How do you figure out when a tank is full?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by adsm08, Aug 3, 2014.

  1. adsm08Valued MemberMember

    Hello, this is my first post here, so I hope this is in the correct area. It seems like a fairly advanced question to me. I am not exactly new to keeping fish, but I have never found myself in quite the situation I am in right now. I will say, I did search around for an answer, but I did not run across anything conclusive.

    Here is my situation:

    I have a 47g (actual held volume) tank. It was originally intended to be a small tropical fish tank, populated by many small fish. It had Neons, zebra danios, black skirt tetras, a few pygmy cories, and a black kuhli loach. Everyone was pretty happy, for a while, then I started loosing fish, which will happen from time to time. Nothing seemed particularly sick, and the tank was well established at the time, so I attributed it to the general quality of chain-store breeding stock. Never the less, I like to wait a few weeks after die-offs before adding anything back in, and to do it slowly at that.

    I brought my zebra and neon schools back up to 5 members each, from two, to four, then to five over the space of a few weeks, with only one dead, of a new fish in the first 24 hours, which I attribute to moving stress.

    At the end of the original die-off I was left with a single black skirt, and my preferred LFS does not get them often, only about once every other month, so I have not been able to get him any same-species companions as of yet.. The store that I got my pygmys at has gone out of business, and so that group is stuck a 3.

    Now to my issue. I also had a 37g tank setup to house my Jewel Cichlid and pleco. The Jewel died, I believe of old age, although he had never been particularly healthy, often refusing to eat for up to two weeks at a time, ignoring food when given. The pleco on the other hand has always been healthy and had a healthy appetite while living with the Jewel for nearly six years. About a week after the Jewel died the tank began to leak rapidly and I was forced to move the pleco into the community tank.When I tore down the 37 I took it's bio-wheel filter and threw it in the other tank to keep the colonies in it alive, and add the extra filtration.

    After this move I plugged my numbers into the tank calculator I use, at, and it says I am full. Now this calculator does use the fully grown max potential load for the fish you plug in, and tends to be conservative in the numbers used to help avoid overstocking.

    Now I have noticed that while he does not appear stressed or sick per se, my black skirt is seeming lonely. He is a schooling fish, alone in a tank of other schools, and tends to stick to a particular area of the tank around the one decoration. I am concerned that this "home-body" behavior may be due to lack of proper companionship.

    All my numbers for ammonia, nitrate and nitrite are near zero. I am not having issues with fish fighting for space or chasing each other out of areas, beyond the normal playing, and I have lots of places to hide.

    If I come across some black skirts does anyone think I will actually cause any over-stocking issues by adding a few of them? At the moment I will not add more than 4 of them, since the recommended minimum group is 5.

    Also, I am actively trying to find a new home for the pleco.

    Sorry for the long read, but I do appreciate any input.

  2. HarlebleondoraWell Known MemberMember

    Sorry if this is a bit irrelevant but I am in a rush and am about to leave so I can not read your whole post.
    Give this a go,  

    Good luck!
  3. FiscCyningWell Known MemberMember

    How big is the Pleco right now? The Pleco would be the main concern as far as waste production goes, since all but the loach are small fish. Aqadvisor actually does have an option for using juvenile sizes for your calculations, which I normally wouldn't recommend but since you're actively trying to rehome him you should be pretty safe doing so. I think at this point and with that tank size keeping full schools is worth the slightly extra bioload.
  4. adsm08Valued MemberMember

    That is in fact the calculator I was using.

    The pleco is in striking distance of a foot long, if he hasn't hit it already. I was in a hurry when I was moving him last time and he was unhappy about being out of water, so I didn't stop to find the tape measure.
  5. TheCoolFishValued MemberMember

    Well the rule of thumb for SMALLER fish is 1-2 inches per gallon but that pleco is way to big for your aquarium I would recommend selling him for close to 40 dollars and buying a smaller one under 5 inches and let it grow till it's too big. That's what I do...

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  6. adsm08Valued MemberMember

    Yes, I get that the pleco is too big. He was not actually supposed to be in this tank, and I have been trying to find him a new home, but that is not too easy here. I know a lot of people in warmer climates, like Texas, like big ones for their outdoor ponds, but up here in Northern PA it gets way too cold for them to survive the winter.

    As of right now my best prospect for finding him an appropriate home is the children's department at the local hospital. They have several 300 gallon tanks, but the people who manage the tanks are about as easy to get a hold of a hens' teeth.

    Also, I made a mistake in the original post. The loner in my tank is not a black skirt, she is a black phantom, a breed that is even more difficult to obtain in my local area. I frequently get them confused because my former pet supply store that I used to sell cichlids to kept the two species in the same tank.
  7. TheCoolFishValued MemberMember

    I would love to have a 12 inch pleco but my tank is a 55 and it's not setup for a fish that big

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  8. adsm08Valued MemberMember

    Well I found a store two towns over that gets a regular stock of phantoms, both red and black. I brought home one black one (for now) and my first one seems to be happier already. It's dorsal fin has perked up, it took part in the hunt tonight, and it is more active.
  9. Marie1Well Known MemberMember

    That is a lot to read through. What size tank is the one in question, and what is the stock?
  10. MamajinWell Known MemberMember

    AQAdvisor is a great guide, and I've used it for guidance with all of my tanks. That sight along with further research has been invaluable to me for stocking decisions.

    You're post was a bit hard to read because the info we need is pretty much scattered in several paragraphs. Could you, pretty please, just list the tank size, filter, and the exact species of fish and how many that are supposed to be in the tank?

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