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Old 08-10-2013, 01:23 AM   #1
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Overstocked Tank

I like to look at an aquarium full of colour and activity so I was wondering about intentionally overstocking. How many of you are overstocked, know about and are ok with that? Can people get away with slightly overstocking (within reason) if they do larger water changes? I am wondering for a future tank-to-be but if I won't go way overboard.
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Old 08-10-2013, 02:40 AM   #2
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What size is the tank and what fish are you adding
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Old 08-10-2013, 05:23 AM   #3
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You would need extra filtration and keep up on water changes.
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:21 AM   #4
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You can overstock a tank if you know what you're doing. You'd need to over filter the tank, either with one oversized filter or with a couple of good sized ones. Personally I tend to run 2 filters anyway. That way if one goes down you're not left completely filterless, and if you need to set another tank up in a hurry, you've got some cycled filter media ready. You'd also need to up the number of water changes you do.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:33 AM   #5
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I am adding a second 55/75 Aquanon filter to my 55gal so I can add a few extra fish. Want it to look full too. Water changes every other week.
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:22 AM   #6
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Yes, i agree with the other guys. You can intentionally overstock you tank if you're experienced and know what to do if a chemical level gets out of whack and you need to do something fast.I have a 75 gallon with one over sized filter and a normal filter that is supposed to go in a 75 and that works great. Although if you're getting a 10 or 20 gallon tank I personally would try not to overstock it, a 10 especially but a 20 you may be able to get a way with depending on the fish like guppies or tetras. But if you do want to, just follow those other posts and keep on top of your tank all the time and make sure everything is ok.
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:30 AM   #7
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And my 75 gallon tank is overstocked but not I the point where my ammonia and stuff is unimaginable. Everyone in my tank has their own territory and they all show absolutely no signs of stress. So to answer a few of your questions, yes I'm ok with the idea of overstocking your tank but you need to know where to stop. You cannot OVERstcok it and by that I mean try to avoid going over 110% overstocked. I would say I'm at about that but I do have two filters and I am constantly testing my water, and so far I have never had an issue. Also if you do keep on top those water changes too, that's extremely important, other wise nitrites and nitrates will skyrocket.
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:43 AM   #8
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I am planning a 75 gallon planted community and i am really no where near having a completed stock list yet just beginning to consider one.
Thanks for the replies so far!
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:59 AM   #9
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I am deliberately overstocked in my 55 gallon. As long as you are keeping up with water changes and have good filtration - you are fine. You need to watch those parameters closely though.

Coming from a tank with:
7x angelfish
2x oscars
1x red tailed shark
10x red eye tetras
2x kissing gourami - ARE BEING REHOMED SOON
1x dwarf gourami
3x swordtails
1x full grown parrot - BEING REHOMED SOON
11x (approximate?) Platys

And 6x baby pea sized angels
3x bumble bee platy fry
1x feeder guppy fry
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:03 PM   #10
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I've overstocked tanks before and I would only advise that for mbuna keepers or people who have fish with a low bioload
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Old 08-10-2013, 03:24 PM   #11
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I admit I've never really understood overstocking. I am aware it can work well with certain fish such as African cichlids so I guess this doesn't really apply to them but I think a lot of people have a misconception about overstocking creating additional activity and busyness.

From purely a visual perspective is this really what you are seeking? An overabundance of fish, IMHO, only creates one thing: clutter. Movements become less synchronized and more chaotic, certain graceful fish begin abandoning natural movements and pathways, and a lack of negative space leaves little for the imagination to fill in. What I strive for in my tanks is an environment (to the best extent an aquarium can take it...) that can create a harmony where the fish balance with the decor and negative space and allow for moments of calm and moments of bursts of activity. This allows for greater appreciation of the finer details in our tanks, similar to the shards of silence between notes in music or the emptiness that surrounds a particularly meaningful painting on a wall. I guess my point is is sometimes it's less about how many more fish can I put in and more about how much space am I giving up?

With that said I do want to stress that that's just an opinion and as long as your fish are healthy you can do whatever you want. However, I will say that overstocking is typically not recommended because the water chemistry aspect (i.e. overfiltering) is only one small thing in how it affects your tank, as it can lead tremendously to added stress (extra aggression, not enough space to move around, territories to claim, or space to hide), certain fish being out competed for food, and so forth. I would never say that simply adding extra filtration or keeping up with the water chemistry is enough as it all depends on the type of fish, size of the tank, and a million other variables too. All of these things can lead to shorter lives for our little friends, so just some things to consider.
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Old 08-10-2013, 04:42 PM   #12
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All right thanks
So what I gather is that it really only works with low bioload, unagressive fish and even then certain precautions need to be made to ensure a healthy enviroment. Very helpful!
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Old 08-10-2013, 05:03 PM   #13
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It can work with certain aggressive fish like African cichlids but it does take very careful planning and research. But yeah, in normal community settings it's generally considered not quite as bad to overstock your neon tetras as opposed to your angels, plecos, gouramis, etc.
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azmodan View Post
I admit I've never really understood overstocking. I am aware it can work well with certain fish such as African cichlids so I guess this doesn't really apply to them but I think a lot of people have a misconception about overstocking creating additional activity and busyness.

From purely a visual perspective is this really what you are seeking? An overabundance of fish, IMHO, only creates one thing: clutter. Movements become less synchronized and more chaotic, certain graceful fish begin abandoning natural movements and pathways, and a lack of negative space leaves little for the imagination to fill in. What I strive for in my tanks is an environment (to the best extent an aquarium can take it...) that can create a harmony where the fish balance with the decor and negative space and allow for moments of calm and moments of bursts of activity. This allows for greater appreciation of the finer details in our tanks, similar to the shards of silence between notes in music or the emptiness that surrounds a particularly meaningful painting on a wall. I guess my point is is sometimes it's less about how many more fish can I put in and more about how much space am I giving up?

With that said I do want to stress that that's just an opinion and as long as your fish are healthy you can do whatever you want. However, I will say that overstocking is typically not recommended because the water chemistry aspect (i.e. overfiltering) is only one small thing in how it affects your tank, as it can lead tremendously to added stress (extra aggression, not enough space to move around, territories to claim, or space to hide), certain fish being out competed for food, and so forth. I would never say that simply adding extra filtration or keeping up with the water chemistry is enough as it all depends on the type of fish, size of the tank, and a million other variables too. All of these things can lead to shorter lives for our little friends, so just some things to consider.
+++++1 Perfect!!
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Old 08-10-2013, 08:23 PM   #15
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I am a little overstocked in my 36 gal tank, but I have a large canister filter and watch my parameters. My community tank is very peaceful and I have fish that for the most part have a very low bio load. I also have fish that swim at the different levels of the tank, so you would never know when looking at my tank that there are as many fish in there than there are. To me, even though I may be over stocked, my water params are good, I do a PWC each week and when I look at my tank, there is still a lot of open space, so I'm happy with my stock levels and the kinds of fish that I have.

Good luck!
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:45 PM   #16
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How long to you wait to test your water after a partial water change?
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:54 PM   #17
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How long to you wait to test your water after a partial water change?
Usually about an hour is good.
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:55 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by bluzepher1 View Post
I am adding a second 55/75 Aquanon filter to my 55gal so I can add a few extra fish. Want it to look full too. Water changes every other week.
And I would recommend that you go to a water change every week instead of every other week. And it's good your planning on planting it, that will help keep nitrates in check. HOWEVER, don't assume that just because you plant like crazy that will replace your water changes, water changes are a must.
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:58 PM   #19
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And I would recommend that you go to a water change every week instead of every other week. And it's good your planning on planting it, that will help keep nitrates in check. HOWEVER, don't assume that just because you plant like crazy that will replace your water changes, water changes are a must.
I do. It have any live plants. Seems like a lot of additional work
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:12 PM   #20
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I do. It have any live plants. Seems like a lot of additional work
I'll put it this way. I would test your water regularly, and so water changes accordingly. It may be that doing one every week isnt necessary depending on biolad, but especially since you want to overstock, I would just keep a good eye on your water params. Once your tank is cycled, I would aim to keep nitrates at about 20ppm, some say 40ppm, depending on what type of fish you have as some are sensitive to nitrates.
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