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Old 05-02-2005, 04:16 PM   #1
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Is it possible to "slightly" overstock your tank?

I've heard that with the right maintenance, you can actually *slightly* overstock your tank. Is this true? Any suggestions?
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Old 05-02-2005, 04:22 PM   #2
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Yes this is true, but it is not advised for beginners to try. Also adding some floating stem type plants like hornwort will help with nitrates. This doesn't mean you can skimp on the water changes, but it does help with the quality of the water.

What exactly are you thinking of trying?
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Old 05-02-2005, 04:43 PM   #3
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I agree with shannen. It is possible, but not advised for people starting out.
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Old 05-02-2005, 04:49 PM   #4
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Well, right now in my tank, I have the following:

2 dwarf frogs (although right now I can only find 1)
1 clown loach (he's small, I trade in when he gets bigger)
1 pleco (same as the loach)
1 cardinal tetra (long story)
5 neon tetras
3 sissortail tetras
7 cory's
1 platy


This is a 29 gallon tank, and a lot of people would probably say the tank is ALREADY overstocked. Thought of moving maybe 2 of the cory's and the platy to another tank, but not sure. I like the fish in it, and wouldn't mind adding a few more possibly, like some serpae or red eye tetras. Maybe a black/red tipped shark(don't remember the name of these), or possibly something else, I don't know. Just like having the option. Just how much of overstocking is ok? Also, as long as your tank is healthy, and the fish are added slowly, along w/weekly water changes, what's the hard thing about it?
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Old 05-02-2005, 09:37 PM   #5
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Id say you're fine with regular pwc's and good water conditions of coure. You have about 25 inches of fish or so in a 29 gal tank so you are within the rubrick. Give hiding spaces and alot of decor and they should be fine. THis way the less aggresive fish can get away.
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Old 05-02-2005, 11:10 PM   #6
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Well, look at me. I look at my tank, and it is rather busy and there are lots of fish in it. I am somewhere near but under the 1 inch per gallon thing. But I am sure my fish think that 1 inch per gal thing is rubbish, they feel crowded. I could add another school of something and my water would stay perfect, because i water change A LOT. I water change so much its as if i have a tank twice as large But I am fighting the urge to add more fish, because I think crowding, even though the tank and water is well maintained, is to be avoided. I have successfuly avoided every single LFS for a month.

So, can it be done? the real question is should it be done. And I am certain that I will go against everything I have just said next time I do go into the LFS.
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Old 05-03-2005, 12:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomK2
I could add another school of something and my water would stay perfect, because i water change A LOT. I water change so much its as if i have a tank twice as large .

I have a question about this...I water change once a week, not quite 5 gallons in a 29 gallon tank. I was curious about doing water changes more, and someone told me that frequent water changes can be almost as bad as NO water changes. Can you give me some guidance on this one?
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Old 05-03-2005, 03:21 AM   #8
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I think most people will agree that frequent changes are MUCH better - as long as you do them right. Water changes should have no chlorine and should not alter temperature or PH.
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Old 05-03-2005, 07:22 AM   #9
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Cleaning the gravel, glass, decor, and filter too often is not a good idea. Changing out the water isn't as bad as long as you do it in small increments. For example, if you wanted to do 3 water changes a week, do about 10% each time. Too large of a water change could send fish into shock.
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Old 05-03-2005, 09:17 AM   #10
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Well my 20 gallon is overstocked by a fair bit, 3 Angels all just bigger than quarter size, 1 Pleco about 4", 9 Neons, 5 Flame Tetras and 1 Otocinclus Cat. The tank is fairly heavily planted and doing fantastically, I do a 50%+ PWC every week and vastly overfilter. I am using an Emperor 400 on the tank, which takes up most of the tanks length.

That said I will be moving all my fish into a 55 gallon at the end of the week. But with enough water changes and excellent filtration you can certainly overstock a little, you just need to be more careful.
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Old 05-03-2005, 09:57 AM   #11
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It also depends on the amount of swimming space that the fish have. If you have a fish that requires lots of swimming space, it certainly can't go into a 5 gal tank. It would be like putting a full grown Arowana into a 55 gal tank. Sure, it's well below the 1 inch per gal rule, BUT, the swimming space that they need far exceedes the 55 gal tank.
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Old 05-03-2005, 10:57 AM   #12
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Well, I do between a 20 and 40 percent water change three times a week. I have nitrates at 5ppm or less. I only do this because I have set up a holding tank and plumbing with pumps, so its just a matter of flip switch for water out, flip switch for water in, and then refill the holding tank. The holding tank is heated to tank temp, and aerated to remove chlorine. I hate water changes, so I set this system up so they would be effortless. Now I like to do them. I think the fish are doing great. The pH has been steady, the nitrates low. Excellent clarity with very little algae.

I don't see how I could be doing any harm, but conversely think I am doing good. If I didn't have the effortless plumbing, once a week would be torture for me.
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Old 05-03-2005, 11:15 AM   #13
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I have seen very noticeable improvements in the long-term health of my tanks since years ago I started doing frequent PWC's. Now I do 50% once a week on all tanks, large and small, but if I had the time I'd do 20% or so three times a week, like Tom.

Water changes can definitely shock fish in a tank that has not had a frequent water change schedule - so if you want to increase your maintenance do it very gradually.

Like an old friend used to say "fish like water best."
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Old 05-03-2005, 12:04 PM   #14
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I'm a big fan of PWC's also. I started doing a 50% weekly schedule (Monday mornings) 6 months ago and I really noticed increased colors and a general increase in health with my fish. Also, my water chemistry is always good. I haul alot of water across my house, but it's well worth it.
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Old 05-03-2005, 12:07 PM   #15
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Burna, I think you got your answer. Slightly overstocking your tank will stress your fish more than if not, it will cause diseases more than if not, and you will lose fish more than if not. Yet we all are still tempted to do it. It is hard to exercise self control especially when you just found that "new" fish that you want and are dying to have it. Just remember that your fish in your tank are dying to have it too.
Aim for keeping it understocked, that way you leave yourself some options and some room. If you do this, you will ineveitably end up overstocked but probably only by a little.
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