Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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davejcollins 12-13-2011 04:19 PM

Advice on stocking levels for new(ish) tank
Hi All,

I have a 260L (68 US Gallons) tank which has been set up approx 6 months. Water parameters are all good and I have had no major issues. I have 4 natural plants, a few artificial ones and a couple of decorations. Fish seem very happy and I have plenty of hiding places and shaded areas.

I am looking for advice on stocking levels. I know that I will need a bigger tank in time in order to keep the fish that I really want to (as they grow).

So far I have added,
- 6 boesemani rainbow
- 3 celebes rainbow (bought 6 and lost three in three days with no obvious reasons - haven't replaced and I'm not sure that I will)
- 6 clown loaches

Ideally, and to make my aquarium complete, I would like to add
- 4 to 6 Redline Torpedo Barbs / Denison Barbs (Ideally 4, but I gather they would do better in shoals of 6? How about 5? any issues with that?)
- 5 Glass Catfish (or Ghost Catfish)

As I said, I know I will need a larger aquarium in time and I am fully committed to doing that. My question is - based on buying all these fish at their juvenile sizes, will this be a suitable environment for the fish for 1.5 or 2 years? Or am I going to be overstocked from the get go.

I know the Clown Loaches are the big guys in terms of space needed but they are definitely my favourite fish and bring a lot to the aquarium - they are doing very well at the moment.

Any advice greatly appreciated.


Byron 12-14-2011 01:14 PM

First, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

Now, to your questions. I would not add anything to the existing tank. It is easy for us to think that because fish are juveniles they are "fine" with a smaller space, but this is deceptive and may cause significant damage to the fish as they grow. Potentially-large fish need space around them, both as "physical" space to be themselves, but also with respect to the water conditions. The larger the volume of water the better the fish will develop. Fish grow continually, and this is a crucial aspect of their development.

We have fish profiles, under the second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page. When the common or scientific name is used in a post exactly as in the profile, it will shade and you can click on it to see that profile. Example, Boeseman Rainbowfish or Melanotaenia boesemani.

In that profile, it recommends minimum of six fish and in a 4-foot tank. If a larger tank is planned within the next few months this is OK. As for the Clown loach, a 6-foot tank is needed for these fish, with a group of 5-6 minimum. And they have issues as they mature, such as digging up plants.

As for future fish mentioned, these two will have difficulties. The Denison Barb attains 6 inches, requires a group of 8, needs cooler water and more flow than most tropicals (would not work with clown loach for example), and a 5-6 foot tank. Glass Catfish are skittish and quiet fish, that would be annoyed (to put it mildly) by the swimming of rainbows, and the Glass needs a well-planted tank.

I always adhere to the maxim, never buy a fish for which you cannot now provide the required space that it will need at maturity. Plans to buy a larger tank do not always materialize. And the fish cannot wait.


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