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Old 03-24-2012, 10:29 AM   #1
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Stocking Advice for a New 20g, Fully Cycled Tank

Hi,

Thanks for the fantastic community. I kept a tank for some time when I was younger, so I have some experience in fishkeeping, but the information is so much more accessible now! We're just getting into aquariums with my 8-yr old daughter, who has a new 20g tank. She has completed a fishless cycle (thanks to Eric Ogilvie and The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling). We stopped by Petsmart this week and she looked at some fish she thinks she wants. I wanted to run it by the group to make sure these fish are all compatible (from what I understand, they are) and to get suggestions on quantity. Here's the list:

Cardinal Tetra
Tequila sunrise delta guppy
dalmatian molly
marigold variatus platy (or possibly other platies)

For the tetras, we'd like to have about five, since they are schooling fish. For the guppy, molly, and platy, we'd like to have 1-2 of each, whatever would be appropriate for the total stocking level of the tank. We don't yet want to breed though. Zebra danios were also a consideration, but I don't think we'd have sufficient volume for a group of them in addition to these other fish.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:46 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome. Congrats on your fishless cycle and for researching fish prior to buying. This is very refreshing.

Is it a 20 gal high or a 20 long?

If it's a 20 high, your stock looks good actually. You could do:

5 cardinals
2 guppies
1 molly
1 platy
6 zebra danio

OR you could forego the zebras, add 2 each of the mollys and platy and increase the numbers of cardinals to 8.

Just be careful with more than one of the opposite sex of guppies, mollys and platys; they'll breed like mad and quickly overstock your tank. If you're just getting two of each, two of the same sex is recommended to avoid stress on the female too.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:56 AM   #3
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Thank you! Yes, it is a 20 high. I forgot to mention, she also wants to get a clown pleco. We had talked to some one who suggested a clown pleco because they stay small and are peaceful. What do you think about that? How should we adjust the stocking levels?
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:02 PM   #4
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You could do the Clown pleco, 6-7 zebras and 6-7 cardinals.
OR
the Clown, 6-8 cardinals OR zebras, 2 guppies and a molly or platy.
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:19 PM   #5
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Thanks. That sounds good. We're just hoping to have a fish (the clown) to help with the algae and bottom feeding. In general, that's a good idea, right? If you have other suggestions, we're open to them as well. Right now we're leaning towards your last suggestion of clown, cardinals, 2 guppies, molly or platy. Would having a clown, 5 cardinals (instead of 6-8), 2 guppies, 1 molly, and 1 platy be too crowded?
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:22 PM   #6
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We are also considering neons, and so I have another couple questions that I seem to be getting differing answers on when I look around online. Do cardinals and neons grow to the same size (and are counted the same for calculating stocking levels)? Is there any difference in hardiness? Thanks!
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:00 PM   #7
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I think cardinals and neons are the same size. Some prefer cardinals over neons for various reasons. I've read neons are more sensitive due to inbreeding. I don't know much about them other than what I've read online so maybe others can chime in.

That stocking is fine. I think you could do 6-8 cardinals, 2 guppies, 1 molly, 1 platy and the clown (not sure why I said molly or platy before lol).

Oh and the pleco would like some real driftwood in there, they tend to munch on it to help their digestion.
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:11 PM   #8
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If your daughter is wanting a Pleco, I would go with a bristle nosed Pleco. They are cute active little buggers. And yes, defiantly get some real driftwood for whichever breed of Pleco. Just remember, certain woods leech( turn water a tea color) like crazy!! It dosent affect the fish, but some people don't like the colored water.
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:42 PM   #9
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So yesterday we picked up the guppies (2), molly, and clown pleco. We definitely considered the bristle nosed, but she just didn't like the way they look as much and she just adores the clown. I hear they are harder to find, but we have a LFS that stocks them. We do have driftwood. We boiled it to get the tannins out, and it's been in the tank for a month without changing the water color now. The clown pleco definitely loves it.

We didn't realize how much more expensive the cardinals ($4-5) are than the neons ($1-2), so we're weighing the options

Since our tank was cycled, I want to make sure the tank is stocked enough to maintain the full biological filter, but we were also advised that maybe we should still stock in two or maybe three shifts and space adding the fish. Will the fish we have now sustain the full bio filter bacteria? Is that something to consider? We were planning to pick up the tetras and/or platy this week.

Thanks again for all the help. We scouted the internet trying to find a great place to get involved, learn, and get started on the right foot. We read a lot of posts here and really appreciate the community support.
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