[QUOTE=mjryan2176;7026674]Hello, I'm looking for a some suggestions on stocking the 20 long tank I am slowly putting together.
(Hatchets are super jumpers and mho - having kept them and aquariums for 55 years, not keep them in the same tank - I kept mine in huge 50 gallon globes - found on web site after years of searching) Jumpy bettas as well. Glad you said no to gourami - bred them as a youngster (would breed and sell fish to local outlet) and need space.
I am sharing these links (hard to find and a few out of thousands over the years) as I will not be able to return to aquariums and want to pass them along.
This is a superb product (now for smaller home hobby but when I got it was for commercial situations) Biologist manager sent me a sample (little last a long time)
Added (here is the site for huge globes - if one chooses to buy one - they need to sit on anything with a hole in the platform - I used a chinese pot holder) (any thing that is a circle - just need to balance and fill with water slowly to make sure centered)
I found them originally at a plastic outlet in NYC but had to look for years until one day walking by a place with lamps I realized what they were and found this link! My old flickr photos with smaller globe and ONE betta (she went after corries in the 20 long planted) the other on a stand (spot lights) had one blue betta (sisters in 75 and they started to fight even in that so re housed them) The water looks murky but all was crystal clear (used product along with basic environmental controls such that when I sold my 75 guy who bought it asked if there was any water in it)
75 with "rock sculpture" hand on backgrounds (background in sculpture along with biochemistry so on) made from real rock and black plastic - (if any one interested can tell you how) sold to guy who bought it for his Cichlids.
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As well, all fish are territorial, and need the extra space regardless of their size (as most already know the old one inch of fish per gallon of water was just that - I once rescued a ten inch pacu in a ten gallon aquarium at a local pet store - poor guy could not even turn around). When stressed fish release toxic hormones into the water - some of which are read as "stay away".
And any scaping, sand, rocks (caves) plants, filters so on take away actual water volume.
As well remember a school of smaller fish should be thought of as ONE large fish - they need their territory as well. I learned this the "hard way" (or rather the school of lamp eyes did) when a 20 long - planted tank was not sufficient for a school of 12-13. The top dog bullied each of them one by one until he was the only one left. In the 75 (with other fish) they started to breed.
MHO if you could get a 40 long then a beautiful school of x fish plus your pair (hopefully not two males) would be a great solution.
From site below - on tank mates for Blue rams. Maybe a school of Harlequin Rasbora -
the color contrast. There are many poorly articles now that come up in searches (the links I mentioned are burred by paid advertisers) I read of much mis-information. Saying a school should be at least 3 - (really? They just do not thrive with small numbers and need that school to feel secure). In a 20 at least 7 or more but again, 20 long mho is just to small. 40 would be great but that's me (and long experience)
These fish BR's are inherently weakened now by poor breeding practices (unless you get a pair form local breeder) so it is paramount to give them the best environment.
"The majority of fish commercially available these days are bred on Asian fish farms and they are notoriously weak due to poor breeding practices and the use of hormones to enhance the color. There is no way (that I know of anyway) to tell where a blue ram was bred unless you happen to know the breeder or happen to know that it was wild caught. "
Two great sites: (both run by highly experienced people, background in business and breeding fish, writing books, articles).
Run by Bob Fenner (read his amazing bio!)
Academic experience includes fifteen years of college, a couple of life science degrees and a teaching credential for chemistry, physics and biology. Published works include several studies on aquatic biological and chemical questions, and an extensive book and article publishing (helped author a few books, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, Fishwatcher's Guide to the Tropical Marine Aquarium Fishes of the World, Natural Marine Aquariums Reef Invertebrates...) and photographic background in aquatic industry and hobby fields. Have taught High School sciences and Marine Sciences and Aquariology courses at the State University, University of California levels.