Intentional Overstock. Be Kind. Long Read.

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by Chuck Wheat, Jun 19, 2016.

  1. Chuck Wheat

    Chuck WheatValued MemberMember

    Don't crucify me for this post. I know what I'm doing wrong and I'll try to make a note of it as I mention it. This isn't a question or dilemma type post, its actually the opposite. I'm super happy with how my tank is doing and want it to be encouragement for those just starting out.

    I also want to put this here because I don't really have ANYONE else to talk about fish with. I don't know any other fish keepers and none of my friends/family really care. My kids get super excited when Whale Shark the Pleco comes out, and that makes me happy, but otherwise, I can't talk about tanks or fish stuff with anyone but on here.

    I've been reading a LOT about this hobby since I started, approximately 2 months ago. Originally I stressed about overstocking and cycling, but I've been taking a more relaxed approach to it and I've been enjoying it even more than ever. I've lost some fish and shrimp over the past two months, but I know why for most of them.

    Originally, I lost a total of 6 White Cloud Minnows (3 and then 3 replacements) to a mystery that could have possibly been as simple as the wrong temperature for them.

    Then I got my Dwarf Gourami, Balthazar, and he's still going strong as the center piece of my 10g tank. Every decision I've made since getting him has been molded around him. Mostly. **I know that he would be better off in at least 20g**

    After much self-confliction, I took a chance and got a baby bristlenose pleco, Whale Shark. Named by my shark-infatuated son because its brown with white spots, and I know that he should be in a larger tank because of its potential size and bio-load.

    Then I added a dozen ghost shrimp...before the tank had cycled. :(...3 were dead before I put them in the water (from travel or just a weak batch), so technically I only put in 9. Within the next week or two I'd lost several more. Yesterday, the last one died. I know now that they shouldn't have been added till much later after cycling the tank.

    Next, I added a Golden Mystery Snail.

    Then, later, I added 3 endlers. Balthazar kept them terrified, so I returned them and added 2 cory cats. A pepper and an albino. **I know that they need a longer tank**

    Then I added an amano shrimp. He has apparently climbed out the open back of the tank.

    The other day, I added 2 more pepper cory cats. When they scooped up the corys, they apparently accidentally added a tiny baby endler which wasn't noticed till I was acclimating them. I thought it would be a nice little snack for Balthazar, but alas, he has survived several days so far.

    My current stock is:
    1 dwarf gourami
    1 bristlenose pleco
    4 cory cats
    1 gold mystery snail
    several several several snails
    1 tiny tiny little baby endler (for now)

    I thought that I was going to hate myself and that I would have to hide all of this information from you guys because I know that its currently overstocked, but I did it anyway. The point of this is that anytime someone has the wrong sized fish in the wrong sized tank, there are at least 8 comments that don't address the issue, but rather scold the fish keeper for overstocking.

    I'm putting this out here because 1. its important for future questions for you guys to know whats happening in my tank and hiding vital information is like sneaking snack cakes during a diet and complaining that you aren't losing weight. 2. there IS a little leeway to keep fish happy (with proper water changes and filtration). 3. Newbies, don't let fish keeper anxiety keep you from making your own mistakes, it takes time and experience.

    A little more on my 2nd point there is that all of my fish are behaving normally and showing great color. There haven't been any altercations other than the DG nipping curiously at the snail, and when food is involved the pleco will chase off the cory cats. The whole "thrive, not just survive" thing was really scaring me away from making any decisions, but my fish have been excelling, with the exception of shrimp. Apparently, I'm not good with shrimp, and I can accept that and learn from it.

    That being tank has 3 decent sized chunks of driftwood and at least 7-9 types of plants of varying sizes, as well as rocks that divide up the tank and add layers because its important to have lot and lots places for alone time. I do 30-50% water changes at least once a week, sometimes twice, and usually always closer to 50%. I dose with flourish and Prime regularly and I feed every other day, sometimes more, sometimes less if necessary.

    These fish will not be cramped into this tiny tank forever, I am also most definitely getting a larger tank in late August. At least 30 gallons, but I'm looking for a 45 tall. Pretty much anything that is at least 36" long but not much larger. Once I get the bigger tank everything will be transferred to it over time, with the exception of the substrate. I'll probably use sand this time, or a nutrient rich soil. I'll be bumping up the number of cory cats and another schooling fish that pairs well with the DG. Once things get cycled and settled, I'll probably add more amano or red cherry shrimp and see how it works out.

    Those of you that made it this far, please know that I highly value the information I receive on here and I heed it for the most part. Currently, if I were to notice any duress or distress from any of my fish I would make appropriate changes, and I hope that any newbie would. But as long as I see the progress that I've been seeing, I stand by my decisions to "overstock" my tank! Of course, we'll see what tune I'm singing if something goes wrong, but I'm proactive, not reactive, so I hope that it doesn't come to that.

    Thanks for reading and I hope some of you newbies and veterans, alike, acknowledge that every tank and fish is a little different and what works for you doesn't mean that it works for everyone, and vice verse. **Note that I'm not recommending disregarding general consensus on important topics.**


    Its hard to see but there is a fair amount of java moss around the middle driftwood in the shadows. The driftwood to the far right has large enough holes for shrimp and the pleco to hideout and the hornwort runs along the back and provides some excellent cover and traps food. In all honesty, the picture makes it look more open than it actually is, they have plenty of room to mosey around, but enough to keep them distracted from each other.
  2. LJC6780

    LJC6780Well Known MemberMember

    I am pretty new to fish keeping but I get it. I also think a lot of it has to do with actual size of the fish, where it may be outgrown in a few months or years but isn't at the moment. I think plants and types of fish has a lot to do with it also. You have some built in tank cleaners in there so I'm sure that helps. Plus, you have plans to expand fairly soon and you recognize that you need a larger tank in the near future.

    Good luck with everything!
  3. dcutl002

    dcutl002Well Known MemberMember

    Be careful that you do not get MTS. MTS has created strife between the wife and I and has cost me a bit of time and money. MTS can be defined by this equation: MTS=N+1 where N is the number of tanks that you currently own.

  4. Pikachu13131

    Pikachu13131Valued MemberMember

    Add cories when you get the 45.
  5. JDavies200Valued MemberMember

    Tank looks awesome! I know what you mean about mistakes and tank stocking. I have stock slightly wrong. The more research I do the more I want to change my fish. A very expensive hobby! My week off work has been spent nearly every day in aquatics shops. Asking questions and all sorts. Started around the same time with a tiny fluval edge 23L. Then jumped to the Roma 200

  6. angelfishguppieValued MemberMember

    definitely upgrade to a larger tank, it makes everything so much easier.

    I too am limited to a 36" width (i ended up with a 46 bow, suits the viewing angles in the room).

    LOVE sand as a substrate, hated the nutrient rich substrate additives when i had gravel though.

    i too flirt with the outer edges of stocking limits so i appreciate your comments.

    have fun researching and learning!
  7. Cef

    CefValued MemberMember

    Be sure to show us the upgrade so that the pitchforks could be set aside! Lol. Agree with adding more cories upon getting the 45g.
  8. Pikachu13131

    Pikachu13131Valued MemberMember

    But you need to have schools of six of the same species or they will become 3 more peppered and 5 more albino.
  9. jcblair77Valued MemberMember

    Glad someone finally mentioned this. I've seen so many people ask very simple, straightforward questions and just get "your tank is way overstocked" "upgrade to a bigger tank immediately" instead of an actual answer to their question. Most people know if they're tank is pushing the limits and sometimes that's okay. Seems like if you put anything other than a Betta in a ten gallon, people freak out. I myself have put a dwarf gourami in a ten gallon in the past but didn't want to share it on this forum because I knew I would be criticized for that.
  10. OP
    Chuck Wheat

    Chuck WheatValued MemberMember

    I appreciate the receptive comments! And Cef, don't start lighting torches or sharpening the axes yet; I promise updates will be provided!! I'm super excited about the upgrade and have been planning for some time. dcutl002, too late...I caught fish fever upon setting up the 10g. I've been looking for lighting, filters and heaters for a 45g, but getting my hands on that size tank might prove problematic without special ordering it. I'm bypassing anniversary and birthday presents so that I can get everything I need to get a larger tank going asap (which will be late August).

    I've had some concerns about the corys because I was under the impression that the albinos were the same species as the pepper corys. I don't want two schools of corys, necessarily, when I get my new tank. I'd rather do one large school of 8-10 or so. So far the albino has been "adopted" by the peppers but I can see how in a larger tank he might get excluded a bit. Currently, they kinda do their own thing. The last two I put in together stick together a little more and the one I put in with the albino kinda stays by himself or with the albino. I most likely won't be adding any more to this tank, but if it comes down to it when the time comes, I'll re-home the albino.

    I'm going to try convincing my wife that one of the kids will need the 10g in their room so that I can have a snail tank/plant growing tank/quarantine tank. If that is the case, I *might* put a few more albinos in there to be a species only tank. But I also know they prefer a longer tank, so I dunno yet. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. Eventually I will be doing away with the 10g altogether and replacing it with a 20tall or 20long...but we live in an apartment currently, so the issue is finding space.

    I really do care about the well being of my fish, but to a certain degree, sometimes people seem to get a little bent out of shape about minor things (like a baby bristlenose being kept for a few months in a 10g, even though its like an inch long and won't be getting that much bigger anytime soon). Sometimes its rightfully so, though, when people try to keep goldfish in a bowl or a common pleco in a 10g till adulthood. I get it, for the most part, but when newbies are asking questions, others don't always see the full picture and get bent on correcting what they see as the major issue, even though the new fish owner needs to know something else entirely. I'm not saying it doesn't need to be addressed, just not in such a condescending way, and definitely not several times in one thread. And if you're going to mention it, have a solution to the original issue included. That's all.
  11. Pikachu13131

    Pikachu13131Valued MemberMember

    I think you should pick which of the two types of corys you have to keep and rehome the other kind,it doesn't matter if it's the albinos or the peppered must make sure they get a good home with other Cory's of the same species.dont give them to a pet store,they will probably get some kind of disease and die find a person that has kept fish for awhile.
  12. clk89

    clk89Fishlore VIPMember

    I have seen a few people say that others are rude to newbies with overstocking, but I have never actually read it myself. I have seen people ask for stocking advice, and then get it. Very rare occasions has the person asking gotten upset at the advice, most of the time they thank the people giving the suggestions, and move on.

    I know some people are more blunt then others, which may be read on the internet in an incorrect tone. I know most on here are just looking out for the fish's health. I believe people say to get a tank that fits the fish before you get the fish is because something may happen and suddenly one can not get an upgrade, so then the fish are in a too small of a tank for more then just a few weeks.

    I am personally pretty easy going and I do understand that not everyone can afford big tanks. I'm pretty much one of those people actually, and was only able to get a 40 gallon breeder during a sale. ;) Wish you good luck with your upgrade, post pictures.
  13. OP
    Chuck Wheat

    Chuck WheatValued MemberMember

    I totally get that. I do. And I see more positive answers here than poor criticizing. I'm not even campaigning to change the way people give responses to newbies, I just am tired of skirting around asking certain things because of the way I want to learn things. I feel that I've been gradually adding and removing as necessary to keep things balanced, but if I were to post my current stock without any context I would have received a barrage of comments about how my fish are miserable, even though its very clear that they are not if you watch them for only a minute.
    Pikachu13131 - that is very kind thinking for the fish...but as mentioned in the original post, I don't know any other fish keepers. And the LFS I frequent has excellent quality stock. Where they go from there doesn't really concern me because if I keep them they'll be miserable and die and if I give them back to the store they'll die.

    This is kind of what I'm talking about. I've stated that I'm aware and willing to provide the fish more space or return them to the store, yet of the 3 comments Pikachu has made, they have all been about rehoming the corys. Context is lost completely in translation when it comes to texting and internet chats, so I can't tell if he/she is giving me a hard time because they sincerely care about the well being of 1-5 fish two states away, or just casually saying "hey bro, this is what I'd do...".
  14. clk89

    clk89Fishlore VIPMember

    I am sorry you are fearful of posting here with your current stock. I would suggest just making sure to give a short background story. I have seen many do that, and say that yes they will be upgrading soon then describe the problem they are having without any consequences.

    I saw Pikachu being polite when she/he asked you about the corys, you were also polite and receptive. I guess I don't see the big deal of that part of the discussion here. No one was rude about it.
  15. superbutterfly12Well Known MemberMember

    Sounds great! Beautiful tank. I've currently got a 3/4 inch baby bn pleco in half of a 5.5 gallon as the betta in that tank was mean to him. It's temporary. He'll be there about two weeks and he's hard to find in 2.5 gallons! As long as you know it needs extra maintenance with larger more frequent water changes i think it's fine. Personally i prefer my tanks slightly overstocked for more activity to watch in the tank so far IME.
  16. Skyy2112

    Skyy2112Valued MemberMember

    A lot like cichlid tanks overstocking is to cull aggression. Tons of people do overstock, but I'm happy you are doing this knowingly. Atleast you'll be providing care to these fish. =]
  17. OP
    Chuck Wheat

    Chuck WheatValued MemberMember

    No, of course not. I didn't take Pikachu's comments negatively or perceive them as rude and I hope my responses weren't crass. I apologize if anyone is/was offended. I don't want this to turn into anyone having to defend their comments, so I'll leave it at that.

    To bring it back to the original context: while it may be harmless/innocent reminders about a fishes preferred environment, also be considerate of new fish owners asking questions as the unlimited amount of information pertaining to keeping fish can be overwhelming at times. If the OP of the thread is asking about stocking options or overstocking, then by all means, they are seeking that information. But unless the overstocking is the contribution to their issue (and often it is, so this would be irrelevant in those situations) then I see people get a little preachy about it without contributing to the source question.
  18. Pikachu13131

    Pikachu13131Valued MemberMember

    I think if you post it on Craigslist someone will take them.
  19. OP
    Chuck Wheat

    Chuck WheatValued MemberMember

    Possibly, or anyone that wants a single albino cory wouldn't waste their time driving here to pick it up from a stranger who could possibly have a contaminated tank when they could drive to the same store I'll be taking it to and buy their own from a trusted source. You're assuming that any fish that go through an LFS will die horrible disease ridden deaths eventually. Where do you get your fish if you don't get them from your pet stores?
  20. Pikachu13131

    Pikachu13131Valued MemberMember

    I don't think the stocking was bad for a temporary tank,thats why I don't think anyone mentioned it.

    I usually only buy from privately owned fish stores that I know clean their tanks regularly and make sure their fish don't have diseases before the sell them.unless you have one like that,i wouldn't give them to a LFS.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2016

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