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Ive Gotten Myself Into A Situation Here...


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my bestfriend wants me to setup a fish tank for her...

because she doesnt know how, and has faith that I can be more successful than her in fishkeeping since i have a fishtank myself.

going to her house everyday to cycle the tank is not a problem since school will be starting and her house is on the way home, and i'm welcome in her house any time. but hopefully..i can convince them to test the water/do the water changes, too. :D

the problem is..they want tropicals,

and are talking about fish i dont know much about. i have researched them lightly to see what i have on my hands. her mom is going with me to the pet store when ive got everything figured out to buy a tank and all the equipment, so i will be able to pick out everything as well.

so, basically, im asking you guys for HELP! thank goodness i talked my other friend out of getting a saltwater tank and getting ME to "help"...that wouldve been a much more difficult project...but now here's another challenge, which seems more reasonable, and i'm excited too, because i practically live at her house, so it would be like my own tank as well!

first off, they have their hearts set on exactly 5 guppies, but want other "colorful fish" also.

so they also want a dwarf gourami.

i suggested zebra danios because i know those are hardy fish...and they liked those too.

soooo my first question would beee

if they want 1 dwarf gourami, 5 guppies, and 3 zebra danios, will those fish get along?

2nd question: what size tank is needed? i'm thinking 20 gallons... and would it be okay to add like 3 corydoras to a 20 gallon with all these fish, or would it be overstocked then? if its already overstocked without the corys, what would be more ideal for a 20 gallon?

..i never realized how simple goldfish are: 10gal per fancy, 20 gal per common. simple, thats the way i like it lol.

oh, and 3rd question: how many gph would i need to be filtered, and what is the best filter for a tropical tank if it even matters?

sorry for the long post, i just want to make sure i know everything there is to know before i start this project. i also need to have time to convince them not to get a certain fish if it will be overstocked/the fish wont get along!

this time, unlike the saltwater tank situation, i think it's really going to happen and we are going to set this tank up. i'm excited and nervous all in one! i hope i can be a good tropical fish keeper!

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if they want 1 dwarf gourami, 5 guppies, and 3 zebra danios, will those fish get along?

I've kept guppies with gouramis no problem, but I've never kept danios. My impression was that they may be nippers, but I'm not sure about that one. Also, make sure they get 5 male guppies or else they'll have a lot more than 5 :P

2nd question: what size tank is needed? i'm thinking 20 gallons... and would it be okay to add like 3 corydoras to a 20 gallon with all these fish, or would it be overstocked then? if its already overstocked without the corys, what would be more ideal for a 20 gallon?

I think a 20 gallon would be fine if you keep on top of the perams, etc. I have a lot more fish than that in my 20 but it's completely cycled and heavily planted.

oh, and 3rd question: how many gph would i need to be filtered, and what is the best filter for a tropical tank if it even matters?

I always stick with aqua clear or penguine. As for gph, I just use one that's recommended for the size tank I have or slightly larger (I have one rated for 30-40 gallons on my 20 gallon tank)

Also, if they do go with the gourami/guppies, plants would be a big bonus, esp for the gourami. They like to hide out in them, and anything that floats or grows near the surface is good.

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Chrissy has given you an excellent answer...would just like to add...you could actually start with 3-4 danios...danios are very hardy...I know you are encouraging a fishless cycle...but just in case there is a bump or anything when you start stocking..the danios are the best choice...they can help you get the tank more stable... :) ...and danios would be fine with the gourami and guppies... :) ..they could be nippy but I really dont think they would have a problem with guppies or gourami... :) ..and yes 5 male guppies...cos they breed like carzy.. :) ...to avoid overstocking with a tropical tank...I always love the rule of 1 fish per 2 gallons of water...it just gives you some space for errors and such..In a 20 gallon with afilter of 30-40 gph like Chrissy says...I wud suggest you have not more than 12-15 small fish in there...and have only one dwarf gourami...not more..those guys are a bit aggressive...after all they are betta's cousin.. :P

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thanks so much for the answers. i'm planning on a 20 gallon, with a 30-40 gph aquaclear ...

and i might add some danios for the cycling, sunshinegurl, thanks for the idea.

so the fish so far are:

5 guppies

1 dwarf gourami

3-6 danios

(3 cory cats??)

possibly an algae eater.

chrissybee, what fish do you have in your tank? i was just curious..

also, for tropicals, is vacuuming the gravel frequently necessary? i find it alot scarier to vacuum the gravel with tiny fish, especially cory cats that hang out on the bottom!

and if i planted the tank..should i do that after the tank is cycled? and i have no idea how to feed plants.....O_O

thanks again for the replies!

p.s. also i totally forgot about a heater! what temperature and what brands are the best?

Edited by justkeepswimming
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chrissybee, what fish do you have in your tank? i was just curious..

also, for tropicals, is vacuuming the gravel frequently necessary? i find it alot scarier to vacuum the gravel with tiny fish, especially cory cats that hang out on the bottom!

and if i planted the tank..should i do that after the tank is cycled? and i have no idea how to feed plants.....O_O

thanks again for the replies!

I have a lot of fish...BUT as I said, my tank is heavily planted and the filter is pretty powerful (not sure of gph right now, but it's more than 40). Ok..here's what's in my tank:

2 neon tetras (should have more but I don't want anymore, I have too many problems with them)

6 x-ray tetras

3 black skirt tetras

3 male fancy guppies

4 cories

3 ottos (just got 2 of them today :D )

You don't need to use the gravel vac as often. I do it once a week but could get away with less than that. As for the plants, I think they'd be ok during the cycle, but I'll admit dispite keeping them for a few years now I'm only really getting 'into' plants now. I'm going to soon add some flourish excel fertilizer to the tank because my amazon sword is not doing well.

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The danio's would be a good start to cycle the tank. Be careful of those algea eats sold in most stores get mean when they age. I just love cories but would not get less then 6 they are a schooling fish.

From the sounds of how many fish you want a 20 gallon is not going to be big enough.

I have never managed to keep a dwarf gourami alive. They are not an easy fish to keep.

If you don't want any bigger then 20 I would stick with the five guppies (get the same sex or youll have tons of them) and 6 cory cats. But not all at the same time. I would cycle with the cories and add the guppies a few months later. Even that is pushing it.

Now if you can get a 40 gallon then you could get all the fish you are talking about.

Stocking lightly is what I always tell new people. This way they don't get so discouraged about the hobby when they overstock and cuase of lack of knowledge they lose a lot of fish. Cycling a tank takes a while and you need to stock very slowly not all at once like a lot of people do.

To few fish is better then a lot of dead fish.

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I have never managed to keep a dwarf gourami alive. They are not an easy fish to keep.

Agreed. I have had horrible luck with them, all my other fish will thrive and I lose these guys consistently.

I also think starting with guppies and cories could be a good idea. My borther in law just set up a 30 gallon and of all the fish he put in, the guppies and cories are the only ones thriving.

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does anybody know a medium sized tropical fish that is easy to keep?

i dont want to get a dwarf gourami if they are difficult to keep alive!

i just did alittle research on gouramis and why theyre hard to keep and came upon this.

i just thought i'd share with you all

http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/pfk/...g.php?blogid=66

Edited by justkeepswimming
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To keep in a 20 gallon with guppies? Hmmmm I would not worry about that for a couple months.

Only thing that comes to mind right now is an angel fish but you need at least a 29/30 gallon for one of those. And they are not that easy to keep either. They require special handling. But once you get it they are super easy. lol

Only ones that come to mind are fish that need to be kept with more others of their own kind. I love rainbows they are pretty but get rather large and need at leat 6 so then you could not have any guppies or cories. They look rather dull in the stores but once they get home and settled they can be very colorful. But that would really be over stocked with a 20.

Unless you want to try a betta but keep in mind you'll need to add it last and make sure the guppies have lots of hiding places to get away from it.

Really with a 20 gallon you should stick to small fish like tetra's guppies and the like. They well be much happier with the outcome that way.

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oh oh oh I got it how about a pair of sword tails. Very pretty fish and lots of colors to choice from. Have not kept any in years but they are easy to keep like platies(sp). And they are happy as long as you have a pair.

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oh oh oh I got it how about a pair of sword tails. Very pretty fish and lots of colors to choice from. Have not kept any in years but they are easy to keep like platies(sp). And they are happy as long as you have a pair.

:rofl I love the excitement!! And that is a good idea :)

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I would really pass on the algae eater...they can get big..for a tropical tank I love smaller fish only...

A combo could be...

5 danios+5 male guppies+3 cory cats,,,and then if you want the swordtails...I agree gouramis are difficult to keep..they need specific pH which if not met with, they easily die...mollies can be a little too aggressive...platies are a good option too...4 platy/mickey mouse platy...etc could work...

I would have suggested cardinal tetras..but again difficult to keep alive...they need a good amount of fishkeeping experience...and specific pH needs...

As for heater..yes very essential for tropical..I am not so sure abt the brand..but the temperature needs to be in the range of 74-79 degrees F for all these fish....as for pH..you might wanna check pH reqmnts for each of the above mentioned fish...so that you are aware exactly what you are looking at... :) ...

Edited by SunshineGurl
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Visitherm Stealths and Ebo-Jagers are some nice brands.

Also, I HIGHLY suggest getting a bigger filter. 30-40 GPH is not enough. I would say at least 100 GPH, but more is better.

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I have personally kept all kinds of tropicals in a 20 gal (and a 16, 10 and 5 gal!) for almost 2 years now. Sometimes it's a game of "musical tanks" switching fish around until you get a group that live peaceably with each other.

So, from my own experience I can tell you that male guppies, cories, platies, upside down cats and one female betta all get along fine in the 20 gal. Right now the 16 has hatchet fish, danios, pygmy cories, a platy and one female betta and they are also getting along great with no problems.

My swordtail male doesn't seem to like female swords as he either ignored the ones I had or he chased them away. The males can be territorial so you don't want more than one in a tank--but--mine likes to chase the platies and guppies, too. He doesn't get along in any of my tanks. I even put him with the gf briefly in desperation but he nipped at their fins and was removed, of course!

There is a problem with putting guppies and danios together--the danios are much faster at getting food than the poor gups. That combo didn't work for me at all.

Also, my danios attacked my albino cories and nipped their fins. However, they never bothered my bronze or spotted cories. They haven't bothered my pygmies yet either that I know of--just the albinos for some reason.

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