Challenging the Stocking Ratio Rule
Alright well I've been in the hobby for quite a few years now and have seen alot of different things and have experienced alot of different things. Now I think most of you will say that I'm crazy but I believe that its time to take our little saltwater fish stocking ratio rule and put it through the shredder. What I've learned that this rule is certainly to broad. Not only for nanos but for all tanks. It really prevents what a tank can truley be. I believe we need to base what we stock and how many we stock on the fishes diets, behavior, social behavior, size. The filtration on the tank, and what else is in the tank. For example clownfish don't need alot of space and if done correctly they get along well with eachother in thier territory, and also with certain animals you can create a waste breakdown cycle in that everything in the tank benefits one another resulting in the ability to add more fish and do less maintainence. I was wondering what you guys are thinking about this? I really think its time to change. do you?
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...
You have a really good point on that too. Thinking a little more I can say that there really isn't a conclusive answer. Guess it also depends on the experience level of the aquarist
you and me both
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