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Fish stocking limits


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Hi Fam, 

The main tank (20L) is going well so far, except for a few thing. I added a carbon filter pad to help bring the water clarity up. I've noticed that several plants have the fluval stratum dust on their leaves... have people tried brushing the material away?  The tank is currently stocked with 6 panda cory's,  5 endlers, 3 amano shrimp and 1 oto. We plan to add a betta but everything Ive read tells me to add it last. How do i know if my tank is overstocked? I know the single oto is sad, but we have been very unlucky keeping otos alive and I am afraid to try again. 

Thanks

 

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You can use aqua advisor and it can help but.....there are always exceptions. I have a 20 gallon tall that has over 70 Otos in it. 2 sponge filters and an HOB, well established- NO issues- healthy (and spawning again) fish. When you're starting it's a good tool- but you will learn when you get good at it- that it is only a guideline.

On that note, per aqua advisor- all my tanks are overstocked.

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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On 6/27/2022 at 3:25 PM, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

You can use aqua advisor and it can help but.....there are always exceptions. I have a 20 gallon tall that has over 70 Otos in it. 2 sponge filters and an HOB, well established- NO issues- healthy (and spawning again) fish. When you're starting it's a good tool- but you will learn when you get good at it- that it is only a guidline.

Holy Crap! 70 oto in an 20 tall sounds nuts to me. Goes to show how much more experience I need to get. 

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@Chris2022 Otos have very small bioloads (something I have learned by experience) so larger numbers even in small tanks (used to have 50 in a 10 gallon until I moved them all over to the 20 with the rest of my Otos) is pretty easy. They are incredible little fish and are even more social and active in as large a number I have them in (though most of the activity is at night for me the little brats). They are hard, but incredibly rewarding fish to keep. 

That being said I have 10 cpd in a 4 gallon, 21 assorted fish in a 20 gallon and thinking of adding more, and 17 in a 9 gallon. It can be done. Not telling you to do that now- but you'll get a feel for it and you can get there. 

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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From a filtration perspective, aqadvisor assumes that you do not have a planted/heavily planted tank. If you do, you can generally stock heavier if the issue is water quality/waste. Of course, keep in mind that some fish may behave in ways that also limits stocking.

Edited by IanB
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According to aqadvisor my 10 gallon tank with a dwarf Gourami, 5 emerald green corys, 3 Kuhli Loaches, 6 green Neon Tetras and 1 Golden TopMinnow is significantly overstocked.

It is a quarantine tank. The fish are juvenile so not the bioload of full size. And heavily planted with water lettuce floating on top.

I have to dose with simple green every three days because the nitrates drop to 5 ppm from 20 in that time.  No water changes, just top offs.

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Based on the picture, I'm assuming that your tank is still relatively new. If that is the case, that may play a small part in why the otos didn't do well. I would try them again later on down the road when the tank is more established and has more microbes and what not. But, otos are known to be finicky when new and that definitely is a factor as well.

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I am in a similar situation right now with my 55 gallon, as I have been wondering if I can get any more fish.  Right now I have the following:

  • 3 Keyhole Cichlids
  • 3 Pearl Gourami
  • 4 Varitus Platy
  • 8? Peppered Cory (They may had had some babies)
  • 6 Candy Cane Tetras
  • 6 Lemon Tetras
  • 10 Black Neon Tetras
  • 1 Bristlenose Pleco
  • and a small batch of assorted snails

The tank is a year old and heavily stocked with plants, along with a CO2 system.  My nitrates stay around 35, I was doing weekly water changes, but I had to skip a week once and noticed the level didn't change at all, and now I just do them when the level goes a little higher.

Can my tank take anymore fish? I am happy keeping smaller fish, the Keyholes are by far the largest animals in there and they still are not that large.  Everyone is also super peaceful, so no worries there.

 

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On 6/27/2022 at 5:01 PM, IanB said:

From a filtration perspective, aqadvisor assumes that you do not have a planted/heavily planted tank. If you do, you can generally stock heavier if the issue is water quality/waste. Of course, keep in mind that some fish may behave in ways that also limits stocking.

Good, call. Current setup is half planted, still need to buy a lot more foreground plants. 

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@Chris2022 Your tank looks really nice!

 

I agree that it doesn't seem overstocked at all. In fact if you add some floating plants and fast growing stem plants you'll provably be close to a balanced tank nutrient wise. 

Like @BradfordAquatics mentioned Otos like a tank with some established algae. Since your tank is newer you’ll want to make sure you find some supplemental food that yours likes to eat. When diatom algae starts to form you could add a couple more, they seem to like to hang in groups. 

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On 6/27/2022 at 6:50 PM, Pepere said:

According to aqadvisor my 10 gallon tank with a dwarf Gourami, 5 emerald green corys, 3 Kuhli Loaches, 6 green Neon Tetras and 1 Golden TopMinnow is significantly overstocked.

It is a quarantine tank. The fish are juvenile so not the bioload of full size. And heavily planted with water lettuce floating on top.

I have to dose with simple green every three days because the nitrates drop to 5 ppm from 20 in that time.  No water changes, just top offs.

I would love to be at that point where my nitrates drop off so much. 

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On 6/27/2022 at 7:58 PM, BradfordAquatics said:

Based on the picture, I'm assuming that your tank is still relatively new. If that is the case, that may play a small part in why the otos didn't do well. I would try them again later on down the road when the tank is more established and has more microbes and what not. But, otos are known to be finicky when new and that definitely is a factor as well.

On 6/28/2022 at 7:21 AM, Patrick_G said:

@Chris2022 Your tank looks really nice!

 

I agree that it doesn't seem overstocked at all. In fact if you add some floating plants and fast growing stem plants you'll provably be close to a balanced tank nutrient wise. 

Like @BradfordAquatics mentioned Otos like a tank with some established algae. Since your tank is newer you’ll want to make sure you find some supplemental food that yours likes to eat. When diatom algae starts to form you could add a couple more, they seem to like to hang in groups. 

The tank is 160 days old. I added the ottos in at ~3 & 4 mo when the tank was really full of algae on the glass and on the plants (brown diatoms everywhere). They still didn't survive except for one. I re-scaped the tank a couple of weeks ago, bc the flourite substrate wasn't working for me. Plus the sponge filter and the fake decor took up to much space and was difficult to clean. I made this alot more simple, and added more plants. There is still not enough algae to add more oto's however, I would be very hesitant too considering my past experience. 

On 6/28/2022 at 6:01 AM, Averus said:

The tank is a year old and heavily stocked with plants, along with a CO2 system.  My nitrates stay around 35, I was doing weekly water changes, but I had to skip a week once and noticed the level didn't change at all, and now I just do them when the level goes a little higher.

How do you like that co2 system? Did you notice a significant difference in your plants? It's been in the back of my mind.

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On 6/28/2022 at 11:12 AM, Chris2022 said:

The tank is 160 days old. I added the ottos in at ~3 & 4 mo when the tank was really full of algae on the glass and on the plants (brown diatoms everywhere). They still didn't survive except for one. I re-scaped the tank a couple of weeks ago, bc the flourite substrate wasn't working for me. Plus the sponge filter and the fake decor took up to much space and was difficult to clean. I made this alot more simple, and added more plants. There is still not enough algae to add more oto's however, I would be very hesitant too considering my past experience. 

How do you like that co2 system? Did you notice a significant difference in your plants? It's been in the back of my mind.

The CO2 system is a simple one, but I have seen some pretty big results from it.  All the plants love it, even the slow growing Anubis have been sending out leaves more often, and my Tiger Lotus pretty much exploded in growth.  I had heard adding it would cause my Cryps to have melting, but the opposite happened with them . That may be because they really like my water, I have had no issues at all with them.

It has caused a little more green algae to show up, but I don't mind it, as it stays in the back.  It is a nice food source for the pleco and snails.

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a tank is over stocked when the amount of maintenance required to keep up water quality exceeds the amount of work you want to put in. it is really that simple. if you can maintain good water quality, and the fish can move around, it is not over stocked. with that in mind, i caution not to go crazy, as if something goes wrong, the more heavily stocked the faster things become bad. use your judgement on stocking. maintain the water quality, and ask yourself, does the tank look crowded??

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A lot of nitrate level can be tied to your approach to fertilization. It will keep nitrates decently high if you use estimative index, sort of medium if you use a quality all-in-one that includes nitrates like Easy Green, and you can keep a healthy and lush tank with very low nitrates (0-10 ppm) if you use an ADA lean fertilization approach (where you only dose micros and potassium). If you are having issues with nitrates being higher than you would like, I would suggest trying a lean approach (only if injecting C02, though!). It will make reds more vibrant on some plants, tends to keep algae levels in check, and there are now somme good lean Fert all-in-ones if you don't want to mess around with the fairly expensive ADA ferts (APT-0 and Tropica Premium come to mind, though I only have experience with the APT). I would encourage you to check out Dennis Wong's 2 HR Aquarist site for more on lean fertilization. It does rely on having enough of a fish load to provide nitrates and is going to work better for green-heavy plants like you see in most ADA style nature aquariums than if you have incredibly demanding high-color plants.

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This post has lots of replies, and I tried to read most. Me advice is be patient. Do rush stocking. Let your tank age without extra pressure. Just a question because I didn’t see it the pic was the “dust” on the plants. Are you sure it’s dust from the substrate? With the endless you will likely have a lot more without doing anything. You don’t need more panda’s that’s probably the limit. It is so much easier to add fish later than rush a tank. I don’t think you are ever finish a tank. I’m not trying to stop you but maybe slow the roll. 

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On 6/28/2022 at 12:12 PM, Brandon p said:

This post has lots of replies, and I tried to read most. Me advice is be patient. Do rush stocking. Let your tank age without extra pressure. Just a question because I didn’t see it the pic was the “dust” on the plants. Are you sure it’s dust from the substrate? With the endless you will likely have a lot more without doing anything. You don’t need more panda’s that’s probably the limit. It is so much easier to add fish later than rush a tank. I don’t think you are ever finish a tank. I’m not trying to stop you but maybe slow the roll. 

I tried blowing off what I thought was substrate dust with a pipet. I didnt work... i am unsure if its caked to the plant leaves or its something else.... The endlers are all male, so I don't expect having more. I generally like to wait 3 weeks before adding more fish. I will add some more plants next. 

On 6/28/2022 at 12:06 PM, IanB said:

Dennis Wong's 2 HR Aquarist site for more on lean fertilization

Lots to digest and reading to do. Thanks for the resource. 

On 6/28/2022 at 11:25 AM, lefty o said:

a tank is over stocked when the amount of maintenance required to keep up water quality exceeds the amount of work you want to put in.

Gold Nugget of info. Thanks mate. I really appreciate that perspective. 

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On 6/28/2022 at 4:25 PM, Chris2022 said:

I tried blowing off what I thought was substrate dust with a pipet. I didnt work... i am unsure if its caked to the plant leaves or its something else.... The endlers are all male, so I don't expect having more. I generally like to wait 3 weeks before adding more fish. I will add some more plants next. 

Lots to digest and reading to do. Thanks for the resource. 

Gold Nugget of info. Thanks mate. I really appreciate that perspective. 

Keep an eye on the “dust” it could but a form of algae. If it more or thicker take some pics and maybe we can help. I get some that grows on my slower growing Anubis 

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