What 'rule' do you use?

Discussion in 'Fish' started by mr. luke, 3 Mar 2010.

  1. mr. luke

    mr. luke Member

    Messages:
    1,038
    Location:
    Lincoln
    Just wandering what stocking 'rules' you guys have? :)
    I personally go by what looks right as long as I can handle the nitrates with water changes.
    My tanks are fairly overstocked if you use Pfk's calculator but I never have any issues with my fish and they all look good so I cant be doing them any harm :D
    Id say for nano's I usually go for 1 small fish per 4l or so (small being white clouds, small tetras and rasboras etc) but mainly just go by eye.
     
  2. I have very low stocking. My 4 footer has one fish, but thats for aggression, my last 2 footers had 2 fish each, 40cm had 10 minnows etc etc. I tend to go for species tanks. In my Rio 180, I'll probably end up with one pair of smallish cichlids like festivums or something, with a group of tetras
     
  3. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

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    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    I don't have a 'rule', except I stock what I think looks right, as mentioned, which is invariable understocked in relation to my maintenance practices and equipment. I have four Liberty mollies + fry (P. salvatoris) in a 54 litre right now and it's plenty.

    Less is of often more with fish stocking, and in my opinion seeing a tank full of lots of different species looks chaotic and unsightly. The same applies for a tank full of fish, whatever their species. It's nice to see them with plenty of swimming space, especially shoaling species that are popular in planted tanks.

    With good maintenance, plant growth, filtration etc. then I suspect you can get away with 'overstocking', but algae is more likely. You also should consider oxygen demand, especially at night where plants consume oxygen and release CO2. Some species of fish are more sensitive than others to low O2/high CO2.
     
  4. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

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    10,301
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    London
    Don't have a rule either, but in my Rio 125 I have 7 fish, 2 Bosemani Rainbows, 3 Rasboras, 2 Ottos, my other two tanks do not have any fish at all, just shrimp.
     
  5. Garuf

    Garuf Member

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    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    I have a rough rule of no more than two fish per gallon but I then have a secondary rule of small and few which dictates the smallest fish I can get and no stockier fish. At the end of the day I prefer an under stocked tank, the fish always seem happier and maintenance must be a nightmare in some of the tanks i've seen.
    It's a tank thing really, what you can comfortably look after might be far more fish than looks right. Just as how a tank with too few or too small a fish can look odd.
    I personally would always steer people towards understocking, it's closer to nature from what I've seen and fish seem much happier/colourful.
     
  6. mr. luke

    mr. luke Member

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    One of my tanks (120l cube) has 18 glowlight tetras and 6 lipstick barbs. Final stocking will be 15-20 lipstick barbs which I think will be fine. :thumbup:
    I to prefer the look of one midwater species in a tank but i like to see the bottom busy with shrimps aswell :D
     
  7. rawr

    rawr Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    Enfield
    I go by the general rule of 1cm per 1l but very loosely. I prefer to stock my tanks very sparingly. I like the fish to have a lot of room to swim, less is definately more in most cases.
     
  8. sanj

    sanj Member

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    1,506
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    PFK calculator last time i looked had changed slightly from what it did before. Even so i think it is designed more for noobies since there are several factors to take into account. Um so yeah Sanj's Law is my way. Similar to many others, very general heedance to the old rule and weighted with my own experiances.
     
  9. paul.in.kendal

    paul.in.kendal Member

    Messages:
    335
    Location:
    Kendal, Cumbria
    What an interesting thread! I've been wondering whether my stocking level is ultra-low, and assumed it was, because so much discussion on the topic centres around 'how many fish?' and 'how big a shoal?' questions. Yet here we are with an apparent bias in favour of 'under'-stocking - not what I expected at all.

    For the record, I have 10 Harlequin Rasboras and 6 Ottocinclus Vestitus (plus cherry shrimp) in a 215l tank. I still reckon that is ultra-low stocking.
     
  10. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

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    1,389
    Location:
    N. Wales
    I have no rule other than what looks right. This usually consists of shoals of smaller types, but under stocked.

    Dave.
     
  11. mfcphil

    mfcphil Member

    Messages:
    426
    Always thought it was an inch of fish per litre....never used it myself as I dont like a crowded tank
     
  12. AndyOx

    AndyOx Member

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    87
    Location:
    South Oxfordshire
    I used to use the old rule of one inch per 24 square centimeters surface area for tropicals, but this really centres around the surface area to absorb oxygen at the surface, I think the water volume does have to be taken into account as bigger water volumes are more stable so I use 1 inch per gallon.

    :)
     
  13. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    One inch per gallon strikes me as a very good rule, it would give 9ish neons in a 60x30x30. which I think would be about right. That's assuming you don't count algae grazers as adding to the bioload though.
     
  14. AndyOx

    AndyOx Member

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    87
    Location:
    South Oxfordshire
    That's a really good point Gaurf, I always include them in mine. That said mine are oto's, So would you think shrimp don't count even though they will consume oxygen too? I have wondered about this previously actually.............. mmmm
     
  15. sanj

    sanj Member

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    1,506
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    Not me I endevour to understock, but always fail and am pretty much fully stocked. I know there is a leaning towards few fish in planted tanks, but I just do not seem to be able to achieve that.
     
  16. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    8,267
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    nr Bath
    Hi all,
    You need to count all the bioload, including shrimps, snails etc. You really need to measure the BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand), which takes into account the bacteria etc., but that isn't really possible without a lab.

    The "inch per gallon" rules etc are never really going to work because you are using a linear measure to measure a 3-dimensional quantity, mass would be a better measure. I've got a quick method, it is "if you can see fish without looking very closely it's overstocked".
    cheers Darrel
     
  17. mr. luke

    mr. luke Member

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    1,038
    Location:
    Lincoln
    That seems like an odd rule to me, i like to be able to see my fish :lol:
     
  18. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

    Messages:
    8,267
    Location:
    nr Bath
    Hi all,
    yes it was a bit "tongue in cheek", I don't mind seeing them occasionally, I just don't like looking at a tank full of fish.

    There was a more serious point, If you can build a roomy, complex planted habitat for the fish, they only interact with one another when they want to and generally water quality remains high and stress levels low. In some cases - dwarf cichlids, small Panaque species etc it's the opposite of what you might think, the more cover there is the more you see them. It's the same with shoaling fish like Tetras, Pencils even Hatchets when they are happy they don't group anything like as closely, and may not shoal at all.

    I try and have a good look at the fish at feeding time (usually on Saturday morning). There are other advantages, I didn't see all the Otocinclus in one tank for over a year but when I eventually counted them I has several more than I had started with.

    cheers Darrel
     
  19. mr. luke

    mr. luke Member

    Messages:
    1,038
    Location:
    Lincoln
    Congrats on the breeding ottos :D
    My message was meant as a joke.
    I agree that shoaling fish dont tend to shoal if they have a lot of cover, although i recently stripped all the plants from my cube and my glowlights stil go where they please. Guess they must be quite settled.
     

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