Do you count the filter on AqAdvisor? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Do you count the filter on AqAdvisor?

Hi everyone,
I’m trying to use AqAdvisor.com to help me decide how to stock my new Fluval Spec 16 gallon, but I have a question on how I should input the dimensions of my tank. The dimensions of the tank including the integrated filter section in the back is 21.875” long x 14.5” high x 11.125” deep, which is about 15 gallons). However, if I don’t count the integrated filter section, the tank is 18.25” long, which makes it about 13 gallons. This actually makes a big difference on AqAdvisor for how much I can put in my tank. Being that the integrated filter adds about 2 gallons, should I be counting it or leaving it out?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 01:24 AM
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I would leave it out as the fish cannot actually swim in that area but there are also several points to keep in mind. One is that it will be an "estimate/ guess" at best and that leaves lots of room for error. Some big points are how much time and effort as well as knowledge we can each put into a tank and that often leaves the person who most needs the guide being the new person and needing to leave as much room for error as possible. When starting and not knowing how many fish, it is far, far better to understock until you see it all beginning to work. This is a hobby which really teaches patience and it does make us suffer if we try to do too much too quickly.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
I would leave it out as the fish cannot actually swim in that area but there are also several points to keep in mind. One is that it will be an "estimate/ guess" at best and that leaves lots of room for error. Some big points are how much time and effort as well as knowledge we can each put into a tank and that often leaves the person who most needs the guide being the new person and needing to leave as much room for error as possible. When starting and not knowing how many fish, it is far, far better to understock until you see it all beginning to work. This is a hobby which really teaches patience and it does make us suffer if we try to do too much too quickly.
Thanks for the reply PlantedRich,
So is figuring out stocking a tank based on how much room each fish will have to swim or how much bioload a tank can handle based on how many gallons of water are in the tank? Or both?
AqAdvisor seems to be calculating stocking based on how much room the fish have to swim because I tried to add more height to the tank and it made no difference in stocking, but adding the two inches of length made a big difference. It made me wish I got a slightly bigger tank.
I do plan to add fish very slowly and testing the water to make sure I’m not adding fish too quickly, but besides keeping my water parameters in check I want to make sure the fish are not too crowded.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 02:53 PM
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You have spotted a couple of the problems with using any calculator as they cannot take all the different problems into account. The one you use seems to be based on some "average" fish and then how much space and water is needed.
But the truth is that there are many fish who need far more or far less space and how much water is needed will change with how much each of us are willing and able to keep it clean. The pre-computer "normal" often spoke of an inch of fish per gallon of water but it doesn't take long to see it had faults. Ten inches of guppies in a ten? Okay, but ten inches of oscars in ten gallons is a nightmare!
The calculator may be able to take a few other things into the answer but still lacks a lot on how the owner lives. So use it as a start and one opinion of what might work but then add some knowledge of how the particular fish act. Twelve of some fish will work well, while one large predator like an angelfish and two neon tetras will not work at all for the tetra! And part of that will have to be far more personal. If you are a normal busy person, you may be able to change water and clean filters weekly and make it a priority that you can and will do, you can stock somewhat more than if you are living a different life and have a job that requires a different schedule. If your job requires you to work daylight to dark, six days a week, having a tank with a full load will not be fun for very long and it is far better to have two fish who live than to have ten that die!
Most of the time, we get a couple fish and that seems easy so we want more, but it is very easy to get more and suddenly little things begin to go wrong and it seems to happen just as we have something else to do that has to be done "right now".
Unless you live a very calm, steady life, expect and plan for the unexpected, as I find life never goes steady for very long! I like fish but not when I get a new job and have to move!
Stock low, see how it goes and then adapt as needed?
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 03:33 PM
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You have to remember that the stocking calculators are very basic in what they do. In some cases if they have done the work on the system and know the fish they can make adaptions. But they will still rely on some of the "rules of thumb". However, I would not count the water in the filter as it is not where the fish will swim.

But you also have to consider how much filtering your system has in it. You can at times over stock your fish if you have an over sized filter. It just takes time and experience to know what you have. For instance, I know that on my setup I have a 150 gallon tall tank, with a 60 gallon sump, that has 50 gallons of water in it. The sump has filter floss and bio-balls in it. I run the water through it several times a day. I could probably over stock my tank quite a bit if I wanted to. But I am going to keep the stock count lower so it is easier to manage.


One reason I like the stocking calculator is due to it telling you when you don't have a match on the fish you are choosing. For instance I put a fish on my list it and suggested I do not because of a chance of cross-breading. Then it told me that one type of fish would not work because the temperature range was wrong.

Just be ready to take the suggestion of the calculator with a grain of salt. There may always be some wiggle room on either side of what they suggest.

Tim
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Well, the reason I ask whether stocking is based on area or bioload is, say I have 1 Male Betta, 9 Ember Tetras, and 9 Green Neon Tetras in this tank. According to AqAdvisor I’m 92% stocked if I don’t add the filter section. If the calculation for stocking is based on area, then theoretically, adding 9 Pygmy Corys would not be an issue because they would inhabit a different level of the tank (Which AqAdvisor does not factor in). I realize, of course, I would need to make sure I have adequate filtration and increase my water changes due to the higher bioload, but would adding a school of fish that inhabits a different level in the tank cause my tank to be overstocked?
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanad View Post
Well, the reason I ask whether stocking is based on area or bioload is, say I have 1 Male Betta, 9 Ember Tetras, and 9 Green Neon Tetras in this tank. According to AqAdvisor Iím 92% stocked if I donít add the filter section. If the calculation for stocking is based on area, then theoretically, adding 9 Pygmy Corys would not be an issue because they would inhabit a different level of the tank (Which AqAdvisor does not factor in). I realize, of course, I would need to make sure I have adequate filtration and increase my water changes due to the higher bioload, but would adding a school of fish that inhabits a different level in the tank cause my tank to be overstocked?

I would say in this case yes, because the Corys would still be adding to the bioload of the water. I don't think it matters where the fish are at in the layers, it is still the same water that gets polluted.


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 06:47 PM
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I'm afraid there may be too much value put on the layers thinking as most of the fish will go up and down,even though they tend to stay one place more than another. With some fish combos, it does matter but that is a very specific item at times. It can allow us to work out different types of fish who will not bother the other quite so much but it is a pretty limited range. Angelfish paired with another cichlid is one case where it helps that the angel is not going to the bottom very much, while the other cichlid may be a type who spends a good deal of time hanging out under a log or rock. In this combo, each type of fish can have a segment of the tank without the other wanting to compete for that area.
I don't find it too helpful to think in layers when the tank is so shallow that fish may not see it as having layers. Cories will eat on the bottom but so will tetras and each will swim at all levels so they may not actually compete but I think of a smallish tank as one single level, in many cases. I do not feel cories and tetra make bad combos but then it does come back around to how much care it may take if we run closer to the theoretical "overstock". And it does come down to theory as fish, like people, do vary quite a lot in how they behave.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
I'm afraid there may be too much value put on the layers thinking as most of the fish will go up and down,even though they tend to stay one place more than another. With some fish combos, it does matter but that is a very specific item at times. It can allow us to work out different types of fish who will not bother the other quite so much but it is a pretty limited range. Angelfish paired with another cichlid is one case where it helps that the angel is not going to the bottom very much, while the other cichlid may be a type who spends a good deal of time hanging out under a log or rock. In this combo, each type of fish can have a segment of the tank without the other wanting to compete for that area.
I don't find it too helpful to think in layers when the tank is so shallow that fish may not see it as having layers. Cories will eat on the bottom but so will tetras and each will swim at all levels so they may not actually compete but I think of a smallish tank as one single level, in many cases. I do not feel cories and tetra make bad combos but then it does come back around to how much care it may take if we run closer to the theoretical "overstock". And it does come down to theory as fish, like people, do vary quite a lot in how they behave.
I agree that the layers can make a difference when it comes to temperament and who gets along with what, I don't see how it would make a difference when talking about the bio-load for a filter.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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I would say in this case yes, because the Corys would still be adding to the bioload of the water. I don't think it matters where the fish are at in the layers, it is still the same water that gets polluted.
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I agree that the layers can make a difference when it comes to temperament and who gets along with what, I don't see how it would make a difference when talking about the bio-load for a filter.
That goes back to the original point I was making earlier about the definition of stocking.
Based on how AqAdvisor calculates stocking, it has nothing to do with bioload, but how much area each fish will have to swim. In the case of the Tetras and Corys I put in, this was based solely on the length and depth of the tank, but not the height. I'm not sure if the stocking level of other types of fish is affected by the height of the tank, but probably not. Bioload seems to only affect filtration on AqAdvisor.

Try this on AqAdvisor by inputting a certain number of fish and changing the length/depth of the tank, this will change your stocking level because it gives the fish more area to swim. However, if you change the height of the tank, it has no effect on stocking, but changes your filtration requirements since it changes the water volume. Based on this logic, Stocking means how much area (Length/depth) each fish will have to swim but has nothing to do with bioload, which only affects how much filtration you need. I'm not too concerned with filtration, I believe I have 3 times what is needed for my size tank so it can handle it. However, if my theory about fish inhabiting different levels doesn't hold true, I suppose I'll abandon adding a school of Corys. I just wanted a bottom dweller in case the Tetras let food get past them and go to the substrate, but I can always use snails for that.

Thanks for all your input guys, it's very helpful.

Last edited by Sanad; 03-12-2019 at 04:56 PM. Reason: Spelling
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 01:49 AM
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If you don't mind me co-opting your thread to ask a related question - how much can plants factor into the filtration of a tank? I have two filters in mine - an internal filter and air-driven sponge - but I also have an emersed planter box with lots of fast-growing species rooting into the water. I'd like to use AqAdvisor to check how many fish I can safely keep, and while I know I've got enough room to keep my species of choice (croaking gourami), I'm not sure how much filtration to tell it I have.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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If you don't mind me co-opting your thread to ask a related question - how much can plants factor into the filtration of a tank? I have two filters in mine - an internal filter and air-driven sponge - but I also have an emersed planter box with lots of fast-growing species rooting into the water. I'd like to use AqAdvisor to check how many fish I can safely keep, and while I know I've got enough room to keep my species of choice (croaking gourami), I'm not sure how much filtration to tell it I have.
I don’t believe it’s possible to factor in plants on AqAdvisor. I remember reading the creator of the site was on these forums trying to figure out how to factor in plants on his website but it seems he abandoned the idea as it was not possible due to too many variables.
That being said, I believe plants will only help you to improve your filtration, not your stocking capacity. This is based on everything I’ve been saying above, but hopefully someone with more experience will chime in.
I heard someone on YouTube suggest you put in one plant per fish, although that sounds about as accurate as the “one inch per gallon” rule.
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