How many fish do I put in at once?

BlueRaccoon

I have a 55g that I will start cycling soon. I also have a 10g quarantine tank. I plan to put the fish in the quarantine first. I plan to add around 15 cardinal tetras, 15 rummy nose tetras, and 15 harlequin rasboras. How many can I safely add to the quarantine tank at a time? Once I move the fish over to the 55, will the two weeks in quarantine for the next group be long enough for the big tank to catch up?
 

BlueRaccoon

How much (ppm) ammonia did you dose to cycle the tank?
Sorry, I wasn't clear. I will edit my post. I haven't cycled it yet. I am going to start it this weekend. I don't have a plan for ppm. I was just going to follow the directions on FishLore. I'm going to do 5 drops of ammonia per 10g. Do you have any recommendations for ppm? Thank you!
 

Dunk2

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I will edit my post. I haven't cycled it yet. I am going to start it this weekend. I don't have a plan for ppm. I was just going to follow the directions on FishLore. I'm going to do 5 drops of ammonia per 10g. Do you have any recommendations for ppm? Thank you!
If you don’t already know this, be sure to use pure ammonia (unscented and no surfactants) or Dr. Tim’s ammonium chloride.

I always suggest dosing ammonia to 2 - 3 ppm. If you use pure ammonia, use this dosing calculator.
Ammonia Calculator for Aquariums - Spec-Tanks

Is your quarantine tank cycled?
 

BlueRaccoon

If you don’t already know this, be sure to use pure ammonia (unscented and no surfactants) or Dr. Tim’s ammonium chloride.

I always suggest dosing ammonia to 2 - 3 ppm. If you use pure ammonia, use this dosing calculator.
Ammonia Calculator for Aquariums - Spec-Tanks

Is your quarantine tank cycled?
No, neither are. I have pure ammonia chloride. I cycled a 150g a few years ago with pure ammonia, but I don't remember what I did with ppm. I only had a common pleco in it. I will shoot for 2-3ppm. How many fish do you thing I could put in quarantine at once? Should I cycle it with 2-3ppm also?
 

Dunk2

No, neither are. I have pure ammonia chloride. I cycled a 150g a few years ago with pure ammonia, but I don't remember what I did with ppm. I only had a common pleco in it. I will shoot for 2-3ppm. How many fish do you thing I could put in quarantine at once? Should I cycle it with 2-3ppm also?
If these were my tanks, I’d cycle the 10 gallon to 1 - 2 ppm and the 55 gallon to 2 - 3 ppm. I’ve never used pure ammonium chloride, so I’m not sure how much to dose to get to those levels.

Given your quarantine tank size, I personally wouldn’t do more than 7 - 8 of your planned fish at a time.
 

BlueRaccoon

If these were my tanks, I’d cycle the 10 gallon to 1 - 2 ppm and the 55 gallon to 2 - 3 ppm. I’ve never used pure ammonium chloride, so I’m not sure how much to dose to get to those levels.

Given your quarantine tank size, I personally wouldn’t do more than 7 - 8 of your planned fish at a time.
Thank you! Wow, 7-8? I was thinking I would need to do 2-3.
 

Cherryshrimp420

No point quarantining if those are the first fish to go in the tank. Just make sure to cycle first. Planting heavily will also help a lot
 

BlueRaccoon

No point quarantining if those are the first fish to go in the tank. Just make sure to cycle first. Planting heavily will also help a lot
Thank you! I will be putting live plants in. I planned to treat the fish in quarantine to be on the safe side. Am I able to do that in the big tank? Will fungal, bacteria, and ick treatments affect my water, bacteria, or parameters? Also, if I do just put them straight in, how many could I add to the 55?
 

Dunk2

No point quarantining if those are the first fish to go in the tank. Just make sure to cycle first. Planting heavily will also help a lot
Your assumption is that the fish are all coming from the same tank, from the same source and all at the same time?
 

TClare

I wouldn’t treat them in quarantine unless they show signs of any disease.
 

BlueRaccoon

I wouldn’t treat them in quarantine unless they show signs of any disease.
Ok! I may do that.... If anything is wrong with them, can I treat them in the main tank?
 

TClare

The first ones you can put in the main tank, but remove and treat any that seem unwell only if necessary. Later fish can be kept in quarantine to make sure they are Ok before adding them to the main tank. If they do show any sign of disease treat them in quarantine, but hopefully treatment won’t be necessary at all.
 

BlueRaccoon

The first ones you can put in the main tank, but remove and treat any that seem unwell only if necessary. Later fish can be kept in quarantine to make sure they are Ok before adding them to the main tank. If they do show any sign of disease treat them in quarantine, but hopefully treatment won’t be necessary at all.
I appreciate it. This is helpful. I will look for all the signs of health. Do you often buy a fish that is sick? Or do they normally show signs at the store?
Also, how many would I add to the 55 at first?
 

TClare

I appreciate it. This is helpful. I will look for all the signs of health. Do you often buy a fish that is sick? Or do they normally show signs at the store?
Also, how many would I add to the 55 at first?
I have actually been very lucky and trust my local shop, I virtually never see sick fish there. I would never buy a fish that looks sick, or if any others in the same tank look sick. Choose only healthy looking ones. It helps if the shop has had them in for a while.
 

BlueRaccoon

I have actually been very lucky and trust my local shop, I virtually never see sick fish there. I would never buy a fish that looks sick, or if any others in the same tank look sick. Choose only healthy looking ones. It helps if the shop has had them in for a while.
That's awesome! Great tips. Thanks you for all the help.
 

Dunk2

Also, how many would I add to the 55 at first?
The more fish you quarantine together, the more fish you are putting at risk if one (or more) of them is unhealthy.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Thank you! I will be putting live plants in. I planned to treat the fish in quarantine to be on the safe side. Am I able to do that in the big tank? Will fungal, bacteria, and ick treatments affect my water, bacteria, or parameters? Also, if I do just put them straight in, how many could I add to the 55?
Well just ask yourself, what's the quarantine for? There are no existing fish to spread diseases to.

So I would add the 15 harlequins in first, as they are the most hardy fish. After that, if they are fine then you can buy the cardinals or rummynose. You can choose to quarantine those if you like. If you are buying from the same LFS then they are sharing the same water system anyways.

There is no need to preemptively treat fish. Step one is just setting up a cycled tank. That's the most important for keeping fish alive
 

BlueRaccoon

Well just ask yourself, what's the quarantine for? There are no existing fish to spread diseases to.

So I would add the 15 harlequins in first, as they are the most hardy fish. After that, if they are fine then you can buy the cardinals or rummynose. You can choose to quarantine those if you like. If you are buying from the same LFS then they are sharing the same water system anyways.

There is no need to preemptively treat fish. Step one is just setting up a cycled tank. That's the most important for keeping fish alive
Thank you! I appreciate it! I won't be quarentining the first set or medicating up front. Thank you everyone for your thoughts!
 

SparkyJones

If the tank is cycled for breaking 2-3ppm ammonia in 24 hours to nitrates, you can fully stock for the volume of water once the tank is for sure fully cycled.

Normal rule of thumb for fish in cycle is 1 small hardy fish per 10g of water to cycle, and at the end and after it's cycled, you go to two, then in a few days, 4 then in a few days 8, doubling but giving the nitrifying bacteria ample time to double with the fish being added also, just to be safe to avoid a spike until you reach max capacity for the tank. You can go beyond that into overstocked land but same rule applies double or less of current occupants, and give the bacteria time to adjust to the new load.

If fishless cycling, 2-3 ppm ammonia in 24 hours is about the maximum a stocked tank (for the volume) would produce in 24 hours in ammonia for even dirty fish that produce a lot of waste, at least initially.
The fish won't drop it in all at once it trickles through the day and the bacteria colony is large enough to handle that.

Now solid waste is a different story. If that's not removed it will break down over 30 days and also trickle ammonia into the water as it breaks down. This is why water changing and vacuuming solid waste is important. It can probably handle it, but you'll find as time goes on the tank gets harder and harder to maintain. And fish get stressed and sick.. This is sped up in an overstocked tank, even with superior filtration even of the cycle can handle it because you'll be gaining and gaining more decaying bacteria (these guys also cause infections of fish in larger numbers, not all are good, but all decay and break stuff down) to break down the solid waste to ammonia so the nitrifiers can do their thing with the ammonia.

What I'm saying is if you fishless cycle for 2-3ppm ammonia you can go right to maximum stocking, but stay on top of maintenence and water changes with a schedule that works. Once the tank is cycled, water change the nitrate test down to as low as you can get it, add the fish and monitor the nitrates for how long it takes to build up to a reading where you need to make a water change based on what your cut off is, most folks it's 20-40 nitrates is their limit. Whatever limit you set a water change of 20% cut it by 20%, a change of 50% cuts it by 50%. You should always remove more nitrites than you build up between cleanings. After a couple times like this you should get an idea how much nitrates are produced between cleanings, and how much water change is needed, and then adjust your water changes for stability. It's better to do a daily 5% water change instead of a weekly 35% change or a biweekly 70% change as far as water parameter stability is concerned and it keeps solid waste low more effectively. Taking it out before it decays much, Which keeps the troubling bacteria low.

There's lots of ways to do it. What works for me might not be ideal for you, and someone else might do things completely different.
Just telling you what I do so there's no "why are my nitrates so high, I do water changes and nothing happens?" Appearing at the 3-6 month mark.

It's not what's ideal for you, it's what's ideal for the fish. You can keep fish alive a long time in a dirty tank full of problems, but you can keep them healthy and happy by knowing how much you need to do that works, and setting a routine that's not too burdensome that you won't want to do it.

Kind of like washing a car, if you spend 10-20 minutes a day touching it up when it's new, it saves you some of the 5 hours to detail clean it once a month, that you won't want to do because it's too much work at once.
 

BlueRaccoon

If the tank is cycled for breaking 2-3ppm ammonia in 24 hours to nitrates, you can fully stock for the volume of water once the tank is for sure fully cycled.

Normal rule of thumb for fish in cycle is 1 small hardy fish per 10g of water to cycle, and at the end and after it's cycled, you go to two, then in a few days, 4 then in a few days 8, doubling but giving the nitrifying bacteria ample time to double with the fish being added also, just to be safe to avoid a spike until you reach max capacity for the tank. You can go beyond that into overstocked land but same rule applies double or less of current occupants, and give the bacteria time to adjust to the new load.

If fishless cycling, 2-3 ppm ammonia in 24 hours is about the maximum a stocked tank (for the volume) would produce in 24 hours in ammonia for even dirty fish that produce a lot of waste, at least initially.
The fish won't drop it in all at once it trickles through the day and the bacteria colony is large enough to handle that.

Now solid waste is a different story. If that's not removed it will break down over 30 days and also trickle ammonia into the water as it breaks down. This is why water changing and vacuuming solid waste is important. It can probably handle it, but you'll find as time goes on the tank gets harder and harder to maintain. And fish get stressed and sick.. This is sped up in an overstocked tank, even with superior filtration even of the cycle can handle it because you'll be gaining and gaining more decaying bacteria (these guys also cause infections of fish in larger numbers, not all are good, but all decay and break stuff down) to break down the solid waste to ammonia so the nitrifiers can do their thing with the ammonia.

What I'm saying is if you fishless cycle for 2-3ppm ammonia you can go right to maximum stocking, but stay on top of maintenence and water changes with a schedule that works. Once the tank is cycled, water change the nitrate test down to as low as you can get it, add the fish and monitor the nitrates for how long it takes to build up to a reading where you need to make a water change based on what your cut off is, most folks it's 20-40 nitrates is their limit. Whatever limit you set a water change of 20% cut it by 20%, a change of 50% cuts it by 50%. You should always remove more nitrites than you build up between cleanings. After a couple times like this you should get an idea how much nitrates are produced between cleanings, and how much water change is needed, and then adjust your water changes for stability. It's better to do a daily 5% water change instead of a weekly 35% change or a biweekly 70% change as far as water parameter stability is concerned and it keeps solid waste low more effectively. Taking it out before it decays much, Which keeps the troubling bacteria low.

There's lots of ways to do it. What works for me might not be ideal for you, and someone else might do things completely different.
Just telling you what I do so there's no "why are my nitrates so high, I do water changes and nothing happens?" Appearing at the 3-6 month mark.

It's not what's ideal for you, it's what's ideal for the fish. You can keep fish alive a long time in a dirty tank full of problems, but you can keep them healthy and happy by knowing how much you need to do that works, and setting a routine that's not too burdensome that you won't want to do it.

Kind of like washing a car, if you spend 10-20 minutes a day touching it up when it's new, it saves you some of the 5 hours to detail clean it once a month, that you won't want to do because it's too much work at once.
Thank you so much! This is extremely informative! I will do what I need to keep my tank healthy. I think that's part of the fun and of course the ethical thing to do.
 

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