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  1. Default New 20 gallon high challenge!-What should I do with it?

    0 Not allowed!
    Hey, guys. A friend hooked me up with an aquarium stand and a 20 gallon high. I need to put some water in it before it floats away.

    What kind of fish would do well in here? I don't want a ton of tiny fish like Neon Tetras swimming around in there. Not my taste. How about a small school of Tiger Barbs? Any other recommendations? I know that some species like to dwell near the bottom, middle, or top. I'd like it to look stocked, but definitely not over-crowded. It would be nice to have some small fish, as long as I can have 1 or 2 fish around 4". I've heard of the whold 1" per 1 gallon. I don't know how far that theory goes...especially in cases like mine with extremely over-the-top filtration.

    CUC: I don't mind doing maintenance, but I would appreciate it if I could have some critters give me a natural hand! Of course, no Plecos. The same friend of mine has one in his is HUGE. Looks like a prehistoric alien.

    Filtration is going to be an Eheim Professional 2, which is good for up to 158 gallons, and houses 1.9 gallons itself... Not TOO worried about the bio-load, but I'm reasonable. I'm also not worried about the current being too strong, as I can adjust that.

    Substrate: I can either go with play sand, or white gravel that you would find at Wal-Mart in the pet department. I have TONS of that white gravel. If I can get some good decor with some fish that would match and not mind the gravel--I'm down to use it.

    Decor: You tell me. I'm not the biggest fan of those thing you can buy all painted up. IE: Castles, fake wood, pirate ships, etc...

    Plants: Maybe, if they are tall...and can work with sand or gravel. I do like planted tanks, but not the ones that have so many plants in there you have to stare at it for 5 minutes to see what's going on in there. I'm not interested in dosing CO2.

    Lighting: CFL. Got that under control. In the future I'm going to solder in LED's in there for some homemade actinic action.

    Did I miss anything? I want to do this 100% right, and very tastefully. No mistakes. That's why I'm calling for your help!



  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    What is the footprint of the tank? Tall tanks usually limit the stock you can keep. Tigerbarbs grow too large to be kept in there long term.
    <-- Click for journals
    "There is no right way to do the wrong thing." - KingFisher "Only bad things happen fast in this hobby" - Cliff Boo train boo train boo train boo train woohoo

  3. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Aeonflame
    What is the footprint of the tank? Tall tanks usually limit the stock you can keep. Tigerbarbs grow too large to be kept in there long term.
    Footprint is 20" x 11" x 24".

    L X D X H

  4. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Oh, it's a 20 gallon extra high.

  5. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Deciding how to set up a new aquarium is one of the best parts of this hobby!

    I'll give you my recommendation for each category.

    CUC: Corydoras catfish. They stay small (~2-3 inches max) and school together even if you have only 3. They never stop cleaning and there are all kinds of different colors/species. If you want them to school (and you do) make sure you get all the same species.

    side note - there are small pleco species like the bristlenose/bushynose that don't grow huge like the "common" pleco.

    Filter: you're set. sounds like a professional grade filter.

    Substrate: sand is hard to vacuum. I prefer gravel. White gravel will show algae growth and fish poop pretty quickly. Consider a darker mixed color, more natural look. But if you clean it often maybe the white will work.

    Decor: Go natural. Real driftwood and rocks. Especially slate - it's thin so it doesn't hog the tank space and it looks great. You can get it cheap at hardware stores. Pre-water-logged driftwood (ie it sinks immediately) is available online for pretty cheap too. Just boil it to sterilize it before you put it in your tank.

    Plants: Amazon Swords are bullet proof. They will grow in any tank. No fertilizer or CO2 or high lumen lights needed. Floating plants are fun too. Quarantine and sterilize all plants for snails first though.

    Lighting: You're set. Watch for algae growth and do more water changes and less feeding if your nitrates start creeping up. And go easy on the hours of light. Try adding low watt moonlight LEDs so you can still see what's going on without baking your tank and getting algae. It's way easier to prevent algae than get rid of it.

    And pick a fun couple of center piece fish. I think it's best to get several of one kind and watch the interactions. But that's a personal preference.

    Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 10-10-2012 at 05:54 AM. Reason: No reason for all the quotes

  6. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    First off, thank you for the elaborate reply. Very much appreciated.

    I will definitely check out the Corydoras Catfish. I am wondering if 3 will be too much, and leave me lacking the ability to have more "show fish." This won't be my main tank in the long run, so it REALLY doesn't matter. This tank is more than likely going in the office, anyway.

    I do think some black gravel would look awesome, just another expense I was trying to avoid. Luckily, it's a small footprint so it won't be costly. :)

    I love the look of slate. There are a handful of places around here that I can shop for slate at. Where would I find driftwood locally? I'd like to see the size of it before buying, if possible. There are tons of rivers near me. I may go out and see what kind of river rock I can conjure up.

    I have heard of the Amazon Swords. Looking at pictures of them, I do like them alot. I'm assuming they will grow fine in gravel since you're recommending them. Not sure about the sterilizing plants for snails. Never heard of that. I'll look into it before diving in.

    As for the fish part, that's my biggest debate!

    Thanks again for the awesome reply!

    Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 10-10-2012 at 05:55 AM. Reason: why all the quoting

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    hold up there. are correct on one thing-his filtration is good for the tank.

    cory cats need at least 6.
    they are a schooling fish. they school together, and by any recommendation by any member here is a minimum of 6.

    second. amazons are high light plants that grow deep roots.
    I can attest to that. I have over 6 of them in my 45, any less of lighting that I have right now and they wouldn't grow. being deep rooted plants means they need root tabs...specifically they love iron.

    back to the OP
    as you have such a vertical tank, the only good recommendations are micro fish. the lack of length prevents many species from being able to swim their recommended amount.
    My silver tip tetras in my 10gallon right now. aren't that happy b/c of the lack of horizontal swimming room. but in my 3ft long tank. they are al over the distances they can go. 11inches doesn't provide much horizontal room. vertically you are set, but fish don't swim up and down.

  8. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    So it seems like I am going to be "stuck" with small fish. I can give the Amazons a shot, I guess. How are you able to tell if your fish are happy or not?
    Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 10-10-2012 at 05:56 AM.

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    smaller fish, yes.

    by no means can you fit an oscar in there.

    but a good school of neon tetras, or smaller tetras would work great.

    I didnt read the length tho. just saw the depth and I jumped the gun on that

    if you are to do cory's. you need 6. simple as that if you want them happy and buzzing around like cory's act--which is why I personally love them.

    amazons can work, so will wisteria, java fern etc. its all about how you set up your substrate, lights and ferts for them.

  10. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    If you gather wood or rocks outdoors, just make sure you boil them for at least 15 minutes.

    Finding driftwood locally can vary depending on where you live. Getting water logged/sinking stuff is kinda hard most places. You can put old, dry wood in the tank but you will need to boil it and then weight it down somehow. In the past I have used a cheap, flat cement block and drilled it through into the wood with a large stainless steel screw. Don't use fresh/living/greenwood as it will likely rot and make your tank look/smell awful. I just got some stuff online and it's fantastic and way cheaper than a pet store.

    I have had amazon swords in my tanks for years. Gravel, no fertilizer, moderate florescent light. You have bright lights but a tall tank. It will probably still work. Try finding a small one for cheap at a local pet store. Put it in tap water in a jar (open top) by a window that gets lots of direct sunlight (or under a desk lamp). Add a pinch of houseplant fertilizer (or fish food if you don't have fertilizer). Cut off any leaves that look wilted or rotten. Wait a few weeks until you see it sprout new leaves and new tiny white roots. Then it's ready to plant. Check for snails first. If you want to be sure you don't have unwanted hitchhikers, you can sterilize it with potassium permanganate mixed in water

    Small amounts of potassium permanganate are available for cheap on sites like ebay.
    Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 10-10-2012 at 05:58 AM.

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