Do I overstock my planted tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-28-2020, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Do I overstock my planted tank?

G'day, I am a newbie to fish keeping and need some advise from the gurus on this forum. I have a fully cycled 49 Gallon fish tank (1.2m wide) and my fish are:
-13 lamb chop rasboras
-13 neon tetras
-9 cory habrosus
-7 Celestial pearl danios
-4 otocinclus
-15 cherry shrimps

I believe I over filtered my tank as I have fluval external canister 307 and aqua clear view 500.
How often and how much should I do a water change? Can I add couple nerite snails in the tank? Also, do I need to add more plants? Thanks in advance.
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Last edited by Fishy69; 03-28-2020 at 11:16 AM. Reason: adding more questions
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-28-2020, 02:04 PM
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As far as your tank being able to handle that many fish , I dont think you are overstocked at all. I also think it would be safe to add a couple nerite snails.
You are getting a 5x an hour overall filter rate. Not too much at all.
I change water in all my tanks weekly. The volume and frequency depending on what I keep and the bioload. If you will be doing EI dosing, Im pretty sure the standard is 50% weekly. If I had your tank, and not dosing EI, I would do at least 25% weekly water changes. It is beneficial for the fish.
Not sure if you are doing Co2. but, if you are, a carpeting plant would look great in the foreground. If not, some low-growing crypts.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-28-2020, 02:54 PM
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I think that you have plenty of overhead yet. Although not perfect, this guide can help: AqAdvisor - Intelligent Freshwater Tropical Fish Aquarium Stocking Calculator and Aquarium Tank/Filter Advisor. Based upon this calculator, I run over 230% fish load, but I've always intentionally had far more than typically recommended by standard guides.

In addition to @Discusluv suggestions, make sure that you are getting good gas exchange, which can greatly increase capacity. Good surface rippling by filters or pumps is the best way. Aerators are not nearly as efficient. I occasionally monitor O2 levels with a Salifert O2 test kit. I run a small skimmer to ensure good gas exchange. When I do, the O2 tests at around 12ppm. When I turn it off, O2 drops to 8ppm. Within a few hours, I can see certain species start to cling to the surface (mainly because I inject CO2, and this magnifies O2 sensitivity). Turn the skimmer back on and they return to normal.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2020, 11:25 PM
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I wouldn't say that's overstocked either. There's still room for more fish and plants!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2020, 04:06 AM
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The area between the left intake and driftwood is begging for a larger Sword or a stand of crypts.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2020, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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The area between the left intake and driftwood is begging for a larger Sword or a stand of crypts.
Good idea, thanks mate.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2020, 04:53 PM
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If you have lots of bio-media, lots of plants, and keep up with water changes...you can add a lot more fish than you think. Of course just because you can doesn't mean you should in some cases...but a couple nice big schools of small fish should be fine. Not like you're chucking several Oscars or a bunch of goldfish in there.


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2020, 05:02 PM
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Filters don't clean the water, they merely help it look clearer. Detritus trapped in the filter continues to decompose and pollute the water. Filters that are not serviced often enough to get the ceud out merely become nitrate factories. The very best way to maintain high water quality is with routine periodic partial water changes. You could do testing to keep nitrates below 20ppm or you might simply do 50% weekly. (I do 50% twice/week on heavily stocked grow out tanks).
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As for stock levels it's always arbitrary and if you stay on top of routine maintenance and sufficient water changes, you can have more stock than might otherwise be the case.
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As to plants, I would add more plants, especially fast growing floating plants, as they help to purify water by converting nutrients (aka pollution) into plant tissue that you will eventually remove in trimmings.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2020, 06:15 PM
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Don't forget stocking is more than how many fish the filtration can handle. Do your research on what the fish need. Some need more space than others for different reasons. Jamming as many as possible in is what is appealing to us, not necessarily the fish.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-03-2020, 07:12 PM
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I would say you are understocked and should be able to add more comfortably.


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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-03-2020, 10:58 PM
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The nice thing about staying understocked though is that you don't have to be as diligent on water changes and maintenance. when you're overstocked or right on the line you always have to keep everything cleaned or else you'll run into issues quickly but if the tank is kept at the levels you have it then it gives you more freedom to maybe overfeed one day accidentally or to skip a water change for a few days.

how are the fish behaving now? I'd say get another 12 tetras of a different species and then just let it ride. The fish will be happy with the extra space and you won't run into algae issues as quickly since there won't be a big stack up of nutrients.

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