Stocking levels??
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:52 PM   #1
mmccaughey
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Stocking levels??


Talking with Petco and PetSmart, they have informed me that I can keep about 1 fish for every gallon in my tank. I have a 55 gallon tank with about 20 different medium size plants. My stock right now is too high in my opinion. A lot of them are small so they said 2 or 3 would count as one but I keep battling nitrite spikes and I can only think it is overstocked. In this 55 gallon I have:
1 albino bristlenose pleco, 1 bristlenose pleco, 1 stingray pleco (hillstream loach), 1 kuhli loach, 2 bumblebee gobys, 2 S.American bumblebee catfish, 2 Blue Flame pygmy gouramis, 2 paradise gouramis, 2 gold dust Mollys, 2 farlowellas, 2 orange platys, 2 blue platys, 2 Otto cats, 3 ember tetras, 3 pygmy Cory cats, 3 rosy red minnows, 4 neon tetras, 4 pristella tetras, 4 flying orange hatchets, 5 julii corys, 3 adult guppys, and 6 juvenile guppys. Also a breeder box containing a batch or gold dust mollys babies and a batch of guppy babies. There are also 10 different mystery snails, 2 rabbit snails, and about 12 different various small nerites, 3 whisker shrimp, 5 Japanese algae eater shrimp, and about 15 ghost shrimp. There are a bunch of different live plants as well. Maybe 8 or 9 different kinds and at least one to 5 bunches of each plant. Around 30 individual stems in the gravel all around the tank and one floating pond lettuce.
I feel like this is too much and didn't realize how quick everything accumulated since a lot are bottom feeders, always hiding, or just really small so it doesn't look like there is much in there. It was when I actually counted every single thing in the tank that I started really worrying and wondering what to do.
Any suggestions on what I can do and what I should do?? :/
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Old 11-07-2013, 04:27 PM   #2
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Go to you LFS and trade in some of your fish. Simple.

I would agree with you that you are overstocked, plus you have schooling fish but no schools. *2 Otto cats, 3 ember tetras, 3 pygmy Cory cats, 3 rosy red minnows, 4 neon tetras, 4 pristella tetras, 4 flying orange hatchets, 5 julii corys* - All of these fish prefer to be in groups of more than six individuals.

Take a long hard look at which species you absolutely can't live without and tailor your tank around them, from tank params to tank mates, and you should be good.

Also increase you plant mass to add additional biological filtration.
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Old 11-07-2013, 05:00 PM   #3
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agreed one inch of fish per gallon is the golden rule. But a heavily planted tank and routine maintenance can usually stretch that a little, but there are always limits. I agree with gt turbo to trim down the species a bit, and increase the school size of your favorites. Its surprising how pleasant the schooling is to watch when you get a larger number, Im remembering my cichlid tank
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Old 11-07-2013, 06:35 PM   #4
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agreed one inch of fish per gallon is the golden rule. But a heavily planted tank and routine maintenance can usually stretch that a little,
...it can stretch it quite a lot actually. A heavily planted tank (especially one equipped with hungry floaters like duckweed and water lettuce) can have a tremendous carrying capacity. I don't stock to those higher levels, but I know someone who does - you just pull out extra water lettuce more often, and maybe a water change once a week whereas at lower levels you may almost never do a water change.
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Old 11-07-2013, 06:46 PM   #5
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agreed one inch of fish per gallon is the golden rule.
Absolutely not. You can have 2-3 "inches" of fish per gallon, depending on the fish you're keeping.
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Old 11-07-2013, 07:03 PM   #6
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My bigger concern is why you're getting the nitrite spikes. Even with the amount of fish you have, you shouldn't be getting these spikes if you have enough filtration and aren't killing off your bacteria. What filter(s) do you have, what media do they have and what is your water change and filter cleaning process? I'm wondering if you aren't suffering from one of two possible issues: not enough filtration for the bio load or you're doing something when cleaning your filter(s) like replacing all of the filter media at one time or washing it all at one time in tap water and killing the bacteria.

I have a 55 gallon aquarium as well and I'm heavily stocked, too, and I don't get any kind of spikes. I have 8 congo tetras, about 30 neon tetras (split up between black neons and regular neons), 10 assorted corys, 10 otos and 2 bristlenose plecos. It's also heavily planted and I have a Rena XP3 canister filter. When I do my filter maintenance, I only clean or replace the filter pads. I never touch the biological media (ceramic rings) and keep it submerged in tank water inside the filter while I'm doing the cleaning. I've never had an ammonia or nitrite spike after the initial setup.
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Old 11-07-2013, 07:16 PM   #7
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Absolutely not. You can have 2-3 "inches" of fish per gallon, depending on the fish you're keeping.
Yeah, I was going to add that.
3" of kuli loach is not the same thing as 3" of gourami or angelfish.
Biomass is the important consideration.
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:12 PM   #8
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The schools are to small. but the biggest thing i notice is that you have some cool water fish and some warmer water fish, i think you should pick what you want warm or cold water and get rid of the fish that dont fit. then any schooling fish that are left get more so they are actually a school so they dont get stressed. and snails are high waste producers, i would cut back on the amount of snails. just my opinion
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:20 PM   #9
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I agree with what you have said as it relates to the nitrite spikes and the OP's filtration and cleaning regime, however you aren't over-stocked. The tetras and otos produce such a small bio-load that I think it would take 3 of them to equal 1" of fish. Using that equation you'd end up with around 36 fish, plus your tank is heavily planted which would allow you top increase your bioload much more that the recommended inch per gallon rule.

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My bigger concern is why you're getting the nitrite spikes. Even with the amount of fish you have, you shouldn't be getting these spikes if you have enough filtration and aren't killing off your bacteria. What filter(s) do you have, what media do they have and what is your water change and filter cleaning process? I'm wondering if you aren't suffering from one of two possible issues: not enough filtration for the bio load or you're doing something when cleaning your filter(s) like replacing all of the filter media at one time or washing it all at one time in tap water and killing the bacteria.

I have a 55 gallon aquarium as well and I'm heavily stocked, too, and I don't get any kind of spikes. I have 8 congo tetras, about 30 neon tetras (split up between black neons and regular neons), 10 assorted corys, 10 otos and 2 bristlenose plecos. It's also heavily planted and I have a Rena XP3 canister filter. When I do my filter maintenance, I only clean or replace the filter pads. I never touch the biological media (ceramic rings) and keep it submerged in tank water inside the filter while I'm doing the cleaning. I've never had an ammonia or nitrite spike after the initial setup.
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:31 PM   #10
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Just gonna go ahead and say I feel bad for that poor kuhli loach! I have three and they hide all the time (im gonna go pick up a few more next week), so im sure that the solitary one is freaking out. Theyre really cool though, so if you do decide to swap some fish, consider getting more Kuhlis so that you see them more often. Thats my 2 cents
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:37 PM   #11
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I have a 55g planted with a Rena X4 and the following list. Yes, weird stock and they're mostly getting along.

1M/1F Krib
1M/1F apisto
1 lone, sad dwarf rainbowfish
5 platties
supposedly swordtail fry? I've seen two of late.
1 longfin ram who is not long for this world and I can't catch him to put him down.
1 lazy algae eater
1 betta who gets stuck in the wisteria

10x cardinals
12x harlequin rasboras
12x white cloud tetras
11x rummynose tetras

I'd love, LOVE to add more tetras. Platty fry get eaten quickly so I don't worry about them. How many more tetras can I go if I do weekly 50% water changes?
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:47 PM   #12
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Sounds like you're getting some crappy advice from petsmartco. Has your tank even cycled yet, or did they leave that part out and send you off with all those fish?
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Old 11-08-2013, 11:19 PM   #13
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Maybe I should have worded that a bit differently, to play it safe, one inch per gallon is a good guide to follow,especially when you are starting out. I have gone over that myself and think it can be stretched quite a bit with good maintenance and a well planted tank, but are you going to tell a novice or someone who doesnt keep up with maintenance that well to keep 2-3" per gallon? I wouldnt. I think its fair to say it flexes with experience and tank setup etc.

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Old 11-19-2013, 02:49 PM   #14
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Hey everyone thanks for the info. I did end up giving away my female guppies so I don't need to deal with the tons of babies all the time as I feel bad and don't like to see them get eaten so I was always keeping them in the breeder boxes. I stopped cleaning the filter cartridges in tap water so much and stopped the water changes I was doing almost every week and everything settled down pretty quick. I still have nitrites but not nearly as high. I am probably going to be doing a water change soon, I just wanted to leave it alone and let it settle. Also no, they did not tell me about the cycle. Well, they did but said it would be fine in about 4 days to a week!! Not the case. Anyway, I have had it set up for a good 6 months or so anyway (maybe only 2 months with the 55 but I used the water from the 30 gallon when I switched tanks) so I'm hoping that it is pretty established now. Everything seems to be going well. Aside from a couple real small dwarf frogs (which Petco just told me that they were having problems with them from the supplier and that they lost a lot of them and everyone was returning dead ones, not just me), I don't think I have lost anything anymore. Thanks for the advice!
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:34 PM   #15
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Since I'm bored at work I plugged your fish stock into aqadvisor. Here is the link!

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