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Well in my 72 gallon I was worrying about over stocking my 72 gallon but now that I learned how to use a nitrAte kit (flame me! the pictures on the cards are confusing.) It seemed my 72 gallon is able to remove 5ppm of NitrAte a day in addition to the nirAte which is constantly being removed. I think this is amazing as my tanks substrate is only about half covered. thus, when it is fully covered I could add twice the amount of fish and still have room for the ammount of nitrAte that the fish will make as they grow larger.

right? or is it exponential and not a constant?
 

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Hmmm.....I think I would like to add something. While it is a bad idea, it does nothing for you to not understand why it is a bad idea.

While nitrate levels may remain constant as far as fish go, consider the following:

More fish means more oxygen consumption, and your system might not keep up.

What would happen if the plants stopped growing? Nitrate would skyrocket.

Fish produce more than just nitrate, some of which the plants may not be able to keep up with.

More fish means more maintenance. You would have to be always milling around your tank doing cleaning, water changes, etc.

More fish means more uneaten food, which may account for more waste.

More fish in a small area means more disease/parasites etc. It also can cause more aggression in some species.


There are many more I did not list. This is assuming that your stocking levels are already at normal capacity. But when you assume........well you know. I always stock in a way that is comfortable to me. I use small amounts of small fish, and I like it that way.
 

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IMO, 1" of fish/gallon can be changed, a bit. I think you can get away with at LEAST 1.5" per gallon, if not 2.

My grandma's 55 gallon has about70" of fish when full grown, lots of plants. She feeds entirely too much-2x daily flakes, 1x daily small cube of bloodworms. we also have a discus, angelfish, a rainbow shark, and 2 pearl gouramies. All of which are piggies.

Now, i test nitrate weekly. 260 watts no co2 yet, no ferts except fishh poo and weekly dose of flourish.
The nitrate level stays around 10ppm with 25% weekly WC's.
There is mulm all over though.

Now, on the other hand, 2+" of fish per gallon is like putting you in a 6'x6' closet..........with the rest of your immediate family.

Toxin levels, while most important, are not he only thing to consider. Some fish adjust to crowding better than others.
African cichlids under 2"+per gallon are rather aggressive, if not murderly, especially mbuna. While my old mbuna tank had 98" of fish in a 55 gallon, extremely overstocked, and yet very very effective(if you don't mind 2x weekly 50% WC's.

Actaully, your observations are of course not the first.
I knew someone on a different forum who had a 20 gallon stuffed with plants, 2 wpg, and about.75" of fish per gallon.............Without a filter.

He had a natural system, until one day the power shutoff for a few days i think(it was on the news the blackout) and his plants ceased growth, and nutrient uptake. The nitrate shot through the roof and killed his fish.
 

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If you do get them, let me know. I need all the info i can get on them before i start my next tank. it's gonna be a breeding project.
 
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