Stocking new 20g tall

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AC Members
Mar 13, 2017
Southern Ontario, Canada
It looks beautiful! Somehow your tank looks way larger than mine. I'm sorry about the fish disaster, that must have been so disappointing. I am slowly going through a fish-in cycle (not planned, like most of us here I think, just on insufficient advice from the LFS) and I have not lost any fish yet, but I am watching my levels as well as their behaviour like a hawk! I have gotten really attached to them over the last four weeks. I love your aquascaping! Tying the plant to the log is genius.


"With your powers combined . . ."
Sep 9, 2008
Glasgow, Scotland
Real Name
The tank looks great!

For the RCS problem, do you have soft water? You may need to dose some Calcium for them or feed them some Calcium rich foods.

Kay Sturg

AC Members
Mar 9, 2017
Real Name
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!
Beautiful tank


AC Members
Apr 19, 2017
Central Florida
Camera Used
Cannon eos 5d markII
Well, I know absolutely nothing. But your tank is beautiful. It's filled in so well. It's hard to guess what plants will look like when they are first planted.
You said this was your first one? If you don't mind what were your steps as far as substrate and why? Plants and why? Did you buy a different light for it because it would be planted or was it a kit? Did you feed the plants when you planted or what do you give them now? And one more, dId you find a good source for fish? I know alot of questions sorry.


AC Members
Jan 19, 2019
Denver Metro
I know this is an old thread, but love your tank. Hopefully by now you've had more sucess with stocking and everything's humming along. I have a Dwarf Gouromi, he's a total love bug!