04-01-2011, 12:20 PM
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I don't disagree with you regarding the saltwater and/or freshwater stocking "rules". I think there are multiple factors that have caused the "rules" (guidelines) to evolve as they have. I know I'm just stating what most folks already know, I'm just putting it out there in the spirit of aquakids post!
1) No one wants their fishes to die, they represent time and $$, most want to minimize risks to the livestock in our tanks.
2) Conservative stocking is always less risky. If you understock a tank, there is much more room for non-catastrophic error.
3) Many aquarists go with minimal tech, minimal maintenance, and don't always do all the research they should in advance, me included. (see #2!)
4) Equipment can fail and power outages happen, see #2 again!
5) Mental inertia. " But that's the way it's always been done," is a hard thing to overcome...
With those points in mind, freshwater and saltwater tanks can be physically stocked at much higher levels than various guidelines indicate. The question then, philosophically, becomes should we do it to the maximum of the filter technology/space capacity? Stocking at the maximum possible level leads to the next point - the welfare of the inhabitants. I'm certainly not an animal rights person! However, aquarists do have a responsibility, IMO, to maintain their critters in an environment that is healthy. Health encompasses more than just good water chemistry.
Ok, so I didn't really answer the question. I don't think there is a "right" answer. Stocking level depends on personal preferences, the technological capability to support the bioload, and the needs/preferences of the species stocked. Two of those three are open to broad interpretation...
Last edited by DKRST; 04-01-2011 at 12:24 PM..