Stocking Rules

chickenghost

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?
 

BottomDweller

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)
 

cjbart1009

Member
Yes^^^

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

Lorekeeper

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.
 
  • Thread Starter

chickenghost

Member
OK thanks. I will remember that.
 

aquatickeeper

Member
Lorekeeper said:
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.
And TexasDomer is a she
 

Lorekeeper

Member
aquatickeeper said:
And TexasDomer is a she
Thanks for the correction!

Guess I never paid attention. Sorry!
 

Anders247

Member
BottomDweller said:
Not really. It depends on many things including temperament, schooling, activity, area of tank they swim in, bioload and more.
Couldn't have said it better.
 

AngelTheGypsy

Member
Lorekeeper said:
Thanks for the correction!

Guess I never paid attention. Sorry!
That's okay. I thought you were a she until you said you were just a Kentucky boy, then I checked your profile
 

Lorekeeper

Member
AngelTheGypsy said:
That's okay. I thought you were a she until you said you were just a Kentucky boy, then I checked your profile
Wow, thanks!
 
  • Thread Starter

chickenghost

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

cjbart1009

Member
chickenghost said:
OK, for an example, how many 2 inch fish could one stock in, say a 30 gallon?
What kind of 2 inch fish? And the footprint of the tank?
 
  • Thread Starter

chickenghost

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

cjbart1009

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

Anders247

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

cjbart1009

Member
Anders247 said:
Sometimes people refer to 29s as 30s, which are 30 by 12, 30 longs are 36 by 12.
Oh ok. Thanks for the clarification.
 

vikingkirken

Member
Lorekeeper said:
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.
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.
 

Lorekeeper

Member
vikingkirken said:
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.
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.
 

cjbart1009

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 150 gallon 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.
 

vikingkirken

Member
Lorekeeper said:
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.
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.
 

Lorekeeper

Member
vikingkirken said:
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.
How is what I said not true?

A smaller bioload in a tank will allow ammonia to accumulate more slowly.

In a 20 gallon with 24 neons (overstocked, imo), the fish will put out enough ammonia that if something in the tank causes the cycle to fail, or something happens that causes half the fish to die, there will be a large spike of ammonia. If the cycle is still intact, then it will still take some time to get rid of the spike created, risking the lives of the fish in the process.

In a 20 gallon with 12 neons (just right), the fish will still put out a sizeable amount of ammonia. However, if will be half of what the 24 neons would put out (I'm aware that it's not exactly half, but it's a decent estimate) which means that in the case of a cycle failing or a large amount of deaths, there will be less ammonia in the same space.

Stocking lightly does create more stable tanks.
 

vikingkirken

Member
I wasn't disagreeing that stocking lightly creates a more stable tank. I was pointing out that stocking by the inch-per-gallon rule is more conservative (when used for small fish, as it should be) than many of the stocks suggested here.
 

Lorekeeper

Member
vikingkirken said:
I wasn't disagreeing that sticking lightly creates a more stable tank. I was pointing out that stocking by the inch-per-gallon rule is more conservative (when used for small fish, as it should be) than many of the stocks suggested here.
I disagree with that.

When the stocking lists come from knowledgable members, this forum seems to stock lighter than most of the others that I've come across. A lot of forums say that neons do great in a 10 gallon. This one says they do not, even when a school of 8 neons (by the inch per gallon rule) should be okay in a 10 gallon tank.

Maybe I've just not been around to see some of the stocking recommendations you're talking about, but I haven't seen any ridiculous heavy stockings recommended without A) another member stepping in to correct the stocking or B) members recommending ways of keeping a safe tank at stocking capacity/slightly overstocked (overfiltering, excessive wc's, chemical filtration, etc.)
 

vikingkirken

Member
Here's an example, for a 29 gallon:

8x skirt tetra
10x harlequin rasbora
1x dwarf gourami
1-2x Bolivian rams
8-10x cories

Using the inch-per-gallon guideline, that tank is grossly overstocked with over 50 inches of fish. Now, I respect the person who suggested this, so I figure it'll probably be fine. But it's a whole lot more aggressive than a "29 inches of small fish" stocking would be.

And this is not one isolated example; this is typical. I continually see people attack the inch-per-gallon rule here, but I think it has value for estimating a conservative bioload. Of course you then have to take into account compatibility, temperament, overall size, and activity levels as well.
 

Alhana

Member
vikingkirken said:
And this is not one isolated example; this is typical. I continually see people attack the inch-per-gallon rule here, but I think it has value for estimating a conservative bioload. Of course you then have to take into account compatibility, temperament, overall size, and activity levels as well.
I agree with your point here. Also the inch per gallon rule while not completely accurate is a lot easier for most lay people to understand. As someone who works with fish and the general public, I have to give them some kind of starting guideline that is easy to understand. If I don't use something easy then the people have already tuned me out and are buying 17 fish at one time to put into their ten gallon tank. I do also talk about how many fish to add at one time so my hope is usually that if they only get 3-6 fish at that time, that gives them a little bit of time to do more research and find a better stocking rule than the inch per gallon.
 
  • Thread Starter

chickenghost

Member
cjbart1009 said:
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 150 gallon 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.
so essentially what you are saying is the bigger the better?
 

Lorekeeper

Member
chickenghost said:
so essentially what you are saying is the bigger the better?
Most of the time, for tank stability, yes. Not taking into account the specific needs of a certain species of course.
 

cjbart1009

Member
chickenghost said:
so essentially what you are saying is the bigger the better?
Yes and no. It just depends on the kind of fish you're keeping.
 
Top Bottom