Please tell me this tank is crowded?
I was walking around the mall and there was I guess about a 60 gallon tank and it had about 35-45 cichlids in it. Also has a crap load of plants and castles (took up a good 10 gallons of space). Most were 4-5 inches but two were a good 6-7 inches. I told the owner the tank may be a bit crowded and he just laughed at me and told me I was crazy. Heres a pic, the best I could get on my phone without looking obvious about it
I feel bad for these fish...They could not even swim without touching another fish
Yah, that's crowded.... the water level isn't even up so it's certainly shy of even the rated volume of the tank too.
I wonder how long it has been that way.
That;s an african cichlid tank - overstocking the tank is how many who keep such tanks minimize aggression.
That's crowded alright. You see that a lot in malls, offices, etc. I guess they're just considered a decoration.
If it is a 60 gallon and there are around 40 fish... if filtration is huge, can it still be considered too overstocked if everything has been running healthy for a long time? As far as biological nitrification, it would be up to the load and with some plants... it comes down to the water maintenance.
I've seen pictures of other tanks with tons of fish and everything appears to be OK... but of course never seeing any negative or other side of the equation, only a still picture, it's hard to know.
Tanks set up for display like that are often intentionally overcrowded to reduce aggression - seems like backwards logic by average hobbyist thinking, but is quite common and effective.
Is it worth it to reduce aggression to the point of the fish have absolutely no personal territory or ability to swim without touching another fish? Seems an easy way to stress them to death.
I do understand that most African cichlid tanks are a touch overstocked but that looks ridiculous and cruel. Especially with the larger 6-7 inch fish.
Oh, they all have a territory. It's a very common practice - the tanks are usually well more than a touch "overstocked". It's really comparing apples and oranges though, to compare the stocking of an African cichlid tank to a tropical community.
In the wild, African cichlids vigorously and constantly defend their territory, so such a setup is actually closer to nature than one might think. Does that mean you can't overstock an African tank by African standards? No of course not. Any tank can be overdone. But it's relative. But African cichlid tanks aren't the "stress free" environments we shoot for with community tanks. Is it worthwhile to reduce aggression? Most think so. Is it better for a fish to die from the stress of the aggression of other fish?
I'm not saying that the tank is perfect - I'm just pointing out that African tanks are different.
While I understand that "African" tanks are a whole different kind of tank compared to others I still disapprove of the common practice of overstocking like what is seen in the OP. I understand that you need to have a decent sized group to distribute aggression.
Cichlids are not the only fish out there that by nature are fiercely territorial, and aggressive. They are not the only fish that has to have a larger group in order to balance out fighting. They are often victim to insane over stocking levels and the owners use the same mantra of "Oh well it prevents aggression".
I've seen well stocked cichlid tanks that had fish getting along and it wasn't the insane stocking levels I commonly see people defend. This hits home to me because it touches on a issue that is the same with the Bichir Community. It's over stock + bare bones environment. The result sadly is often shorter lives, and death by bloat, septicemia, or simply being ripped apart when one fish finally snaps and has had enough. Also very faded out colors. That's my POV. The owner of that tank is crazy for thinking that thing is okay.
There are documentaries on african cichlids that one can watch in order to gain a better understanding of what their natural habitats are like.
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