Question: What else do I need for a community 20 gallon?
I am getting a starter kit that comes with:
Top fin power filter 20
Hood with flourescent bulb
Submersable and adjustable 100 watt heater
Fish food sample
Water conditioner sample
And this guide thing, that I am not even going to use.
Heres what I have:
Big bottle of water conditioner
Test kit (API master test kit)
20lbs of sand
I think thats all
Here is what I am going to buy:
Top Fin power filter 30 (so 50 gallons in total)
Sponges to use instead of cartridges (from petsmart)
Frozen bloodworm cubes
TetraMin tropical flakes (same as the sample)
5 Albino catfish
1 dwarf gourami
6 neon tetra
3 fancy guppies
Tetra Safe Start (sometimes it works and cycles your tank.
Sounds good fire it up!
I suggest panda corydoras instead of albino (cories are really the only catfish that come in albino form suitable for 20)
I also suggest flat packs instead of cubes when you have small fish. That way you can choose the exact amount to feed them.
Other than that you seem pretty good.
I suggest frozen food flats over cubes, they are much easier to cut a small piece from. You might want a battery operated air pump in case the power goes off, it could save the fish and the healthy bacteria in the filter. I would suggest you get another filter and run them both the bare minimum is not great. Api master kit doesn't come with an ammonia test, you will need that.
You should stick to dwarf cories, albino cories are usually a species that gets too big for a 20 gallon.
You do not really have room for both schools of bottom feeders. even if you stuck to dwarf cories. I suggest you choose 3 of the 4 types of fish. If down the road, 6 months - a year later, things are going well, test results may prove that you can add more. but start slow, that would be heavily stocked. There are a lot of things to lern. Perfect water quality is not everything.
It sounds like you are are not gonna fish-less cycle the tank? You need to fish-less cycle your tank, many fish die during tanks cycles, all fish suffer during tank cycles, many suffer from permanent weaknesses caused by the torture and stress of being exposed to the toxins in uncycled tanks. I have seen your answers to other peoples questions on here, I know you know better than this, please do the right thing.
Fish-less cycle than slowly acclimate 2-3 fish every 3-7 days if water test come up ok.
All seems fine. But I do suggest that you go through with a regular cycle rather than using Tetra Safestart and taking the risk of the tank not cycling. You don't want to have your cycle fail, go out and buy all your fish, then have them die a week later.
Guppies are not suitable in the tank with catfish of any type. They will eat them, as they are fin nippers. Do not put gouramis in that tank with tetras or guppies. They will bully them.
Another thing you might consider, guppies need different water needs from the other fish you mentioned. Guppies need a little salt in their water. This would be a teaspoon of salt to a gallon of water.
The only fish that need the bloodworm cubes is the gouramis, but they are too aggressive for your aquarium. I would leave the bloodworms at the store.
Your all set if you want to be basic
Use stress coat instead of safe start. let the water roll through there for 24 hours. then add fish. no loaches until tank is well cycled and you've examined all your fish for diseases!!!!!!! thats experience I got the hard way.
ok now a touch of opinion. Change out the platties for redtail sharks. platties are really boring to watch. and just do three cory cats trust me that's plenty and feed them shrimp pellets. Always get an odd number of neons. They are crazy fish and murder each other all the time. But for some reason do better in odd number schools. So maybe 3 cory's and 7 or 9 neons.
corey catfish do not eat other fish, they max out at the size of a platy, the dwarf gourami should be fine, but could get bossy with the guppy's, neon tetras are somewhat of a dificult starter fish, dont add them at first, as they will die in a un-established tank
you may want to add a few octo cats or a brushy nose placo (4 inches max size) for alegee controle sometime in the future, unless your doing snails
may i suggest you get some skirt tetras, or some danios to cycle the tank, if your jumping in with fish right away, their hardy and normally take less then ideal conditions better then other fish
some krill or some sort of shrimp product should be included in the fish's food, and maybe some veggie flakes, to add verity to their diet
a tank background is usfull it keeps fish a bit calmer, to have 3 sides of the tank look like a river, instead of a room
*a back up heater- i had one explode on me, and almost cook my fish, if its 3 days befor you can get a new one if it happes to you ...............
Nitrate prime, and ammonia detoxifyer as you will have spikes if your short cycleing your tanks, or if you have a freind feed them while you take a vacation
suckion cups to fasten some plants near the top or the tank, fish love it trust me
rember replacement filters (a bigger filter is a good way to go btw, but if the guppy's breed and you want to save the baby's, may be harmful)
live breeder trap/net
also for an extra note, if you fasten a peirce of plastic to the filter stream so you give the "waterfall" a slide it can change the curent so it dont push fish to the bottom in a hurry (neons)