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Old 09-09-2021, 03:33 PM   #1
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Stocking levels vs. filter capacity for a new planted tank

Hi everyone.

I'm new to the hobby, and looking for some help with my proposed aquarium stocking please.

I have a 160L tank, which I understand is about 42 US gal. I've swapped out the filter that came with the tank and have opted instead for a Fluval U4 internal filter. This is advertised as being suitable for upto 240L / 65 US gal so I figured it would be more than capable for my tank.

The tank is planted but has no fish as I am currently attempting an empty tank cycle.

I have gone on to AqAdvisor and typed in what I hope to add in terms of fish. I'm currently thinking along the lines of:

9 cherry barb (some albino)
9 cardinal tetra
6 albino cory cats
6 kuhli loaches
1 bn pleco

According to AqAdvisor, this would be about 82% stocked, but the filter would be over capacity (94%). This seems a bit odd to me. Why would a 160L aquarium with approx 80% stocking, max out a filter designed to go upto 240L?

Is there something I am missing or not quite understanding here?

I should probably say, the last thing I want to do is max out the tank and overstock it, so I'm genuinely interested to understand what I am doing.

Any help appreciated - thank you!

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Old 09-09-2021, 04:10 PM   #2
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The ratings on filters are ambitious.

There are different ways to look at it.

- You typically want the filter to turnover the tank volume 4x per hour. While the specs of the filter might indicate it can do this, turnover rate specified is achieved with no filter media, sponges etc inside.
- One of the factors i look for in a filter is to be able to hold about 1kg of filter media per 100 litres of water.

When you take these requirements of mine into account you are looking for a filter rated for double the tank capacity if you plan on fully stocking the tank capacity. Aqadvisor appears to make similar assumptions on a filters actual capabilities as i do (half what it says it can do).

By my reckoning, a U4 filter is more suited to 120ish litres. I have 1 somewhere, still in the box for emergencies.

Thats not to say you cant use it on your tank, but i would scale back a little on the stocking.
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Old 09-09-2021, 04:16 PM   #3
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Hi Aiken Drum, thank you so much for your response and explaining it in a way that makes perfect sense. If the U4 is a little underpowered, I dread to think what the one that came with the tank could do (it was specified as 160L max capacity).

Ok, so I think I can work with this. There were a few other options I've considered that didn't overpower the filter (according to AqAdvisor) so I'll just scale back slightly on my proposed stocking.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-09-2021, 04:20 PM   #4
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The filter it came with will be fine depending on what you put in the tank. Most people look to the 1 inch of fish / gallon rule of thumb. Its probably fine at that level of stocking. Aqadvisor pushes that a little further with the tank capacity, but pulls you back with the filter.
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Old 09-09-2021, 04:24 PM   #5
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On another note, welcome to the community. Hope you stick around and show us what you get up to, and learn a few things along the way.

Link to a page of useful articles for new fishkeepers that might be helpful to you.

https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forum...um-154837.html
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Old 09-09-2021, 04:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
On another note, welcome to the community. Hope you stick around and show us what you get up to, and learn a few things along the way.

Link to a page of useful articles for new fishkeepers that might be helpful to you.

https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forum...um-154837.html
Thank you! I look forward to sharing my aquarium adventures with you all.
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