General questions

Gemmeh Member Posts: 12
Hi all! I'm a beginner who has previously only owned Goldfish and had no knowledge of aquariums. Since then, I have been doing research upon research and plan on doing a heavily planted, low-tech aquarium, and have a few questions about the stocking, equipment, and planting aspects of the tank.

1. the tank is 20 gallons (72 litres). I'm hoping to add a school of 10 amber tetras and 1 honey Gourami. Is this overdoing it? Would I be better off adding another honey Gourami or more tetra, or does stocking sound okay?
2. I'm planning on doing a fishless cycle. When it's done, i'm unsure in what order/how to add the fish. I've heard that adding all the fish at once is not a good idea, so should I add the Gourami or the tetra? The tetras do best in schools, so I'd feel bad adding just five tetra. Would adding all 10 or so at once affect the tank too much?
3. My LFS, last time I looked, had some honey Gourami that were quite small, I'm guessing they were young. These Gourami were a very light colour, almost whitish, with the males having some yellow on their fins. My question is, should I buy from this source when the time comes and hope as they mature they gain more colour, or should I go for a variant such as the Gold honey Gourami, which would have to be purchased online.
4. As said, my tank is 20 gallons (well, more like 19). I was planning to get a 50W heater, but I'm unsure if this would be too small for my tank. I was looking at getting a Jager heater- would I be better off going 50W or 100W?
5. At first I wasn't going to dose with ferts. However, I want this tank to look nice and as it's planted, I really want to dabble around with planted tanks and most of what they have to offer. Because I don't know much about ferts yet, I was wondering if anyone could recommend any kind of "all-in-one" fert brands etc. Would simple Flourish Excel work? I don't want anything overly complicated, but because I am adding a few easy to care for reddish plants, the added iron would be a bonus. I'm using ADA Amazonia aquasoil as a substrate, if that helps any.
6. Lastly, I would just like an opinion of plants that I'm using. I would like it to be a heavily planted tank. ADA aquasoil as substrate, no CO2, possible ferts (pending answers above), Aqua One PlantoGlo 26W LED light.
-Lilaeopsis (micro-sword?)
-Cryptocoryne Lutea
-Narrow Ludwigia
-Java fern
-Amazaon sword
-Cryptocoryne Wendtii Brown

Thank you all in advance


  • animal_expert01
    animal_expert01 Member Posts: 380
    edited January 2017
    Ok, I will try to answer your questions questions to the best of my ability.

    1. Ten ember tetras and 1 honey gourami sounds like a nice combination, I wouldn't recommend adding more than one gourami to the tank, unless you won't a blood bath of course. Males are highly agrresive to each other, I have found this out the hard way, I had two gouramis, they had a massive fight, one killed the other one but then the survivor died later that day from his injuries. So please don't add more than one gourami unless you are one hundred percent certain they are both females. You could also maybe add some red cherry shrimp, gouramis do tend to eat shrimp, but some individuals won't, plus also, it is heavily planted, so the shrimp might have a chance. If you wanted to add red cherry shrimp, I would you put some feeder shrimp in the tank first, to see how your gourami reacts.

    2. Awesome! We need more people like you doing fishlsss cycles! Anyway I would recommend that you add around seven of the ember tetras, what several days, if they are all doing ok, then add the rest of them. Then a week or two later add the honey gourami. I would not recommend adding the honey gourami first, as when you add the ember tetras the gourami may see it as that the ember tetras are invading his territory, and then in turn he may bully them. But then also if you cycle your tank a week or two longer you could always dump all the fish in at once.

    3. The fish at the pet shop are very stressed that is why they are losing their colour, most fish will do this, take rainbow sharks for example when you by them there are a very light grey but when you take them home and put them in your tank, a few days they will be jet black. Those fish are probably quite colourful. But if you like the golden honey gouramis you can get those two, it is your choice there is really not much difference between the two. Your ember tetras will look like this aswell when your first purchase them, they will look almost clear, give it a few days and they will be bright orange.

    4. Honestly I have no idea.

    5. Honestly I have no idea

    6. I would recommend getting Java mods, the stuff is bullet proof, it looks good, and would provide hiding spots for the fish. Also in my opinion Amazon swords are way to big, so unless you wanted to do a lot of trimming I wouldn't recommend it, here is a picture of my Amazon sword compared to my arm. I know Java fern need to be attached to wood, and Java mods (if you choose to follow my advice) does to, otherwise they will die, the rest of the plants I know nothing about.

    I hope this helps!
  • Gemmeh
    Gemmeh Member Posts: 12
    Oh goodness I knew about the Gourami males, but I was more meaning a male and a female? I'm fine with leaving it at one Gourami but I read somewhere that a person preferred them in groups. I don't have a big enough tank to do this, but I was more just wondering if they would be more content with another fish of their own species in the tank.
    Regarding the plants, thank you! I was a bit iffy about the Amazon sword and considering I have such a small tank, I really don't have the room for it. I think I will definitely add Java Moss as I've got a nice piece of driftwood that would look good with it attached. Thank you for your suggestions :)
  • Heintz.G
    Heintz.G Moderator Posts: 1,367
    Well said Animal ;)

    Q4: Have a look at the Aquael range of heaters, not made of glass so won't burn fish if they touch it. Here's a pic of my old one in the tank 100watt and only 20cm long.
    photo DSC_01882.jpg

    Q5: Flourish Excel will be ok, is substrate new? if so, you won't need to get root tabs for about 8months.

    Don't forget to put up some progress pics :)
    Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes & dreams.
  • Bob
    Bob Member, Classifieds Posts: 708
    Hi Gemmeh,

    Welcome. As you are looking at a small tank the first thing you need to understand is that your water quality will alter quickly so you need to be on top of maintenance.

    When you say you are doing a finless cycle are you just running the tank or will you be adding ammonia and doing tests for nitrites and nitrates as the cycle progresses?

    You will very rarely see a honey gourami in store with colour. In a settled environment the males are a beautiful red fish with a cobalt lower band and a yellow fringe along the top. The female will be a cream colour with a dark chocolate brown stipe running from the nose to the tail. Both striking fish and well worth your effort. As they are an Indian fish I would recommend a small school of danios (zebra or leopard). If you want bottom movement rather than upper level you could go for dwarf chain loach (botia sidthimunki), an attractive very mobile fish.

    With your plants bacopa will be fine as will amboulia just ensure that you allow the amboulia to develop roots before you plant it in the subsoil. Note that while Java Moss and Java Fern should be attached to rock/wood they are not the same plant.

    Keep asking questions. Plenty of experienced people here with both advise and opinions.


  • Frayk
    Frayk Member Posts: 1,009
    Hi Gemmeh and welcome, i have only one recommedation, dont add Java moss to a small tank, it will take over and is hard to get rid of. :/ keep us updated and all the best!!!! :)
  • Mooo
    Mooo Moderator Posts: 7,653
    Welcome Gemmeh :D Great advice above :) Try Xmas moss or flame moss on drift wood :D
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  • animal_expert01
    animal_expert01 Member Posts: 380
    Heintz.G said:

    Well said Animal

    Thanks mate.