Sorry if this is in the wrong section, I'm still trying to learn my way around the forum. Feel free to yell at me and move if needed
Here is a background of the tank. Tank in general is 6 years old and has had anywhere from 1 fancy to 4-5 and a pelco. The tank is a 20 gallon and I currently have a Aqua-Tech Power Filter rated for 20-40 gallon tanks. It's measured flow is 160 GPH. I have always kept the bio filter with it and just washed it very well and let it dry out when I tore the tank down. Then I always changed out the charcoal filter on a regular basis.
I buy distilled water by the gallon from Wal-Mart because we have very hard well water here at home and I have never had luck getting it to work out. So buying the distilled water is just as easy and far less headache. Always has worked out very well for me too.
I plan to start this tank back up within a month or a touch longer. I am leaving next week for a week, so the tank won't get touched during that time. I will probably just hit it hard when I get back with disinfecting and setting it back up. So time is really not a issue to me currently.
I plan on getting 2-3 new fancy goldies, they are my favorites! And a pelco, if that is ok when starting up the tank right off the bat?
Teddy passed on Sunday evening, I drained all of the water on Monday evening. I still need to get the rocks out and into a bucket.
Here are my questions: (Sorry for so many noob-ish ones)
1. Disinfection....whats better on the rocks and plants, bleach or boiling? I'm not exactly sure what Teddy died of, so I want to make sure that everything is killed before I start over.
2. What is best to really scrub the glass clean without scratching the surface?
3. Filters: 20 gallon tank with a 20-40 rater filter (160gph)
-Is this a good filter for my tank? It has done me well so far and the tank stays very clean, Teddy never complained.
-Is a under gravel filter suggested or not worth it?
4. Air bubbles - I have never had one on this tank but thought about getting one up until Teddy died. Is one pump with a curtain suitable for my tank? I've read that it keeps the fish entertained and provides more oxygen.
5. Cycling - The more i read about this, the more confused I get.
I have always set the tank up with decor, filled with water, treated with conditioning stuff and let it run thru the filter for a few days before getting the new fish. I have not had any issues with this so far, so I'm guessing that method is ok?
6. Water Change - I will be the first to admit, I am awful at doing these on a weekly basis. I am not close to a faucet and my tank is upstairs in my room. So the only way to drain water is using my siphon out the window, which works well but it's just a pain to do every week. I tried to do at least a 30% change once a month. I have just had 1 fish in during this whole time. And buying the water, it gets kind of expensive to do.
Realistically, how often and how much needs to get changed out? (2-3 new fish)
And do this fish need to come out every time I do a water change?
How often does a 80%+ change need to be done? (basically all new water)
7. Landscaping. I have a mix of brownish/off whtie gravel now and a mix of plants and 1 log for them to swim thru and under.
I'm not real crazy about my gravel color and would love to change it out and this would be the perfect time. So I will probably just get new gravel.
How many plants is ideal for a 20 gallon? I didn't know if there was a "rule of thumb" for plants.
8. Temperature. We live in a farm house. Tank is about 15 feet from window, so it is out of direct sun light and drafts. I have a heater, but have never put it in. The tank usually stays anywhere from 68*-72* (hotter in summer as we do not have AC). All these years, the fish have never seemed to mind it. Is that regular room temp ok? Or do I need to have the heater on all the time?
I have the light on for 13-15 hours a day. It goes on when I wake up in the morning and off before I go to bed at night.
9. Fishies! Is 2-3 small fancies ok for my tank? Also, what about a pelco right off the bat? I had one with my fish at school for over a year and he did great. Then one fish got ich, and well I lost them all. I since have tried to keep a pelco with NO luck at all. I went to go buy one once and the person pretty much refused to sell me one because I was putting it with goldfish and they told me that the pelco can't survive in the same atmosphere with the goldfish...Didn't make me happy, so I just gave up with them at that point and have not had one since.
*A 20 gallon tank is really all the bigger I care to go right now. It's as big as my dresser will hold and with moving in the future a possibility, I hate to buy a new tank and deal with that right now. So maybe later I can invest in a bigger tank and more fishies!
And I am done for now, I just wrote a novel and i know how hard it is to sit here and read all of these stupid questions on a forum.
So thank you for making it to the end! All of your input and suggestions are welcome and appreciated!