Overstocking? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2014, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Question Overstocking?

I was wondering. In a heavenly planted tank, could I just over stock my fish instead of adding fertilizer, Co2, ect?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2014, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by fishyfishy101 View Post
I was wondering. In a heavenly planted tank, could I just over stock my fish instead of adding fertilizer, Co2, ect?
No matter how many fish you put in there, they are not going to produce necessary levels of Potassium, Iron, Carbon Dioxide, etc...

Fish produce nitrogen by products, which lead to ammonia and nitrates. They do not produce all fertilizers, so while I'm a relative newb, the answer is 100% no.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2014, 10:21 PM
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The fish will produce lots of ammonia, which, especially in the absence of other necessary nutrients will probably just grow algae....
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-16-2014, 04:07 AM
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I think this is the notion that has to be eliminated from the hobby. Simply overstocking your tank is NEVER going to provide enough to supplement your plants.

Plants are like any other pet. They need ferts, C02 and good lighting to be healthy. Simply letting your fish do the maintenance is only going to work for a short time before your tank conditions degrade then you'll end up posting a "algae help" or "help what's wrong with my plant" topic. Understand first what it takes to keep plants in your tank before you put them in there.


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-16-2014, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by PortalMasteryRy View Post
I think this is the notion that has to be eliminated from the hobby. Simply overstocking your tank is NEVER going to provide enough to supplement your plants.

Plants are like any other pet. They need ferts, C02 and good lighting to be healthy. Simply letting your fish do the maintenance is only going to work for a short time before your tank conditions degrade then you'll end up posting a "algae help" or "help what's wrong with my plant" topic. Understand first what it takes to keep plants in your tank before you put them in there.
+1.

Being able to overstock (marginally) a planted tank should be viewed more as a result of the plants' abilities to help decrease toxins in the water for the health of the fish, NOT as the fishes' abilities to provide nutrients for the plants.


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-16-2014, 06:33 AM
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Exactly right.
Plants need three elements to survive: N, P, K for nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium.
Fish will only provide the "N" (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate), so you can get away with dosing less (or none of it possibly).
You still need to add phosphate (a little comes in with fish food, but usually not enough), and potassium. Trace elements help too, but you can get some of them with water changes if you go low-tech.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-16-2014, 01:29 PM
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Plants need over a dozen elements to survive.
Water supplies H and O.
CO2 can be a problem. No matter how many fish you have that is not enough CO2 for a high tech tank. A low tech tank gets CO2 from decomposing matter in the substrate.
Water changes with water that has a GH over 3 German degrees of hardness provides Ca, Mg and some traces.
Fish food can supply the needs of the plants to a certain extent. It is reasonably rich in most of the other elements (N, P, most traces). It is low in K, Fe. Feeding more food overloads the tank with N and P before you reach a good level of K or Fe.

You need to prepare the substrate in a way that will provide the missing elements. If you use a quality substrate (not sand or gravel- high CEC material) and add slow release sources of potassium (Greensand) and iron (laterite) then the tank will be self sustaining for the longest time as long as you run it as a low tech tank. You do not have to overstock it to do this.

These sources are all slow release, though. Great that there is a steady, low trickle of nutrients into the system. Keeps it stable.
But all of this put together is not enough to make a high tech tank.

Simply adding more fish is not the answer.

If you had a table, and wanted it taller, you could not simply lengthen one leg and make it a taller table.

Similarly in an aquarium, to make a low tech tank into a high tech tank you need to work on each part of it in proportion to the others:
Light.
CO2.
Macros: N, P, K.
Secondary nutrients: Ca, Mg, Fe.
Micros: all the others.

You can get sort of a half-way in between tank by adding substrate ferts. Tablets that you just have to add once every few months can supply a lot of the nutrients in a somewhat easier way than daily dosing, and can balance the fish food if you select the right ones (higher in K and Fe, moderate in other elements).
Carbon in some form is needed. Excel, DIY/yeast-sugar, or pressurized are your choices.
If your water is too soft (GH under 3 degrees), or else you find it drops through the week as the plants and fish use the minerals, then you can add GH booster, or something like coral sand in a bag in the filter. GH booster would be once a week when you do a water change.
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