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Old 07-30-2011, 09:53 AM   #1
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(Light) Stocking Ideas - 20 Gal

For those of you unfamiliar with my cycling issues, here's a quick summary:

Been fishless cycling a 20 gal since mid-June; this is my 2nd attempt. Even after adding a seeded sponge filter and two sponge pads ammonia is only dropping .5 per night. I've never had nitrites and nitrates are currently 20-30. Read the sordid details here.

So, on the advice of the excellent members here, I think I may try to start lightly stocking this tank within the next week or two. I need help with what to stock and where to get the fish. (Please note that my situation is unusual....don't try this at home ).

My setup as of today is:
  • 20 gal high (24"w x 12"d x 17"h) glass aquarium
  • standard 24" florescent light.
  • fake plastic plants so far (which I hate so am going to get some silk ones and I may get some live plants as well)
  • standard aquarium decor (fake driftwood pieces which I'm going to add a few more along with some rocks).
  • black aquarium gravel
  • heater
  • air stone

For filters I have:
  • Aquaclear 20 HOB with 2 sponges and biomax
  • internal Fluval U2 with two sponge pads with carbon pads attached and biomax in the middle.
  • internal mag sponge filter

I've done some research and I know what I'd like my ideal tank to look like.....however this isn't an ideal situation. I need to pick one of my stocking options to add first, keeping in mind that depending on what my tank does this may be the only stock I may ever be able to keep in there.

So, here's what I was thinking for the full stock and then I'll ask some questions:
  • A school of Celestial Pearl Danios (6-10)
  • King Cobra Guppies (3-4)? (negotiable)
  • Dwarf or Honey Gourami (1) (negotiable)
  • 2-4 Otos (negotiable and maybe not feasible)

Questions based on the above:

1. I'm not good at stocking at all, so it's quite possible the above isn't even possible or at least not for a while, or it might even be overstocking? Any issues/concerns with those fish in terms of compatibility in the long-run? I want a peaceful community tank.

2. What to add first? I was thinking of either going with the Celestials or Guppies, keeping in mind whatever I add may end up being the only fish I can have in there, at least for a long while.

Any thoughts on which to add now? I am really in love with the Celestials but I know they can be shy as well. I'd be inclined to add them first b/c if they are the only fish I can have in there I would be happy as long as I can actually see them once in a while! Plus if they are added first they might be more comfortable and on the off-chance I can add another fish later it might reduce aggression/territory issues.

3. I have a lot more questions but this is getting long already

Now, where to buy the fish is another big issue. I've only seen the Celestials at one LFS here so far and I wouldn't buy from them (their tanks are questionable). I've heard mixed reviews about LiveAquaria (ich issues, etc). Unfortunately Severum Mama on here doesn't have them in stock as of now or else I'd go with her (unless anyone knows of reputable members on this site that might have some?). I've also seen AquaBid but I'm leery of them too. The only place I've seen the Cobra Guppies so far here is PetSmart and this particular one's tanks are rather dirty (at least they seem that way to me) although I've never seen any actual diseased fish, at least not Ich which is probably the only disease I'd be able to notice right off.

So I guess the short of it is: Guppies or Celestials first? How many? And any thoughts on where to get them?

I also forgot to add that I do have a baby snail in the tank now. It was a hitch-hiker I acquired. Not sure what type it is, I think it might be a Ramshorn due to the swirly shell, but it's VERY tiny, a few centimeters. If at all possible I'd like to avoid fish that would eat it.

Thanks and sorry for the long post (I could go on with temp requirements, feeding, etc, but I'll leave it here for now).
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:00 AM   #2
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I have cpd's in my 10g and they hid for quite a lot of the time until I added the Ember Tetras, that seemed to bring them out of their shells a bit so to speak. They are way cool little boogers and I would assume that based on their size they have a light bio-load (have been following your cycling thread ). I'm not familiar with the guppies I'm afraid.
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:04 AM   #3
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I recommend adding 2 guppies and 2 of the celestials for now. Ottos need to be in a tank that has some algae. You will get that soon enough.

Plants. Get as many as you can. I would leave them in the plastic pots too for now. 1 reason is, if they are in an established tank at the lfs; seed material for the bb
The other is, plastic and silk plants don't look as nice. Knowing you, you're gonna get them anyway, so don't waste your money on something you're gonna throw out.

Good luck I am glad you punted. You can handle a fish in cycle.

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Old 07-30-2011, 10:07 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ickletas View Post
I have cpd's in my 10g and they hid for quite a lot of the time until I added the Ember Tetras, that seemed to bring them out of their shells a bit so to speak. They are way cool little boogers and I would assume that based on their size they have a light bio-load (have been following your cycling thread ). I'm not familiar with the guppies I'm afraid.
Thanks! How many CPDs do you have in there?

I'm not "married" to the guppies, and again I may not even be able to add them or if I can it won't be for a while. I just love the patterns and colors of those particular ones. I love "odd" looking fish with complex patterns, hence my attraction to the CPDs and the cobra guppies. I've toyed with the idea of ember or glowlight tetras too, but their colors sort of match the red/orange in the CPDs and they are rather "bland" looking to me, so I'm not sure about those. I don't know anything about guppies other than that the cobra ones are pretty, so if they are aggressive or wouldn't get along with the CPDs I'd pick something else. Thanks for your input, it helps!
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:09 AM   #5
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I recommend adding 2 guppies and 2 of the celestials for now. Ottos need to be in a tank that has some algae. You will get that soon enough.

Plants. Get as many as you can. I would leave them in the plastic pots too for now. 1 reason is, if they are in an established tank at the lfs; seed material for the bb
The other is, plastic and silk plants don't look as nice. Knowing you, you're gonna get them anyway, so don't waste your money on something you're gonna throw out.

Good luck I am glad you punted. You can handle a fish in cycle.

Wayne
Ooh, I didn't think of adding some of both! Would they be OK together, do you think? I don't want to freak out either one by making their schools too small.

I do have a lot of algae already, at least that's what I think/hope it is, but yeah if I did add the Otos it wouldn't be for a long while. Thanks for the food for thought!

Also, I just thought of this: with the air stone and 3 filters I have quite a lot of surface agitation which I know some fish don't like. I can adjust the flow on the Fluval and the air pump to the sponge so I'm not too concerned with those, but the AquaClear 20 HOB throws out a lot of water. It's somewhat adjustable, but even on its lowest setting it seems to hit the water pretty hard and causes a lot of little bubbles. Is there anything I can put on the output to reduce the flow?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deckape View Post
Knowing you, you're gonna get them anyway, so don't waste your money on something you're gonna throw out.
Ha, you do know me pretty well, that's exactly what I'd do! lol I change my mind a lot, I like the way something looks one day and then hate it the next. I hate the plastic plants, so I'll probably go with mostly live ones and then get some silk to fill in.
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:18 AM   #6
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Yea they will be fine. You wont be too long on this fish in cycle I bet. Especially if you get a bunch of plants.
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:20 AM   #7
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I don't have guppies but the danios love the action of the bubbles. I still have the air wand going. I turned if off a few times and they didn't like it I think. Rock on I say...
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:28 AM   #8
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I have 6 cpd's. The smaller "nano" fish (based on what I have read) tend to prefer less flow as their natural waters are quite still. Cpd's also do like quite a lot of plants so they have somewhere to hide. I also found that adding a few floating plants helped with the hiding issue too ( I have water lettuce but any floating plant should have the same effect). Cpd's are not shoaling fish per se but you will get more natural behaviours out of a group of 6 or so. Also the males can be quite competetive and nippy with each other so it can help to spread some aggression, although I haven't seen them nip the tetras.
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Old 07-30-2011, 04:59 PM   #9
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Well I visited two more LFS today, one a large chain store and one a local LFS. They each had a good amount of fish. None of them had the Celestials. I did see Ember Tetras which are so cute so that could be a second resort to the CPDs maybe, although I still prefer the Celestials. The larger chain store also had the Cobra Guppies. I'm not really sure what to choose now or where to get them. I hate decisions...
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Old 07-30-2011, 05:04 PM   #10
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If you're looking for celestials, you can always PM severum mama or HN1 to see when they get the next shipment in for them.

Personally I don't see a problem with the larger chain stores so long as they got the shipment in a day ago and they fish look healthy. I got six cherry barbs from Petco that got them in two days or so ago and they're all still happy and healthy.
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Old 07-30-2011, 05:10 PM   #11
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I love CPDs, I bred them for a while but got lazy and gave it up, I have a few stragglers here and there still. You'll likely have to order CPDs in , so count on stocking them all at once.

I'd just go with whatever you can get easily locally, if you find some guppies you like then thats a start.

Just remember to pick out the most active and healthiest looking ones, it's so tempting, but don't go for the straggler/sad looking ones lol.
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Old 07-30-2011, 08:12 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone. For some reason I find buying fish very stressful lol I know there's no way to guarantee they'll be healthy, but I want to do all I can to ensure that they are. The last thing I want after all of this is have to treat for a disease.

I'm going to call an LFS here that has a pretty good reputation (at least from what I've heard) and it handles a lot of large corporate tanks (offices, casinos, etc). Last time I was there they had a small selection of FW fish and none that I liked other than the Glowlight Tetras, but I'm going to see if they have CPDs or if they can get them. The other LFS I went to today seemed OK too, their tanks looked pretty good and I didn't see any stressed fish (none gasping, no white spots etc). Except the sad little Bettas in the bowls They had some fish that were really pretty, but not sure in the long-run if they would be compatible with my tank and I forgot the names of them now lol Except for the Ember Tetras, they are really cute, but for some reason I find the uniform color a bit boring (yes, I'm picky and indecisive, not a good combo lol).

The Cobra Guppies at Petco weren't bad looking. It's a fairly new store that opened a year or two ago. Their fish looked pretty good from what I could tell (I did see one dead Gourami though) and their tanks are very clear. The PetSMart near me has the Cobras too but their tanks always look like they they need a really good gravel vac and pwc. lol

Thanks everyone. Maybe I'll put a wanted ad on the Classifieds here too on the off-chance anyone has CPDs.
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:55 AM   #13
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Well I think stocking is going to be on hold for a bit, a couple of weeks maybe. Apparently PetCo sold me an "Aquatic Combo" of live plants that, come to find out, aren't truly aquatic aquarium plants at all. Plus my lighting fixture isn't good for even low-light real plants. And to top it off the cabinet that my aquarium is on broke; it isn't an aquarium stand, but it was doing fine until I decided to move it a bit (with the tank on it, like a dope) and snap! one of the legs broke off. I put it back on and squeezed some books underneath to support it, but I need to get an aquarium stand.

Plus I keep re-thinking my stock. I love CPDs but is a large school too much to start with, would a smaller school be a lighter load but would they hide too much? Are there other fish I might like better but not considering? What if my tank isn't really ready?

So yeah, I need to sort out these things first. In the meantime, I'll just progress with the fishless cycle. Thanks everyone.
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Old 07-31-2011, 09:54 AM   #14
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I'm getting as involved with your tank's BB evolution as much as my own. You have the patience of a saint.
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:39 AM   #15
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I'd wait on the CPDs just because it'd be better to get them all at once. They are definitely shy ones, a larger group will make them a little more brave, but my main reasoning for getting them all once is because it's probably cheaper to do so if you end up ordering them in.

It'd be best to start with the nonschoolers.
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:53 AM   #16
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I'd wait on the CPDs just because it'd be better to get them all at once. They are definitely shy ones, a larger group will make them a little more brave, but my main reasoning for getting them all once is because it's probably cheaper to do so if you end up ordering them in.

It'd be best to start with the nonschoolers.
Thanks Jeta, that's helpful. So if my cycle is the same in 2-3 weeks (ammo dropping slowly), I should wait on the CPDs since I should ideally get a larger school of them. Are the cobra guppies schooling or would they do ok with a small number? Ration of M:F to avoid aggression? Still thinking of options so feel free to suggest other fish I haven't mentioned. Plus my water is pretty soft so I'd need to be sure whatever fish I get would be happy there.

As for lighting, I have to say I'm confused. I've seen a few hoods but all of the bulb sizes, etc are confusing. I'm guessing a larger wattage bulb (enough to support plants) wouldn't fit on my current setup? I do have sensitivity to bright lights though (eye issues) so that's why I like my current light, it isn't painfully bright, so not sure I even want a brighter light, which then probably means no or limited live plants.

Is it really this complicated or am I just making it seem that way?
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:13 AM   #17
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Guppies, stock them how you will, you'll be fine with a single or a handful. Males tend to harass females but it's something you'll just have to play by ear. Some people actually stock all males to avoid breeding, so its your call, they don't have a minimum stocking requirement.

As far as lighting goes, look at fixture types. With fluorescents, the wattage of the bulbs is determined by the length /type of the fixture. I would not go with anything less than a dual bulb T5 or single/dual T5ho if you plan to grow plants in there. What size tank was it again? 29?

Something like this would be the cheapest option, I've never used it and don't know how it would fit over a 29 though but it says it extends to 30"
24" T5 HO Aquarium Light Hood Freshwater Plant 6500K 48 | eBay

As far as the brightness of the lights go, if you want to keep it dim, then stick with java ferns/anubias and don't expect the plants to do much of anything as far as affecting water quality. At the end of the day it's all what you prefer to do with it since you are the one looking at it, so do what you like best.
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:23 AM   #18
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Guppies, stock them how you will, you'll be fine with a single or a handful. Males tend to harass females but it's something you'll just have to play by ear. Some people actually stock all males to avoid breeding, so its your call, they don't have a minimum stocking requirement.

As far as lighting goes, look at fixture types. With fluorescents, the wattage of the bulbs is determined by the length /type of the fixture. I would not go with anything less than a dual bulb T5 or single/dual T5ho if you plan to grow plants in there. What size tank was it again? 29?

Something like this would be the cheapest option, I've never used it and don't know how it would fit over a 29 though but it says it extends to 30"
24" T5 HO Aquarium Light Hood Freshwater Plant 6500K 48 | eBay

As far as the brightness of the lights go, if you want to keep it dim, then stick with java ferns/anubias and don't expect the plants to do much of anything as far as affecting water quality. At the end of the day it's all what you prefer to do with it since you are the one looking at it, so do what you like best.
Thanks (again!). Now my light doesn't work at all. It worked fine last night, but now it won't come on. I tried another plug and that didn't work, everything else in the tank is running fine. So IDK if it's the bulb or the whole fixture. I guess I may as well get the whole thing in case it isn't just the bulb. It's a 20 gal standard size I guess, about 24" across. I'll have to look around for lighting now too and I had just decided to leave it alone for now.
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:41 AM   #19
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that fixture I listed above would fit over that perfectly then. I know petsmart has an aqueon brand single t5NO light in 24" also, but it's kinda expensive and not nearly as intense as a dual t5ho.
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