How do I build a shoal?
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How do I build a shoal?

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How do I build a shoal?
Old 02-06-2014, 01:11 PM   #1
 
Question How do I build a shoal?

My 20-gal tank is recently cycled (knock-wood), so I'm planning to add new inhabitants over the next few months.

Many of the species I favor are shoaling fish (e.g. Corys), so I'm anticipating a minimum of five individuals. But I'm curious about how to build that community without shocking the tank and starting another big cycle. So, what's the right approach?

Do I purchase one at a time? Two at a time?

Assuming an incremental approach is recommended, is there anything I can do while their numbers are low to reduce stress and aggression?

Is an interval of one week okay (as long as any ammonia or nitrite spikes diminish)?

How should I work up to the male-female ratio most appropriate for the species (e.g. start with the females, start with M-F pairs)?

Any other considerations?
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Old 02-06-2014, 01:49 PM   #2
 
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Well, it depends on the species...with cories you don't have to worry about aggression. They're probably the least aggressive fish in the world. lol

Now, shocking your tank is always a concern...with cories, I would do three a week. Make it a group of six, three one week, three the next week. With any group or shoaling fish, it's always best to go in three's. With some a "Pair" can get possessive and aggressive very quickly and may not accept the other members right off, with three it evens it out more. With cories though, you don't have to worry about THAT happening if you decide to go with a pair, best to do three's though for securities sake. That should keep the system from being over-loaded, you have a sorta group to start with that should be more than fine for a week before you complete the group. It will also help a little if you have some live plants, what little there would be in parameter spikes plants often take care of when you do small groups at a time...Though just adding three per week, there shouldn't be any spikes at all, and the rise in acidity will be more than tolerable.

Now, if you can tell them apart, it's probably good to make it even with the sexes. I don't think it matters when it comes to cories, but it never hurts to try to make pairs. I've had four males and two females before. ^^; They don't pester each other like some fish do and stress the other out, they're actually quite sweet about breeding rituals, what with the caressing and cuddling and dancing... In fact the female is the one to...make the deal, not the male, and they don't actually mate so much as the female takes eggs into her mouth with the males sperm, and then sticks the eggs to wherever...=p
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Old 02-06-2014, 02:00 PM   #3
 
Add one fish

wait a week

add 4 more.


my .02
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Old 02-06-2014, 04:22 PM   #4
 
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I've never had a problem either way with stocking corys. I've added to a new tank(yes cycled) 10 cory's before. and Ive added more since then 1 at a time sometimes 2 ..just whatever I could find of the right species and healthy. I've also in another tank started with one then added 1 at a time over the next couple weeks then 3 at once after that. Made NO difference either way. They are very easy going fish to keep and stock. Also never caused issues with my cycle stability adding a butt ton at once of corys
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Old 02-06-2014, 04:38 PM   #5
 
Yes... I'm going for the butt ton!
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Old 02-06-2014, 04:50 PM   #6
 
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The bacteria colonies can double in size in 24 hours, so I would use that as a guideline for how many fish to add at a time. Of course you can always overload to bacteria to some degree - sometimes that is unavoidable. In that situation dosing with an ammonia/nitrite locking water conditioner for several days with a couple of water changes in there will get you past that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beaslbob View Post
Add one fish

wait a week

add 4 more.


my .02
Quadrupling the bioload is not a good idea if it can be helped.
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:45 PM   #7
 
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lol The butt ton line was funny, but you really don't want to do that. SOMETIMES it ends up fine...other times you lose half your stock or more over the next day or two and wonder why. .-.; I did that once a LONG time ago, I got five neon tetras all at once for a new tank and they died over night from the rise in acidity. =/ Sure, they're not the most hardy of fish, but that was too much and 6-10+ would be too much to add to a new tank, or even an established one, and it could be too much for your cories, or they could be fine. It's up to you to risk that, but be mindful it's not YOU who is suffering from it, but the fish. You gotta be careful. Sometimes you can ward off rises with a water change a few hours after getting the fish, but that will also stress them since they've just been moved to a new home and are trying to get secure and settle in.
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:50 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylverclaws View Post
lol The butt ton line was funny, but you really don't want to do that. SOMETIMES it ends up fine...other times you lose half your stock or more over the next day or two and wonder why. .-.; I did that once a LONG time ago, I got five neon tetras all at once for a new tank and they died over night from the rise in acidity. =/ Sure, they're not the most hardy of fish, but that was too much and 6-10+ would be too much to add to a new tank, or even an established one, and it could be too much for your cories, or they could be fine. It's up to you to risk that, but be mindful it's not YOU who is suffering from it, but the fish. You gotta be careful. Sometimes you can ward off rises with a water change a few hours after getting the fish, but that will also stress them since they've just been moved to a new home and are trying to get secure and settle in.
haha.. I do have a butt ton of fish. However I should also say my tanks are extremely stable so adding a butt ton doesn't hurt them. Established and not established actually does make a difference.
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:10 PM   #9
 
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Aha, I'd assume it also depends on the size and what else you have in the tank keeping it stable. :3 But for a newer twenty gallon, I think adding an entire group would be pushing it.
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:27 PM   #10
 
I was just enjoying the humor... I will definitely be cautious. Too much at stake to be hasty.
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