Originally Posted by teddyzaper
i bet you know what your doing pasfur but it looks overcrowded.
I have always felt that there is a common myth in the marine hobby that you can not keep many fish in the tank. I would love somebody to explain why this is the case. Let me explain my thoughts on this.
First, the most common limiting factor to fish load is compatibility. I take great care in picking fish that will mix well into the established group. I have a very good understanding of what causes aggression and how fish are likely to mix in captivity. I also provide a long quarantine period so that the fish are well conditioned and healthy enough to stand up to the pecking order.
Another factor is tank size and fish behaviors. Not only do the fish have to mix together, they have to have adequate swimming space to reduce aggression. Proper care has to be taken to understand fish behavior in a given environment. Experience allows me to make careful and accurate decision. Believe me, I've made my share of mistakes!
Finally, water quality is an issue. I use an oversized skimmer on my 180. Nitrate continues to remain under 5ppm, which is an indicator of the effectiveness of the skimmer. I also pay very careful attention to the alkalinity and calcium levels. The coraline algae on my rock is evidence on this.
Keep in mind, if this were a reef tank I would have a very different approach. My 54 reef is grossly understocked, with only 4 small fish, a Coral Beauty Angel, Six Line Wrasse, Ocellaris Clownfish, and a small Goby. This tank has an undersized skimmer, which is part of my reason for the light fish load. Also, aggression becomes much more of an issue in tanks with less than 6 foot of swimming space, so I am overly cautious.