why understock planted tanks?

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by fishkeeper, 17 May 2008.

  1. fishkeeper

    fishkeeper Member

    I thought plants fed of nitrates from the water. So why do people understock? Surely having normal stocking (not under) means there are more nitrates which means healthier plants?
    I think i have overstocked compared to peoples understocking. And, why do people keep only 1-4 species of fish? Ive got about 5 species am i doing something wrong here guys?


  2. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    We generally understock planted tanks because fish produce ammonia which the bacteria in the filter and tank convert into Nitrate. Ammonia is a huge trigger of algae so you want to minimise it's presence in the tank by7 understocking, over filtering and doing large water changes.
  3. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Hi Will

    Not all 'understock', but a lot do, including myself.

    I do for two reasons. One is aesthetic. I prefer to have the plants as the main focus of the aquascape with the fish providing the essential dynamic interest. I will often let the plants mature into a full aquascape before adding fish, to ensure the fish suit.

    The second reason is algae related, as Ed rightly points out. Fish produce NH3/4 that are huge algae triggers, even in tiny qtys. that are safe for fish. We cannot simply feed the plants' requirement for nitrogen by adding more fish, as algae will likely take hold. Less fish means less filter and substrate maintenance also.

    Sometimes less is more.
  4. fishkeeper

    fishkeeper Member

    ahhh ok, thanks.

    All makes sense now :D
  5. beeky

    beeky Member

    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    Regarding the aesthetic aspect of understocking, I think it's more interesting when there are fewer fish as you get the element of surprise when a fish you haven't seen for a while suddenly comes into view. That's why I like the jungle type of scape. Although I recognise that the Nature Aquarium are beautiful, I find they don't hold my interest as long as the jungle/dutch type.

    ...went off on a bit of tangent there, sorry folks! :)
  6. sanj

    sanj Member

    Coventry, UK
    For me it is plants and fish or fish and plants that are important. :lol:

    One of my tanks is somewhat understocked, but the other has quite a high population density. It is less than the 2"/ gal mature stocking calculator given on PFK, but then these are medium sized fish aswell; denisoni barbs and rainbowfish.

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