View Full Version : 20 Gallon Long Refurbish

09-14-2009, 02:52 PM
I'm in the process of refurbishing my 20 gallon long. This weekend, I removed the tacky looking old background and added the sheet foam, flat black background that look so nice on my 29 gallon tank. I will be picking up some black gravel this week and removing the old natural river Estes gravel substrate, and replacing with the black. The flat black background looks so much cleaner and does make the harlequin's color stand out. I'm looking to add a female krib to the tank for color and cichlid personality. I have no plans on breeding kribs, but would like a female to add in with the harlequins. I'll be picking up flower pots to serve as caves for the krib. Kribs are impossiblr to find here from retail dealers, but I have a few fealers out in an attempt to find one.

The 20 gallon long has an AC20 & AC30 hobs for filtration. The tank has a deluxe all-glass plastic hood with one 24" 18 watt all-glass t-8 tube for a little less than 1 watt\gallon. Currently, I have some Rotala growing in the tank and will be looking to add Java Fern and some Java Moss. The heater is a 150 watt penn-plax glass tube. As time and fund allow, I will replace the heater with a 150 watt Stealth, black heater.

09-16-2009, 02:02 PM
I changed out the substrate last night and now have the flat black gravel as substrate. Jenn, the rotala had really healthy root structure, I was very surprised, pleased. I just replanted back into the new gravel. They're almost ready for a trim. I will replant the trimmings.

I did bring up a fair amount of mulm from the old gravel. This is why the rotala was doing so well. There was a rich bed of mulm around the plants as I have not vacuumed near them or their root structure. Yes, I know..pictures are coming soon. :ssmile:

I'll pick up some clay flower pots on the way home from work today in oder to set up a few caves.

09-16-2009, 07:11 PM
Awesome! I'm glad that the rotala has been doing well for you:11: It is surprising at how good of root structures some clippings can get over time. Cant wait for the pics BTW:22: I bet the tank looks good with all of that black decor, your gonna have a lucky female krib!

09-26-2009, 08:11 PM
I found a wonderful LFS in Burlington today. We were in Burlington last night for a wedding and this morning I stopped at a Petsmart to see if I could find a female Kribensis. Well, no luck at that Petsmart, but I struck up a great conversation with the manage of the store and told him what I was after. He directed me to a GREAT LFS that I had no idea existed. He gave directions on how to get there.

I walked into this LFS and was amazed at what I found. There where two rows of small 5 gallon tanks that had a great variety of young dwarf cichlids. Everything from GRBs, Apistos, and Kribensis. I spotted a very healthy looking female for $8.95 and brought her home. She is acclimating and soon I will release her into the 20 gallon long. She's not real colorful right now, but once she settles in her colors should come back. I'll give here a couple of days to settle in and then I'll post some pictures.

What a great find. The really ironic thing is this shop was located 3 miles down the road from the motel we stayed at last night. Great shop with very healthy look live plants for sale and the best selection of dwarf cichlids I've ever run across. I picked up some Seachem Flourish for my plants too. :ssmile:

02-06-2010, 09:09 PM
Lost the krib this morning. Her colors have been washed out for about a week and I've always had a problem trying to get her to eat. Water parameters are and have been fine. She did pretty well until this week, but still only lasted a bit more than 3 months. I am convinced that you can't do dwarf cichlids in a 20 gallon tank. No sign of disease or external parasites. She may have had something going on internally. I did a big water change, removed some gravel so now there's only a thin layer on the bottom so I can vacuum it more thoroughly. The biofilter is fine and I did change out the AC sponges.

I added 5 cherry barbs that I found 5 for $5, 3 males and 2 females. They are loosely schooling with the harlequins. The males are not bright red yet, but after some tender loving care and good food they should color up nicely. No sign any aliments with the harlequins.

I'm pretty sure it takes a 29 or 30 gallon tank to do dwarf cichlids right. I won't be trying anymore in the 20 long.

02-06-2010, 09:14 PM
Awe, I'm sorry you lost your krib :(. I'm not sure what size it takes for dwarf cichlids so someone else will have to give advice. I do know that Kribs like the bottom strata and a 20 Long has the same(ish) footprint of a 29. I just don't know about water amount.

02-06-2010, 09:15 PM
Sorry to hear Taurus :22: I doubt the issue was tank size, fish was probably asian bred and we all know how that goes. Her ending is very familiar to asian rams. Look great, do fine for awhile...loose color and die without apparent cause.

02-06-2010, 09:24 PM
Yes Jenn, you're probably right. Even the spots on her tail fin and the gold in her
dorsal fin had washed out. The purple\pinkish hue across her tummy was completely gone. She was such a beautiful, brightly colored female for close to three months though. I lost a gold ram the same way but it happened much quicker.

02-06-2010, 09:27 PM
Shame the condition of common fish in the hobby are today due to inbreeding and hormone treatments.

03-18-2010, 05:03 PM
Well, it's time for an update on my 20 gallon long. The 7 harlequin are doing great. I added 8 cherry barbs (4 male, 4 female) for a dash of color and activity to the tank. All are doing well. The addition of the cherry barbs posed no issues with the biofilter of the tank. The tank has a relatively light bioload and the ac20 and ac30 handle that easily. I'm currently doing a weekly water change of around 50%.

I'm considering adding a dwarf or pearl gourami for a bit more color, although the sparkling gourami interest me, too. I really don't want to try another dwarf cichlid after loosing a gold ram and a female kribensis.

03-18-2010, 05:07 PM

After reading all about this tank, I'd love to see it.

Any chance of some pics ????

03-20-2010, 09:48 PM
LOL..Cliff..I'll get to it..sooner or later. :ssmile:

I purchased a dwarf gourami this afternoon and acclimated him to the tank. He's swimming around checking out the tank and looking for all the good hiding places. Fed him some 1mm NLS sinking pellets which he quickly devoured.

Funny..the dwarf gourami was $4.99, but a neon blue dwarf was $8.69, dwarf flame was $7.50. I prefer the natural colors of the dwarf and can't really see why the color morphs are so much more expensive. As long as he's healthy, and he appears to be, that's all I care about.

03-20-2010, 11:36 PM
Congrats on the new fish! I agree, the natural coloration of the dwarf gourami is the best looking. Now pics are needed.

03-21-2010, 12:58 AM
LOL..Cliff..I'll get to it..sooner or later. :ssmile:

I purchased a dwarf gourami this afternoon and acclimated him to the tank. He's swimming around checking out the tank and looking for all the good hiding places. Fed him some 1mm NLS sinking pellets which he quickly devoured.

Funny..the dwarf gourami was $4.99, but a neon blue dwarf was $8.69, dwarf flame was $7.50. I prefer the natural colors of the dwarf and can't really see why the color morphs are so much more expensive. As long as he's healthy, and he appears to be, that's all I care about.

Sounds like its going to be a great tank. I can hardley wait to see them

03-21-2010, 12:33 PM
Thanks Labby, Cliff. I will get some pictures up soon. The Dwarf Gourami is a cute little guy fairly well colored up. I just hope he doesn't crash and die on me like the Krib did. This is my second attempt with a Dwarf Gourami in this tank and I hope I got a hardy one. It really is a colorful and active tank now, all Asian species. DG is very curious and keeps checking out every corner of the tank. If I can just get him to eat. I think that's a dead give away as to whether you have a health fish or not. If they won't eat within a few days of introduction to the tank, it just doesn't bode well for the fish.

03-21-2010, 03:25 PM
It does sound like a real nice tank.
You have some real nice fish in there. I'll bet their colors really pop with all the black in there.It must be a nice tank to watch.
Its a good thing I can sort of picture it!:19:

03-21-2010, 03:35 PM
Sorry to read about the loss of your krib. Hope you enjoy the dwarf gourami. I always liked mine and I love the pearls I have now. But I agree with the others..........


03-21-2010, 05:58 PM
Pictures....my digital camera skills are lacking...




03-21-2010, 06:05 PM
Thanks Labby, Cliff. I will get some pictures up soon. The Dwarf Gourami is a cute little guy fairly well colored up. I just hope he doesn't crash and die on me like the Krib did. This is my second attempt with a Dwarf Gourami in this tank and I hope I got a hardy one. It really is a colorful and active tank now, all Asian species. DG is very curious and keeps checking out every corner of the tank. If I can just get him to eat. I think that's a dead give away as to whether you have a health fish or not. If they won't eat within a few days of introduction to the tank, it just doesn't bode well for the fish.

Sounds like a very nice tank! I was very tempted to do an all asian species tank for my ten, but couldn't find any cherry barbs.

03-21-2010, 07:13 PM
I just dropped 1/2 of a bottom feeder table into the tank...lol..everyone is playing soccer with it including the DG. He's getting his share. Female cherry barbs are pigs.

It took the gang approximately 8 minutes to devour that 1/2 bottom feeder tab.

03-21-2010, 07:16 PM
I love the look with the dark substaright.

Two new tanks, and both of them look great. I'm jealous

03-21-2010, 07:17 PM
Tank looks very active with both those shoals! Best of luck with the dwarf gourami, he looks very nice so far :22:

03-21-2010, 07:19 PM
Again, thanks to both of you. :ssmile:

03-21-2010, 11:33 PM
Looks great Taurus! That gourami is a cutie. thumbs2:

03-22-2010, 05:01 PM
Thanks AmyLynn...glad you could tell that from my less than perfect pictures.

03-27-2010, 09:22 PM
The dwarf gourami is really starting to settle in. He's eating aggressively and showing the smaller cherry barbs and harlequins who's tank boss. Very good signs of a healthy fish so far.

04-01-2010, 02:50 PM
I lost a couple of my harlequin rasboras yesterday..true harlequins. I found them floating belly up yesterday afternoon as I was about to do a water change. These two were some of the orginal harlequin I stocked the tank with after I had cycled it more than 3 years ago. It's unusual to find two harlequins dead at the same time.

Water parameters are fine, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, ~10 nitrates. Tank temperature is at 79 degrees F. Cherry Barbs, remaining harelquins, and dwarf gourami were all fine this morning. I've been doing extra water changes lately in an effort to keep the dwarf gourami healthy. I've been changing out 2 gallons of water every other day and dechlorinating with Prime. I performed this same water change after finding the two harlequins belly up.

I'll easy up on the water changes and keep testing the water parameters. I'll add 3 more young harlequins or lamp chop rasbora after I feel as though things are stable with the tank.

I've been feeding the Hikari Micro Pellets and I drop in 1/2 Hikari bottom feeder wafer every other day as the cherrys and dwarf gourami love them and are good as part of their staple diet.

04-09-2010, 03:27 PM
I keep loosing the Harlequins. I believe that there is some sort of disease affecting just the Harlequins. I found two more of them dead in the tank again this morning and I have noticed a white, moldy\fungus looking covering over both dead Harlequins and the few that are still a live. I have noticed some fin fraying and deterioration on the remaining 4 Harlequin that I have left a live.

The cherry barbs and dwarf gourami seem to be doing fine. They stay symptom free and are acting healthy.

I've never dealt with disease in either of my two tanks before and I am at a loss determing just what the problem is. All water parameters are fine, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates, 5 +-ppm nitrates. I have upped water changes to 30% twice weekly.

Right now, after doing some research, I suspect Columnaris. But why it is affecting only the Harlequins is a mystery. Should I treat the whole tank with
one of the Maracyn medications, or just stay with the water changes, culling sick fish and wait to see what happens?

04-09-2010, 04:55 PM
I had that happen to all of my harlequins as well. If it's a greying of the skin looking kinda like a fungus it may be neon tetra disease. When my fish had it they seem to be unable to move very well when it started to spread. If it is neon tetra disease its unfortunately not curable. I also suspected columnaris too but Dave pointed me in the direction of NTD. I only thought that it affect neons due to the name but it does affect other species.I had a really hard time dealing with it and it made me pretty depress watching them all die. Fortunately like you mine never went to any of my other fish. It's best to separate them and cull them.

Here's a pic of it.

04-09-2010, 07:37 PM
Thanks for you input wolf eyes. Neon tetra disease did occur to me and it certainly could be that. I'm just wondering if I should cull the rest of the 4 remaining harlequins? The dwarf gourami and the cherry barbs seem unaffected so far. Most of the harlequins I've lost were over 3 years old and were very bright and colorful before this started. I hate loosing fish like this.

04-09-2010, 10:50 PM
If you have a hospital tank or any sort of isolation that you could put them into then I would see if they turn around. If it is neon tetra disease though, then culling is probably for the best. I kept mine in an isolation tank and they just kept passing away one by one. Eventually I just euthanized the remaining three. It's hard but sometimes it's for the best. Try doing a bit more research just to make sure that the disease is definitely neon tetra though.

04-11-2010, 07:10 PM
Two more harlequin died yesterday morning, and so I did cull the remaining two and euthanized them. I'm currently treating the rest of the tank with a combination of Pimafix and Melafix. The cherry barbs and dwarf gourami are fine so far.

If it was columnaris, it probably came on the bag that I brought the DG home in. I never release water from another tank into my own, but I do float the bag to get the water temperatures even. I then clip the open bag to the rim of the tank and add a shot glass of tank water to the bag every 10 minutes or so. I then take the bag out of the tank, set up a net on the edge of a bucket and pour water from the beg through the net catching any new fish in the net. Then I release them into my tank from the net.

My tank maintenance schedule, water change and vac schedule make it hard from me to believe that the pathogen existed in my tank.

So I do need to be more careful when add new fish to my tanks. From now on I will QT all new fish for 2 weeks in a spare 10g that I have and treat them will antibacterials for the two week period.

I've never seen one species of fish die so fast. I lost the fist two on April 1, and by April 10th all the harlequin were either dead of showing signs of disease. White patches on fins or over the entire fish. Loss of color. Loss of appetite. No willingness to escape the net.

So I conclude that QTing new arrivals and treating them for bacterial or fungal infections is a requirement, not an option. It has been said here on the forums many times. And I have sterilized the the gravel vac, buckets, nets, tongs, other equipment in a weak bleach solution to prevent the spread to my other tank.

Columnaris or NTD, I don't know. Whatever it was took out all the harlequins over 10 days, but so far have not affected DG and cherry barbs.

Again wolf eyes, thanks for your input. Thanks to Dave66, MCHKiller, and Lab_Rat for your replys and concern.

04-13-2010, 09:21 PM
I've been treating the remaining dwarf gourami and cherry barbs with a combination of Pimafix and Melafix since last Saturday and there have been no further loses. Remaining fish look and act very healthy.

04-15-2010, 07:22 PM
I changed out 70% of tank water yesterday evening and did a thorough gravel vac. Dwarf G and Cherrys were happy, healthy, and hungry this morning. I'm thinking about bottom dwellers for the tank as there are none in the tank at this time. Th DG and CHarry Barbs do range from the bttom to the top of the tank though.

I'm thinking about dwarf chain loaches as bottom dwellers (thanks WE) but wow are they expensive and I've never seen any around here. Pondering.....

05-13-2010, 06:29 PM
I added a female Croaking Gourami to the tank yesterday and so far, so good.
Everyone seems to be getting along fine, all are eating and looking very healthy. I haven't had time to take a picture of her yet, but Rhaethe was kind enough to provide me with a link to a profile for Croaking Gourami that does include a picture of a male and female. The female is the lighter colored. It's almost a rose quartz color with red streaks along the edge of the fins.

Her name is CG.


Pictures coming soon. :ssmile:

05-13-2010, 06:40 PM
I bet she is a stunning fish Taurus! Congrats on your new G :22:

10-05-2010, 05:30 PM
I have some of that black Petco gravel in my tank and the paint is wearing off revealing white and clown puke colored gravel. I'll need to change out the black gravel for some a dark, naturally colored river gravel this weekend. DG, CG, and Cherry Barbs are doing well and show no signs that the melting paint is affecting them.

The croaking gourami's color has darkened over the summer. It's hard to tell whether CG is male or female now.

10-05-2010, 05:37 PM
Pictures are demanded. :sbiggrin:

10-05-2010, 05:54 PM
You're demanding :wink2: . Compliance is in the foreseeable future. LOL...what happened to KISS?

10-11-2010, 06:57 PM
Petco "black" gravel out and natural deep river pepple gravel in. Deep river is a blend of dark natural brown pepples with just a smig of light brown pepples mixed in.

Every tank at the local Petco had colored, painted gravel in it. Each tank's gravel was slowly turning white. I never noticed it before until I started looking closer. I don't know if this is harmful to the fish or not although it can't be too harmful as the fish in my tank that had the "black" gravel all ook very healthy and happy. I'm sure they're happier now with the natural colored gravel in the tank. :rolleyes:

Coming soon to a monitor near you...full, colored pictures! :22:

10-12-2010, 12:25 AM
Christ Ive been waiting for pics on this tank forever :hmm3grin2orange:

10-12-2010, 05:17 PM
Coming soon......:neener:

10-19-2010, 01:56 PM
http://img409.imageshack.us/img409/2497/angrycat01.jpg (http://img409.imageshack.us/i/angrycat01.jpg/)

10-19-2010, 02:03 PM
http://img409.imageshack.us/img409/2497/angrycat01.jpg (http://img409.imageshack.us/i/angrycat01.jpg/)

hahahhahahahahhaahaha yea what he said

10-19-2010, 04:57 PM
:rolleyes: soon! I don't want that Funky Woojoo to get me....at least not until Boo Day.

10-24-2010, 06:26 PM
I've had a piece of bog wood in my 20g long for 3 years now, but I never had a problem with it leaching tannins before. It must have had some kind of sealer on it. Well, the sealer apparently has worn off and very dark tannins have been leaching into the tank water. All I can think of is that this piece of work must be mahogany because it stained all my filter media and left a surface discoloration on the few plastic plants I have in the tank. I though I had an outbreak of diatoms, but upon closer inspection found out it is discoloration from the tannins. I removed the bog wood and spent 3 hours scrubbing it in pails of hot water, but the last pail was just as dark as the first. I decided not to put the bog wood back in the tank. I know tannin stained water is supposed to be beneficial to cherry barbs and gourami, but not so good for me or the looks of the tank when the tannins discolor everything in the tank.

So, I went out and found a nice, flat 2" thick rock ( 6" L x 4" W x 2" H) neutral brownish in color. Most every rock around here is granite based but I gave it the old white vinegar test anyway and it passed. So I replaced the wood with rock. It looks so zen in there. I found another smaller, rounded, purple-ish rock to stack on top of the flat piece. Zen, Stone Hedge appeal with rocks that I can just wipe off if need be for zero dollar. I like it and they blend it well with the new gravel.

Yes...going to find the camera right now! :ssmile:

10-24-2010, 08:04 PM
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/data/500/thumbs/20gl102410.jpg (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/fishpictures/showphoto.php?photo=19389)

Twa-la! Not the best, but It'll do. I gotta learn how to take better pics with the digital! :)

All comments welcome!

10-24-2010, 08:26 PM
I have always been a fan of open or partially open 'scapes on tanks :)

I can see your barbs! :)

10-24-2010, 09:40 PM
Has a nice, clean look to it. Feel free to send that wood my way if the tannins are bothersome to you...:11:

10-25-2010, 12:34 AM
Tank looks nice :11: Glad to see you gourami is still doing well.

10-25-2010, 03:01 PM
Yes. DG, CG, and cherry barbs are all doing very well. Thanks for the kind comments.

Labby, I'm going to keep the the bog wood as I may decide to add a BN pleco or some dwarf loaches in the near future. I'm trying to keep the tank all Asian, so a BN pleco really doesn't fit, but they are so darn efficient at removing algae that I am considering them. The dwarf chain loaches need to be in groups and the little buggers are expensive.

10-30-2010, 03:51 PM
CRRRRAAAAPPPP! I found the dwarf gourami (DG) dead at the bottom of the tank this morning!:shocked:

That's it. I'm all done with dwarf gourami. That makes 2 I've lost in the last five years for no apparent reason. Water parameters tested all right where they should be. He was fine yesterday. Cherries and croaking gourami are all fine.

I'll let the tank settle down and watch for any signs of parasites or disease. At least I'm pretty sure the death had nothing to do with something I did wrong.

10-31-2010, 05:54 AM
I am sorry :scry:

Are you thinking about more barbs or another centerpiece type fish?

10-31-2010, 06:25 AM
Sorry for your loss Taurus, Dwarfs are such beautiful fish but their fragile nature just turns me off. Have you ever thought of trying honey gouramis? They look similar to flame dwarfs but are much more hardy. Very sweet little guys too.

10-31-2010, 03:45 PM
Well thanks you two. :ssmile:

I'm keeping an open mind when it comes to a replacement for the dwarf gourami. Here's what I'm considering.

1. 4 more cherry barbs, 2 each male and female.

2. Add a male pearl gourami.

3. Add a honey gourami.

The big issue is finding healthy stock. I have a couple of options. I can special order a pearl or honey though a LFS that's about 25 miles away from me, or I can call another LFS that's about a hour away from me and see what they have in stock. If they have a honey or pearl, I can drive over and see the fish for myself. The store that's an hour away from me usually carries really healthy stock at a reasonable price.

The cherry barbs really are a joy to watch, so I really have no issue with adding to the shoal.

I'm not really sure if a 20 gallon long gives a male pearl gourami enough room as he reaches maturity?

Right now, I just want to watch for any signs of parasites or disease with either the cherries or the croaking gourami. At this time, everyone is eating, active, and looking healthy.

10-31-2010, 04:10 PM
Have you considered a few female bettas? They are usually more healthy than gourami and it would be a treat for them to actually be able to live as a real fish.

10-31-2010, 04:35 PM
:ssmile: I was hoping you'd chime in here Jenn. Yes, the thought of a female betta did cross my mind and I have not ruled it out. Every fish store within a 100 mile radius from me keeps their bettas in the plastic dishes with the lids. I mean is it possible to get a healthy female betta that has been living in one of those containers for any length of time?

10-31-2010, 09:14 PM
Usually, yes with the turnover of bettas in LFS they are still in good shape by the time they are sold unless the LFS just does no waterchanges or overfeeds alot. I would actually go for 3-5 female bettas in your 20G long :22:

11-30-2010, 02:31 PM
DOUBLE CRAAAAAPP! I lost the croaking gourami and a small male cherry barb in the past 2 days. The croaking gourami wasn't a surprise because she hadn't been eating for more than a week. The cherry barb was fine last night. I went to feed them this morning and noticed he didn't come to the front glass. I found him floating belly up in the plastic plants I have suspended from the hood. The gourami used to love hanging out in the plant because it floated near the surface. So now I'm down to 9 cherry barbs. They all look and act very healthy, eat like pigs, and play endlessly.

I'm going to let this tank settle down until after the first of the year. If there are no more loses, I will take Jenn's suggestion of adding a female betta. I'm all done with gourami.

I've lost several fish over the past few years out of this tank. Yet, I haven't had a single lose in the 29 gallon and its been running for well over 2 years now.