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Old 01-18-2017, 01:44 AM   #1
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Can I add more fish or am I at maximum density?

Hello! I've been having so much fun getting into the aquarium hobby with my grandchildren. This website is amazing, there's so much information available - & so much to learn!

I have a 20-gallon high aquarium with a biofilter for up to 40 gallons, & I added additional sponge, replaced the charcoal with Seachem purigen. I also have an airstone and keep the temperature at 77-78 degrees. We have very hard well water & use a softener, so I added a wondershell and an almond leaf. I do 1/3 - 1/2 tank water changes regularly every 1-2 weeks & use Tetra safe start.

The tank is planted with 15 mostly low-light low-tech plants (anubias, java fern, java moss, mini sword, bolbitis, bacopa, wisteria & marimo, & 1 melon sword. (I may give away the melon sword since I don't do Co2 or ferts.)

My current tank population consists of:
3 amano shrimp
5 ghost shrimp
1 golden mystery snail
2 nerite snails
1 betta (mellow)
8 neon tetras
4 black kuhli loaches (all my lfs had in stock)

Am I maxed out now density-wise? I'd like to add 3 red cherry shrimp for more color, 5-8 more neon tetras, and 2 more kuhli loaches because they're so much fun to watch (our 4 loaches seem very relaxed - they hang out all over everything & often do ferris-wheel circles during the day).
Thanks for any advice & suggestions - I really appreciate the help!

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Old 01-18-2017, 02:18 AM   #2
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I don't really do shrimp (my cichlids just eat them), but I know that ghost and cherry shrimp are pretty small. I can't imagine them adding too much to the bio-load. IMO - and someone else may have another, better answer - there shouldn't be a problem adding a few more tetras, kuhlis, and cherry shrimp.

150g long S Amer cichlid; 90g C Amer cichlid; 90g Malawi cichlid; 40g Tanganyika cichlid; 29g "Shellie" cichlid; 29g Pea Puffer. 6,500g koi/native catfish pond; several smaller ponds
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Old 01-18-2017, 08:27 AM   #3
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Ghost shrimp eat snails.
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Old 01-18-2017, 11:35 AM   #4
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A taller tank is going to need more frequent water changes to keep the water pure enough so oxygen mixes easily. I would change at least half the tank water weekly. More often is better, if you can manage it. An air stone is helpful to keep the surface water moving and allow oxygen to mix with the water and to allow carbon dioxide to escape.

I would let the tank run for a few weeks and follow a good water change routine. Test the tank water every few days to make sure you have no traces of ammonia or nitrite and that nitrates are no more than 40 ppm. If everything is running well, then you could add a few more shrimp or small fish. Add them slowly, you don't want to overwork your bacteria colony and stress the tank water chemistry.

"Fear not, my young apprentice. Just change the tank water."
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Old 01-18-2017, 12:39 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone for the input, & good advice. SherLar, thanks for the bioload info. Nirbhao, I read that about some ghost shrimp, but other than testing to see if the snails were edible when first placed together, my gs have been very polite. They will gently clean the snail shells, but they are not aggressive at all. My tank is very densely planted, so they have alot of nooks and craannies to keep them occupied.

BBradbury, I didn't realize the tall tank / less oxygen issue, thank you. I thought a more densely planted tank would help with O2 / Co2, but I can definitely do more frequent water changes. I will also get a small bubble wall vs the airstone to keep water moving. With the betta I did put a sponge over the filter intake.

So far after 6 months, my water is nice and clear with minimal algae (whew!), and amonia / nitrates are both within the lowest range on the API tests.

I appreciate all your suggestions, and will start with a few rcs, then look at adding a few tetras and kuhlis further down the road if the water perameters allow.
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Old 01-18-2017, 09:34 PM   #6
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If you're not sure you can go on aqadvisor.com and put in all the fish, tank size, and filter size and it says how often water changes are needed and how full the tank is.
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Old 01-19-2017, 12:57 AM   #7
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Be careful with your ghost shrimp! they can become carnivores and attack other things like your ornamental shrimp or even eachother.

And I LOVE my kuhli loaches. I would say get 3 more instead of 2. idk why but multiple sources i have read say to get them in odd numbers. You will be happier the more of them you get because they will exhibit more natural/happier behavior.

and taller tanks have less surface area for gas exchange to take place. so longer is better when it comes to oxygenation. also most fish prefer long tanks over tall tanks because it offers more maneuverability.

as for adding new fish I think you could probably add the 3 more kuhlis and add your cherry shrimp but I don't think you can add another group of schooling fish comfortably.

However I think if you upgraded to a 30 long tank then you could add that other school pretty easily and comfortably. as well as bumping the neons up to 10
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Old 01-19-2017, 12:33 PM   #8
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Thanks GuppyGuy - are you saying that our now seemingly ghost shrimp can change into carnivorous attackers? So they might try to eat the rcs? Yikes. They're well fed - new life spectrum pellets and they have alot of plants / rocks to explore & scavange.

I'd love to upgrade to a larger tank, but we will be listing our home to sell shortly & right now the 20 takes up all the space I have. Hopefully I can convince my husband after we're moved that we NEED a larger tank

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