20 gallon long planted fish tanks

welcome to plant hell

Planted tanks seem pretty daunting at first when you decide to take the leap and get into them. It’s hard to know where to start when you don’t really know anything about the topic at all, and there’s a lot of information about lighting, fertilizers, substrate…it can get a little overwhelming. 

This isn’t meant to be an in-depth guide, this is meant to be something that can point you into the right direction for when you first start out with plants, kinda like a Planting 101.

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Thicklip Gourami (Trichogaster labiosa)

Hi! I wanted to do a brief caresheet for thicklip gouramis, which is what Honeybee is (not a honey gourami!). 

Tank: These guys do best in a 20 gallon long and up. I would recommend only one in a 20 gallon long, but you could get away with a m/f or f/f pair. Some small schooling fish would work too, thicklips are very peaceful!

They need a lot of cover and love floating plants/decorations as their natural habitats are very thickly planted, slow moving systems. When they have enough space to hide, they become a lot bolder and happier!

Temperature: 72-82 (22-28) is the temperature range, keeping them closer to the warmer side is what I would recommend, around 76-78.

pH: 6.0-7.5, lower is better! They love blackwater environments, and IALs and tannins are very appreciated. 

Temperament: Thicklip gouramis are very peaceful anabantoids! They can still be territorial, and, like all fish, will try to eat anything they can fit in their mouths. They can be kept in groups if put together when young and given enough space, and even the males are unlikely to resort to fighting like betta splendens with territorial disputes. They should not be kept with any other anabantoids however, especially trichogaster fasciatus and trichogaster lalia who they can hybridize with freely.

I have found that gouramis tend to be very shy, flighty fish and may take a while to warm up to you, but once they do they’re incredibly rewarding and sweet. 

Diet: They are omnivores, but feed in nature mostly on bugs and other small invertebrates. A diet of high quality pellet, with occasional frozen food treats is sufficient. I had trouble getting Honeybee to eat pellets when I first got her, but she adapted fairly quickly. 

Availability: These guys are only found in Southern Myanmar, but the thicklip gourami is very readily available in the aquarium trade! It isn’t that popular, which makes me sad because they’re gorgeous, interesting, sweet fish that is a great, hardy addition to your aquarium! They are easy to breed, as they are peaceful and take well to each other. 

Honey Gourami?: Honeybee is a sunset thicklip, which is why she gets confused with a honey gourami a lot! Thicklips get bigger (4″) and are naturally a blue and red barred fish. The gorgeous golden scales on my Bee are due to selective breeding for aquariums! In this form, the females are as colorful as the males, though the males tend to develop a more russet red coloration than the bright gold of Bee. 


So lately I have been working on my tanks, which means my set ups look different so it’s time for progress pics!!

I currently have four 10 gallons (one of the four is my boyfriend’s tank), a 20 long (with my crowntail betta and some cory cats), two 2.5 gallons (only one of them is pictured), and a 3.5 gallon. One of the 2.5′s and the 3.5 are in the kitchen, and then 3.5 houses my only female, Mel. Three of the 10 gallons have snails, as well as the 20 long. The 20 long and 3 of the 10 gallons are currently planted and I am slowly working on getting more plants. 

Betta Splendens Care sheet

Basic stats:

Difficulty: Easy they make an excellent entry level fish!
Minimum tank size: 3 gallons (10 liters). 5 gallons (19 liters) is better and 10 gallons (40 liters) is ideal.
Size: 2-3″ 
PH: 6-8.2 (They’re not picky, you may get some ray bending in higher ph)
Temperature: Tropical 75-82′F (24-28′C)
Hardness: 4-10 (Can tolerate harder and softer)
Diet: Insectivore/carnivore 
Lifespan: 2-7 years though average is 5 when cared for.
Habitat: Asia


Betta require at least 3 gallons+ of water with a low flow filter and a heater for long term health and growth. A typical setup can cost between 50 and 100 dollars on average not including any of the other fish keeping necessities. 


-Tank ranging from 3-10 gallons (more if desired)
-An appropriate sized heater. 5 watts per gallon.
-A low flow filter with permanent media (suggestions below) 
    -Sponge filter (requires air pump)
    -Aqua clear (the 20 model)
    -Fluval’s mini power filter
-Substrate 1 pound per gallon. Any substrate is fine, my betta have liked sand over gravel though.
-Decor and hides. PVC pipes are wonderful cheap options. Generally silk or live plants are good as are any hides that don’t have sharp edges. NAtural decor such as driftwood and rocks are loved too
-Lighting (Optional if you want to do plants. A clip on desk or chicken lamp with a daylight cfl bulb is a great cheap way of lighting a tank.

Other non optional supplies/perishables:

-A liquid master test kit (Nutrafin or api) 
-A water conditioner (prime, safe, stress coat are good brands)
-A bucket and syphon that hasn’t been used for anything else
-A log to help with cycling and recording things.
-Betta food (You want pellets, omega one has some good food as does xtream and new life spectrum. You probably won’t have to buy more until it expires)


Betta are obligated insectivores. They can be fed a good variety diet that includes dry foods such as pellets (flakes if they absolutely won’t touch them), frozen foods of all kinds, and live aquatic insects. They will also enjoy fruit flies and pinhead crickets as treats. They should be fed once a day or split the meal into two times a day. You may need to skip days and find a schudule that works for you. Remember their stomach is only about the size of their eye, so it doesn’t take much to fill them up!.

Tank mates:

They do fine, if not better solo. Appropriate tankmates include.

<5 gallons (Snails and shrimp. there really isn’t room for other fish in smaller tanks.)

5-10 gallons (Still recommended to be alone but in 10 gallons you can keep them with rasbora, and pygmy cories without too many issues.)

20+ gallons. (Really any non aggressive, not nippy fish from the same waters. Try to get dulled colours. Any of the above plus kuhli loaches, other cories or rice fish.

Do not house them with dwarf frogs, neon tetra, white cloud minnow or some of the other suggested animals, They really aren’t compatible and usually result in at least one of the animals getting the short end of the stick.

Medical issues:

Betta are prone to pretty much the whole line of issues. Parasites, bacteria infects, rot, pop eye and organ failure. Keep an eye on them and make sure to be aware of common symptoms and how to treat them.



The above are two great sources on both. Give them a read before you get a betta.

Sorority Tanks:

I’m going to mention this briefly. They’re advanced and require an absolute minimum of a 20 gallon, densely planted with 5 calm females. You will need a setup for each of those females in case something does happen. Treat it as if it will.

@elemental-kiss Has wonderful resources on sorority tanks.

Divided tanks:

I don’t recommend them unless you have to. Never divide anything smaller than a 10 gallon. Never divide it so there’s less than 5 gallons per section. Have stable non see through dividers that allow water to pass. It will cause some stress regardless of how you set it up. Never divide a male and a female you will severely stress them both out!. 

Finally got a photo of my Neon tetras haha I wasn’t expecting these guys to live tbh. They were the first fish I got for my community tank (I had these fish when I was like 7 and they all died the next day not surprised) and even though I had cycled my tank I was still a little worried but they’re so much bigger than when I first got them and a lot more colorful 😍 its been 5 months

The Honey Gourami

The sweet, little honey gourami is quickly becoming a new staple fish in the aquarium trade, and why wouldn’t they? The males are bright and colorful, and honey gouramis have a gentler nature than others, making them ideal for peaceful community tanks.

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I decided to bite the bullet and upload some pictures of my 4 month old 20 gallon long sorority tank. There are six girls in here but my little baby refused to join the photo shoot. It’s really hard to take photos of everybody, let alone a teeny and damn near green colored fish, in this messy jungle. I really need to prune it again so the lower leaves can get light.

anonymous asked:

Hi, I was wondering if you had any stocking ideas for a 10 gallon planted tank. It is completely cycled and ready for fish Also would 10 gallons be appropriate for Dwarf Gouramis? (I read a couple places that they could be kept in a 10 gallon, but I wanted another opinion) Thanks!

Dwarf gourami would do better in a larger tank, as they’re extremely active! A 10 gallon would be nice for a betta, or pea puffer, and maybe a small schooling species, such as some pygmy corydora, or pencilfish! Anyone else want to chime in? I’m no good at stocking anything below a 20 long! XD

Snakehead Care (Channa bleheri)

Due to popular request I’m going to do a care guide on Rainbow Snakehead based on my own research and experience. I will also give a quick rundown on other species. Note though if Snakehead are illegal where you are don’t try to obtain one. They’re also not easy fish to care for and do not fit most keepers wow factor after a while.

General Information: 

Snakehead are described as perch like fish. Since though they’ve been studied more closely and have much closer structures and dna to that of labyrinth fish as well as fresh water eels. 

These fish are naturally distributed from south-eastern Iran and eastern Afghanistan eastwards to China, northwards to Siberia and southwards to Java, and from the White Nile westwards to the Senegal and Chad river drainages and southwards to the Congo river drainage in Africa. Due to invasivness brought on by the food, medicine and pet trades are now found all over the world.  

There are 34+ species of channa and parachanna (3) that are doccumented with more being recorded yearly. They often find their way into the pet and food trades shortly after discovery.

Oxygen tolerance: 

This I’ve found is a big draw and misunderstanding for people in the pet trade. Like labyrinth fish snakeheads can breath atmosphere air as sub adults and adults. In fact they are obligatory air breathers that will drown without access to humid oxygen. Because of this though, many keepers will keep them in stagnate or dirty water figuring that’s what they have in the wild. This is false and though snakehead can tolerate poor condition for a long period and in the wild survive some very poor seasons, their health is at risk if kept long term like any other fish. 


Rainbow snake head require 20 gallons per animal 30″x12″ and at least an additional 12″ for each additional animal. The tank must be well planted with cave like structures and leaf cover. A canopy of some sort will reduce stress. A strong ventilated lid is necessary. Snakehead do not hesitate to jump and are strong enough to shift glass lids or get past rubber seals. A heater is not needed and I don’t recommend them unless your room gets freakishly cold. Rainbow snakehead are fine in the low 60′s in the winter. Filters are needed, I use sponge filters as do many others. They don’t like a lot of current and they’re able to be setup with no openings in the lid. You want a fine sand substrate or some people use peat. This is because of their digging and eating habits to prevent impaction.


Very few options. I mean pretty much none. This will be up to you in the end but any tank mates must follow the following rules.

  • Must be able to go between 60 and 77 degrees throughout the year
  • Be a carnivore that is fine getting leftovers
  • Grow 5-10″
  • Be non-aggressive and non-territorial
  • Be able to survive a good bite if they’re fought.
  • Best if they have a night schedule
  • Able to live comfortably in the same sized tank
  • Have no defenses that involve barbs, or poison 

Basically this leaves a few larger catfish, giant danio, and other rainbow snakehead. All other fish are either toxic, seen as food, or get too large and actually intimidate the snakehead. Best thing you can do is have a species tank. You can have males together, females, or mixed pairs. They’re perfectly fine alone too. 


Feeding habits are odd and at times frustrating. Snakehead require a varied diet, but like snake don’t eat all the time… I offer mine mussel his absolute favorite, earthworms, bloodworms, like 5 different types of shrimp, a gel food made of fish, squid, and on occasion feeder insects. They pick favorites, they make a mess, they go on hunger strikes… Spring and summer they eat 3 times a week and in the winter might only eat once every week or two. Try to get something in them though.

They should not eat dry foods. These don’t digest well and they don’t really like it. Also don’t feed b!rd meat, feeder m!ce or mammal this will lead to malnutrition and illness. 

Snakehead are lazy hunters, during the winter they casually eat stuff on the ground. In the warm months they ambush very fast and take their food to a cave to eat. They’re messy. Just leave it they’ll eventually clean it up.


Easy to do really. First you have to get a male and female pair. They’re hard to sex unless side by side and the differences are small. Female tend to be bigger and a bit bulkier. Males during the spring will have brighter colors. Basically once you have a pair that likes eachother just leave them alone in good conditions (Make sure they have enough territory). They embrace and seem to fight. The female may look a little rough after but they’re fine. These guys don’t bubble nest or mouth brood like most snakehead. Instead the good eggs simply float up to the surface. Both parents care for and raise the fry up until a little over an inch. Breeding can be dangerous though. Sudden changes or stress can make them turn on eachother. A well planted tank is an absolute must as well. Avoid large water changes or temperature shifts while breeding. 


Rainbow Snakehead cannot have year round warm temperatures and need to have a cooling period. Some keepers just do that and reduce feeding. Others simulate full winter conditions. This involves adding more leaves to the water, letting the ph drop fairly low and letting the water level drop. The air becomes more humid during this. Come spring or once things warm up do daily water changes for a couple of weeks to simulate rainfall. You can continue a regular routine then. During the winter they may hide more, not accept food or interact. Just watch for signs of illness and encourage eating or add a vitamin supplement so that they remain healthy, 

Other considerations:

Snakehead are scaleless fish that are as sensitive as knives or even amphibians. Keep this in mind when medicating and avoid fertilizers. If your snakehead does get out they can sort of walk so search a fair distance from the tank. They can survive out of the water for 3 days and have been known to go several km in that time. Put them back in the water. They may bite, it hurts an bit but don’t freak out. Lift your hand slowly out of the water, if they don’t let go gently pinch the sides of their mouth and pull. Don’t be rough, it won’t help. Don’t just pull them off either, the dragging teeth will hurt more. 


Size: 5-10″ It varies with 6 or 7 being avarage.
Tank size: 20 gallon long for 1 (+20 gallons and at least 1 square foot for each additional)
Ph: 6.0-7.5
GH: 5-19
Temp: 57-77′f (seasonal variation required)
Lifespan: 8-15 years
Country: India

Other common Snakehead:

Channa aurantimaculata (Golden Cobra)

Size: 14-20″
Tank size: 120 gallon absolute minimum. 
Ph: 6.0-7.5
GH: 5-20
Temp: 60-82′f (seasonal variation required)
Lifespan: 8-12 years
Country: India

They’re primarily insectivores and do best on a live feeder insect diet. Very aggressive, best kept alone and one to a tank unless breeding. 

Red Snakehead (Channa micropeltes)

Size: 38-50″
Tank size: 300 gallons for the smallest specimens and as a grow out but really require 1000 to be housed comfortably
Ph: 6.0-7.5
GH: 8-12
Temp: 70-82′f (seasonal variation required)
Lifespan: 5-10 years
Country:  Malay

Need to be weened on a killed diet as soon as possible. They eat a lot. These guys will bite . Require massive strong tanks. Can break glass. 

Dwarf snakehead (Channa gachua)

Size: 6-8″
Tank size: 20-30 gallons for the first first and 15 gallons for each additional. 
Ph: 6.0-7.0
GH: 12-15
Temp: 71-78′f (seasonal variation required)
Lifespan: 8-12 years
Country:  Indonesia.

Probably one of the calmest varieties. They do fine in groups and can put up with some other tankmates well. Best beginner species.