How Many Fish To Add At A Time? Disagreement With Lfs Question

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by steAMYz, Apr 4, 2019.

  1. steAMYzNew MemberMember

    Okay, so I've been meticulously researching and posting questions to validate my decisions. I went to the store today to get my first fish, and I'm kindof irritated with the guy. Tell me which one of us is right.

    I have a 29 gallon aquarium with everything set up and cycled. I used the fishless add and wait method given here:

    This post says when the cycling is complete, "You can safely add your full fish load as your tank will have enough bacteria built up to handle any waste they can produce."

    My stocking list is:
    8 Black skirt tetra
    6 Julii Cory
    3 Guppy
    3 Platy

    Even though it says I could add everything, my plan was to add them in groups by species every couple weeks or so, assuming everything is still going well. So I wanted to get my full school of 8 tetras today, but the guy would only sell me three.

    Am I wrong? I know I'm new, but I've spent countless hours researching to make sure everything is done correctly.

    Thanks in advance!

    Just a note: I was already irritated at the guy for some unprofessional behavior I witnessed, but I wasn't going to argue because my toddler was getting too antsy.
  2. Morpheus1967Well Known MemberMember

    When you cycled your tank, how many ppm did you dose the ammonia to?

  3. steAMYzNew MemberMember


  4. Morpheus1967Well Known MemberMember

    Yea, he definitely should have given you all the fish. You probably could have put your entire stock list in at once and not hit 4ppm.

  5. steAMYzNew MemberMember

    Thank you! If I got three today, do you think I could go get the other five tomorrow, or should I wait for these three to get settled?
  6. Morpheus1967Well Known MemberMember

    You should be fine either way. Did the guy at the LFS know you dosed to 4ppm? I mean, that's a lot. 8 tetras would be nothing to that bio-colony.
  7. steAMYzNew MemberMember

    No, I just said cycled. He was trying to show off in front of this girl who was shopping, so he was being extra arrogant and I just didn't have the energy to deal with him. Since I am new, I just went the safe route and got 3 and consulted this forum to check.

    Thank you so much for your help.
  8. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    I agree with @Morpheus1967 By processing 4ppm ammonia it would be safe to add ALL of the fish you plan on having in this tank at the same time.

    By just adding a few at a time the bacteria you worked so hard to grow will start dying off and will have to grow back to handle the added bio-load with each new addition.

    Hopefully when you go back someone else will be there and will sell you what you want.
  9. 86 ssinitWell Known MemberMember

    Never done a fishless cycle and have heard stories of too many fish added and fish deaths. But your plan is perfect. One group of fish at a time over a few weeks. That’s perfect. Yes you can add the other 5. Fish store was just being proactive. Most are not and would sell you anything you point at. Good luck and welcome to fishlore.
  10. steAMYzNew MemberMember

    Thanks everyone! I really, really appreciate all of the help! This site has really been the best in getting me started! Everyone is so kind and helpful!
  11. EvanGValued MemberMember

    Do you have any other local stores to buy from?
  12. imbaWell Known MemberMember

    Yeah, I agree. I would just wouldn't go back.
    If this is the way the shop wants to run its business and threats customers like this, just go somewhere else.
  13. EvanGValued MemberMember

    At the very least, you could avoid that employee by going when someone else is working the store.

    I'm a fish newb, so someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but you may want to feed a little on the heavy side if you want to keep your BB colony size as big as possible now that you can't dose it with ammonia. When you add more fish, increase the quantity of food by small margins to allow for the bacteria to grow. In other words, the bacteria quantity is driven more by the amount of food going into the tank than the number of fish in the tank.

    Given your stocking list, I'd probably add guppies and platies, then tetras, then cories based upon cost and hardiness. If anything goes wrong, I'd rather it be with fish that are less expensive and more likely to survive.
  14. IslandvicWell Known MemberMember

    Be in the lookout for Ich at the LFS and on the fish you buy.

    Continue to monitor for Ich after bringing the fish home also.

    Are you using a cartridge based filter?

    Congrats on new tank!
  15. DuaneVWell Known MemberMember

    Yeah, 4ppm is more than enough. I definitely wouldnt deal with that guy again and I totally would have shut him down and acted like a know it all myself, lol. I was actually semi-snarky to my local lady today who thinks she knows everything and just rubs me the wrong way in general. I asked her if they were all out of Rasbora Hets and she goes, "Well we never have those. The only Rasboras I ever order are Harlequins" in a nasty way so I go, "Yeah, same fish. Their scientific name is Trigonostigma heteromorpha so people usually call them Rasbora Hets, but some call them Harlequins". The girl she was working with almost burst out laughing (she likes me and I prefer to deal with her). I wanted to say, "Oh, you dont like her either" but she had to be there with her for the rest of the day so I didnt, lol. My wife goes, "Im so glad you put her in her place. I cant stand her".

    I dont think I would have added the entire stock, but definitely the whole school of Tetras all at once. That way youre safe if one brings in something. Id go back tomorrow and get the rest of the Tetras and if the dude is there and gives you just let him know the tank is cycled to 4ppm and you dont want to take 6 months of quarantining 8 Tetras.
  16. toosieFishlore VIPMember

    I think the store guy deserves a bit of a break! It's possible he has never heard of a fishless cycle. Not everyone has. And a lot of people...even ones that have come to this forum, have thought all you had to do to cycle a tank is to fill it with water and run it for a week, with nothing in it and no source of ammonia. So, while I won't say this store guy handled himself well, he may have been trying to save a newbie from spending money on fish that the tank wouldn't be able to handle, while saving fish from what he believed was likely an uncycled tank. This store person may very easily be one of the more responsible sales persons I have heard of. Many don't care, as long as they sell fish. I hear people vent about those sales people all of the time here on the forum too. Now...I'm not coming down on anyone here, but I am playing a bit of a devil's advocate. Unless the fishless cycle was explained by the OP, he really had no way of knowing what she meant by cycled. We question people all of the time when they come to the forum, and they claim they are "cycled", but what do we find out? They aren't cycled and don't understand the nitrogen cycle or how it works, or how to do it.

    Anyways... maybe just give him the benefit of the doubt that he was honestly just trying to do a good thing.

    @steAMYz, I hope if you haven't had the opportunity to really explain a fishless cycle to this store person, that you take this opportunity to help him understand it. That's part of what this forum is about doing, right? And I do hope your next experience goes better.
  17. TomJAXNew MemberMember

    No "store employee" in his/her right mind sells anyone three tetras no matter what the reason. He should be fired for that alone. These are schooling fish and need at least 6 others to be stress free.

    Second, adding 8 tetras to a 29 gallon planted tank, even UNcycled will do no harm. Their bioload on the system is practically nothing. People forget there is nitrifying bacteria all over the inside of a planted, or even bare, tank already. They would have started a more intense cycle as soon as they were added and your original plan about increasing bioload in stages was perfect.

    Avoid that store, or if forced to use it, tell the manager what the idiot said.

  18. tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    Agree with others, your cycle if processing 4ppm of ammonia, resulting in 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites in 12 hours, with some nitrates showing (I am assuming since you used the method linked above that this is the case), you could have added the full stock. As you only added a small amount your bacteria colony will only survive to the extent it is being fed. Quickly add the remaining tetra school before it starts dying back.

    Then proceed as you planned to add a few at a time. The issue you may run into is introducing sickness/disease to your current stock as you buy new ones.

    I would strongly encourage a quarantine tank once you get the stocking levels up to a point that it would be devastating to loose what you have so far to a disease introduced by a new fish. Put a sponge filter in the current tank to seed and simply pull it out to a bare bottom 10g tank with a heater, lid, and some decor for cover and voila, you have a quick and dirty qt.
  19. COHikerNew MemberMember

    In defense of the LFS guy who didn't ask the right questions or talk to you enough: some of these employees have to sit back and watch small children bring back bags of 12 dead/rotted fish and demand new fish per certain stores guarantees. Many of his customers may overstate their cycle as well. That said his potentially jaded attitude is understandable but not advisable. I wouldn't wait to go to a different store but I wouldn't write this guy off immediately unless he's annoying next time as well.

    Another concern you might want to ask more experienced cycle managers here about is if adding the fish too slowly will cause you to loose too much of your 4ppm capable bacteria. I doubt 3 rasboras produce that much a day. Wouldn't want to risk loosing what you spent all that time to grow, but again i defer to someone who knows what they're doing. I do not apparently.
  20. EvanGValued MemberMember

    I had a similar instinct to play devil's advocate and provide some potential explanations for his behavior, but I feel that it is incumbent on him to ask questions to get clarification or confirmation of what a customer is claiming. I think it would be good to have another conversation with him to explain the background of the tank's history and explain the difference of opinion. Perhaps he can learn something from additional customer feedback.