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Old 09-04-2004, 01:12 AM   #1
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Does the 5/1 stocking rule really apply?

I often see folks mentioning the 1 inch of adult fish per 5 gallons rule on the board, but when I think about it, that's not very much fish: that would make a 30-gallon tank with 2 clownfish (adult size 3.5 inches) overstocked. When I look at everyone's fish lists, it seems like not too many people stick to that rule, or even close to it. So I'm wondering--is the 5/1 rule a worthy one? An ideal that few but hard-core reefers achieve? Too conservative?

I'm not trying to start any fights here--honest! I'm just trying to figure out what I should be thinking about in my own tank. I know I've got plans for more than 15 inches of fish in a 75 gallon and I don't know if I should think about cutting back--or if there are lots of long-term successful tanks that are "overstocked" by that rule.

75-gallon SW tank with 29-gallon sump
Euroreef ES5-3
2x Maxijet powerheads
Mag drive 9 return
Coralife 4x65 Lunar Aqualight
120 lbs rock from liverocks.com
1 peppermint shrimp and 1 fire shrimp (very shy)
2 black Ocellaris, Squish and Smudge
3 chromis, too identical to name as yet, in QT
10-gallon tropical
29-gallon with two goldies, Carrot and Orangehead
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Old 09-04-2004, 06:31 AM   #2
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Many people do go over according to that " rule of thumb". I know that tanks are easier to maintain if stocked lightly. Overstocking means more frequent water changes, as well as the possibility of lower water quality. Some thing that can be done to bend that rule include aggressive skimming, and a fuge with macro to help with nutrient export. I think some of the people that have problems with cyano may also be overstocked. I can't prove that, but overstocking won't help
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Old 09-04-2004, 07:31 AM   #3
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The rule is more of a general guidance for beginners. So many starting in the SW hobby are carried over from FW where youc an really pack them in like sardeens. I personally follow the understocked rule of thumb as best I can. I belive whole heartedly that its more benifical to your tank to have a low percentage of fish.

Another factor that goes into keeping a tank sucessful above the 5/1 rule as you put it is the combo of fish. One of the reasons the 5/1 rule exists is the natural hostility that is in most saltwater breeds as compaired to FW. If the types of fish are selected inappropratly then you will have alot of fighting for turf and stress on the fish where as if the selection is done carefuly you can have more fish and less fighting for turf and thus a tank that is more sucessful.
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Old 09-04-2004, 08:39 AM   #4
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i was wondering, if you are overstocked are their any inverts, corals or man made technology that can help reduce the number of water changes you have to do and increase your water quality

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Old 09-04-2004, 09:06 AM   #5
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there are all kinds of expensive pieces of equipment that help with water quality..same with chemicals. Of course, the best solution is still no overstocking, no overfeeding and a stuck to routine of water changes.
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Old 09-05-2004, 05:27 AM   #6
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Hehe, I've got a 1.5" clown and a young dwarf angel in my 55 reef. Definately understocked. But my 115g new display is mixing salt as we speak. I didn't want to buy anything for the 55 as that money would come from my 115 budget. Anyway, reg. the cyano note above. I've had a healthy fuge with caul. in it for some about a year and have never seen a hint of cyano and my glass algae is really light. This is with overfeeding, prizm skimming and tap water. Last week I was screwing around in the fuge and in the process really disturbed my algae. Overnight cyano bloom. Took me a while to figure out what happened, but I figure I had a huge nutrient dump from the algae. LIve and learn.
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