2 2inch cory cats. This is a rough guide.

I currently have 8 cherry barbs in my 16g tank. Very pretty fish that are hardy and relatively cheap :) these need to be kept in a shoal of atleast 6.

Corydoras are also very popular fish to have on the bottom levels of your tank. They need to be in a group of 5 or 6 plus really, but they are great.

The guys on here will be able to help greatly but we really need to know your parameters as not all fish will survive in all water types. Your local fish store (LFS) should be able to test your water for you - often for free, however its recommended you get the API master testkit for fresh water. Its easy to use, accurate and will last you a very very long time.
 
As marnold mentioned, we need your parameters.  You should be able to find these on the web site of your municipal water authority if you are on municipal water (as opposed to private well).
 
A comment on your plan to "over filter."  This is realistically not possible, nor desirable.  "Filtration" in the sense of the biological processes that occur in an aquarium will be at the level determined by the fish load.  Provided you don't over-stock, there should be no problems.  Adding more "filters" in the sense of equipment is pointless and has no benefit, since the "natural filtration" will be whatever it is by itself, filter or no filter.
 
There is another important aspect to this, and that is the water flow.  Larger or more "filters" (= the equipment) can create strong currents that many fish do not appreciate, and a fish constantly battling currents will wear itself out faster.  A few fish need currents, but most forest fish (like the gourami and tetras mentioned) do not.
 
For a 20g long, intended for forest fish, I would use a simple sponge filter (connected to an air pump), or a small internal sponge filter that is just a sponge with a small motor head which avoids the need for an external air pump.
 
As for stocking, once we have the water parameters we will be able to suggest suitable fish.  I would however mention that dwarf gourami is not a particularly good fish to consider.  First, this species is still a danger for a disease called iridovirus, which cannot be treated; if you obtain the fish from a reliable breeder, or know the source (meaning the breeding facility, not the store), it may be safe.  But dwarf gourami sold in most stores, especially the chain stores, should be avoided.  The second issue is that you may end up with very small fish, and these can be eaten by gourami.  A 20g long is not much space to the fish, and it will be more successful and enjoyable if you stock it with smaller fish, as you will have more of them for a more interesting display.
 
Byron.
 
Thanks for all of the tips!
First, considering Byron's comment on dwarf gouramis, what other fish do you think would make a good "centerpiece," or something along the lines on that. 
I live in Phoenix, in case I don't mention something that is important, here is the like to their water quality page https://www.phoenix.gov/waterservices/waterquality and https://www.phoenix.gov/waterservicessite/Documents/wsdwqr2014.pdf
I think we have hard water, on their website it says 205-291 ppm. My PH is 6.5-8.5.
Thank you for all the help, if there is anything else I can help you to help me with, let me know. 
 
              -Justin
 
That report indicates the GH is somewhere between 205 and 291 ppm, which equates to 11-16 dGH.  This is fairly hard water.  Alkalinity (this is carbonate hardness, which serves to buffer pH avoiding fluctuations) is 125-198 ppm (= 7 to 11 dKH).  The pH is between 7 and 8.
 
Soft water fish, like neon tetras, are not going to be at their best with this water.  Adjusting parameters is not that easy, especially when lowering the GH/KH/pH.  And by the way, the GH/KH has to be the target; if this lowers, the pH will follow, but trying to lower the pH with chemicals will fail because of the high GH/KH which will work to prevent this.  The safe way to lower GH/KH/pH is by diluting the tap water with "pure" water.  You can go down this road, but most of us find it is easier to find fish suited to what comes out of the tap, so I won't get bogged down with methods.  It makes regular partial water changes much easier, not only the weekly ones but any emergency water changes.
 
I always have to put on my heavy thinking cap when coming up with smallish fish for harder water, as I am a soft-water aquarist.  The obvious are livebearers which are ideally suited to your water, but these (mollies, swordtails) get too large for a 20g, though platies might work, and guppies and Endlers.  Rift lake cichlids also love hard water, but they need a lot of space, the exception being the "shellies" from Lake Tanganyika.  A group of Celstial Pearl Danios (Galaxy Rasbora is another name) is an option.  Some of the smaller rainbowfish might work.  Let's see what other members more experienced in this area come up with; there is bound to be several fish that can manage.
 
Byron said:
That report indicates the GH is somewhere between 205 and 291 ppm, which equates to 11-16 dGH.  This is fairly hard water.  Alkalinity (this is carbonate hardness, which serves to buffer pH avoiding fluctuations) is 125-198 ppm (= 7 to 11 dKH).  The pH is between 7 and 8.
 
Soft water fish, like neon tetras, are not going to be at their best with this water.  
I do have a water softener in my house, but because you have to re-filter the water after you soften it for water changes, it's easier if I would be able to use my regular water. However, I have been in love with neon tetras since I first saw them. I have a friend who works at a place where they could test how hard that water is if you would like to know. 
Also it would be great if you cold continue with hard water fish suggestions for a 20 gallon long if you think of them :) 
 
Also I always have the option of distilled water.
 
JPB2012 said:
 
That report indicates the GH is somewhere between 205 and 291 ppm, which equates to 11-16 dGH.  This is fairly hard water.  Alkalinity (this is carbonate hardness, which serves to buffer pH avoiding fluctuations) is 125-198 ppm (= 7 to 11 dKH).  The pH is between 7 and 8.
 
Soft water fish, like neon tetras, are not going to be at their best with this water.  
I do have a water softener in my house, but because you have to re-filter the water after you soften it for water changes, it's easier if I would be able to use my regular water. However, I have been in love with neon tetras since I first saw them. I have a friend who works at a place where they could test how hard that water is if you would like to know. 
Also it would be great if you cold continue with hard water fish suggestions for a 20 gallon long if you think of them
smile.png

 
 
Many water softeners use sodium salts (= what we commonly call salt, as aquarium salt or table salt) to reduce hard mineral salts ("salts" here means the salts of various minerals, not salt as in table salt).  This is even worse for fish.  You need to know how this softener works.  But given that you have to filter the water before using it, I would assume this is not going to be good for fish.  Humans can tolerate higher levels of many minerals than fish can.
 
Endlers! Super fun little fish that are always on the move and playing. You can get really pretty ones and they are super small bodied and don't create a lot of waste. There are some really pretty guppies out there as well. But I'm a huge Endler fan. All males as you don't want a sardine can in a few weeks! [emoji4]


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
I do have a reverse osmosis system available, but it is unfavorable if there are good hard water fish that I like. I like Danios and live bearers though :) I may end up going with distilled water after I go check the prices at the stores around me because I do love me some tropical fish :) 
 

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