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20 gallon tank with driftwood and some plastic plants
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I got a 20 gallon tank for Christmas, I've been doing research on how to get started and what fish to get. I like the yellow lab cichlids,but I've heard they are to big for a 20 gallon tank, is that correct. If correct, I'm looking at getting some dwarf gouramis and maybe some platys,are they good tank mates or any other suggestions. My background is black and I was looking for some color. Thanks for any advice.
 

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Welcome! Yes labs will get to big. Make sure to cycle your tank first. It will save a lot of headaches. What is your ph out of tap, that will help on what fish to get. Get yourself a liquid test kit because you will need to keep an eye on ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.
Read this a few times
 

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20 gallon tank with driftwood and some plastic plants
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Welcome! Yes labs will get to big. Make sure to cycle your tank first. It will save a lot of headaches. What is your ph out of tap, that will help on what fish to get. Get yourself a liquid test kit because you will need to keep an eye on ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.
Read this a few times
thanks for your quick reply and advice. I dont have any water in it yet. I also haven't checked my ph out of my tap either. and i will definitely cycle my tank first, i will get a water test kit too. do test kits have a way to test ph? thanks so much!!
 

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20 gallon tank with driftwood and some plastic plants
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Welcome! Yes labs will get to big. Make sure to cycle your tank first. It will save a lot of headaches. What is your ph out of tap, that will help on what fish to get. Get yourself a liquid test kit because you will need to keep an eye on ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.
Read this a few times
Yes they do
Thank you so much!!
 

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Welcome. :)
I'd recommend some dwarf cichlids if you are looking for color.
I like the color on dwarf Gourami's to.
You might get away with a pair of Apisto's in a 20 gallon, they get about 3 inches most of them.
Have fun!
 

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20 gallon tank with driftwood and some plastic plants
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Welcome. :)
I'd recommend some dwarf cichlids if you are looking for color.
I like the color on dwarf Gourami's to.
You might get away with a pair of Apisto's in a 20 gallon, they get about 3 inches most of them.
Have fun!
Those fish look great,thank you so much!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Before any recommendations need to know PH GH KH Apistos require softer water, where cichlids, livebearers require hard water. There is a large variety of fish, and you need to meet their requirements.
Thank you for all your help, I'll definitely make sure and check all those areas!
 

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You can also look at my thread on my 20 gallon tank. I am doing an Oronico Amazon River system with Cardinal Tetras, Blue German Rams, and eventually some Zebra Plecos hopefully. (Those are rare and pricey though and carnivorous). They are all expert level fish though, so unless you are planning on doing some easy fish, it might be worth it to be determined on keeping the water parameters exactly how they're supposed to be for these fish. Super excited to see what you might wanna keep. There are alternatives to Yellow Labs, like them Rusty Cichlids which grow 4 inches long right guys? I think they might fit into a 20 if you keep 5. Better think about what to do with the fry though.
 

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It's always exciting to start a new tank. Have fun with it. I have had a few tanks in my life, but I for sure don't know it all. The tank I have now, I kept a journal on it. I would record what I had done with my tank each day as well as the water parameters each day. I recommend keeping a journal. And welcome to the forum! :geek:
 

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Thanks for all the advice from all of you, will definitely keep all this in mind. I need some more advice. I bought a piece of driftwood for the tank. it fits nicely and is pretty thick. I want to get all the tannins out because I want my water to look clear before I cycle my tank and add fish, i understand the tannins aren't bad for the fish and can make the tank look cool, but I just want the water clear for now.I am boiling the driftwood when I am home and changing the water every 2 hours and when I'm at work or asleep it is soaking in water, so it is in water almost 24 hours a day and after 2 weeks the water is still looking like a glass of tea. Am I still on the right track, i haven't seen anything on how to make it any faster.I almost want to just go buy some fake wood and move on to getting the tank cycled and keep the wood for later or maybe when I get another tank but for now I will just stay the course. Thanks everyone for all the help and advice!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You can't make it go any faster. Some wood will release more than other types. I've had a large Mopani that was still releasing years later, spider wood after soaking 2 days no dark tannins.
susankat you're awesome, thanks. Is there a way to clear up the water once the wood is inside,if so I guess I can go ahead and start cycling the water and keep clearing the water as I go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
View attachment 33688 You can add this in a filter sock and put in filter, also rechargeable.
Awesome, thanks so much. I've also got some conflicting information on cycling the tank. My LFS's have said to just put bacteria control and water conditioner in when cycling, but I've seen some videos where they're saying to also add ammonia to start getting some nitrifying bacteria started before adding fish,not sure why my LFS isn't telling me that, is adding ammonia necessary at the beginning, the videos made sense as to why you're adding ammonia.
 

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Because they want to sell fish, then when they die during cycle you buy more fish.
 

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Because they want to sell fish, then when they die during cycle you buy more fish.
Yeah,seems wrong though, I really don't know if I'll buy fish from the now,sounds a little dishonest to me, so I'll probably go elsewhere or online. I'm sure my Petsmart has ammonia as well. So I'll get everything from them to get started. Thanks for your time today,hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend!
 
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