Please help me choose fish for my 20 gal tank

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Please help me choose fish for my 20 gal tank

Postby Moo2 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:59 am

Hello. I have never participated in a forum before, so I hope you will be kind! I bought a betta two months ago. Being a novice, I bought a 1 gal, then 2.5, now I have a 5 gal. He's happy and healthy, and, since I bought him, I've done quite a bit of research about bettas, and I take very good care of him. Because I've enjoyed my new pet so much, I bought a 20 gal tank. I live in a small but cozy apartment, so this is as big as I can house. Again, I've been researching. I haven't put in all the decorations, but I did go ahead and fill it with water, adding conditioner and a bit of water from my betta's tank. I don't want to chemically cycle it because it's too complicated for me. Instead, I'm going to let it "stew" for a week or so before I add fish. Here's what I'm thinking: 6 zebra danios, 2 cherry barbs, and 1 otto. Do I need to have 2 ottos? I chose these fish because they seem to have similar requirements in temperature and water type. I plan to add the danios first. How long should I wait before adding the barbs? How long before the otto? Am I overstocking? I've read that I should put plants around the back and sides and leave plenty of space for swimming. How about a few caves for the fish to retreat in? Please advise.
Oh yes, I have a good filter and heater. I believe I have a good set up. Thank you for whatever help you can give me.
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Re: Please help me choose fish for my 20 gal tank

Postby Carylnz » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:14 am

Hi and welcome.
What are the actual dimensions of the tank? A lower, wide tank can stock more than a narrow but tall one.
"Stewing" the tank with nothing in it but water will do nothing except allow you to check the heater has settled at the right temperature.
You can run the filter from the new tank in the fighter's tank and this will start the cycle. I would add the cherries first to add to the bacteria build-up then the danois. I would leave any ottos for 3 or more months down the line once the tank has established itself a bit more.
The ottos would like caves and plants to hide in but the others only need plants.
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Re: Please help me choose fish for my 20 gal tank

Postby Moo2 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:09 am

My tank is tall rather than wide. I think it's 24"x18"by something else in depth. I would rather not run the filter from my betta's tank as I just set it up and today got it just right. It's a 5.5 gal and the filter was producing quite a current. With some plants carefully arranged, I've been able to calm the current, while keeping good filtration. I don't want to mess it up.

I did use water from my betta's tank and some food to start my 20 gal. I have to wait for a couple of weeks until I get paid to buy fish. So should I start with 2 cherries or more?

Your advise is quite helpful. Thank you for responding to me so soon.

If I can figure it out, I will try and upload a photo of my set up.
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Re: Please help me choose fish for my 20 gal tank

Postby Carylnz » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:50 am

The water will have very little bacteria in it and what there was from that and the fish food will not keep the bacteria going as they continually need to eat and will die without more food (unless you are still adding fish food).
If you are adding food before the fish you will need to test the water before adding any fish at all.
Cherry barbs, although a "shoaling" fish, do not actually shoal (in my experience) unless they are in a much bigger tank and you have a lot more of them. Two will be fine but they will show their colours more if you have 6 or more, especially the males.
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Re: Please help me choose fish for my 20 gal tank

Postby Moo2 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:47 am

I've been adding a bit of food each day to the tank. I will have the water tested this weekend. I wouldn't mind putting in 6 cherry barbs. I'm not interested in breeding, so can I put in mostly males since their color is so nice? Or will they fight? Can I mix cherry and rosy barbs? what ratio? Also I've been thinking of having red minor tetras instead of barbs. Any opinions/suggestions? Thanks again for your advice.
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Re: Please help me choose fish for my 20 gal tank

Postby Carylnz » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:52 pm

You can have all male cherry barbs.
You can mix cherry and rosy barbs.
Do not add more than 6 cherry sized fish at a time.
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Re: Please help me choose fish for my 20 gal tank

Postby Moo2 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:57 am

Thanks! I found another good website and learned that instead of putting in fish food everyday into the tank, I can use a shrimp to feed the bacteria as it cycles. So tonight I added the decorations and I wrapped a shrimp in some cheese cloth and dropped it in. My beta seemed quite fascinated as I worked on the tank which is next to his own. Even now he swims over and gazes into it. I wonder what his reaction will be when his new neighbors move in!

Oh yes, if I chopped up a piece of shrimp very fine, can I feed it to my betta? Right now he eats freeze dried brine shrimp and blood worms and flakes. Not all at once, of course! I mix it up. He hates pellets and spits them out. He loves flakes. I give him a few, and follow it up with a worm or shrimp. It's funny because when he finishes eating the flakes, he looks straight at me as if to say, "Okay, Lady. Bring on the main course."
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