Established tank, how many fish can be added at once?
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Old 07-19-2014, 04:44 PM   #1
crazymittens
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Established tank, how many fish can be added at once?


So I have the opportunity to get some neon tetras locally for quite a good price. The catch is I don't have a ton of time to spend driving around to fish stores these days, so I want to get a whole big pile of them at once.

How many could I add at once?
  • Tank is a 125 (6' long) with a 50 sump.
  • Not mega heavily planted, but I'd label it as 'considerably planted'.
  • Water changes quarterly (50%), top-ups monthly
  • Water params are perfect and stable: 0/0/15 every time I check (every few months)
  • Unknowns: Water hardness, dH/kH? - I only have the basic test kits
  • Current bioload: ~15-20 tetras/platies, 1 angel
  • Fish I'm adding are just plain neons (might be juveniles)

Lately I've been bitten by the local Big Al's too many times with suspect fish, so these guys are coming from a hobbyist breeder, and I understand neons to be fairly hardy.

So..."how many" I get is a super-vague question, but if you were in my shoes, how many would you pick up? I'm happy to get however many the consensus says is 'okay'.

50?

75?

100?
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Old 07-19-2014, 05:09 PM   #2
Raymond S.
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Soundsto me like you have about a 15-25% stocking level now depending on the size of the Angel fish. Hardy was stated by whom...because they are more delicate about ammonia than any fish I know of. Where other things are concerned it may be at least partially true, but not about ammonia. Adding that many at one time/w a fairly low bio-load will cause an ammonia spike because at the best there are few of the beneficial bacteria present. These bacteria colonize as per food available.
On the other hand Bio-Spira is a good bacteria product and they sold the pattent rights to Tetra for the freshwater version...Tetra Safe Start.
If I used one of the large bottles of that when I put these neon's in there I might chance 50 of them. Don't know if you are considering your plants as an ammonia removal source or just a place where they normally colonate, but remember the bacteria only colonize as per the availale food supply regardless of how much surface aria they have to work/w.
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Old 07-19-2014, 05:19 PM   #3
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  • Yeah, I was thinking that if I did 25% WCs daily for a week it should help.
  • The plants are part of it, but the sump is chock full of pot scrubbies, so that's the other area.
  • Didn't know about the ammonia sensitivity, good point.
  • Do you think a large bottle plus the daily WCs will do the trick for 70-80?

Perhaps if I did a bottle tomorrow when the fish are added, then another on Monday/Tuesday?
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Old 07-19-2014, 06:38 PM   #4
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Seller has 75 available, so might as well take them all. I'll be doing two bottles of the safe start, then a WC mid-end next week with water param (ammonia) checks as often as I can.

The tank has been online for almost a year now, so should be able to adapt pretty quickly.
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:12 PM   #5
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The times that I sucessfully used it I turned off the hob and poured in half the day
I bought it(same day I got some fish for a new tank) and let the filter set for half an hr before I turned it back on. Then I did the same for the other half the next day.
Still would only do 20-30 myself. 40 would make a large school in there.
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:27 PM   #6
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Hm...why would you let it sit inside the filter rather than circ onto the plants and everything else?

I did some more reading, seen a number of tanks with 100-200 small tetras (one guy even had 250+). Bioload-wise, will be interesting to see how my levels do. The water capacity of the system is more like 150-160 gallons, plus a nice strong turnover, so I think it should work out well.

Thanks for the tip on the SafeStart! I'll post results in my build thread.
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:36 PM   #7
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Neons have a fairly small bio load. I wouldn't see a problem with adding 50+ at once.

How much bio media are you running in your sump?
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:44 PM   #8
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The bacteria don't just float around in the tank. I realize you mean why not let them be on the plants. I just did that so that a large portion of them would(they cling to anything they contact and colonize there) be in the filter so that water would flow over them more than it would somewhere in the tank. Just trying to insure that the filter got as much of them as possible for that reason.
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:49 PM   #9
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Yep, I know they don't float around, but if you're adding a liquid 'moar bacteria' solution, I'd want it circulating and touching as much as possible.

Also see why you just added to the filter...but yeah, plants have probably just as much/more surface area than the filter.

thelub I have probably 18x18x10" cube of pot scrubbies, plus mech filter pads, etc. So...a lot.
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Old 07-19-2014, 09:07 PM   #10
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Once I turn on the filter they are all over the tank anyway. Just giving more a chance
to lock onto something in the filter first where there is more circulation.
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Old 07-19-2014, 10:04 PM   #11
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Once my 30 gallon was established and I had a good amount of fish, I could add pretty much anything without issue.

I'm certainly no expert but I'd add more slowly if you only have 20-25 small fish. Tons of plants will help. My tank is so thickly grown that I have trouble finding even large fish in my tank.

A sign that it is super established and good to add any fish is if the water is crystal clear and you aren't getting algae if you overfeed/fertilize. My not-so-established tanks aren't as clear and they have more algae than my established tank.
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:43 PM   #12
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Yup, water is crystal (has been for many months) and easily tolerates overfeeding. There is algae, but only in areas where expected. Very minor, needs little/no attention.

Thanks guys, feeling much better about this.
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