Am i overstocking?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by price25, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. price25New MemberMember

    I am just a beginner at all of this. I bought a 5.5 gallon tank, decorated it, bought the equipment, and started stocking it with fish. I have 3 lyre tail guppies and 3 black neon tetras in the tank. The six fish have been living well together for about 4 weeks now, but i keep reading posts about how few fish you can put in a five gallon tank. Now i realize i should have gotten a 10 gallon tank atleast because you can't do much with a 5.5 gallon.

    I just want to know whether or not i put too many fish in the tank or whether or not i could add a couple more very small fish.

  2. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to the forum

    A 10 would be much better. In my opinion the black neons are a bit big for the tank. Not the three themselves, but the larger school that they should be kept in. There are a lot of smaller fish that you would be able to keep a larger school of, without making compromises.
  3. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    The guppies would make it stocked. Black neons would do better in a 20gal in a proper school.

  4. bowcrazyWell Known MemberMember

    There are lots of things that govern how many fish you can put into any tank. For starters the size and shape of the tank is the first thing to consider and the second is the size of the fish when it is fully grown and the third thing is the quality of the filtration system. There are also things like are the fish schooling fish or loners, are the fish passive or aggressive and are they just the right size to be considered food for the other fish.

    It is simply not possible to state an exact number of how many fish a tank can house without looking at everything else involved. But just looking at what information you have provided I wouldn’t recommend getting any more fish at all and might even suggest that you are already a bit over stocked but not bad. Depending on how good the filter is and how well maintained the tank is, you might be able to keep those fish healthy but they will be a bit crowded for swimming space.

    Normally, the larger the tank the more surface area there is so there is better oxygen exchange at the surface. The amount of oxygen in the water is very important to the fish’s health and in smaller tanks full of fish it can become so low that it literally suffocates the fish. So in smaller fully stocked tanks it is required to have an air bubbler to help with oxygen exchange.

    The next thing is if the filter is too small it will not be able to keep up with the amount of ammonia produced by the fish and the water will quickly become toxic to them. You need to have a liquid test kit on hand to test the water frequently so that you know when it is time to do a large water change and rinse the filter out. The smaller the tank the more frequent the water changes will need to be to keep the water clean and healthy for the fish.

    One last thing to hit on is the schooling requirements of some fish. Fish like the Black Neon are a schooling fish and they just don’t seem to do very well when kept in small numbers. I prefer to keep my Neons in schools of around 12 to 20 but you really need to have at least 6 to 8. Your tank is too small for several reasons to add any more of them so I would suggest looking into upgrading your tank if you really want to keep your fish healthy and happy.
  5. OP

    price25New MemberMember

    Thanks guys. I really wish i would've bought a bigger tank now. The guy who sold me the filter said it could support a 10 gallon tank, but im not possitive on how to clean and change the filter. Also i am currently in college and we will be done with the school year in a few weeks so i was going to wait until i went back home to upgrade to a larger tank so hopefully the fish will be fine until then.

    As for water changes i perform one a week, taking out about a quarter of the water every time. Hopefully this is ok.
  6. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!

    Is the tank cycled? Are you fully aware of the nitrogen cycle? (Many people are told by the fish store that cycling a tank is just a matter of running the filter for some amount of time before adding fish...this is definitly not the case). If the tank is not cycled you really should be doing daily partial water changes with Prime as your water conditioner until it is cycled.

    If your tank is cycled (or if it isn't and you do the daily partial water changes with Prime) you fish should be fine until you get a larger tank.

    You never want to change the filter unless it is totally falling apart. The filter is where all the bacteria that keeps a tank cycled lives, and if you change it, you lose all the bacteria and your back to square one cycle wise. You can just swish the media in dirty tank water when doing a water change. Don't rinse it in tap water because the chlorine will kill off the bacteria. One thing to note is that carbon only absorbs impuriteis for about 4 weeks then gets saturated and stops working. But carbon is not necessary to use. So you could either slit the cartridge (if the carbon is inside the cartridge) and dump the carbon out. Then you can either add loose carbon or just not use carbon at all.

    One last thing, that 5.5 gallon tank would be perfect for a Betta!
  7. OP

    price25New MemberMember

    I know some about the nitrogen cycle, and you were correct about the fish store. They simply told me that i should run the filter for awhile and then add fish, which i did. I ended up running the filter for about a week and then i went out and got fish. I have had the fish for about 4 weeks now so i don't know whether or not the tank would be cycling normally. I have heard about performing water tests, but i wouldn't know how to do one if i had one. But i am sure they come with instructions.

    Also, as for the betta i personally didn't really want one. Being in college a lot of people seem to have bettas and i just wanted something a little different. But it sounds like i made a mistake in buying fish. It sounds like with the tank i have i should have only gotten the guppies and possibly the 6 to 8 tetras if i upgraded to a bigger tank. If i did upgrade to a bigger tank how many fish could i keep in it in general? Comparing a 10 gallon to lets say a 20 gallon.
    Again thank you for all the help. I wish these were things the fish store would have really instructed me on.
  8. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    In the 20gal you could have 4-5 guppies and 8 black neons. in a 10gal, i would just have the guppies at 4-5. Or have 3 guppies and 6 neons in the 10. And let me clarify, Black neons are NOT neons. 2 different species.
  9. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    But there are gold neons, that are neons. I think they're new to the scene.
  10. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    Albinos? or line bred hybrids to achieve color but maintain shape?

    From what i just saw, not albinos, just transparent.
  11. Donnerjay

    DonnerjayWell Known MemberMember

    Hi there and welcome to FishLore!

    I'm glad you found us. We've all been where you are -- beginners! -- so don't feel bad. You've come to the right place and you are going to learn lots of good stuff to have a great fish tank/aquarium!
  12. bowcrazyWell Known MemberMember

    The chemistry class needed for becoming an expert on testing your water comes with the Master Test Kits. LOL No really the instruction that come with a kit are really pretty good and you should be able to follow them without much worry. The biggest mistake most people make when testing is not banging the tar out of the #2 bottle on the Nitrate Kit, the instructions say to shake it well for a full minute – Bang the tar out of it for a full minute. Without a test kit there is no real way to tell how your tank cycle is progressing.

    Price and jdhef made some real good points that I left out on my first post. The Nitrogen Cycle is required reading by everyone. Once you understand it most everything else will fall in place. Until you know for sure that your tank is cycled it is highly recommended that you do at least a 20% water change daily and treat your tank with a product like Prime or Amquel+ to detoxify the left over ammonia and nitrites for 24 hours. This will keep your fish safe from ammonia poisoning. Now Prime and Amquel+ only work for 24 hours so you need to do daily water changes to keep the water safe.
  13. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    The tank starts cycling as soon as you put fish in it. But that is the probelm. Unless measures are taken, the cycling process can and will kill your fish. You really need to be doing daily 35%-50% water changes with Prime until your tank cycles in order to keep the fish safe.
  14. jerilovesfrogs

    jerilovesfrogsFishlore VIPMember

    there are gold neons. i had some. there are also gold tetras...which are very pretty too. :)

    imo, i would say for the next as big as you can afford....within reason i guess, since you're in college, and wouldn't want to care for a very large tank. anywhere from 20-40g, and you'd be very happy.

    welcome to fishlore :)

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