Does a Fish's Tank Level Affect the 1" per 1gal. Rule?
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Does a Fish's Tank Level Affect the 1" per 1gal. Rule?

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Does a Fish's Tank Level Affect the 1" per 1gal. Rule?
Old 07-08-2014, 12:09 PM   #1
 
Does a Fish's Tank Level Affect the 1" per 1gal. Rule?

We have set up a 10 gallon freshwater aquarium and are about to start slowly stocking it with fish over time. I have maintained tanks in the past and I am familiar with the old rule of thumb of keeping 1" of fish per gallon (10" in my case). Our planned inhabitants would overstock the tank a little based on full adult size of the fish we were planning to add. Obviously, they may be smaller than full size when originally added to the tank.

My question is does the 1" per 1 gallon rule follow as tightly if the fish are distributed throughout different levels of the tank? Or, is the rule based solely on the bio-load of the fish?

These are the fish we are planning to add:
1 male Red Mickey Mouse Platy
6-8 Black Neon Tetras (Hyphessobrycon Herbertaxelrodi)
3-4 Albino Cories (Corydoras Aeneus)

That could mean as much as 17"-22" of fish. As the tetras and platy should stay near the top though, and the cories along the bottom, it seems there may at least be enough room for everyone. I have augmented the filter (Top Fin Aquarium Power Filter 20) with about ten Cobalt Aquatics Ceramic Rings to help eventually handle the bio-load. There is room to add a couple more as we add fish, if needed. I should note I check water quality religiously and plan to do water changes as frequently as necessary (I tend to prefer frequent, smaller changes in an established tank, rather than a large one less frequently).

There are also plants that have been in the tank since cycling began:
2 small Anubias Nana attached to a piece of driftwood
1 small Java Fern attached to a suction cup along the tank side
2 small Hornwort attached to a suction cup along the tank back

Here is the entire tank setup:
Standard 10 Gallon Tank
Aqueon Deluxe Full Hood, 20"
(with 18", 15W, T8 Full Spectrum Bulb)
Aqueon Submersible 50 Watt Heater
Top Fin Air-1000 Air Pump
(with small air stone)
Top Fin Aquarium Power Filter 20
(with added Cobalt Aquatics Ceramic Rings)

Using the API Freshwater Master Test Kit

Any thoughts or opinions based on the experience of others are greatly welcome.

Thank you!
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:17 PM   #2
 
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The 1" per gallon rule has loooong be ruled out as it is not even a good guideline. It doesn't take into concideration the bio-load as you were asking about, or if the tank is planted or the levels of the fish.

What you do want to look into is the activity level of the fish and how big is their bio-load?

I would never place Zebra danios in a 10 gallon, sure they only get to 2 inches but they are crazy active and need all the top swimming space they can get, so there's one example.

Next example is the classic goldfish, sure the goldfish might be 5 inches but their bioload is through the roof and no amount of filters will help keep that goldfish safe!

What you are looking at in your stock looks good to me. Platies are very messy fish though and IIRC they are pretty social, I don't think they need a group or anything but they might benefit from other platies being around, but you can try the one and just watch him to see how he fares is all :) But again, their bioload is pretty high.

The Black neon's aren't bad either, they have more bioload than smaller fish of course but if you do your weekly cleanings and your plants actively grow then your tank should be just fine!
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caveman (07-08-2014)
Old 07-08-2014, 12:18 PM   #3
 
The 1" of fish per gallon rule is outdated now. Based on your stocking, I would not do the cories. They get too big and you can't provide them a proper school of 6+. I would also stay away from the neons due to size and go with Celestial Pearl Danios instead. The platy will be fine but they actually do prefer more of their own species. Maybe 3 male platies and 10 CPDs?
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:22 PM   #4
 
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CPD's are colder water fish and prefer live foods over prepared, so unless you have a grindal worm culture going, I wouldn't go with them (I have them and they only eat my grindal worms, I see them occasionally take a flake but they really prefer the live foods because they are so small).

here's an alternate stocking list with less of a Bio-load:

3 Male Platies of your choice
8 Rasbora Espei or Chili Rasbora
6 Corydoras Habrosus

And if you do that you can keep the tank around 76-78 and all your fish would be pretty happy.

Also if you up your plants, you'll have a much happier tank too because the plants will soak up all the ammonia or at least most of it which means a safer tank; less water changes. I recommend looking into Water Wisteria, Water Sprite, Anacharis (illegal in some states), and more Hornwort to plant or let float.
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Old 07-08-2014, 06:32 PM   #5
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilnaugrim View Post
CPD's are colder water fish and prefer live foods over prepared, so unless you have a grindal worm culture going, I wouldn't go with them (I have them and they only eat my grindal worms, I see them occasionally take a flake but they really prefer the live foods because they are so small).

here's an alternate stocking list with less of a Bio-load:

3 Male Platies of your choice
8 Rasbora Espei or Chili Rasbora
6 Corydoras Habrosus

And if you do that you can keep the tank around 76-78 and all your fish would be pretty happy.

Also if you up your plants, you'll have a much happier tank too because the plants will soak up all the ammonia or at least most of it which means a safer tank; less water changes. I recommend looking into Water Wisteria, Water Sprite, Anacharis (illegal in some states), and more Hornwort to plant or let float.
lilnaugrim, I do like the Espei Rasbora, and feel their size would work, but I worry they may be more likely to breed than the Black Neon Tetras. They seem to be roughly the same adult size. I am trying to avoid fry as it is a small tank and I am not looking to set up anything else at this time.

I should note, my water hardness is around 18dGH. pH is about 6.6 while cycling, but my tap water is 7.0, so I assume it will rise once the cycle completes (soon!). The hardness and more neutral water may slow a tetras breeding as I understand it.

Thank you all for the great responses.
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Old 07-08-2014, 06:59 PM   #6
 
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Breeding in aquaria rarely happens and even if they do, the fish will eat the fry anyway. Their adult size is under an inch.
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:29 PM   #7
 
How do you determine the bio-load of a particular fish? Is there a chart somewhere, or is it a guestimate based on your experience? At least with the old way we knew about inches = gallons! :)
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:50 PM   #8
 
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It's sort of a guestimate on experience or concrete experience from others. It's a known fact that all algae eaters have a higher bio-load meaning they poop a lot. Under that category falls plecos, otos, snails, and livebearers. The only ones that don't fall under that are shrimp, they have very tiny bio-load.

And then after that it becomes based on size; the larger the fish the more they poop no matter what stage they are in. Example is the common Plecos that get up to 24 inches, even as babies they are huge poopers, same with Roseline Sharks and bala sharks.
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