Am I Over Stocked?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by zaidie, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. zaidieNew MemberMember

    I seem to lack self control when I go to the lfs, and despite having a reasonably sized tank, I think I may be going too far with the stocking levels. I've got a 145G freshwater tank, with some live plants, natural rocks and driftwood. Tank dimensions are 7.5' x 1.5' x 1.8'. I have the following at present :

    1 Sailfin Pleco (12")
    1 Albino Pleco (5")
    5 Mono Angels (4" average)
    9 Black Skirts (1.5" average)
    2 Geophagus (3.5" and 5.5")
    1 Red Faced Geophagus (4")
    2 Strawberry Peacocks (4")
    2 Texas Cichlids (3.5")
    6 Torpedo Barbs (3" average)
    2 Yellow Labs (3.5")
    2 Red African Jewels (3.5" and new baby 2")
    4 Clown Loaches (3.5" average)

    No signs of stress or aggressive behaviour at this point. No signs of disease and overall good water parameters that are consistent. I do weekly 15% water changes and change tank floss as well as gravel clean every second week. Sometimes weekly if needed.

    I bought the black skirts for feeding. Originally had 13, and 4 gone in and 4 weeks. Thinking of moving the mono angels to a brackish tank in the next few months.

    Your thoughts? Am I heading for trouble? Will they be fine?
  2. DemeterFishlore VIPMember

    You are doing a lot of mixing across the aquatic globe. The Africans shouldn't really be mixing with tetras, barbs, and American cichlids, nor the monos. You have two of the larger varieties of plecos? I'd say both will need to be moved to a larger home as they will get upwards of 2 feet long.

    I'd get the peacocks and yellow labs their own tank (Yay more tanks!) same for the monos, which do indeed need brackish water as they mature. The American cichlids, plecos (for now), barbs, loaches and tetras can all stay in the same tank (IMO) considering that the black skirts are feeders anyways.
  3. Lunnapr11Valued MemberMember

    I'm no expert, but filtration is a big factor. Did you try AqAdvisor?   ;)
  4. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Yes, you do have stocking issues. Would you be willing to rehome some fish? If so, we can help you come up with a compatible stocking plan.
  5. Gq2212Valued MemberMember

    Ill adopt the skirt tetras so they can join my school of black skirts
  6. zaidieNew MemberMember

    Lol...thanks for the generous offer, but I'm in South Africa, so that might be a slight challenge. :)

    Thanks for the offer. Any advice is appreciated. My stocking issues just got worse. My nephew's tank just developed a leak, so his two Hifin sharks are going to be residents in my tank for a while. They're about 6" each. Maybe they'll take care of the black skirts. :)

    Agree. I've put a lot of work into getting the filtration right. I haven't tried them, but one also found that, similar to my koi pond, when I follow the above that works around typical installations, things go wrong. So I've had to adapt based on what I've seen happening in my specific tank and pond. I've got this tank since December, and it's been very stable for the last couple of months, so I'm comfortable that the balance is right overall. I just starting to wonder how long before I'll need a bigger tank, or a second tank given the growth rates in seeing with my fish. Hence my concerns in this post. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll give it a shot to see how it compares to what I've experienced so far.

    The mixing is my small contribution towards world peace. :) I'm curious to know why you singled out the peacocks and labs specifically? Also, if I do move them to their own tank, and I get the mono angels into their brackish setup, are you saying that the rest of the stock levels should be fine for my current tank?

    I just saw some info stating that the Texas cichlids are very aggressive when they're adults, and are even known to kill Oscars. So it sounds like I might have to either take them back to the lfs, or I need another tank for predators? :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2017
  7. DemeterFishlore VIPMember

    I singled out the labs and peacocks because they are mouth brooding African cichlids. Although those two species are of the more "docile" side they are still aggressive and IMO Africans should never be in a community setting (mixing with several different species). It's always better to have an all African tank, seeing as how they come from the same location/lake and are better able to defend themselves against other Africans.

    Also, the aggressive behavior and coloration show my Africans is different than that of Americans cichlid. If an American cichlid is being submissive in behavior and coloration, to an African it looks like the American cichlid wants to fight.

    I've never tried keeping them in a community setting, but I will tell you that the yellow lab I had was a terror, who killed a female peacock and harassed all the other Africans in the tank, including those that were larger than he. As lovely as he looked, he was a demon and was traded in at the pet store.

    I am not saying the stock levels will be perfect, as I am not that experienced with American cichlids. But I do know that the texas cichlids get big and mean, which is why they should be kept in large tanks with equally big and mean American cichlids. I'm saying that by moving the brackish fish, and the fish that I know probably won't play nice in the long run, your stocking may be more peaceful.

    As a disclaimer, I have seen ONE tank that had several Africans, Americans and various bottom dwellers living in harmony. That was a huge 300+ gallon tank heavily decorated with rock work. In this case, I say if you have a large enough tank and all the fish are large, then it could work. But I wouldn't try it with a 145gal, as the texas cichlids will probably end up taking over the tank, especially if they become a male and female pair.
  8. zaidieNew MemberMember

    Thanks. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this. The peacocks I found to be very easily influenced by other aggressors in the tank. For example, I had two very peaceful peacocks and then added two Blue Ahli cichlids to the tank. Advice I received from the lfs was that it would be a good combination. However, the bigger of the two blue Ahli fish kept picking on the bigger of the two peacocks. Within a few days, the big peacock grew aggressive and started having a go at most of the other fish and it got worse with the Blue Ahli until it got so bad that I eventually took both big ones back to the store. I had to remove the smaller Ahli as well because it also started getting aggressive. Once the remaining peacock settled down, I got a second peacock for company and there's been no aggression since.

    I've also got a lot of caves and driftwood that offers hiding places in the tank, so I don't have any territorial issues at present. The Texas cichlids I intend to relocate to a predator tank when they grow a bit bigger, because I don't think the others stand a chance once these guys reach 10 or 12 inches.

    I guess overall, apart from the known issues for the mono angels and the Texas cichlids, I'm just trying to determine if my current tank size and filtration will be able to handle the longer term needs of this level of stocking.

    I've got a pretty good relationship with the lfs, so I'm comfortable that I'll be able to remove or replace any problem fish that start showing too much aggression towards the rest of the community.
  9. DemeterFishlore VIPMember

    Ahlis and peacocks are very similar fish and often cross breed with one another. You probably had two males going at it, which is why it is often recommended to over stock Africans to cut back on aggression on individual fish, after all it is harder to find your target in a crowd. My male Ahli gets on fine with all his tank mates, occasionally he will argue with a fellow Victornian but nothing major.

    Keep an eye on the labs and peacocks, if one is a male it will like go after the females and other males once they start wanting to spawn, and peacocks will cross breed with labs. Good to hear there's lots of hiding places though.
  10. zaidieNew MemberMember

    Cool, thanks. I'll do that. My daughters want their cold water tanks to be converted to warm water so I may have options for relocation after all. Their tanks are 20G tall square.
  11. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Your fishes' current sizes don't really matter. You need to plan the stocking around their adult sizes.

    I'd rehome the high-fin sharks. They will outgrow any tank you have or could get. They should not be kept in aquariums. Try to explain this to your nephew if he complains. If you don't put them in an appropriately sized pond, they will become stunted (if they're not already) and die prematurely.

    I'd rehome the monos or get a separate, large, brackish tank for them. They can get over 10" each, so it'll need to be large like this one.

    I'd rehome the jewel cichlids. They don't fit in with the rift lake cichlids, and they're not peaceful enough for a general community tank.

    If you don't want to keep a tank of only rift lake cichlids, I'd rehome them all (yellow labs, peacocks).

    What's the one species you want to keep the most?
  12. zaidieNew MemberMember

    Agree about the stocking. They're all doing fine now, but some of them are gonna get quite large, hence my concerns about stock levels.

    Been trying to convince my nephew about the sharks, but he is adamant he wants to keep it as long as possible. Just got him a 60G tank as an upgrade, so they should be ok for the next year or so.

    I'm surprised no one is raising concerns about the Texas Cichlids? Apart from the monos, I expected them to raise the most concerns given their reputation for again when they're adults. They apparently kill Oscars when they get that big?

    Regarding the sharks, what's the coldest temp they can handle? I have a 12000 litre koi pond as well, so if they can handle around 10 Celcius in the winter, that is an option for the longer term. Any thoughts?

    Oh, and I can't bring myself to choose a single species. :( I chose each type for specific reasons, so I'm enjoying the balance they seem to have going. Almost zero again in the tank, which is what I wanted.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  13. Anders247Fishlore LegendMember

    Texas Cichlids are definitely a concern as well, they are very aggressive when older.
  14. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Yes, there are issues with your other fish, which is why I asked you which fish you really want to keep, so we can suggest options around that fish.
  15. zaidieNew MemberMember

    Some good news. I have a buyer for the monos, so they're going today. My nephew is collecting his sharks today. I'm planning to return the Texas Cichlids to the lfs.

    I tend to be drawn towards the Cichlids more than any other species. I'm not keen on the aggressive type. I had Green Terrors but returned them because of territorial issues. And with Blue Ahli that I also returned.

    I'm keen to get a fire eel. The tank is going to look empty without the monos. I love the peacocks and the labs. So I definitely don't wanna get rid of those.

    So maybe it's easier if I try to list what I'm willing to let go skirts, but I'll want to replace it with another schooling fish if possible. Red Faced Geophagus, but not the regular Geophagus. Does that help at all?
  16. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    If you want to keep the peacocks and the labs, you'll need to get rid of all the other fish, with the exception of the clown loaches and the plecos.

    If you want to keep the Geos, you'll need to rehome the rift lake cichlids (labs and peacocks) and some other fish.
  17. zaidieNew MemberMember

    Thanks for all the feedback. I have a good idea of how to move forward now. I'll be watching the aggression levels closely, because at present there are no issues between the remaining fish. So I'll rehome as suggested the moment I see them starting to act up.

    In the meantime, I added a fire eel and 2 glass cats. I just couldn't resist them after I sold the monos. :) the eel abs pleco fought for the first few minutes, but quickly settled down once they recognised each other's space.
  18. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    It's not just aggression you need to look out for. Rift lake cichlids should not be kept with most other non-rift lake cichlids due to dietary, behavioral, and water parameter requirements. I strongly suggest you either rehome the rift lake cichlids or everything else (minus the loaches and plecos). You can then add more rift lake cichlids if you go down that route.

    Please return the glass cats. They need to be in a larger group and they are easily stressed. They will not do well with the other fish you have in the tank.

    If you want a healthy tank with suitable fish, you need to do research before adding fish, rather than adding them on a whim.
  19. zaidieNew MemberMember

    I agree with your last comment about adding fish, and can assure you that it's not just a whim even though it may sound like it. I usually have an extensive discussion with the guys at the lfs before I take the fish. I always ask them about compatibility with my current stock before I take the fish. But they do get it wrong at times. I only saw the requirement for a bigger school for the glass cats when I got home late yesterday. So I agree. They'll probably have to be returned if they survived the night. Let me see what I can work out with the rehoming and I'll let you know how that goes.

    Any idea of the Hi fin sharks can handle a cold water pond? I think I finally convinced my nephew to get rid of them.
  20. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Unfortunately most LFS employees are not good source of reliable information. If it were me, I would not rely on them for stocking advice.

    Sorry, I don't know about the high fin sharks and cold water. From these pages, it looks like 15 C is the minimum, but they might do fine in 10 C for short periods of time.