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something interesting in 20g

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Mar 5, 2023
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looking for something interesting or uncommon for a mildly planted 20gal with lots of filtration...
i would like to stay away from livebearers, bettas, tetras, barbs, kribs and apistos if possible but nothing TOO big
i've been really into game fish, native fish, some small cichlids, spiny eels, and dwarf snakeheads/ rainbow snakeheads (unfortunately this would be rather difficult to do per the legality issues), but can't find anything quite small enough to fit in the tank i have... i already have too many tanks with little guys tho lol
any interesting or oddball fish ideas that look nice and would live happily in a 20 gal is appreciated
In a 20 gallon Panda Garra would fit with 3-5 fish. Very active and human friendly. LOL! Human friendly is an understatement! Put your hand in the tank to do stuff and the critters will attach to your hand. Max size is ~3 inches. Very VERY active and fun fish and good algae eaters. They are reported to even eat black beard algae.

Panda Garra on hand-small.jpg
Not a fish but a single Axolotl would enjoy that setup nicely (I had one in a 20g a few years ago).....obviously State legislation allowing, they are facinating creatures and very interactive with their human company. Easy to care for (no lights, no heat, good filtration, no rocks/stones smaller than 3" cos they eat them. plants to mess about and play hide and seek in and soft substrate)
Since you have kept mainly fish, you should try something different like shrimps, crayfish or crabs.

For shrimps, you can keep with some smaller fish like the Chili Rasboras which won't eat the shrimplets.
Get a group of 20 Chili Rasboras.
Also, get the more hardy Neocaridina shrimps like the Cherry, Fire Red, Blue or Yellow Shrimps.

For crabs like Fiddler crabs, you can also keep them with shrimps. But crabs will destroy the plants.

Panther crab is a fully aquatic and has very nice colours but you can't mix it with other crabs as it may kill each other.
But it can be mixed with shrimps or some small top level fish such as the Chili Rasboras, Clown Killifish, etc.

However, if you still like fish, you can consider smaller fish like Sparkling Gouramis, Clown Kilifish, etc.
Wild Bettas... just had to. I know you said ''no Bettas'', but wilds are very different than the usual Bettas. Since you like snakeheads, Snakehead Betta (B. Channoides) is what first came to mind, but those would prefer a pH of 6. B. Simplex on the other hand prefer hardwater, and are super cool. Just a bit hard to find.

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