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Old 06-02-2004, 11:50 AM   #1
Darla
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Stocking Levels


I have a 55 gallon tank that I'm in the process of converting into a planted tank. I have so many pond snails that I could spend all of my time picking them out and I wouldn't even make a dent. I've decided I want to get a few Clown Loaches, and I'm concerned about my stocking level.

Here's what I currently have...
5 mollies
2 platies
2 guppies
2 harlequin ras.
2 brilliant ras.
3 corydoras
1 pleco
5 ghost shrimp
1 ADF (this and the shrimp can be moved)

Here's what I want to add...
2-3 Clown Loaches
2 Dwarf Gouramis

Would the tank be way too overstocked then?
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Old 06-02-2004, 01:01 PM   #2
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I made the mistake of putting two pearl gouramis in with my ghost shrimp and now NO ghostshrimp. Lunch!
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Old 06-02-2004, 04:27 PM   #3
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I would stay away from clown loaches, unless you have a much larger tank.

If you need something to take care of your snails, smaller loaches might work well, like Zebra or Yoyo loaches.

I have several Pearl Gouramies and Yoyo loaches, and they leave Ghost Shrimps alive, but that's just my peaceful tank...
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Old 06-03-2004, 12:10 AM   #4
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Darla...With a planted tank you can push the limits a little more with stocking, providing you have a good filtration system. I think adding loaches & Gouramis will be no problem. No need to to move the shrimp or ADF they do not add much to the bio-load. A warning, after adding YO-YO loaches to my tank all my Ghost shrimp disappear.
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Old 06-07-2004, 08:09 PM   #5
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I think for a planted tank, your population (already added the gouramies) and the loaches is still moderate to low. There is around two gallons per fish, no matter length, most of them are small fish. You are still under the "stocking limit" for fish-only tanks, so it would be just fine in a planted tank, you could even add 6 more harlequins to form a small shoal.
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Old 06-10-2004, 06:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trenac
Darla...With a planted tank you can push the limits a little more with stocking, providing you have a good filtration system.
Indeed, a heavy plant load does have an increased ability to absorb and convert nitrogenous wastes (i.e., ammonia) and 'allow overstocking', but at the cost of an increased thickness in the biofilm layer that coats every surface. At some critical thickness you will start to impair the plants' normal physiological processes. It's also been documented that bacteria in the biofilm can communicate with algae and attract them to those surfaces that the bacteria already coat. And remember, the increase in DOCs produced by the fish cannot be compensated for by an increase in plant or bacterial mass, and the tank will have an increased propensity for algal and disease outbreaks and slowed growth rates in the plants and fish due to the constant unfavorable chemical environment. I've been guilty of overstocking my tanks in the past, and while I learned of the above mechanism only recently by reading an older edition of The Aquatic Gardener, empirically my experience is exactly as I've described. Algae is more difficult to get rid of, and the health of the fishes always walks (swims?) the line. One little push (inadequately quarantined fish, sudden drop in temperature, etc.) might push the tank over into a downward spiral that would be very difficult to correct. Don't be lulled into the dangerously false sense of security that a heavily planted tank may provide.
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Old 06-15-2004, 03:38 PM   #7
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Let me clear this up...When I said push the limit I was not referring to overstocking. I do not promote over stocking a tank even if planted. It is always better to understock, this makes for happier fish and better enviorment.
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Old 06-16-2004, 02:57 AM   #8
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I didn't mean to suggest you were referring to overstocking. Overstocking represents a gradient, anyway, not a specific point. As you said, less is best. But the problem is that people have bought into this nebulous idea that you can "push the limit" with planted tanks, as you say, and my contention is that when people challenge those limits without the proper experience behind them, they end up creating problems for both the fish and the plants, instead of for just the fish as before. In contrast to what's normally 'taught', I've found that moderation in stocking becomes even more important in a planted tank.
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