Could anyone recommend an aquarium stocking calculator?

  • #1
Hi all,

Sorry for the laziness, but I was wondering if someone could recommend an up to date aquarium calculator for a moderately planted tank. I'm trying to determine (and remain safely away from) what my upper limits are and would appreciate it!

  • #2
I have used AqAdvisor to get some ideas before. I am a bit of a light stocker though so I must admit I've never truly used their calculator to get to "100%".

  • #3
I personally don’t think Aqadvisor is of any use at all.
For many species it’s misleading ( Shellie’s )
It a way of calculating tank water volume and that‘s all in my opinion.
The water change volumes are not appropriate in my opinion.

As far as a calculator goes there are so many variables it’s not really a practical solution.
For example how many water changes do you intend to do each week/ month.
What specific species do you want to have and what is you knowledge of how dangerous or not nitrate are.

The only way to know how any tanks stocking levels are is by testing the water as you develop a water change routine. Many of us work on a single water change of 45% per week. But that is not mandatory in the hobby.

A moderately planted tank may require nitrates to be around 20ppm -40 ppm . This may even require the addition of nitrogen fertiliser in not stocked high enough.

elBez you ask for “ upper limits “ . Personally experience is that’s when you have to do 3 water changes per week OR it’s when the tank looks to busy and not peaceful.

Short answer.
Only a water test and your choice of what you want to look at are the limiting factors.

4815267B-D3BA-4675-824D-F9BD58F09E35.pngWould you want to look at this club members grow out tank stocking? I think this is too busy?

UmNick Aqadvisor says 6 Shellie’s is 100% stocking for a 22 gallon. I had 83 adults plus juveniles in this 22
A species that can’t have plants. Three water changes a week does work for this sort of tank but it’s very demanding on the human.
  • #4
I'm trying to determine (and remain safely away from) what my upper limits are and would appreciate it!

1 fish species, 10+ gallon
2 compatible fish species, 20+ gallon
3 compatible fish species, 40+ gallon
4 compatible fish species, 60+ gallon
and.... it depends

There you go, pretty much as accurate as AqAdvisor.

I'd suggest to ask specific wishes on Fishlore.
  • #5
Hi elBez

I have not found any stocking calculators to be accurate enough to cover all eventualities .

What is your intentions as far as water changes go ? Do you wish to change water once a week or more often because that has a bearing on the “ upper limits “ ?

Possibly the biggest concern is what you want to see. A tank that is at the upper limits can look to busy to be a peaceful thing to look at .

An example of a tank that is within the upper limits of stocking but looks like a traffic jam.

  • #6
It's a lot easier to ad fish than to remove them, especially with plants. Add fish slowly till you like the look.


  • #7
One thing the calculators also can't calculate is the different levels at which different species swim at. A tank my look busy and overstocked if all of the fish stay in the same areas. I try to keep my tanks stocked with species that are #1 compatible with each other and #2 like to stay in the different levels of the tank.
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
I'd like to thank everyone for sharing their thoughts. I'll say what my setup is, and what I'm hoping to accomplish:

20 Gallon Tank (almost 2 years old, 20% water change once per week)
2x clumps java moss, 1x large java fern, 1x large crypt
6x Cherry barbs (3 male, 3 female)
5x X-ray tetra
3x Java loach
3x Eel loach

Down the Road
2x Cherry barbs (female)
We need more female barbs; a female didn't survive quarantine, and a surprise fry grew into a heathy little guy. The current boys get aggressive, and we need to spread that attention around more gals.

10x Blue Jelly Shrimp
A friend has offered to 'loan' me some from her shrimp tank. I think that our tank has enough hiding spots, and I've heard that it'd benefit the overall health of the tank. The big concern here is that they may push the 'limit' of the aquarium calculator over 100%, but admittedly, I've heard they have very little impact on a tank.
  • #9
Bioload = feed / dissolved oxygen.

You don't need to feed shrimp, unless you are a breeder. So feed is out of "the calculator". They do consume some oxygen, but offer plenty in return:
  • Shrimp break down organic waste into smaller particles, hence faster oxidization of organic compounds and ammonia.
  • They help keep plant leaves clean, hence support healthy plants that produce lots of dissolved oxygen.
  • They offer quality food to small fish with their offspring, hence you can feed less to fish, albeit this benefit is very small if you have plenty of fish swimming around.
Aquarium calculators...

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