December 24, 2012
Hey all, new member and beginner fishkeeper here!
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 with the dimensions of 24"L x 12"W x 20"H. The filter I'll be using is the Topfin Power Filter 20. 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. I'd really like to have a few gouramis (probably dwarf), if that's at all possible.
One of the main things that concerns me is the fact that I have hard water, and I know that greatly limits the types of fish I can stock my tank with. Honestly, I don't know what my exact water parameters are, but I will be getting my test kit Thursday so I will post them then.
Secondly, I'm considering whether to plant my tank or to just get fake plants, but since it depends on the fish I'm getting, any pros or cons to each would be helpful.
Any advice and suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!
March 14, 2009
A couple of quick thoughts. While there's nothing wrong with a standard 20gal tall, I much prefer the 29gal. Same tank but 6 inches longer. Not much more expense but will give you more options with stocking. Do you have filter, heater, lights? I highly recommend aquaclear for hang on the back filters, Eheim cannisters & heaters. Filtration & water flow will depend somewhat on the fish you choose. I'd probably go with fake plants to start. Maybe try something easy like java fern, anubias, hygrophila later on and see how they do. It will depend a lot on your lighting.
I'd recommend a trip to your local fish shops if you haven't already to see what's available and what catches your eye. Take a sample of your tap water and get the results for Kh, Gh, Ph and post the results. Beware taking fish shop advice. Some are good but many will tell you anything to make a sale. Good that you're asking these questions before buying.
May 2, 2012
for now let me just join in the welcome. Plaamoo has said everything that can be said given the stage of your planning so far.
Just a word as a bit of food for thought, since you obviously haven't bought the tank yet. Any tank 20" high is a waste of space unless you want to keep really high backed species like discus or angels. If you take the volume of that 20 gallon tank and restrict the hight to 12", which is plenty enough for most commonly kept species, you'll end up with a length of 40" and I think it's quite obvious that you'd have a lot more options with that. I don't know where you live and if tanks like that are available there but as a general rule, always go for length of the tank over hight! Will be watching for updates.
March 14, 2009
Agree with Rudiger. I believe the measurements that you posted Mea are actually for a 25 gal. I missed that. A typical 20 high/tall is 24x12x17(mine are actually 16 1/2" tall), the 29gal is 30x12x18. A 20 long is 30x12x12. I assume you're in the U.S. Mea as you used inches & gallons but it would help if everyone would add locations to their profiles.
October 2, 2012
If you still are in the researching stage, I recommend checking out Natural Planted Tanks. They are pretty low maintenance and it has been a pleasure to work with in my experience. I started my first tank about 6 months ago with that method I've found it very enjoyable, plus I've had no problems with algae and my fish are very healthy. You can check out the El Natural forum on Aquatic Plant Central to read more, or if you're ambitious and in for a detailed read you could get the book by the main scholar on the subject called "The Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" by Diana Walstad. Here are the basics:
- Substrate with dirt covered by gravel
- A ton of plants
- low to medium lighting (I use a couple of cheap clip on work lights from home depot with spiral flourescent department store bulbs)
- Little or no filtration (I don't use a filter, but other people use them. I guess it's preference. The plants are basically the filters)
- very low maintenance (no gravel vacuuming required; just do a small water change every few months)
Good luck! I'm glad you've done your research and know the cycle and everything . Lots of people just get fish on a whim.
May 2, 2012
..............I assume you're in the U.S. Mea as you used inches & gallons.............
For those of us who deal in cm and liters, it would greatly help to know whether we are talking US gallons (3.78541178 liters) or imperial gallons (4.54609 liters). You'd agree that it makes a bit of a difference, even if you simplify that to 3.8 and 4.55 liters respctively.
This is not meant as criticism but rather a suggestion towards better comprehension.
December 29, 2011
If you haven't got the tank yet, then you can still afford to look at many different species of fish. You mentioned that you would like to keep several species, which is almost always the case when one sets up that first tank. As it is in your case, the volume of water available is not going to be huge. In my experience, the main thing to avoid in such circumstances, is squeezing fish into a tank where they do not belong (because they are beautiful, interesting and we want them all).
My point is that although you want several species, it may be easier to select one species that you want most and build the tank around it. The more 'main' species you select the more tank plans you end up with - one for each. When you are buying your tank you then choose the best one for the main species.
If you are planning on keeping dwarf gouramis, I believe the popular recommendation are Trichopsis species over the uncertain and often problematic Trichogaster lalius and chuna.
January 20, 2013
I am not sure where you are at with all this but I am in agreement with plaamoo on the size. I guarantee that a 20 gallon will not satisfy you after about 60 days. A 29 gallon is a good size - not too big but not too small either. With regard to the fish - keep it simple at first and start slow. It is very tempting to to get lots of fish to fill up the space. Pace yourself and do research before adding additional fish. Good Luck!
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