At What Point Does School Size Not Matter So Much Or Is Too Much?

ap4lmtree

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[A] One way of figuring out the max fish for a tank would be the one inch per gallon rule, right? So, you would have one inch per gallon at each level -- bottom, mid top -- or would the rule mean one inch per gallon including all levels together rather than at each level? Which of those two is it? Using that method at least provides some guidance for max fish per tank, right.

However, besides max for a tank, what about max for a school or enough for a school.

[\B] I have a 40 gallon with 18 harlequin rasboras, 6 emerald green corydoras, 9 java loaches, and, soon, 10 cardinal tetras.

For each of those species of mine, it is recommended to have at least 6, so the species has a school or schoal. Likewise, for most species, not just mine, it is recommended to have 6 for a school or schoal.

[1] My question is, at what size for any species does school size not matter so much, after a size of 6, the school size doesn't matter so much, right? Once you have one school, it isn't so much a necessity to have double a school, it is adequate and enough. [2] More so, if given unlimited aquarium space, what size does a school become too many? Schools in oceans dont expand to infinity or cover the whole ocean. Now, putting the ocean setting in a tank, what do you think is good guidance to limit the school size like they are limited in oceans or pounds or rivers.
 

LuxuriantTen

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you can use Aqadvisor to estimate how much fish can safely live in your aquarium. It is better than using the one inch per gallon rule which is seriously outdated. School size always matters since the fish you described live in much bigger schools in the wild than you could ever throw in an aquarium. Bigger schools means a more natural way of living for these fish. The recommended ''6'' per species is really the bare minimum for most schooling fish so the more fish you have the better.
 

Initiate

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The more fish you have in a school the better behaviour you'll have. You can never really have too many in a school unless it starts affecting the biological processes.
 

Skavatar

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you'll want to start with about 8-9 for a schooling fish, just in case you get a few deaths so you can still have the minimum 5-6 fish per school. then add more as you go on.
 

Crazycoryfishlady

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considering fish usually school in the thousands in the wild, I wouldn't really say 6 is minimum or that "it doesnt matter or isnt relevant after you reach the minimum.
No.
That's lile saying the guy with the 1000 neon tetras should have stopped at 6, and moved onto different species to fill his tank.
But when you watch his tank, you'll see it move in sich a way you've never seen tetras swim.
Simply.because we do not stock enough schooling fish in our tanks.
We think it's more beneficial to bring 3 small schools up to schools of six, when what you might should probably do is remove a school and up two schools to 8 or 10 each.
You've already got quote a few fish in your tank, but you have minimum numbers.
False minimums anyway.
But you plan to boost a school that doesnt exost higher than the schools you already have.
If you believe you have room for 10 more fish, I wouldn't add another species.
The goal is to build your shoal not create 20 points of action in the tank.
There is a point where 4 or more different species of schools in a tank becomes too much, it's stressful on the other schools to now have to share their space with possibly larger fish, and adjust to their temperment as well.
Where as if you have neons and want more tetras, dont plan on getting cardinal tetras, while they look similar, it's not the same as just adding more neons or having just cardinals.
One large school should always seem more important than many small ones.
Wild cories school in the multi thousands, to say 6 is a good sized school is laughable! I have 14 in my 55 gallon tank and I want more! If I could, I'd have a river biotope pond for them outside, where I stock only cories.
Cories are much happier in large groups as are other schoolers.
I wouldn't ever say the school size doesnt matter once you hit the minimum, I'd say if you have room the goal should always be to expand established schools rather than ignore them.

I'd definitely recommend looking up the video on the tank full of tetras.
They move like a true school does rather than just a handful of fish darting around aimlessly.
 
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ap4lmtree

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Crazycoryfishlady said:
[...] I wouldn't really say 6 is minimum or that "it doesnt matter or isnt relevant after you reach the minimum.
No.
That's [like] saying the guy with the 1000 neon tetras should have stopped at 6, and moved onto different species to fill his tank.
You make lots of false assumptions in your statements as to other what other people say without being able to read their minds. My statements mean literally what they say and how they are written rather than your paraphrasing them to something that is perverse, but more favorable to your argumentation. Beyond just paraphrasing, it is especially troublesome when you use quotation to attribute something to me when I did not use the words within the quote. For instance, I never said anything was "irrelevant."

My point in saying any fish species minimum is to give clear guidance as to what is a minimum for a school. If you say 1000 neon tetras would make a well school, then you could say 1k neon tetras rather than say 6 neon tetras.
 

david1978

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We use 6 as a blanket number which in reality it varies by species as to the minimum. School or shoal size is determined by the number added till they don't exhibit changed behaviour. Same thing with tank size. So say 6 neons behave one way and 7 behave differently. Then when you add the eighth one they behave as they did with 7. So 7 would be the minimum.
 

Crazycoryfishlady

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ap4lmtree said:
You make lots of false assumptions in your statements as to other what other people say without being able to read their minds. My statements mean literally what they say and how they are written rather than your paraphrasing them to something that is perverse, but more favorable to your argumentation. Beyond just paraphrasing, it is especially troublesome when you use quotation to attribute something to me when I did not use the words within the quote. For instance, I never said anything was "irrelevant."

My point in saying any fish species minimum is to give clear guidance as to what is a minimum for a school. If you say 1000 neon tetras would make a well school, then you could say 1k neon tetras rather than say 6 neon tetras.
I never claimed that these were direct quotes from you. I paraphrase and add quotations a lot, as quotations don't always exhibit words as a direct quote. They can be used to generalize statements, such as saying "most" people do this with their tetras.
Sure you may not have used to word most personally, but it's a word I used and it has different meanings when quoted and when not.
You did use the word irrelevant as if it's unneeded to go over 6 for a school, but that's not the case.
6 isn't really the minimum.

Considering the fact that neons exhibit changed behavior when in larger groups, that would mean their minimum should be far higher than 6.
Cories show changed behviors at many stages of stocking too.
They say there is a difference between shoaling and schooling, schooling they stick together but can break off, shoaling they follow like copy cats.
Cories are shoaling fish, and deserve numbers higher than 6 regardless of how I quotate my words on them or (here we ho again) "assume" anything.
I never assumed anything about your knowleged or said you said those words directly.
I'm sorry I appeared to have offened you and that you did not like my comment, but I don't believe you should discard it based on how you read it. It is somewhat true, and other members even said it before me.
Sure you can stock 6, but no.
"Doubling their numbers isn't a necessity because 6 is adequate" is just as false as my supposed direct quote.
6 is okay, but not adequate.
Just like a 1 gallon is okay for a betta and it will sure as heck survive in there a while, but a 10 gallon is much more adequate for the care of a betta.
Just like a double school is much more adequate than a school of minimum numbers.
Some.say certain fish minimums are 2 or three.
But certainly we would think that if those fish like to be in groups, that they would stay in them and should be kept in larger groups right?

Batik loaches are sometimes solitary fish, and they aren't super popular to keep so not many people know a lot about them.
It says they should be the only loach of their kind in their tanks.
But that's only partially right and true.
While they are "solitary" fish, (sometimes quotes used to reference false claims)
They do school in small groups, in the wild they can be found living in sort of sororities, there will be say a small group of 2-8 in any gievn area.
Now depending on your tank size you have a choice to make.
Follow what an online site says about them being solitary as aquarium pets, or, since they are wild fish, do you go and stock them.based on how they act in the wild?
Alone they develop different behaviors than being together.
When they are together they shoal following each movement, not being very aggressive.
When they break up into small groups of 2 or 3, one might become a bully.
But when all 4 or 5 are together, they are in peace.
So sometimes it's not even a question of "how adequate is this schooling number" sometimes it's more a question of "what do the fish prefer to do in another scenario outside of my tanks"
Suppose another example is wild bettas.
People would like to keep them alone, but often times they are used to sort of staying in small groups or pairs for a period of time.
So it might well be better to have a group of wild.bettas over keeping them solitary.
The same goes for many other animals and can be used in the sense of "is this group too small" when you compare it to a wild version, a handful of fish is literally nothing compared to what they prefer.
You earlier mentioned how "fish in the wild don't school infinitely." This is only sort of true.
The world has a carrying capacity.
So there is a pond.
This pond has turtles, goldfish and say mollies just because.
Mollies are technically a schooling fish but they will follow each other and group up in large numbers when given the chance.
Now of course you cant have 1 million goldfish in that pond, it wont be able to handle it.
But you might have a few groups of 100.
Not just one group.
Fish experience losses in different ways than our tanks do.
Our numbers arent growing and receeding naturally like a school in the wild does, they're affected and regulated by nature itself.
Sort of how hunting is regulated with tags, they keep track of the "school of deer" and how many "fry" they've had.
So they choose how many a school can lose without ill affects taking place, since some will die of disease anyway, and you don't want to lessen a school to dangerous or let alone minimal numbers.
In the wild there really isn't a minimal, it's mostly just "is this stable".

A group of 3000 sardines is stable, and they have predators, and while numbers can likely exceed 4000 at one point, with die off and the nature of things, their careying capacity is like 3000, so they'll stay closer to that number constantly fluctuating as they die, not really because they choose to only stay in such a sized group.
Otherwise certain schools would lilely be broken up into even smaller schools and we wouldnt see thousand strong videos of them.
If fish prefered being in their minimal groups dont you think they wouldn't "unnessacerily school in large numbers"?
If 1000 isnt needed to make a happy group why would they do it to themselves? It makes them a bigger target for predators as we've seen.
 
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ap4lmtree

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Crazycoryfishlady said:
I never claimed that these were direct quotes from you. I paraphrase and add quotations a lot, as quotations don't always exhibit words as a direct quote. They can be used to generalize statements, such as saying "most" people do this with their tetras.
Sure you may not have used to word most personally, but it's a word I used and it has different meanings when quoted and when not.
You did use the word irrelevant as if it's unneeded to go over 6 for a school, but that's not the case.
.
You can use quotes however you want, but it is misleading if also not deceptive. You wish to form or create your own grammar rules regarding quotations; then, that is your pejorative. However, it is not corresponding to universal grammar rules. To me, the way you use quotes in your writing appear satiric or mocking whomever you try to attribute it to when it isn't even direct quote because, given it isn't a direct quote, they are not paraphrased in the best light. I NEVER used the word "irrelevant." That is a technical word, and it caries nuances. So, again, you misrepresent me and pervert what i say in order to further some kind of argumentation you have.
 

jjohnwm

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Wow...I am a bit nervous to even dip my paddle into this particular pool! But it is my prerogative and I will not be pejorative about it, so here goes.

I don't know where the magic number 6 started, but it sounds more and more as though people take it as though it is engraved in stone and inviolate. It's just an arbitrary number, meant to illustrate that schooling or shoaling fish (uh oh, there's another can of worms...) will experience stress if kept alone and will do better with others of their own species. More than 6 is certainly "better"...pardon the use of those pesky quotation marks but "better" is a fairly vague term here. If you ever see a school of fish in their natural environment, you quickly realize that calling 6 fish in a small aquarium a "school" is laughable. A school almost always consists of many dozens, hundreds or even thousands of individuals. A mere half dozen doesn't even compare.

My own personal feeling is that virtually any tank containing social species should be limited to only one or two such species, with as many individuals as possible to better replicate the psychological benefits of schooling. To me, a tank with 6 specimens each of 4 or 5 different species looks like a concentration camp; they're alive, maybe even healthy, but there's nothing appealing about that set-up. I'd much prefer a group of 20 or 30 schoolers of one carefully selected species, with perhaps another grouping of Corydoras if desired.

That's not my "argumentation" but merely my opinion. Since there is no hard and fast black-and-white answer to your question, I'm afraid you'll have to settle for opinions. Cheers!
 

86 ssinit

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Till I joined this site I’d never heard 6 of this or 6 of that. This is the internet!!! What better way to move product. Let’s tell people they need 6. What better way to reach the masses than the internet. Wholesalers throwing ideas out there to move product. I’ve never abided by it. Folks it’s a hobby enjoy.
I find that when I build up a group of tetras to about 10 they swim together for about a week than they all go there own ways no more schooling. Why? Well it’s pretty easy if you think about it. Why do fish school? Safety in numbers. So they school together when first entering the tank for safety. When they feel safe off they go off enjoying the tank. .
 

86 ssinit

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@ap4lmtree the fish you have and are planning for your tank should be fine. What type of filtration are you using? All of your fish are on the small end and should fill your tank nicely.
 

FeederGuppies

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86 ssinit said:
Till I joined this site I’d never heard 6 of this or 6 of that. This is the internet!!! What better way to move product. Let’s tell people they need 6. What better way to reach the masses than the internet. Wholesalers throwing ideas out there to move product. I’ve never abided by it. Folks it’s a hobby enjoy.
I find that when I build up a group of tetras to about 10 they swim together for about a week than they all go there own ways no more schooling. Why? Well it’s pretty easy if you think about it. Why do fish school? Safety in numbers. So they school together when first entering the tank for safety. When they feel safe off they go off enjoying the tank. .
I have a lone cardinal tetra (the other cardinals all died from parasites or old age) and it always stays in the corner of the tank and can't even compete with the four guppies for food. Are you saying this tetra is fine by itself?
 

86 ssinit

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I’m no specialist. Like you I had a neon tetra and a rasboria that outlived their schools. The neon lived for 2 yrs after and a total of 5+ Yrs and was the biggest neon I had ever seen. The rasboria just died and was close to 7yrs. Both seemed happy to me. Both swam and ate and did what fish do. Your cardinal may be needing company or may just be close to the end. Also the reason I never uped their schools was years back I had 2 neons outlive there school and I bought 6 more to add to them. They were 3-4yrs old and both were gone by the end of the week. Just couldn’t keep up with the rest of the school. So since than I don’t add to old schools I wait it out and let the fish live . Adding different schools doesn’t bother the older fish.
 

yinoma2001

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I think 6 is such an arbitrary number, but we all need some guidepost.

I think the concept is that fish that are by themselves (when they are a schooling fish) will most likely fare poorly. Whether 6 or 600 is the magic number is arbitrary to me. We can never recreate their natural habitats in our respective tanks, be it 5 or 150 gallon tanks. It's artificial to begin with. However, I do see fish like neon tetra/rasbora/cories in my tank doing better when they're in a school (however defined). I think it makes them feel more secure. A lonely schooling fish is likely a dead one in the long run.
 

nikm128

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I agree 6 is an arbitrary number, especially when you have a big tank. Don't just get 3-4 schools of 6 fish like @Crazycoryfishlady already stated, but where I diverge is how I say it's best to just get one school of fish and make it as big as you have room for. Sure, lot's of us can't house 100+ rainbowfish, but anyone with say a 55g+ could have that many neon tetras easily because they're so small, school very tightly, and have a tiny bioload.
P.S. I know rainbowfish shoal and not school, I was just using it as an example.
 

yinoma2001

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Yup. I actually like smaller fish over larger varieties. So once I upgrade from my current 40G breeder I may actually go for one large school (like 20+) of small fish. I love seeing their schooling behavior. But it's also pricey to get so many of those fish at 2-3 a pop too.
 

Noroomforshoe

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yinoma2001 said:
Yup. I actually like smaller fish over larger varieties. So once I upgrade from my current 40G breeder I may actually go for one large school (like 20+) of small fish. I love seeing their schooling behavior. But it's also pricey to get so many of those fish at 2-3 a pop too.
You are lucky to find a schooling fish that you like for $2-$3 bucks. It is more like 10$ for a rainbow fish, or for the fish I have wanted for 10 years = 15$ each for a chain loach. and I want 15-20 of them. So I stick with species I can afford to keep in good sized groups.
 

smee82

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6 fish to a school is almost as bad as the 18nch per gallon rule.

An example is celestial per danios you get six because someone told you have to have 6 but theres only 2 males. The 2 males are going to constantly fight until 1 is dead. They are vicious little fish and do a surprising amount of damage to each other and you would of been better off with 5 not 6.

Khulis are another you get 6 but you never see them because theyre shy and 6 isnt enough for them to feel safe you really need at least a dozen if not more.

You get 6 neon tetras because you want fish that will swim together and they school for a week but after a week they dont any more because they feel safe and dont feel the need to. If 3 die its not going to affect the other 3 in the tank as they already feel safe and secure. But 3 tiger barbs are probably going to get a bit nippy.
 
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