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Thread: How much can you over stock a heavily planted tank?

  1. #1
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    JustMeMikey's Avatar
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    How much can you over stock a heavily planted tank?

    Ok I have myself a 55 gallon tank that is 4 feet in length and I am way past the 1 inch per fish, I am even past the 1/2 in per fish but my parameters all normal so far.
    I have lots of filtration including a large canister filter that is rated for up to 90 gallon tank, a bio wheel filter and a sump. In the sump the water first comes down a wet dry trickle system then pushes thru different rated sponges and then thru lava rack and bio substrate and Finally it goes into an area with moving bed media and then back into tank!

    My my stocking list includes
    9 roseline
    6 boesemani
    6 New Guinea red rainbow
    25 cardinals
    9 green neons
    3 ottos
    6 khuli loaches

    i really wish I started off with a larger tank but right now I have the 55, perhaps I maybe score a reasonable priced 120 gallon before I rose lines and rainbow fish reach full size

  2. #2
    ComfortablyNumb
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    I don't know what the "experts" say, but I have been running a heavily planted 65g with a large bioload too. 20 Angels, 15 neons, 6 Sunset platties, 3 large algae-eating darters, a couple of large gourami's, close to 50 fish I guess...with no problems. 3 Aquaclear 50's for filtration, once a month 60% ro water change...and I pull out a bucketful of plants every other month. In the pic below, you only see about the half the fish..the others are hidden by plants, etc

    ]Click here to enlarge

  3. #3
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    DevonC's Avatar
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    There is no single answer , the 1" per gallon rule is complete nonsense.

    You need sufficient room for the fish to move around, enough oxygenation for them to breath, filtration to handle the bio load and sufficient water changes to remove the waste.

    Those are the limiting factors but how many fish that works out too will varry dramatically depending on the fish involved.
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    Thanks so much! I am glad to hear I am not the only one who doesn't follow the one inch rule! I do 10% water change every day or every second day! Not that I need to do it I just end up doing it anyways when I sit down watching my tank at night out of habit!

  5. #5
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    Beautiful tank! I love it!

  6. #6
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    The inch per gallon rule was created as a suggested guideline years ago for fishkeepers. It is said that it was originally meant as cubic inches of fish per gallon... which is much more reasonable. You would still likely be under this "fish limit" if you attempted to figure it out, but I would just recomend using your own intuition. Due to the incorrect interpretation, the rule probably did more damage than good.
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    Surface area also is a factor.
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    Turn the power off to the tank at night and see how long it takes before the fish start piping at the surface. In tanks that are not overstocked the fish should be fine for about 10 to 12 hours. Its easy to have filters that handle the ammonia production but overstocked tans crash very easy
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  9. #9
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Graham Click here to enlarge
    Turn the power off to the tank at night and see how long it takes before the fish start piping at the surface. In tanks that are not overstocked the fish should be fine for about 10 to 12 hours. Its easy to have filters that handle the ammonia production but overstocked tans crash very easy
    what if the tank is moderately overstocked meaning just a fish or two , if it is planted etc I really wouldn't advise turning a tank off for 6/8 possibly 10 hours to find out like would that not just incite the tank to crash easier with no flow possibly killing off a portion of your bio and receiving ammonia and other parameter spikes ?
    I have seen a moderately stocked tank crash and kill almost everyone in the tank after 4+ hours with no power, now this also begs to question how clean the filter and tank was in the first place. Providing someone with a general timeline on how long a overstocked tank may have fish piping at the top might be a good idea, cause I kinda took this advice as if your fish are top gasping for air at the top in 10+ hours your tank is stocked perfect.only problem with finding that out is who really has 10+ hours to sit and watch a fish tank.

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