Stocking Rules

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by chickenghost, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. chickenghost Valued Member Member

    I am aware that the inch per gallon rule is incorrect, and out of curiosity, is there any rule of stocking that actually works?

  2. BottomDweller Fishlore VIP Member

    Not really. It depends on many things including temperament, schooling, activity, area of tank they swim in, bioload and more.

    A sort of general guide I would use for a 20 gallon long for example would be
    6-8 small schooling fish (like skirt tetras, cherry barbs, cardinal tetras and WCMM) OR 2 schools of nano fish (CPD, ember tetas, chili rasboras) 6-8 in each school
    1-4 Small non schooling fish (like rams, honey gouramis, platies, DGs, guppies)
    6-8 small bottom dwelling school (kuhli loaches, cories)

  3. cjbart1009 Valued Member Member


    I wouldn't keep an adult oscar in a 55g but would keep 30 ember tetras in there.

  4. Lorekeeper Well Known Member Member

    There really aren't any rules that are accurate.

    Like @BottomDweller said, there are a few stocking guidelines you can keep in mind for certain tank sizes, and adjust from there, but it usually comes down to what you feel is correct.

    On this forum, we generally tell everyone to go extremely light on stocking, which is a good thing. It keeps our tanks more stable and in good shape for a long time.

    On other forums, you may see heavier stocking recommendations or even people saying that shrimp can't even live in tanks smaller than 2 gallons (this isn't an exageration)

    It's experience that dictates good stocking. If TexasDomer comes into a thread, I'm going to listen to him, cause he usually knows exactly what he's talking about.

  5. chickenghost Valued Member Member

    OK thanks. I will remember that.

  6. aquatickeeper Fishlore VIP Member

    And TexasDomer is a she
  7. Lorekeeper Well Known Member Member

    Thanks for the correction!

    Guess I never paid attention. Sorry!
  8. Anders247 Fishlore Legend Member

    Couldn't have said it better.
  9. AngelTheGypsy Fishlore VIP Member

    That's okay. I thought you were a she until you said you were just a Kentucky boy, then I checked your profile
  10. Lorekeeper Well Known Member Member

    Wow, thanks! :p
  11. chickenghost Valued Member Member

    OK, for an example, how many 2 inch fish could one stock in, say a 30 gallon?
  12. cjbart1009 Valued Member Member

    What kind of 2 inch fish? And the footprint of the tank?
  13. chickenghost Valued Member Member

    how about odessa barbs. It just came to mind, and as for footprint, you pick
  14. cjbart1009 Valued Member Member

    I'll probably keep 8 at most granted that the tank is longer. Aren't 30's usually 36x12x16?
  15. Anders247 Fishlore Legend Member

    Sometimes people refer to 29s as 30s, which are 30 by 12, 30 longs are 36 by 12.
  16. cjbart1009 Valued Member Member

    Oh ok. Thanks for the clarification.
  17. vikingkirken Well Known Member Member

    People on this forum stock MUCH more heavily than the inch-per-gallon rule. The inch-per-gallon rule for small fish, and half-inch-per-gallon rule for full-bodied fish, is a good way to estimate bioload (but only bioload) for beginners or busy people who may not always be on top of water changes. It is generally much more conservative than the suggestions on here. (But it is still not conservative enough when you start looking at fish over 6" or so.)

    But as others have said, bioload isn't the only consideration in stocking a tank.
  18. Lorekeeper Well Known Member Member

    It's been established that the inch per gallon (or half inch) is innacurate... I wouldn't even consider it okay to use for a guideline.

    People here stock much heavier than the rule recommends, but if the rule is absolutely useless, using that comparison is pretty null.
  19. cjbart1009 Valued Member Member

    There are certain species that are overstocked to reduce aggression like certain African cichlids and Central Americans. But we're not talking about a 20 gallon tank. The tanks that I've seen overstocked are usually 150g or bigger and they're over filtered usually with 2 canisters and 2 hobs or a huge sump.

    As we all know the more water volume the less likely it is for the parameters to crash. As per above there are no certain rules for stocking because each species is a case to case basis.
  20. vikingkirken Well Known Member Member

    Your original post was saying that people on this forum stock very lightly and therefore, create more stable tanks than any rules. I was simply pointing out that from a bioload perspective, which is what drives water quality and stability, that isn't true.