Stunted growth in fish - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-26-2013, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Arrow Stunted growth in fish

I've heard that over stocking an aquarium can lead to stunted growth in fish. Is this permanent, or will the fish continue to grow when the tank population has diminished? Is the effect the same on all freshwater aquarium dwellers or does it change between fish (tetras and plecos specifcally) , snails and shrimp?

Any advice would be much appreciated!
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post #2 of 7 Old 05-27-2013, 10:33 AM
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Just speculating here but I think that stunted growth has more to do with tank size than stocking levels... although too small a tank can easily be overstocked with fewer fish so one can lead to the other.

I think that if you use the minimum tank recommendations in the profiles here there would unlikely be any cases where a fish might end up stunted.

Jeff.


Total years fish keeping experience: 7 months, can't start counting in years for a while yet.

The shotgun approach to a planted tank with an LED fixture

Small scale nitrogen cycle with a jar, water and fish food; no substrate, filter etc
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-27-2013, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishiefishfish View Post
I've heard that over stocking an aquarium can lead to stunted growth in fish. Is this permanent, or will the fish continue to grow when the tank population has diminished? Is the effect the same on all freshwater aquarium dwellers or does it change between fish (tetras and plecos specifcally) , snails and shrimp?

Any advice would be much appreciated!
Stunted growth means the fish cannot develop properly internally (organ development) because of some environmental factor. While too small a space for the species is the most common cause, this can also occur from too many fish, or insufficient fish of the species, or the wrong combination of fish species. All of these affect water quality just as too small a space does, and cause stress.

It applies to all fish, and it cannot be reversed. The fish so affected will have a shorter than normal lifespan, and along the way be subject to other issues that a healthy fish would be able to fight off. One of these is usually the cause of death.

I know nothing of how this affects, or if it does, invertebrates like snails and shrimp.

You might find some more info in my article on stress, here:
Stress and Freshwater Aquarium Fish

Byron.
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Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 7 Old 05-27-2013, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Byron, that was a great read!
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-01-2013, 03:00 PM
is it true the size of the fish will be stunted but the insides of the fish will continue to grow cause it to have a poor life span?
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-01-2013, 04:04 PM
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is it true the size of the fish will be stunted but the insides of the fish will continue to grow cause it to have a poor life span?
The fish cannot grow externally, meaning the physical size getting larger, because of the tank size which affects not only the physical space but the water quality [more below]. The internal organs however continue to grow, but when this is impeded by the physical limitations because the fish is not getting larger in size, the organs become deformed, and this causes the health issues that weaken the fish (immune system, etc) and will almost inevitably kill the fish at some point.

On the tank size and water, we know this is a critical relationship because discus fish breeders can raise many more fry in smaller tanks solely by doing 100% water changes 2 or 3 times every day. If these are not done, the fry will not develop properly due to the water conditions which are caused by too many fish in so small a space.

Byron.
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Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-04-2013, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you Byron! This is a great website. I am fairly new to the fish keeping world and this forum is the best that I have found in my extensive searches. I can't wait for the day that I am half as experienced and knowledgable as most of the people who frequent this site! My fish also thank you, without the advice I've gained I'm sure that I wouldn't have nearly as happy and healthy fish as I do.
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