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Old 02-07-2016, 11:51 PM   #1
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Hello from a new fish enthusiast!

Hi everyone . I'm starting up my first fish tank (since I was a kid), and have been doing lots of internet research for the past few weeks! I'm a marine biologist just finishing up my PhD. Although my study species (seals and sea lions) are much larger than the ones you'll find in my aquarium, I've always been interested in all marine life.

I just set up a 20 gallon freshwater tank, and have been doing fishless cycling for about a month. My levels are now 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, and ~5 ppm nitrate. I haven't added any fish yet so I'm still adding ~2 ml ammonia to the tank every day to keep the cycle going. My pH is on the high side (8.2) and I know that I have "hard" tap water -- but my API kit doesn't have a hardness test so I'm not sure of the exact levels.

I added two live plants to the aquarium but confess that I didn't do quite enough research before adding them so I'm not positive of the species and I'm not sure that my tank conditions are adequate. I've been using Aqueon plant food, but one of the plants is turning a little brown around the leaf edges -- possibly the tank lighting that came with my setup isn't good enough?

My main question for now is -- any stocking suggestions regarding species and number of fish? I've read that fish like platies, guppies, rainbow fish, and mollies do well in hard water, high pH environments. I think my tank is almost ready to be stocked, once I decide which fish to get!

Sorry for the long post! Thanks in advance for any advice, and I'm happy to be joining the community!
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Old 02-10-2016, 05:52 AM   #2
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Hi,

Welcome to the forum

I would be tempted on guppies for sure.

My thought is that the fish ancestry is important for their water chemistry preference but if your water is similar to the fish shop, they should be fine. Most fish will adjust (although some are particular).
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Old 02-10-2016, 06:31 AM   #3
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Is it a 20 long or 20 high? Do you have sand or gravel? If gravel are the rocks smooth or a little rough?

Most of the big box pet stores don't have many high light plants so if you bought them there I doubt that it's a lighting issue, though nicer lights are always nice. Depending on the plant some do better with the roots buried in substrate others like to sort of attach themselves to wood or rocks. Post some pics and I can try to help. Also sometimes the plant food can melt the leaves, if you're committed to a planted tank I highly recommend considering co2.

As for what to stock with! In our 20long we have a school of Cory cats, I find the albinos to be the most sea lion-esque in personality. The other variety we kept did a lot of hiding. They like sand the best but can tolerate smooth stones. They shoot sand through the gills when foraging. They also dig up some plants until the roots are established but they're SO worth it! Guppies are baby factories so if you're okay with that go for it, plus the Cory cat will probably help with population control.

My sample list for you:
6 albino Cory cats
4 fancy guppies (3 female , 1 male)
8 cherry shrimp
3 Nerite snails (add last once the bio film is established) they're great for planted tanks because though they lay (somewhat annoying eggs) they can't reproduce in fresh water and they don't eat live plants only the dead material. I've had them completely clean an Anubis leaf that was COVERED in brown soft Algae.

Hope this helps😁




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Old 02-11-2016, 06:05 PM   #4
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Thank you very much for your replies! My tank is a 20 high with gravel. I'm attaching a photo of the plant that seems to be having issues (and the gravel as well). I'm still adding plant food, but I started this after I noticed the leaves browning around the edges, so I don't think that's the source of my problem (but I'm not sure!). Thank you for the stocking suggestions as well
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Old 02-11-2016, 07:01 PM   #5
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That's a sword not sure the scientific name but those do like be planted just as you have it. Flourish will melt those leaves though--I know you said you use something else but I'm not familiar with the product you mentioned. They're also low light so they'll be okay with your current lighting-they'll do better with a little up grade, add some co2 and you'll have runners growing all over! To be honest my husband is the plant and hard ware guy I just deal with the fish and inverts. So if you have more specific questions I can ask him


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Old 02-11-2016, 07:02 PM   #6
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Also that gravel will be OK with Cory cats


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Old 02-17-2016, 02:32 PM   #7
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