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Old 04-09-2006, 01:36 PM   #1
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Tank stocking rules?

There are a lot of posts in this forum asking whether or not the tank in question is overstocked. Obviously there is no hard and fast answer, and the tank setup and level of care has a lot to do with it, but what "rules" are people using to determine what is overstocked and what isn't? I've always followed the surface area rule (ie an x cm fish gets a certain amount of surface area) laid out in Axelrod's mini-atlas which seems to work for me, but it usually gives me more fish than what most of the opinion in here would say is OK.
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Old 04-09-2006, 01:44 PM   #2
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The standard "rule" is 1" of fish per gallon of water. Of course, this is not the best method (consider a tank that is 30" high but only 6" wide).

There is a nice article on this here: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...q=2&fldAuto=47
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Old 04-09-2006, 03:06 PM   #3
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Here's my way of doing it. First, start out with the 1 inch rule. Then when the tank matures, and you get the feel for the tank, you can slowly increase the number of fish, a couple a week, til you feel it's maxed out. I have a pretty good feel for my tanks, and some would say I'm way overstocked. But with my weekly water changes, keeping my nitrates below 20ppm in my non-planted tank, I'm still in my comfort level. And the fish are as happy as can be, as I have fish for all levels of the tank and not just one section, such as the lower tank. The feel, and even distribution of fish so they are not all crammed in one level, is key in my opinion. Then lastly, compatability. Be sure you select fish that are compatable with each other in the tank.
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Old 04-10-2006, 02:26 AM   #4
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It also depends on whether any/all of the fish in question are territorial, what kind of filtration you use, and how often you do PWC's. African cichlids, particularly mbuna, are best stocked in numbers that would be overcrowded by most standards, You need to have enough fish that aggression is spread around enough that any given fish doesn't get too much abuse. I've also seen a tank of South American cichlids, like jack dempsey's, mixed with a channel cat, and several other big cichlids, way too much for 1 inch/gallon, that all got along fine. They had grown up together in the tank, and apparently didn't have any problems. There are exceptions to every rule, and it's been my experience that fish don't read what is sometimes written about them.
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Old 04-10-2006, 04:09 AM   #5
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Every case/tank is different.

-First I look at size. The size of the tank as well as the size of the fish. For fish under 4in I take into consideration the inch per gallon rule. For fish over 4in, I keep the inch per gal. rule in the back of my mind, but then imagine swimming room. That gives you a rough estimate of what could go in the tank. Then add a few more fish, ha.

- I look at species. Goldfish need 10gals each as well as most species of BW puffers.

-I then look at territory. Are some of the fish going to be more aggressive towards others- do they need to have the whole upper or lower area to themselves?

- Maintence. I look at who Im talking to. If JChillin wants to "overstock" his tank slightly- he is just the man to do it right. However, if the person is relativly new, then you might want to advice a lesser stocked tank.

- I also look at other things like filters or if they have plants or not.

It's all relative. Some people have different opinions than others. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
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