Trying to save some fish

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Registered Member
May 9, 2022
I have a very lovely and well-meaning friend, let’s call them “S”, that jumped head first into fish keeping without any idea of what to do. After sharing my concerns for the well-being of the fish, S offered to give them to me.

After my tanks are cycled and ready, I’ll be picking the fish up. Up till now, I’ve only kept a betta, mystery snail, and live plants in a 10 gallon so I wanted to post on this forum first. If anyone thinks I should seek advice on a separate forum, please let me know.

The fish in question:
A gourami, not sure what kind. It’s a pale silvery green color with just a tiny line of orange on the edge of its tail fin.
2 tetras, not sure what kind. This made me very sad as I know that they are schooling fish. Originally, S had 5, but 3 died. I plan on getting several more tetras (hopefully 10-15) so that they can school together and be more comfortable.
A Corydora and a kuhli loach. I mention them together because these guys were the ones I’m most concerned about. Currently, S’s tank is a 35 gallon, but it’s taller than it is wide. They only feed all the fish tropical flakes one time in the middle of the day. While I was there, I noticed some aggression between the kuhli and the Cory, and the kuhli went up to the surface to get food. The tank is overrun with at least 50 snails.
There are no plants or decorations of any kind and the tank is kept by a wall of windows. The substrate is a rough gravel. I’m still a newbie tothe hobby, but I couldn’t not say something to my friend. I’m honestly surprised more fish haven’t died.

My plan:
I have two 20 gallon longs that I can set up with sand, driftwood, slate stone, and live plants.
I plan to separate the kuhli and the Cory. As for the rest, I’m not really sure what to do.

Should I get 4-5 more kuhlis and corys? I know they do better in groups, but will that be too much with the other fish? I don’t have space to set up my 10 gallon too.

Originally, I planned to do one tank with the gourami, the cory(s?), and a mystery snail. The other tank was going to be the kuhli(s?), tetras, and possibly shrimp (I’ve not kept them before but they fascinate me). Now I’m second-guessing myself and I think I just need a little guidance.

Any advice at all is welcome. Thank you!


AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
SF Bay area, CA
Welcome to AC!

It's great you want to rescue your friend's fish. Yes, more kuhlis & corys in 2 20 longs sounds good. Try to get more of the same species of each. They're more fun with at least 6 of both kinds but not in the same tank. It's not a matter of aggression, neither are aggressive. But in a 20g long, it's more a matter of "floor space". Both would prefer either sand or fine gravel.

I'm not sure what the gourami is, I'll think about your description & others will help. Some are dwarf, some get to 6+ inches & not a fish for a 20g.

Any guesses on the tetras' species? If you can post pics that'll help us...but in a 20 long is probably too small for almost all species for more than 6 or so.

Shrimp can be a lot of fun but the small shrimplets may be food especially for the gourami & tetras, but plants etc. can help them hide.

Tell us more! We want to help you :) We can help with plants too; some are easy, some not & some too big for your tanks.