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i have a 20 ga tank. it is currently cycling (fishless) i am starting to plan out what i want to stock it with. i really like the red-tail shark or the rainbow shark. this is what i was thinking 1 shark, 6 schooling fish (lemon or black skirt tetra), 4 corydoras. is this doable this is my first tank. i really want the shark so if u have any sugestions to go with the shark it would be greatly apreaciated.
 

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Sounds like a good mix, and good starter fish.

IMO, get the shark first, wait three weeks (I _know_ it's hard!!! believe me).

The cats or the tetras could be next. Again 3 weeks, then the others.

Starting slow like this will give you much better success and you'll be happier in the long run. Even if your frustrated now.

Make sure the cats are fed when you put them in. The don't eat "waste" - they need "real" food. Get some sinking pellets or something like that. The shark will appreciate that too.

The "cycling" at the beginning before you put fish in is usually just to make sure the water is the right temperature and the tank doesn't spring a leak. It doesn't need to be more than about 24 hours, despite what some say. The true cycling only starts when the fish are added.

Good luck and welcome to the Aquarium Hobby!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
hey thanks. will black skirt tetras and lemon tetras school to gether or will they school separately. cause i was thinking 3 of each would look cool if they school together.
 

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Usually each species will not school with others - unless there's LOTS of them (or there's a bunch of one, and only a couple of the other).

If you've got good filtration and you're doing 10% or better water changes each week, you could probably get away with six of each (or make it five?). Just take your time and decide which you want first. You may find you don't want the extra fish by the time you get them all in there.

[I'm a fan of stocking lightly, but understand fully the urge to get "more". If you're willing to take it seriously and carefully, it can work though.]

:angler_fish:
 

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i agree with stocking lightly. It will make for happier fish with less stress. Which can result in better colors. Schooling fish are fun, but usually you need a lot of them to get them to school tight. I like to lean towards fish with personality over fish that swim back and forth aimlessly. Cory's are great fish and entertaining to watch, they are like energizer bunny's and never seem to slow down. 4 is a good number for them.
 

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I just put my two clown loaches in my 29G. It's a load of fun to watch the two of them swim around in circles and loops, and ride the current of the filter. Then again, I've also got neon tetras in the tank, and it's cool to watch them swim back and forth. It's almost mesmerizing.
 

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I just put my two clown loaches in my 29G. It's a load of fun to watch the two of them swim around in circles and loops, and ride the current of the filter. Then again, I've also got neon tetras in the tank, and it's cool to watch them swim back and forth. It's almost mesmerizing.
I've never had clown loaches, i've heard they are cool fish, I'm thinking of adding 3 of them to my new 55gal.
 

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Definitely get more than one clown loach - 3 would be great. I got my first one a little over 2 years ago. A month later, I got 2 more for companionship. (Should have done research first). Last July (2008), two of them died within a week's time. (I think they were stressed from a situation involving a leak in the 29G, a move to a temporary 20G, then the move to the new 20G.) The poor lone loach was obviously not happy, so I got it one new friend. The change in personality was amazing. The two of them love swimming together and playing in the tank.

Now they are in a 29G (I finally got it sealed and up and running). I'm probably going to get a third one.
 

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The "cycling" at the beginning before you put fish in is usually just to make sure the water is the right temperature and the tank doesn't spring a leak. It doesn't need to be more than about 24 hours, despite what some say. The true cycling only starts when the fish are added.
NO that is not how it goes. unless u are using a special cycle additive or used gravel and/or media from another tank, u MUST wait at least 5 weeks before putting fish in. yes those fish are good starters, but NONE of them can withstand ammonia & nitrite spikes that will happen during the cycle. the cycling doesn't start until AMMONIA is added. please add it in the form of raw fish or a few drops of pure ammonia-NOT live fish!:(
 

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Ah...and the struggle continues between those who cycle with fish and those who cycle without (and use some sort of ammonia or other additive). That's a battle that's never going to be won, and one I care not to enter.
 

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yup i'll never understand it. i cycled with fish 1 time, they started to act weird at the end of the cycle, and it wasn't until AFTER the cycle that the disease finally became completely noticable, and it spread to all my other fish who later died-that included 2 unexpected platy fry!:( some people might think different but i think, after my experience, cycling with fish is outright animal cruelty.
 

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NO that is not how it goes. unless u are using a special cycle additive or used gravel and/or media from another tank, u MUST wait at least 5 weeks before putting fish in. yes those fish are good starters, but NONE of them can withstand ammonia & nitrite spikes that will happen during the cycle. the cycling doesn't start until AMMONIA is added. please add it in the form of raw fish or a few drops of pure ammonia-NOT live fish!:(
It's important to remember that if you don't put something in to seed the live cycle, you'll never get nitrifying bacteria. Fish will carry this bacteria into a new aquarium, as will rocks, gravel, water or plants from an already established aquarium.

Cycling the tank with a couple of drops of pure ammonia and a seed culture works quite well, and I agree this is a safe way to start a new tank. Of course, it will be very important to have good test kits to observe when the tank has truly cycled and all ammonia and nitrite are gone.

Stocking with a very small number of hardy fish can work fine, IMO, but it will be very important to feed very lightly and make frequent partial water changes. From there, when the tank has cycled, it's a good idea to only very slowly add more fish. It can take a while for nitrifying bacteria to build up to take on the waste from additional fish as they are added.

Another trick of the trade is to add a sponge filter in an already established tank for a couple of months. Running the sponge filter in an established tank will allow it to quickly be colonized with nitrifying bacteria. This sponge filter can then be used in the new aquarium, along with whatever filter you might intend to use permanently. Fish can be stocked, the new filter can be colonized, and with care there should be no ammonia spike at all. Eventaully the sponge filter can be removed and your permanent filter will take over.

Sorry about the long post. I kinda' got carried away! :eek:
 

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the fish may seem healthy, but they have feelings to, and ammonia/nitrite are toxic, and if they can survive it, im pretty sure they get hurt! i would go with a sponge filter from an established aquarium, put in some pure ammonia, and let it finish the cycle without fish;)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
just want to say. that i am trying to cycle with out fish in it. it seemed to be the logical way to go. im getting a little fustrated tho. it has been like four weeks and no nitrite spike. and i really want to add fish. do pet stores use these sponge filters (gotta go look up what a sponge filter is now) and can i get an established one?
 

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4 weeks and no nitrite spike? a little odd...well it doesn't have to be a sponge filter...if u have a good friend with an established FW tank, u could borrow some of there gravel and/or strip of used filter media. u could also use a sponge filter in there tank and than put in your tank and it will seed your tank...u say u have no nitrite spike...what is your ammonia reading?
 
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