The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
600 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Everyone,

I'm looking for some thoughts on stocking the setup I am currently building and setting up. Once complete the tank will be a 20 gal long high-tech tank with a 10-gallon sump. My last tank (5 years ago) was stocked somewhat strangely with only a betta, two BN plecos, cherry shrimp, and snails in a heavily planted 46 gallon. I kinda liked the light stocking with the betta acting like a big bad shrimp hunter and am thinking about something kind of similar, hopefully with a few more fish this time around!

Since I liked the lighter stocking and small fish in a big tank look of my previous tank I am leaning towards micro and nano fish for this new tank. I know for sure I'll have some sort of neo shrimp and snails (probably nerite and MTS). The three center-piece fish that have caught my eye are sparkling gouramis, scarlet badis, or pygmy sunfish. I'm not sure I want to get into culturing live food yet so I'm thinking of a small group of sparkling gouramis. I've seen some mixed information on what the proper size of this group should be so suggestions would be appreciated. As far as the tank mates, I think I'd be content with the gouramis as the only mid/upper water fish but could be convinced otherwise. However, I am looking for some sort of bottom dweller. I like love the look of plecos and other smaller catfish but I am worried a pleco would be too much for this tank. I've also been eyeing Asian stone catfish but have read they can very sensitive to nitrate which could be a problem in a high-tech tank. I also worry I would need to get quite a large (and costly) group to ever see any of them.

I've also thought of going in a totally different direction and going with endler/gupies or zebra danios.

Would love to hear your thoughts!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
I, personally, love sparkling gourami with panda cory and maybe a micro rasbora species for a schooler. You could keep 3- 5 sparkling gourami in a 20 long with 6 panda and a school of micro rasbora or similar sized fish of 6-8. That along with shrimp and snails would give you around a full stock, though.

Endlers/ guppies are fun but I strongly suggest keeping only males if you do. I like the look of a small group of male endlers with a large group of oto in heavily planted tanks, just an idea.

In all honesty if I had harder water I would love to have a flag fish feature but they seem to be a single specimen type of fish based on their demeanor and that doesn't sound like something you're looking for, badis are similar in nature.

Have you considered an apisto pair?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
600 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Cories and sparkling gouramis sound like a pretty good option, I'd probably stick with just the two and no small schoolers but I might fall in love with a micro schooler so hard to say yet. I admit that cories are not my favorite fish in terms of looks but I hear they have great personalities!

I do have a few concerns about the gouramis. My water out of the tap is moderately hard and slightly alkaline and I've read gouramis prefer softer acidic water. I don't necessarily buy into strict pH and hardness levels since I think stability is more important, but I don't want to push that too far.

I also read they jump a lot. I was originally planning to run an open-top tank with driftwood and plants poking out of the top. However, that idea might be dropped since I am having a horrible time finding suitable driftwood, and a lot of the fish species I am eyeing have a reputation as jumpers. I'm also a bit concerned about flow since ill be running a sump and I read gouramis like slow flow. I am getting an adjustable pump so hopefully, that won't be an issue.

I have not given much consideration to apistos. Honestly, I don't know much about that as my water when I had my last tank was absurdly hard and alkaline so I never looked at much softer water fish. Some of them look to be very attractive though.

For reference my parameters out of the tap are:
10-11 dGH
7-8 dKH
pH 7.6~7.8
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
Tank bred apistos would be much more adaptive to your parameters than the gourami, in general. Cockatoos are the most readily available and imho are kind of indestructible (given you keep the water stable). They're more neutral ph fish than most dwarf cichlids and don't require a heater (in general). I think they may work well for you in this particular set up. Full of personality, keep to the bottom half of the tank (not very jumpy at all, I kept and bred them with no cover and never had a jumper) and very parameter adaptive- mine were acclimated to neutral ph and hardness before being sold. I'm very biased in this matter lol as I absolutely love this group of cichlids but I honestly think they would be perfect for this set up. Though if you can get your hands on flag fish having a pair would definitely stand out as they aren't as commonly kept as I believe they should be and do fall in line perfectly with your parameters and don't require a heater either. Badis are pretty soft water in nature, they're on my radar for that reason as I have battery acid for water lol. I have never tried keeping sparkling gourami in neutral or hard water settings so I can't draw from experience there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
343 Posts
I picked up a pair of peacock gudgeons a couple months ago and really like them. They aren't the most active fish but they are cool looking. You could do a pair of those and maybe a few tetras or something at the top. The gudgeons will probably hunt shrimp but if you have enough hiding places for the shrimp you'd be OK. I have them with cherry shrimp and they have survived, but haven't seen any babies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
600 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies everyone really appreciate the ideas! Luckily I have some time before my tank is up and running and ready for fish so I can do some more research and thinking. I will definitely do some more research into apisto as they do sound pretty cool. I was listening to a podcast today and the hosts had nothing but good things to say about them.

As for the sparkling gouramis, I think these fish are really cool so I've done some more research and have seen info saying they can handle pH as high as 8 and harder water. However, I've also seen an equal number of places saying they top out at pH 7.0 or 7.5. Lots of conflicting information going around for sure.

I have to say I think I've fallen in love with the peacock gudgeons! I've always loved the look of gobies and similar fish but most that I've seen want softer, acidic water. Preliminary research is showing the gudgeons would go very well in my water. I also saw that they are micro predators that really need live food or frozen. I was kinda of planning to stay away from something like that but the peacock gudgeons might motivate to change my mind! I wish they were shrimp safe but everything I am seeing is that they will eat neos including adults. I might be able to overcome it if I build a good colony before hand but it'd probably be easier to stick with larger shrimp like ammanos. Maybe even a flower shrimp since I've alwasy thought they are cool. Any thoughts on if they could coexist with sparkling gourmais? I think that would be a cool tank with very complimentary colors and a micro predator theme.

Lastly, I was poking around some more and some of the smaller rainbows and killifish also caught my eye. I'm pretty sure I've heard there are species that can handle my water easily, just a matter of finding them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
343 Posts
I really do enjoy keeping them. Luckily my peacocks will eat flake food no problem. Feeding extreme krill flake, extreme nano, and some algae wafers for the cory cats. I do feed live baby brine about once a week, but it's more of a treat than necessity IMO.

You'd probably be ok with the shrimp as long as they have a good place to hide. I don't think a full size adult would fit in their mouth, but they could def chomp babies.

Not sure on the sparkling gourami but this is what I have in with my pair. 1 pearl gourami, six golden pencil fish, and 8 pygmy Cory cats. A dozen or so cherry shrimp and your standard variety of "pest" snails. All seem to be getting along well.

The gourami wasn't meant to be in this tank but it wasn't getting along with the fish in the other tank.

Good luck with your selection!!!



Sent from my SM-G986U using Tapatalk

Haaa relaxing watching the tanks after work and what do I see. Little guy must have known I was talking about him


Sent from my SM-G986U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
Imho you'd probably never see the sparkling gourami in that setting. They've been pretty timid from my experiences with them. They've been happiest for me with cory or loaches and sometimes a small schooler. I've known them to be relatively adaptive. 8 for ph is definitely pushing it a bit far but mid 7s I could see if acclimated very slowly from a neutral holding tank. I've never owned peacock gudgeons so I can't give a personal opinion on compatibility other than that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
600 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hmm I will have to do some thinking. I like them both but I don't want to stress them out if they won't get along. I do have spare 20 long so that's a possibility... I need to resist the urge and get this one tank up and running first. Multiple tank syndrome is already trying to sink its teeth into me

Sent from my SM-G970U1 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
600 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Still kicking ideas around and having trouble coming up with a stocking scheme I like. I love the gudgeons, but I just don't know if it's wise to jump back into things with a large group of pricey fish. Particularly if I'll be pushing the acceptable range on water parameters for them. I also don't have an amazing track record with fish. Granted, I was in middle school at the time but I lost a tank full of fish to an unidentified cause. I suspect it was the softened water I was using at the time but can't say for sure. Nonetheless, it worries me. Honestly, fish stress me out a lot more than plants do. Part of the reason my last 46-gallon tank had only a betta, two BN plecos, and low-grade cherry shrimp.

I've done some more checking into the flag fish and the apistos. I think both have potential but have a few questions I'm hoping yall can answer. For the flag fish, I've seen some pictures where they are super brightly colored and others where they have almost none. I know there is variation due to parameters and gender, but I'd like a better idea of how colorful they typically are.

For the apistos, truly a gorgeous fish but I worry about my water hardness and pH. I've read that the tank-bred specimens are more adaptable. However, pH 7.8 seems like it might be pushing it?

Another option I've got in my head recently is white clouds. I forgot how much I love these guys. I think white clouds and cherry shrimp would look great together (as long as the white clouds don't eat all the shrimp). That being said, I am worried the tank would be too warm for them during the summer. I've been keeping my apartment at 74 during the day and 72 at night since it's consistently in the 90s outside here. Haven't experienced what winter is like here yet but would probably keep the indoor temp in the 68 to 72 range. All the care sheets I've read list 72 as the max temp, but I've read about people keeping them warmer in tropical tanks or outdoor ponds. Thoughts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
Still kicking ideas around and having trouble coming up with a stocking scheme I like. I love the gudgeons, but I just don't know if it's wise to jump back into things with a large group of pricey fish. Particularly if I'll be pushing the acceptable range on water parameters for them. I also don't have an amazing track record with fish. Granted, I was in middle school at the time but I lost a tank full of fish to an unidentified cause. I suspect it was the softened water I was using at the time but can't say for sure. Nonetheless, it worries me. Honestly, fish stress me out a lot more than plants do. Part of the reason my last 46-gallon tank had only a betta, two BN plecos, and low-grade cherry shrimp.

I've done some more checking into the flag fish and the apistos. I think both have potential but have a few questions I'm hoping yall can answer. For the flag fish, I've seen some pictures where they are super brightly colored and others where they have almost none. I know there is variation due to parameters and gender, but I'd like a better idea of how colorful they typically are.

For the apistos, truly a gorgeous fish but I worry about my water hardness and pH. I've read that the tank-bred specimens are more adaptable. However, pH 7.8 seems like it might be pushing it?

Another option I've got in my head recently is white clouds. I forgot how much I love these guys. I think white clouds and cherry shrimp would look great together (as long as the white clouds don't eat all the shrimp). That being said, I am worried the tank would be too warm for them during the summer. I've been keeping my apartment at 74 during the day and 72 at night since it's consistently in the 90s outside here. Haven't experienced what winter is like here yet but would probably keep the indoor temp in the 68 to 72 range. All the care sheets I've read list 72 as the max temp, but I've read about people keeping them warmer in tropical tanks or outdoor ponds. Thoughts?
You could absolutely do white clouds. I've maintained tanks in places that typically reached 76-78° during the summer with white clouds without issues, though a fan across the top was used on the hotter days.

The pics of super colored up flag fish are usually breeding colors. They are "flashier" than they are colorful- it's all about the lighting and surroundings. Their grumpiness is hilarious. Full disclosure- I've only maintained tanks with flag fish, I've never owned them personally.

*Edit- forgot apistos- yes, it is pushing it but it is possible. Your other choices are a lot more reasonable.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top