How gradually should I stock fish - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-08-2020, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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How gradually should I stock fish

My 20 long finally cycled and stable after about a month! Today I picked up 10 ember tetras and a few amano shimp. The 2/3 shrimp are hiding and the largest one (about 1"?) is patrolling around. The great news is that the Ember tetras seem to be adapting really well and still have a deep orange color, which honestly surprised me.

I am hoping to take on my algae problem (I've already altered my lighting) with some amanos, planting heavier and some Otos. I was wondering if it is advisable to pick up 4 Otos from my lfs tomorrow. The algae seems to be holding my plants back, and I'd love to fix it and stay on top of it ASAP!

Final stocking list:
10-15 ember tetras (the 10 are schooling well so far)
4 Otos
8-10 pygmy corys
3-6 amano Shrimp

Also, I'm running an AquaClear 30 on the tank.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-08-2020, 09:50 PM
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I dont typically stock my tanks gradually because the risk of introducing pathogens to the aquarium goes up exponentially each time you introduce new fish. And, preferably, if possible, I get all my fish from one vendor which lowers the risk of multiple issues. You can, of course, set up a quarantine tank and add each group of fish after 6 weeks of quarantine. Thats an option as well.

If I am adding fish all at once I do water changes of 25-50% daily ( depending on amount of fish adding to system) for the next four days to make sure that fish are not exposed to rising ammonia and/or nitrates as the bio-filter works to catch up with new bioload. It usually takes about 96 hours max for a biofilter to build to match bioload at temperatures above 70 degrees. Its pretty quick. Well established aquariums will do this even faster- but, you want to be very conservative in the time given for this process to happen. I would test on day 5, regardless, to see where you are. You cannot be too cautious here.

PS Shrimp should be added to a new system 2-3 months after starting tank. It takes that long for necessary biofilm and microrganisms to develop in a tank to be safe for shrimp.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-08-2020, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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That makes a lot of sense. I have been keeping a journal of all my parameters throughout the month and will be especially diligent this next week. It seems like it might even be a good idea to continue to stock the tank right now, making sure to do some water changes.

In terms of the shrimp and the biofilm, I have quite a bit of different stuff growing in my tank currently. I will link an album with some pictures of examples, with a bonus pic of a few of my embers.

Do you think if I have pretty similar growth to this across my tank that it will be safe for shrimp? Is the biofilm just for feeding or does it have another effect?
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 01:11 AM
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Otos generally need a well established tank - what type of algae is it? They are quite particular - the biofilm is as important as the algae. I think you may be disappointed if you pick them up thinking they'll cure the algae. They can also be quite sensitive so look closely at the stock before making a decision - nice rounded bellies are essential.

I'd generally do 2 week between fish groups, lets you watch for problems and the filter catch up, but I see @Discusluv point about each addition being a risk. The step up on water changes is a good idea for mitigation. I think you'll need to decide going forward if quarantine would be an option for you or not.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 05:03 AM
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In my experience a month of algae growth is enough for Otos. Not really sure where the "well established" thing comes in with them. Like what does that even mean? 3 months old? 6 months? I have never had a new planted tank that didn't quickly develop a film of algae on the glass and different types of algae on the plants. Especially diatoms which Otos love. They can be delicate but I think that is the luck of the draw depending on how they were collected and treated between being wild caught and going to your home. I have had multiple times when I bought 10 Otos and all were alive 2 years later. But other times where some died right away. But that is a common experience with lots of small species of fish.

I tend to stock a lot of fish at once and then wait for long stretches between stocking my tanks. I would be careful about adding fish one day and then adding some more shortly afterward.

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