Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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mrogmrog 10-07-2008 06:02 AM

Hi - and stocking worry

Just joined the forum, been keeping fish almost a year. I have 2 tanks, both seem happy and vibrant, but I'm worried about stocking levels. I know both are probably overstocked, but by how much I'm not sure. Advice please!

Tank 1 - 4', 55 gallon, pretty heavily planted, Rena XP2 filter, nitrate 0, ammonia 0, nitrate 40ppm, pH 7.0, temp 77F (nitrates are high, I know - I think I've been over-fertilizing the plants and am now doing water changes to cut it down)

6 metallic rosy barb
6 green tiger barb
4 angels (3" high)
4 lace gourami
4 neon tetra
4 xray tetra
2 bristlenose (1 4" male, 1 2" female)
11 bristlenose babies (hooray) (in a net with a bit of wood to munch on)
1 3" rainbow shark
1 6" red sailfin plec

I know the plec will get too big eventually. I didn't buy him, I rescued him when I bought the tank, with occupants, on ebay. The previous owners were not kind to the fish - they didn't condition the water at all and did 100% water changes once a month and scrubbed out the entire inside of the tank and filter. No other water changes - the water was permanently cloudy. Even if the tank is still a bit overstocked, at least the water quality is now much better.

Tank 2 - 2', 10 gallon, no plants, aquarium salt added (at API recommended concentration), Rena internal filter, nitrite 0, ammonia 0, not tested nitrate or pH recently, temp 77F.

5 adult mollies (2 male)
20 baby mollies in various stages of growth
5 adult platies (2 male)
4 tiny platy babies
5 adult guppies
1 adult swordtail (female)
a thriving population of tiny snails - god knows where they came from.

Both tanks get 20% water changes once a week, or more frequently if I see any problems. At a change I use Stress coat, stress zyme, and melafix. I clean the filters every 2 weeks. There's currently no carbon in the filters, just foams and plenty of Eheim bio filter substrate.

So what jumps out at you from all this? What should I be watching or doing? Should I be raising the temperatures at all? Should I add carbon to the filters?


mrogmrog 10-07-2008 06:34 AM

er - I meant nitrite 0 for tank 1.

iamntbatman 10-07-2008 02:13 PM

Hello and welcome to the forum!

It looks like everything's running pretty smoothly, except both tanks are quite overstocked. In the first tank, here are a few things that jump out at me: the gouramis can be pretty territorial with one another, and if you haven't seen it already, you may run into problems with them getting in fights with one another. Your angels are still small, but as they grow they may form pairs and get aggressive, especially towards one another but also possibly with the gouramis. As they get bigger they will also very likely eat your neons. Watch for aggression between your shark and your plecos. Are you planning on keeping the bristlenose babies? If so, that's a *ton* of extra fish in a tank that's already overstocked.

The second tank is already overstocked and will only get worse as your livebearers keep breeding. You will definitely need to pull fry out of the tank on a regular basis and give them away or, um, give them to your angelfish. You might even want to gradually get rid of the salt in that tank (the livebearers don't mind it and may even appreciate it, but certainly don't need it) and swap out some of the livebearers from the 10g with, say, the neons from the 55g. This will prevent your neons from getting eaten and will prevent your livebearer population from getting even more out of control, since the angels will eat the fry. You could also try segregating the fish by sex and only keep males in the 10g and put the females in the 55g.

As for carbon, it's really up to you. Some people are avid proponents of it. Personally, I don't use any carbon on any of my tanks unless I have been medicating and want to get the medication out of the water. Some people believe that activated carbon removes essential trace elements from your water that benefit both your plants and fish. Some also believe that it's at least partly to blame for hole-in-the-head disease. If you do use it, it needs to be replaced completely at least every month. I feel that the possible risks and the cost of using it outweigh any benefit it might have, but that's a personal decision so I suggest doing research on the the issues involved.

Anyway, happy fishkeeping!

willow 10-07-2008 02:44 PM

hello and welcome.
nothing to add,it's been covered.
apart from..........would love to see pictures if you can. :)

mrogmrog 10-07-2008 06:59 PM

Thanks for the comprehensive reply and generous advice iamntbatman - just what I was hoping for!

I'm not planning on keeping more than 1 or 2 bristlenose babies in the long-term, amazingly cute though they are. I expect my LFS ('The Goldfish Bowl' in Oxford, a great place) will happily take them once they're a bit bigger.

I'm similarly thinking of returning several platies and mollies from tank 2 to the shop once they are of saleable size. I don't want a million in that tank, just enough to give a nice balance of colours. It's sweet the way they swarm to the front to say 'hi, feed me' when you walk into the room as well!

No problems yet with gouramis fighting. I chose the lace gouramis partly because the fish store guy said that they were the most placid variety , and so far they've lived up to that description. I'll keep a close eye on them, though.

The neons are pretty large specimens, I think - about an inch long and fairly fat (one of them is especially fat, he had terrible bloat and bad finrot when I inherited him from the previous owners - but he's shrunk a bit since, and still eats avidly - a real survivor). They're certainly much bigger than the neons in the shop. I really can't imagine the angelfish managing to eat them, certainly until the angels grow a lot. But I'll consider swapping them to the smaller tank like you suggest.

Thanks for the carbon advice. I'll keep going without it for the moment, no problems with algae or water clarity yet (despite the big tank getting an hour or so of direct sunlight each day).

I'm hoping to get a co2 system for Christmas! Any advice on that, or useful posts you could point me at?

willow - my camera is currently out of action but i'll try to get some pictures up here soon! thanks for interest...

willow 10-08-2008 11:07 AM

no problem :)
have a look in the plant section,there are usually co2 chats
in there.

SKAustin 10-15-2008 03:49 PM

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