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Cool fish ideas for 20 gallons?


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I have a new 20 gallon aquarium, right now only with 6 female platies. I'm getting 6 panda cories soon (maybe next week??) and was wondering what kind of fish you guys think I should add later, if there is space (aqadvisor says my tank would be 85% stocked with 6 platys and 6 cories). I kind of want more colorful fish or fish with interesting personalities/behaviors. I thought about getting kuhli loaches, but my water is definitely not good for them (pH is 8 and GH is about 17). I am thinking maybe a small school of tetras, like the ones that are supposed to be hardier like the glowlight?? I'm still kind of nervous about keeping tetras because of my water parameters. Any ideas? Thanks!

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1 hour ago, Chlo said:

I have a new 20 gallon aquarium, right now only with 6 female platies. I'm getting 6 panda cories soon (maybe next week??) and was wondering what kind of fish you guys think I should add later, if there is space (aqadvisor says my tank would be 85% stocked with 6 platys and 6 cories). I kind of want more colorful fish or fish with interesting personalities/behaviors. I thought about getting kuhli loaches, but my water is definitely not good for them (pH is 8 and GH is about 17). I am thinking maybe a small school of tetras, like the ones that are supposed to be hardier like the glowlight?? I'm still kind of nervous about keeping tetras because of my water parameters. Any ideas? Thanks!

Is it a 20 gal tall? Or a 20 gal long?

These sorts of decisions are really quite up to your personal interests and preferences. If you perform at least a 30% water change every two weeks, you're probably at a satisfactory level of fish-keeping to go a bit beyond the aquadvisor limits. We've done crazy things with 20 gal tanks before. Here are a few very different ideas, some of which break "rules" . . . but these fish all did great in these tanks. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Fish Folk said:

Is it a 20 gal tall? Or a 20 gal long?

These sorts of decisions are really quite up to your personal interests and preferences. If you perform at least a 30% water change every two weeks, you're probably at a satisfactory level of fish-keeping to go a bit beyond the aquadvisor limits. We've done crazy things with 20 gal tanks before. Here are a few very different ideas, some of which break "rules" . . . but these fish all did great in these tanks.

It's a 20 gallon tall, and I've been doing 20-25% water changes every week. Also I'll definitely check out those videos, thanks!

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Your possibilities are pretty much endless as long as your looking at the full grown size of the fish you should be ok. Maybe throw some shrimp, ottos I don’t really count my cleaner crew into my aquadvisor limits, heck I breed and keep guppy strains in 2.5gal tanks, not recommended but I do 25% water changes daily and siphon out any Ferber a few times a day so I feel they’re ok and max I keep is 5-8 guppies at a time. As for your 20gal, with your platies depending on color variants you could go into an all I’ve bearer tank, throw some sailfin mollies, Dalmatian and koi colored mollies are just stunning and if fed the proper diets their colors pop. There’s dwarf powder blue and red gourami you could do with one add some color and unique personalities or even a pair of angels. I’ve had a buddy that kept his angels in a 15gal for 8 years they loved it! Whatever you decide just remember it’s your tank and you’ll be looking at it all day so get what you like and will enjoy looking at everytime. Me personally I like a mixture of small and medium fish that way at first glance you’ll notice the larger fish but when you start to really look into the tank you’ll see the little fish zooming around and it’s kinda like a little town of fish lol. That’s why community tanks are awesome! This is my 20gal tall community I have two Mexican sail fin mollies, 4 mixed premium angels, 6 ottos, two thread fin catfish, 4 peppered cories, had one flame dwarf gourami moved him to his own tank and now I have two juvenile powder blue gouramis, and 3 platinum half beaks. All doing perfectly well

2A2165BE-1DA6-42F3-B739-3BB0DBA641E1.jpeg

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27 minutes ago, HanaHoo808 said:

Your possibilities are pretty much endless as long as your looking at the full grown size of the fish you should be ok. Maybe throw some shrimp, ottos I don’t really count my cleaner crew into my aquadvisor limits, heck I breed and keep guppy strains in 2.5gal tanks, not recommended but I do 25% water changes daily and siphon out any Ferber a few times a day so I feel they’re ok and max I keep is 5-8 guppies at a time. As for your 20gal, with your platies depending on color variants you could go into an all I’ve bearer tank, throw some sailfin mollies, Dalmatian and koi colored mollies are just stunning and if fed the proper diets their colors pop. There’s dwarf powder blue and red gourami you could do with one add some color and unique personalities or even a pair of angels. I’ve had a buddy that kept his angels in a 15gal for 8 years they loved it! Whatever you decide just remember it’s your tank and you’ll be looking at it all day so get what you like and will enjoy looking at everytime. Me personally I like a mixture of small and medium fish that way at first glance you’ll notice the larger fish but when you start to really look into the tank you’ll see the little fish zooming around and it’s kinda like a little town of fish lol. That’s why community tanks are awesome! This is my 20gal tall community I have two Mexican sail fin mollies, 4 mixed premium angels, 6 ottos, two thread fin catfish, 4 peppered cories, had one flame dwarf gourami moved him to his own tank and now I have two juvenile powder blue gouramis, and 3 platinum half beaks. All doing perfectly well

Ooh I like mollies, especially the balloon ones, they are kinda cute. The only thing is that I heard that they get very big and poop a LOT, even more than platies!  I'm also thinking about a gourami, maybe a honey. I love having all different colors in my tank haha so each of my platies are different variations.  I was also researching tetra species that can handle harder alkaline water, and I found pristella tetras. They are pretty cool but they get bigger than other tetras I think.

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6 hours ago, Chlo said:

Ooh I like mollies, especially the balloon ones, they are kinda cute. The only thing is that I heard that they get very big and poop a LOT, even more than platies!  I'm also thinking about a gourami, maybe a honey. I love having all different colors in my tank haha so each of my platies are different variations.  I was also researching tetra species that can handle harder alkaline water, and I found pristella tetras. They are pretty cool but they get bigger than other tetras I think.

Yeahh they do but with your weekly water changes maybe even bump it from 25% to 35% should still be fine. Crocodile tooth tetras may suit you they’re super cool and unique! Or maybe even killi fish? They’re seasonal fish depending on the species. I’ve recently ordered eggs off of amazon I think they were one of the Aphyosemion species I’ve read they should live up to a few years but you get to hatch them, watch them grow and they do amazing in community tanks. I threw mines in my pond that runs my aquaponics system and so far they’re loving it!  You should post some pictures of your setups might help give off more ideas for ya!

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Unless they're all male, 6 platies can turn into 60 within the course of a couple of months.

I started with 3 mollies and 3 platies. I now have about 70, and haven't bought a single fish from the initial ones.  I went from a 20 tall, to a 40 long, to a 75, and just about ready to switch it all to a 125. It happens fast. Very enjoyable, but have a plan.

Good luck!

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, HanaHoo808 said:

Yeahh they do but with your weekly water changes maybe even bump it from 25% to 35% should still be fine. Crocodile tooth tetras may suit you they’re super cool and unique! Or maybe even killi fish? They’re seasonal fish depending on the species. I’ve recently ordered eggs off of amazon I think they were one of the Aphyosemion species I’ve read they should live up to a few years but you get to hatch them, watch them grow and they do amazing in community tanks. I threw mines in my pond that runs my aquaponics system and so far they’re loving it!  You should post some pictures of your setups might help give off more ideas for ya!

I would be willing to increase my water changes if I can get more fish (I find water changes really fun for some reason lol don't ask). I've never heard about crocodile tooth tetras, do you know if they go by any other name?

Oh and also here is a picture of my tank, I know it's really bare and not the best looking or anything but I don't have money to buy more plants yet lol (and also ignore that floating java fern near the driftwood)

2021-05-24.jpg

1 hour ago, quikv6 said:

Unless they're all male, 6 platies can turn into 60 within the course of a couple of months.

I started with 3 mollies and 3 platies. I now have about 70, and haven't bought a single fish from the initial ones.  I went from a 20 tall, to a 40 long, to a 75, and just about ready to switch it all to a 125. It happens fast. Very enjoyable, but have a plan.

Good luck!

Wow that's a lot! I have only females but I guess it is very possible some of them could still have babies, but if they do I was planning to either keep only a couple and give most if not all of them away.

Oh and also I was told one of my platies was pregnant when I bought her, but I'm not sure how they knew. 

Edited by Chlo
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27 minutes ago, Chlo said:

I would be willing to increase my water changes if I can get more fish (I find water changes really fun for some reason lol don't ask). I've never heard about crocodile tooth tetras, do you know if they go by any other name?

Oh and also here is a picture of my tank, I know it's really bare and not the best looking or anything but I don't have money to buy more plants yet lol (and also ignore that floating java fern near the driftwood)

2021-05-24.jpg

Wow that's a lot! I have only females but I guess it is very possible some of them could still have babies, but if they do I was planning to either keep only a couple and give most if not all of them away.

Oh and also I was told one of my platies was pregnant when I bought her, but I'm not sure how they knew. 

Ohhh my gods I apologize I got two different fishes mixed up 😂😅 I was looking at the crocodile toothpick fish earlier that’s why but what I meant to say was you should look into the blue tetras (one of my favs and next in the list to get) or harlequin rasboras. Keep in mind these smaller fish do wayy better in larger schools at least 5+. You could get away with less but you will notice a difference in their behaviors. Same for corys which you did great on going with 6 of the pandas. But I would recommend possibly 5-6 ottos if you can, they do an amazing job at helping you keep your tank under control with algae while your corys help you clean up uneaten food. My main community tank has been perfectly balanced to where I don’t siphon my gravel just do water changes once a week and there’s no buildup on the floor. There’s more algae growth cause I run my lights almost 10-12 hours a day to boost my guppy grass for other aquariums. Plus it gives the fish a lil extra veggie 😂

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Chlo said:

I would be willing to increase my water changes if I can get more fish (I find water changes really fun for some reason lol don't ask). I've never heard about crocodile tooth tetras, do you know if they go by any other name?

Oh and also here is a picture of my tank, I know it's really bare and not the best looking or anything but I don't have money to buy more plants yet lol (and also ignore that floating java fern near the driftwood)

2021-05-24.jpg

Wow that's a lot! I have only females but I guess it is very possible some of them could still have babies, but if they do I was planning to either keep only a couple and give most if not all of them away.

Oh and also I was told one of my platies was pregnant when I bought her, but I'm not sure how they knew. 

Ohh also what could help too is run a sponge filter there’s some really good ones on aquarium coop I got a bunch mostly nano size and I run them in everything from 2.5s all the way up to my 10 gal.  for a 20gal a medium would do wonders 

Edited by HanaHoo808
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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, HanaHoo808 said:

Ohhh my gods I apologize I got two different fishes mixed up 😂😅 I was looking at the crocodile toothpick fish earlier that’s why but what I meant to say was you should look into the blue tetras (one of my favs and next in the list to get) or harlequin rasboras. Keep in mind these smaller fish do wayy better in larger schools at least 5+. You could get away with less but you will notice a difference in their behaviors. Same for corys which you did great on going with 6 of the pandas. But I would recommend possibly 5-6 ottos if you can, they do an amazing job at helping you keep your tank under control with algae while your corys help you clean up uneaten food. My main community tank has been perfectly balanced to where I don’t siphon my gravel just do water changes once a week and there’s no buildup on the floor. There’s more algae growth cause I run my lights almost 10-12 hours a day to boost my guppy grass for other aquariums. Plus it gives the fish a lil extra veggie 😂

Ooh ok, I really like blue tetras, but I'm still scared to get them because everything says they can't go in harder water than 12 dH. 

Oh and also I'm thinking maybe black tetras, they are really pretty and my local petco has them so they will already be used to my water.

8 hours ago, HanaHoo808 said:

Ohh also what could help too is run a sponge filter there’s some really good ones on aquarium coop I got a bunch mostly nano size and I run them in everything from 2.5s all the way up to my 10 gal.  for a 20gal a medium would do wonders 

Maybe I'll add one in the future, because there are a lot of things you have to buy to set one up and I don't think I have money to buy one yet.

Edited by Chlo
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1 minute ago, quirkylemon103 said:

are you attached to your current fish? if not you could leave the cory's, remove the platy's and get 15-30 neon tetras add some large plants and your tank will look amazing(speaking from experience, even though I only have 9 neon tetras)

I think I'm already attached to my fish.....I already named each one lol. I've also always wanted corys, so I'm definitely getting those. Getting some tetras would be nice too, but if I don't have enough space it isn't the biggest deal.

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29 minutes ago, HanaHoo808 said:

What you could look into would be other live bearers like fancy guppies? I’ve recently started transitioning over to guppy strains and it’s been a blast! Soo many varieties and colors. Just some extra thoughts to make your decision even harder than it is 😂😁

lol, I've never kept guppies before, they are cool but if I can I would like to get tetras. Maybe if I lower the panda cories to 5 and get 5 black neon tetras?

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29 minutes ago, Chlo said:

lol, I've never kept guppies before, they are cool but if I can I would like to get tetras. Maybe if I lower the panda cories to 5 and get 5 black neon tetras?

That would be a great setup. Nice amount of groups anything less than that then they may stress a bit. But that sounds like a great plan. Just hope your platies don’t have any babies lol 

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