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    Pterophyllum scalare jm1212's Avatar
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    Easy to care for, fast stockings for "smaller" tanks (5-29 gallons)

    There are plenty of easy-to-care-for fish that are great for people with small tanks and/or are new to the Fishkeeping Hobby. After the all important cycling process (preferalby fishless), a tank will be redy to stock.

    When stocking a fish tank, wether it be 5 or 500 gallons, do not use the "inch per gallon" rule that is advertised in some large chain pet stores. This rule does not take into account the tank size needed for a fish, the aggression fo the fish, the behavioral issues, behavioral confilcts (i.e tiger barbs vs. angels... that is a definite "don't"), or waste production (to name a few). Some fish need to be kept in groups, while other just get far to large for tanks that the "rule" say they can fit in. Don't follow the "rule," it will only lead to headaches in the future if you make a mistake.

    Tank size also has alot to do with stocking tanks, especially smaller tanks like the Eclipse Hex 5 vs. a standard 5 gallon. Another common stocking difference when it comes to tanks is a 20 gallon tall vs. a 20 gallon long. A standard 5 gallon can support more fish than a hex 5 and a 20 long can support more than a 20 high because of surface area. The more surface are, the more room there is for the fish to more around and create their own "territories."

    Most (if not all) fish listed are hardy, common, and/or easy to care for; some more than others. The only fish listed that may not be able to be located easily is the pygmy corydoras listed under the 10 gallon stocking lists.

    Now, on to the acctual stocking lists:
    There are 6 tanks listed here, and any of the stockings listed can be adjusted to fit your needs. The tanks are- a 5 gallon standard, 5 gallon hex, standard 10 gallon, 20 gallon high, 20 gallon long, and the 29 gallon. Each tank will have a couple of lists. Inverts like ghost shrimp will be listed in the smaller tanks. FYI, when a fish is first listed, it will have a description, but will not if listed later unless there is compatability issues.


    First, the 5 gallon standard. Believe it or not, there is a bit you can do with a 5 gallons standard, even though it is small.

    Stocking 1
    The classic betta- he will thank you for the room.
    A dozen or so ghost shrimp- they are cheap and do a pretty good job keeping the bottom of small tanks clean. They may get eaten by the fish.

    Stocking 2
    1 dwarf goruami- related to the betts, and a pretty cool fish. They come in a couple of colors-a light blue, an orangish red, and a combination of the two with alternating stripes. A peacful community fish, but do not keep more than one per tank, especially in smaller tanks.
    12 ghost shrimp

    Stocking 3
    5 neons- one of the "perfect" community fish. Neons stay small, but they like to be kept in groups.
    12 ghost shrimp... a favorite of 5 gallon tanks

    Stocking 4
    2 guppies or platies- both fish are as tough as nails when it comes to hardiness. Platies are also one of the perfect community fish. Both species are very prolific breeders, but fortunalely can be kept in single-gender tanks.
    12 ghost shrimp

    Next, the 5 gallon hex. Hex tanks in general cannot support the same ammount of fish as standard sized/shaped tanks.

    Stocking 1
    a betta
    6 ghost shrimp- only 6 this time because a 5 gallon hex has a smaller footprint than a standard

    Stocking 2
    1 dwarf gourami
    6 ghost shrimp


    Now were going to move onto the 10 gallon tank. There are a bit more options when it comes to 10 gallons, so you wont have to keep a species only or specimine tank.

    Stocking 1
    1 dwarf gourami
    6 neons
    12 ghost shrimp
    1 snail- they are great algea eaters, dont bother your fish, and contribute little bioload to a tank. Better for smaller tanks than algea eating fish IMO.

    Stocking 2
    1 honey gourami- similar to the dwarf gourami, but stays 1/2 inch-1 inch smaller.
    6 harlequin rasboras- small, good looking, and great schoolers. Another great community fish.
    6 ghost shrimp
    1 snail

    Stocking 3
    8 neons
    6 ghost shrimp
    1 snail

    Stocking 4
    1 dwarf gourami
    3 platies- all male or all female unless fry are wanted
    4 pygmy corydoras- stay very small, getting to around ¾ of an inch to an inch long. great for small tanks, but needs yo be kept in groups of 4 or more.
    1 snail

    Fourth is the 20 gallon high. There is not as much space to stock as a 20 gallon long or a 29 gallon, but there are still many options.

    Stocking 1
    again, the dwarf gourami- they are great centerpeice fish for small tanks.
    6 larger tetras, such as black skirts, diamonds, red eyes, or lemons- black skirt tetras, diamonds, and red eyes are very similar in temperment and size. Lemon tetras are a bit smaller.
    4 corydoras, such as pandas or shcwartz's- panda corydoras get to around 2 inches long, a bit smaller than schwartz's. Both are very active in groups, and should be kept in them. Great community fish!
    1 snail

    Stocking 2
    (no centerpeice now)
    10 neons
    10 pygmy corydoras
    1 snail

    Stocking 3
    1 betta
    6 larger tetras
    4 larger corydoras
    1 snail

    Stocking 4
    4 platies
    6 neons (possibly lemons if one platy is deducted, one corydoras is deducted, or pygmy corydoras are substituted)
    4 corydoras ^^^
    1 snail

    Next, the 20 gallon long. There is a bit more le-way, but it is similar to the 20 high. All stockings for the 20 gallon high listed can also apply to a 20 gallon long.

    Stocking 1
    5 zebra danios- the hardiest tropical fish out there. Zebras are hyperactive schoolers, but also great community fish.
    6 neons or cardinals- cardinals are much like neons in the snese that they stay small and have vibrant colors, but a carinal has more color than a neon.
    4 corydoras

    Stocking 2
    3 swordtails, 1 male, 2 females- swordtails are similar to platies, and really just a bigger version fo them. Swordtails can be nippy if there are not enough females in a tank, so it is best to have a 1:2 or more female ratio if more than one male is to be maintained in a tank.
    6 larger tetras
    4 panda corydoras
    1 snail

    Stocking 3
    1 dwarf gourami
    6 neons or cardinals
    2 platies
    4 panda corydoras
    1 snail

    Stocking 4
    1 dwarf gourami
    8 neons or cardinals
    4 panda corydoras
    1 snail

    Lastly, the 29 gallon. In this group, it has the widest variety of possabilities. There are many more fish that are to big for a 20 gallon, high or long, that will fit in a 29 gallon.

    Stocking 1
    1 pearl gourami- one of the most peacful gouramis, it grows to about 4 inches long.
    12 neons
    4 corydoras

    Stocking 2
    1 angelfish- a cichlids from South America. Grows to be around 6 inches long, and generally peacful with other fish except when breeding. Will eat neons and other tiny fish.
    8 larger tetras- cannot stress that enough. Neons will be eaten.
    4 corydoras
    1 snail

    Stocking 3
    1 dwarf gourami
    12 neons or cardinals
    4 panda corydoras
    4 otos- some of the smallest plecos, they are great algea eaters and stay under approximetly 2"

    Stocking 4
    2 angels, a breeding pair- dont keep many other fish with a breeding pair. A pair will defend their eggs and possibly kill other fish in the tank that swim near them.
    6 corydoras- they will generally stay away from the breeding pair

    Stocking 5- the schooling tank
    6 marbles or silver hatchetfish- they are interesting looking fish from the same family as tetras. They can be jumpers so have a tight-fitting lid.
    10 neon tetras
    6 panda corydoras
    1 snail

    There are many options to choose from, and perhaps they will suit your needs. Good luck with your tank. Make sure to post pics after they are stocked

    Information sources:
    http://fish.mongabay.com/index.htm
    http://www.liveaquaria.com/



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