Stocking new 20g tall

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carlyod

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Oct 26, 2016
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Philadelphia
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Carly
Hey everyone!

So in October I began cycling my brand-new 20g tall planted tank (first one ever!). Things seemed great, it finally cycled in mid-November, and I added a stock of 1 guppy and 6 neon tetras. Then, two days later, the guppy died. I soon noticed the tetras progressively looking worse and worse until one by one they all died :( Water parameters were beautiful throughout so frankly I have no idea what happened. I just won't be going back to that store...but now the tank has been sitting fish-less since mid December and I'm about ready to stock it again. I've given myself the time to mess with water parameters and stuff since I wanted to make sure whatever pathogen had been in the tank was very gone before even thinking about re-stocking. So, here are my questions:

I switched to RO water because my tap water is awful (TDS is close to 700, nitrates are sky-high, and I'm over it) and I've been trying my absolute best to get my parameters to be adequate for soft-water fish. I've been using Alkaline and Acid Buffers by Seachem as well as Equilibrium (though I haven't needed to use it yet since I'm still slowly reducing GH through water changes). I've been dosing the tank with Excel (no CO2 currently), and Flourish Trace and Comprehensive on alternate days + root tabs. My HOB is an AquaClear 50 gallon.

1) My current plane is to house panda cory cats, neon tetras, a single dwarf gourami, and ideally a duo or trio of guppies. What water parameters should I aim for that would best suite these fish considering my guppies are moderately hard water fish? (My thoughts were GH and KH of around 6 and a pH of 7.0....not sure though!).

2) I can't get my pH to 7.0. I've gotten it to 6.0, 6.6, 7.4, and much, much higher. Any tips on how to use Alkaline and Acid Buffers to get my RO to 7? (or to whatever pH and KH you think is best for the fish I'm planning to stock with?)

3) When my parameters are finally stable, in which order and how many at a time would you stock the tank? I'm currently cycling 2.0+ppm NH3 in 24 hours though I'm pretty sure I could do more. Should I do more?

4) I've become completely disillusioned with the LFS options available in Philadelphia and I don't have access to a car. Has anyone had any experience with LiveAquaria? If not, any other online options/general tips for purchasing online or serious warnings against it?

Any other tips would be much appreciated! As of today, my water parameters are: Temp 78F, NO2- 0ppm, NH3 0ppm (before dosing it up to 2ppm), pH between 7.4 and 7.6 (it maxes both the pH low and pH high on the API test kit so I think it's probably like 7.5), KH 4, and GH 14.

Here are a few week-old tank pics (I've done some aquascaping to clean it up but this is the general idea of things)
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Thanks again for the help!
 
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Rbishop

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Have you considered just cutting your tap with RO to lower the TDS? And stop trying to achieve some ideal pH?
 

carlyod

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Oct 26, 2016
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Philadelphia
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Carly
Have you considered just cutting your tap with RO to lower the TDS? And stop trying to achieve some ideal pH?
I did try that originally but it strongly buffers to 8.0+ no matter what I do. And the hardness is off the charts with even a small amount added. Plus I'm not convinced that the water is consistent which is also obnoxious. Not to mention the high nitrates :(
 

Silverfish97

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Jan 7, 2017
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I don't have much advice for changing your water conditions, but from you've described, it sounds like your tank would be perfect for some mollies. The colors of your aquascape would look gorgeous with Dalmatian mollies or silver lyretails.
 
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carlyod

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Oct 26, 2016
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Philadelphia
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Carly
I don't have much advice for changing your water conditions, but from you've described, it sounds like your tank would be perfect for some mollies. The colors of your aquascape would look gorgeous with Dalmatian mollies or silver lyretails.
Thanks for the advice! I actually managed to (finally) stabilize my water conditions (pH 7.0, GH 4-5, KH about 2 which is low but as long as my pH is stable I guess it doesn't really matter much). I also added a few more plants (current pics attached below) AND managed to do a first stock! I've got two guppies, 5 red cherry shrimp, and 3 panda corys (getting 3 more once this group has settled in).

Right now my plan is to get a dwarf gourami and *maybe* some neon tetras. The tetras are a flexible option. I'd love opinions!

IMG_6794.JPG
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Silverfish97

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Jan 7, 2017
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Lovely tank! Panda corys are so adorable - great choice. If the neon tetras are flexible, I'd up the number of guppies to add some more variety - there are lots of colors and patterns of markings out there. I've never kept a gourami, so can't say much there. I've heard of really peaceful ones and of monsters - I guess it depends on the individual fish.
 

carlyod

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Oct 26, 2016
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Carly
Thank you! I love the pandas so much already. They're such adorable little guys. I got 6 originally (shipped from LiveAquaria) but 3 were sick and didn't make it :( Very, very sad but so far so good on the other ones!

I've also been debating doing more guppies! My main concern is that they might overpopulate too quickly (right now I have a male and a female) if I add more...but at the same time they have such great personalities and fun colors that it might be worth trying!
 

Mondaygirl

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Mar 13, 2017
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Southern Ontario, Canada
Hi! I was wondering if you've added any more fish, and how your tank is coming along. I would love to see pictures of how it looks now. I have a brand new 20g, and it's fun to see someone else in process of stocking!
 

carlyod

AC Members
Original poster
Oct 26, 2016
27
2
1
Philadelphia
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Carly
Hi! I was wondering if you've added any more fish, and how your tank is coming along. I would love to see pictures of how it looks now. I have a brand new 20g, and it's fun to see someone else in process of stocking!
Hey! Thanks for checking in! I had a bit of a nightmare experience with the first order of fish I received (they were all sick) but 2 of the corys survived and both of the guppies. Currently I have 5 corys, 6 neon tetras, and the 2 guppies. I'm having some issues keeping my RCS alive (still trying to figure that out :( ) but right now I have 5 of those as well! Planning on adding a dwarf gourami at some point and hopefully getting a nice little family of RCS going. Here are a bunch of pictures from last Monday!

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The full tank :) (still working on some more aquascaping)

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Side view

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Shrimp nomming on a sinking pellet

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Hope you enjoy! I'd love any input you may have :D
 
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