Suggestions for a 20 long south american themed tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 07:53 AM Thread Starter
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Suggestions for a 20 long south american themed tank

I just downsized from a 29 gallon high to a 20 gallon long. Although the new tank has 2/3rds of the previous tank's water volume, it actually has an identical footprint. Therefore, I expect I can stock the tank similarly. I'm much happier with the new tank's dimensions; I cannot stand tanks that are much higher than they are deep. The new tank has the old tank's substrate, plants, decor, and fish.

The current stocking is...
9 Cardinal Tetras
6 X-Ray Tetras

The tank is pretty basic. Honestly, it's barely even planted, with the sole rooted plant being an abused Amazon Sword, and the only other plants being Amazon Frogbit and Salvinia (plus some duckweed, that stuff is forever). The tank is set up as a lazy Igapů biotope. The substrate is sand (the Amazon sword has some Fluval Stratum under it), and the decor is sticks, seed pods, leaf litter, and a flying monkey statue, just like a real flooded forest in the Amazon. I plan on at least doubling the current amount of leaf litter in the tank in the next few days and maybe adding some other forest floor stuff I have laying around.

Honestly, it's kind of a miracle the Amazon sword is still alive. The lighting is the basic Aqueon hood which may actually have negative PAR. That combined with the typically tea-colored water, the previous depth of the 29 gallon, and the surface usually choked with floaters seems like it would kill any aquatic plant.

For filtration, I have an Aqueon Quietflow 20 and some random sponge filter spec'd for 20-30 gallons on the tank. I'll test the water tomorrow because it's been ages since I lasted tested it. Everything is over a year old and the tank is well cycled and well established already so I don't expect any ammonia or nitrite. In the change from the 29 to the 20, I did a 100% water change so I don't expect many nitrates.

I've attached a photo of the tank plus a photo of the inhabitants. I must say, the X-Ray Tetras are about twice as interesting as the Cardinals. The X-Rays are bolder, more engaging, and much harder to net. The X-Rays have definitely earned my respect. To top it all off, I actually like the X-Ray's markings more than the Cardinals. Sure the Cardinals are brightly colored, but their markings are so simple, no nuance. The X-Rays have beautifully patterned fins, a see-through body, and red tails. They also have interesting scoop-shaped mouths. Anyway, according to aqadvisor, I'm only about 2/3rds stocked, and I'm considering getting more fish for this tank. I thought I'd mention my feelings about the current inhabitants to help people with stocking suggestions.

Should I get more fish? If so what should I get and why? Note, I'd prefer suggestions for fish that are from South America and would enjoy a leaf-litter heavy environment.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 01:22 PM
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I think hatchetfish would look nice in that tank. Is it covered? Angels would look good as well, but they might pick on your cardinals.

I'm tempted to suggest banjo cats, but you almost never see them... Maybe a dozen sterbais?
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 01:56 PM
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Hey! love the theme of the tank. Personally i would add some sort of South american cichlid. Something like a German Blue ram or some type of Apistogramma (maybe a pair). They would fit the south american theme and they would be a nice centerpiece fish. However this is all personal opinion. Good Luck!

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I think hatchetfish would look nice in that tank. Is it covered? Angels would look good as well, but they might pick on your cardinals.

I'm tempted to suggest banjo cats, but you almost never see them... Maybe a dozen sterbais?
Angles could very well pick on the cardinals and they are a tall fish from top to bottom when full grown so the footprint of the 20 long would not necessarily work.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Oceanman77 View Post
I think hatchetfish would look nice in that tank. Is it covered? Angels would look good as well, but they might pick on your cardinals.

I'm tempted to suggest banjo cats, but you almost never see them... Maybe a dozen sterbais?
I like the idea of the sterbais or the hatchetfish. Which of the two do you think have a better personality? Would I really have room for that many sterbais? I was thinking more like half as many as that.

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Originally Posted by zwalter08 View Post
Hey! love the theme of the tank. Personally i would add some sort of South american cichlid. Something like a German Blue ram or some type of Apistogramma (maybe a pair). They would fit the south american theme and they would be a nice centerpiece fish. However this is all personal opinion. Good Luck!

Bump:

Angles could very well pick on the cardinals and they are a tall fish from top to bottom when full grown so the footprint of the 20 long would not necessarily work.
I like the Apistogramma suggestion. I personally have been a long time fan of A. trifasciata. Now if only I could find them somewhere!
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 01:35 AM
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I like the idea of the sterbais or the hatchetfish. Which of the two do you think have a better personality? Would I really have room for that many sterbais? I was thinking more like half as many as that.
I've never kept hatchetfish before personally, but I think they just float around in the top. I'd go for the cories personally.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 01:41 AM
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Angels would look good as well
According to the first post ZDRC only has a 20 g long, Please tell me how Angel fish would be suitable?
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 01:43 AM
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If you have a lid on the tank, the marbled hatchetfish, which gets just under an inch and a half would be an excellent idea. [No lid- then not a good choice].
I would get at least 7 of them.
There really is not enough bottom area for 12 corydoras sterbei in a 20 long- it would be very crowded. But, you could do around 6 or 7.

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According to the first post ZDRC only has a 20 g long, Please tell me how Angel fish would be suitable?
Not at all suitable in any way.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 04:46 AM
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Another suggestion for cories would be the dwarf Cory habrosus. You could have 8-10 of those. But I agree about the sterbai - they get quite large so a large group would not be suitable.

Another tetra to look at would be Hyphessobrycon bentosi (sometimes seen as HY511, Ornate tetra, Bentosi tetra)
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 05:14 AM
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Should I get more fish? If so what should I get and why? Note, I'd prefer suggestions for fish that are from South America and would enjoy a leaf-litter heavy environment.
A pair of Bolivian Ram's M&F temperature wise they will all happily live at 26 deg c.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions!

I've pretty much narrowed it down to a small group of corys or a pair/trio of dwarf cichlids (hopefully A. trifasciata). It'll probably come down to what I can find locally. Could I fit 8ish slightly smaller cories (e.g. Panda cory, C. trilineatus) instead of the sterbais? The tank is temp is ~<76 deg F, and I think if I got tank-raised Panda's or False Julii's it would be OK?
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by zdrc View Post
Thanks for the suggestions!

I've pretty much narrowed it down to a small group of corys or a pair/trio of dwarf cichlids (hopefully A. trifasciata). It'll probably come down to what I can find locally. Could I fit 8ish slightly smaller cories (e.g. Panda cory, C. trilineatus) instead of the sterbais? The tank is temp is ~<76 deg F, and I think if I got tank-raised Panda's or False Julii's it would be OK?
You might be able to fit 8 if you looking for somewhere around 8 or 10 I would suggest a dwarf or pygmy Cory species.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-16-2020, 12:35 AM
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There are unsexed Apistogramma trifasciata up for auction on Aquabid .



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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-16-2020, 12:41 AM
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Good luck sourcing apistogramma, they are a wonderful fish to keep! A pair would do great in that tank. If you want any possible spawn to be successful, I would skip the corys.



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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-16-2020, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by zdrc View Post
I like the idea of the sterbais or the hatchetfish. Which of the two do you think have a better personality? Would I really have room for that many sterbais? I was thinking more like half as many as that.

I like the Apistogramma suggestion. I personally have been a long time fan of A. trifasciata. Now if only I could find them somewhere!
Go check out https://aquaticarts.com/collections/...-dwarf-cichlid They are currently out of stock but they do sell a bunch of apistogrammas and they sell them in male and female pairs. I have had good success in ordering from them very customer friendly.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-16-2020, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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A LFS happened to have wild Apistogramma bitaeniata 'Rio Nanay'. The fish we pretty old, some 2"+, but unsexed. They had been in the dealers tank for 3+ weeks and they seemed stable and healthy. I bought a possible M/F pair. Because the fish were so large we could sort of sex them (I guess sexing Apistos is actually pretty hard). It looked like there were only a few female fish in the store, lots of males and sneaker males. I'll post photos later to see what you think.
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